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Back to the ’90s: A Nostalgic Journey with Craig’s 1998 Chevy 1500

John Mata Jr. December 27, 2023 Chevrolet

Taking It Back to the Old School

Thanks to the rising popularity of GM OBS pickups and SUVs, a much wider assortment of models are now officially classified underneath the “classic truck” umbrella. While these don’t necessarily give a nod to the old trucks that our fathers or grandfathers drove, they do hit closer to home for a large majority of enthusiasts of a certain age who may have had one (or wanted one) back when they were new to the scene. 

That’s the nostalgic fuel that is keeping the fire under these trucks aflame, and it’s quite contagious. The ’88-’98 Chevy/GMC trucks that were customized back then can be identified by a very specific styling cues that defined the generation. Fresh builds that were popping up at shows and on the streets in the ’90s weren’t prescribed restoration projects of older trucks. Rather, they were a new form of vehicular expression that was culturally vibrant and alive with color.

While C10-era pickups are still very much in high rotation, OBS models are coming up right behind them with unrelenting consistency. Craig and Rosalyn Rowley of Daphne, Alabama, know this fact to be true as they are the driving force behind the Battle in Bama and The Grand Finale shows, as well as the highly anticipated double-feature event introducing OBS Nationals at Talladega Speedway in spring 2024. Obviously, this is a huge deal for show promoters of any stature, but before that that incredible show kicks off, we’ll move our focus onto something else the Rowley’s have been working on—their ’98 Chevy truck.

TOTALLY RAD

Craig and Rosalyn could’ve selected any truck platform to create a project on, but they specifically picked an OBS for one simple reason.

“I just wanted to create an authentic throwback to the ’90s,” Craigs admits. “We’ve been fans of ’88-’98s [Chevy/GMs] ever since they came out, and nothing represents that time period in the custom truck scene more than these trucks.”

Craig already has multiple builds underneath his belt already, but for his latest project, he was looking to embrace all things “rad” with this one. Think back to the trucks in those old Belltech magazine ads and you’ll get the idea he was looking to run with. That point in time is a certifiable vibe for sure, and is exactly the direction he wanted to take their OBS.

To help get that time capsule appearance just right, the Rowleys dropped off their Chevy at Twin States Rod Shop in Meridian, Mississippi, where the factory chassis was notched and outfitted with QA1 front coilovers to achieve modern ride height/quality benefits, as well as a heavy-duty frame stabilizer to keep the frame rigid. The rearend was given the tried-and-true Belltech treatment with rear lowering leaf springs and Nitro Drop shocks.

The factory V-8 has not only been dressed to impress, but it also has the power to back the look with its 125 shot of nitrous.

To finish off the truck’s sportier stance, Craig selected a set of 17-inch Billet Specialties wheels wrapped in Toyo tires to complete the look. The approach is simple, yet effective, which is exactly why truck enthusiasts have stuck with the static drop method all these years later.

GETTIN’ WILD

The factory ’98 engine was tuned up and blessed with a 125-shot of nitrous for when Craig and Rosalyn feel like getting wild on the road. A Magnaflow exhaust system was then installed to give the truck an aggressive growl. Next, the engine bay was thoroughly cleaned up before JJ Johnson was brought in to smooth and paint a few parts to give the compartment a finished look.

JJ wasn’t done with his paint gun duties just yet, as he and Kevin Holland were next up to apply a silver basecoat over the entirety of the exterior. Next, the Rowleys asked Kal Smith to whip up a nostalgic paint scheme using a period-correct mixture of purple- and pink-colored graphics and pinstriped finishing touches.

Bolt-on accessories and trick bodywork were huge in the personal styling of any truck worth its wax back in the day, and to achieve the right combination of parts, a T-Rex billet center grille and phantom headlight grilles were applied to the front end, and the replacement LMC bumpers were shaved, as were the third brake light and moldings. For the cherry on top, a pink-colored bedliner spray was applied to the bed floor and walls, and a custom bike rack was fabricated to secure a true ’90s staple—a GT Pro Performer freestyle bicycle.

After adding a few accessories inside of the cab, along with a righteous sounding audio system, the Rowleys found themselves cruising around in their completed OBS cruising machine. In only eight months, their ’98 was ready to hit the show circuit, and Craig and Rosalyn couldn’t be happier with it.

“This thing depicts the ’90s perfectly,” Craig exclaims. “We’d like to thank Aspire Autosports, Twin States Rod Shop, Tammy Miller at Orion paint, JJ Johnson, Kevin Holland, Zac Caskey, Mike Slosh, our kiddos Caleb and Cam, and everyone else involved who helped make this truck RAD!”


TRUCK SPECS

OWNER

Craig & Rosalyn Rowley

  • 1998 Chevy 1500
  • Daphne, AL
  • Negative Camber

ENGINE & POWERTRAIN

  • 1998 Chevy V-8
  • Custom tune
  • 125-shot nitrous
  • 3-inch/Magnaflow exhaust system
  • 1998 Chevy transmission w/ 2800 stall converter
  • Shift kit

CHASSIS & SUSPENSION

  • Shop: Twin States Rod Shop, Meridian, MS
  • QA1 front coilovers and heavy-duty stabilizer
  • Belltech rear springs and shocks
  • Notched frame

WHEELS, TIRES & BRAKES

  • 17-inch Billet Specialties wheels
  • 275/40R17 Toyo Extensa HP tires
  • Wilwood brakes

BODY & PAINT

  • Orion silver, purple and pink paint and Standox clear by JJ Johnson and Kevin Holland
  • Graphics by Kal Smith
  • LMC Truck bumpers
  • Shaved moldings and third brake light
  • Custom bike rack
  • Slosh Tubz fillers
  • T-Rex billet grille
  • Accessory LED glow lights

INTERIOR & STEREO

  • Shop: Eddie Noron @ Ultimate Audio & Fabrication (UAF), Mobile, AL
  • Custom kick panels and box
  • Orion XTR speakers and amp

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