Mike Self October 13, 2023 Chevrolet
Some of us who have been in the scene for a while now have to face the truth: early 2000s builds are kind of considered old school by today’s standards. LS engine swaps weren’t yet a thing, we were finally figuring out reliable air-ride setups, and a patina paintjob was a sign that a truck was still “under construction.” In short, we’ve come a long way since then.
But, just like some modern-day builds, toward the end of that era we began to see a lot of copycats and, perhaps, certain things were overdone. While the ’90s and early ’00s were a time of innovation—air-ride setups got wilder and wilder, body drops became almost mainstream, billet accessories were everywhere, and custom graphics were on everyone’s “to do” list—pretty soon a lot of trucks started to look eerily alike.
So, what do you do when you love the (to borrow a term from the BMX collector world) “mid-school” era, but don’t want your truck to look like your typical ’90s/’00s “tribute” build? If you’re Brent Inman, you take your ’90 Chevy C1500 and combine the best of vintage and modern build styles! Just take a look at his standard cab shortbed, and we dare you to find another like it.
What might surprise you is that the truck was practically born with the Choo Choo Customs body kit, sans the front Street Scene SS-style bumper. Brent’s brother actually bought the truck brand new off the dealership lot in 1989, where the truck had already been fitted with the best that Choo Choo Customs had to offer.
He tells us that the truck will continue to evolve and may even get one of those newfangled LS swaps everyone seems to be talking about these days.
Over the years, Brent has made quite a few changes to make the truck his own, such as smoothing out and molding the body kit to the sheetmetal, installing a custom roll pan, shaving the handles, and ditching the factory taillights for a set of Cadillac units. Painter extraordinaire Gary Bandy then stepped up with a fresh repaint of the truck’s original GM Victory Red color. Gary’s also the dude who installed the latest iteration of the air suspension, which includes a reverse-mounted triangulated 4-link over a narrowed rearend, and a traditional cup setup up front.
All of this hard work definitely paid off once the truck was able to air out over the 22×8.5 and 24×12 Billet Specialties Twist wheels. Brent’s Chevy was set up to lay out just enough to not squish the body kit, yet still allow for plenty of billet-tucking action. Ride height is achieved with the help of an AVS EVOLVE air valve manifold fed by twin Viair 485C compressors, a pair of chrome air tanks, 1/2-inch air lines, and a Level Ride, which all combine to provide a rock-solid air management system for the Firestone airbags.
The original 350 engine was set up to maintain reliability, with only a few bolt-ons added for a bit more power, as well as plenty of dress-up accessories. An Airaid air intake kit and throttle body spacer were easy and effective mods, as were the Flowtech headers and Flowmaster exhaust. Squeezing every last ounce of power out of the power package is a SuperChips reflash that has more than earned its keep over its decades of service, and is especially effective given that the engine is backed by the factory Muncie SM465 5-speed manual transmission.
As wild as the rest of the truck is, it should come as no surprise that the interior is every bit as insane. Leather-upholstered S-10 bucket seats were bolted in on either side of the custom subwoofer enclosure, which also houses the air-ride gauge. The door panels and dashboard were smoothed and painted to match the rest of the truck, and plenty of billet was bolted on to brighten things up even more, including a Billet Specialties steering wheel.
Now that Brent has owned the truck for almost three decades, you might think that he’s finally done with it, but you’d be wrong. He tells us that the truck will continue to evolve and may even get one of those newfangled LS swaps everyone seems to be talking about these days. One thing is for sure—Brent’s son will one day be handed the keys as the truck’s next caretaker. We can’t wait to see what he does with it in the years to come!
Brush Creek, TN
OBS Club Tennessee
1990 Chevy C1500
CHASSIS & SUSPENSION
WHEELS & TIRES
ENGINE & DRIVETRAIN
BODY & PAINT
INTERIOR & STEREO
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