ROCKY | Bringing this Fighter Back out of Retirement

A side from a few hit movies AND an iconic mainstream song from the Smashing Pumpkins, 1979 didn’t offer a whole lot of extremely reference-able pop culture moments that you can quickly relate to one moment in time. During this year, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Dallas Cowboys to win the Super Bowl at Orange Bowl Stadium in Miami, “This Old House” premiered on PBS for the first time in the show’s history, America’s most serious nuclear powerplant accident happened at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, McDonald’s first introduced the Happy Meal to kids around the U.S., the Pirates beat the Orioles in the World Series, the Daytona 500 was broadcast live from start to finish for the first time ever on CBS, Nickelodeon debuted on cable television offering 24 hours of children’s television programming, and ESPN launches and becomes the first cable TV station to run a 24 hour sports channel.

Though it wasn’t a great year pop-culture-wise, a lot of important events happened—although I haven’t mentioned my personal favorites quite yet.

In my opinion, the best movie to hit screens in 1979 is “Rocky 2,” the sequel to the 1976 film “Rocky.” This was the last installment in the “Rocky” franchise that was distributed solely by United Artists, and it has one of the most memorable quotes at the end of the film: “Yo, Adrian, I did it!” It also happens to be the year the Chevrolet released a super cool body style that I feel is one of their best. I was also born in ’79, so I may be a little biased in the matter.

Throughout the years, I’ve worked on and owned quite a few cool custom trucks, but I’ve never had that real emotional attachment to any of them enough to keep them. So, when a 1979 Chevy popped up on Facebook marketplace one month before my birthday, my amazing wife sprang into action and managed to buy one of the best birthday gifts I’ve ever received, and one I never plan on letting go.

This 1979 Chevy C10 originally came with a barely capable 250 CID inline-six engine. This engine had an output of 100 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and a torque of 175 lb-ft at 2,000 rpm. Since it’s a short cargo bed model, this truck has a wheelbase of 117.5 inches, an overall length of 191.3 inches, an overall width of 65.8 inches, and an overall height of 65.8 inches. It’s a fun little truck that looks as cool as it did when it rolled out of the factory, but we plan on making it even cooler! All issues of 2022 will cover this build from start to finish, and we’re not going the route you would probably expect. Think about this: A daily driven, LS-powered, 2WD, slightly lifted Street Truck squarebody. A clean cruiser on 33-inch tires that is built to enjoy, not tear up off-road or tow a ton of weight. Just a fun mall-crawling, downtown driving people pleaser. Let’s break it down.

Meet Rocky, our beat-down and struck-out fighter that was once at the top of his game. He is now officially out of retirement and currently training to make it once again to the top.
This 1979 Chevy C10 originally came with a barely capable 250 CID inline-six engine from the factory, but now he’s sporting a worthless and locked up 350c.i. small-block engine. This oversized paperweight is coming out and getting tossed. We have bigger plans for this build.

Powering this pavement prince will be an LS-based engine with all new wiring and electronics. We plan to turn this once classic workhouse into a modern, reliable truck show prize fighter. But first, we need to remove this old small-block.

The VIN number told us a lot about this old truck. Including the original engine size, the number it was in the production line (125616), and where it was originally built, which was Baltimore, Maryland.
Since this is a 2WD truck, there are no bolt-on lift kits available. So, we turned to the internet and Chevy truck forums for some advice. After consulting with a bunch of extremely intelligent online helpers, we had a complete parts list ready to comfortably clear a 33-inch tire on a 12-inch-wide wheel.
We will be utilizing OEM parts from a few different years of trucks, and we needed a website that was easy to use and simple to navigate. RockAuto.com has been serving the truck community with parts for years, and after placing our order online, we see why they have such great success.
RockAuto.com is unique in the way it categorizes parts, and it’s simple to dig through menus without loading a new page every time. Best of all, they literally have everything we need to complete the front end aside from some lifted spindles that we can grab from Rough Country.

This will be a lifted, daily-driven street truck when it’s done, so we decided to stick with a 33×12.50 tire from Toyo Tire. We don’t want them too big, but we do want them to have enough sidewall to look proportionally correct. Since the truck is already lowered, we need to replace everything in order to clear.

For the rear, we have big plans. Currently Rocky has a flip kit with Lakewood Industries traction bars. To start off simple and relatable, we will just reinstall a set of factory leaf springs with 3-inch lift blocks. Although that is temporary, and soon to be replaced with a four-link suspension setup using coilovers and a Panhard bar!
Once the frame and suspension are completed, we will turn our attention to the body panels on the truck. Naturally we want to work with the best names in the business, so Auto Metal Direct was the number we called to get some pricing. The company has almost everything we need except a cab, but it may be working on that too!
The front end of a ’79 Chevy truck is unique in itself. This billet grille will be tossed out for an OEM factory original grille. Love the round headlights!

 …when a 1979 Chevy popped up on Facebook marketplace one month before my birthday,  my  amazing wife sprang into action and managed to buy one of the best birthday gifts  I’ve ever received, and one I never plan on letting go.

Raceline Silverstone
American Force F09 Big Ten
U.S. Mags Scottsdale US701
Specialty Forged SS106

We still haven’t decided on wheels, but these are some options we are looking at. Which one would you choose??


SOURCES

Auto Metal Direct
www.autometaldirect.com

BDS Suspension
www.bds-suspension.com

Blueprint Engines
blueprintengines.com

Toyo Tires
www.toyotires.com

RockAuto
www.rockauto.com

Rough Country
www.roughcountry.com

US Mags
us-mags.com

You May Also Like

Sheet Metal Fabrication Hacks | Build Anything with Basic, Affordable Tools

Get the job done with the most basic tools. ****Where to Buy Practice Metal and Weld Kits**** USE DISCOUNT CODE ‘TIMWELDS’ TO SAVE 10% https://weldmetalsonline.com/?ref=048…Subscribe […]