It’s an exciting day here for the team at Street Trucks as we remove the first bolts from our 2021 primary project truck, Project Artemis. This 1998 GMC Sierra is getting a complete makeover. From front to back, including an all-new air-ride suspension from Ridetech, a retro-fit wood bed floor, all new interior pieces, and tons of upgrades to its original 5.7-liter V-8 engine. There’s no custom fabricating involved with this project, and we’re using only off-the-shelf bolt-on parts. It’s gonna be a good one!
This is an everyman’s project that caters to hundreds of thousands of truck enthusiasts alike. We understand that these projects take time and money that not everyone can spare. But we can at least show you what to do while you wait for the right time to make your next move.
The name Artemis seemed perfect for this future trophy winner because it means “goddess of the hunt.” Artemis is also the main character’s name in my favorite movie of all time, “Ready Player One!” In the movie, Artemis is a gold/pewter-colored female character. In an online virtual reality game being played by a normal person in the real world. When playing as the character, she turns into a more confident, prouder version of herself. Just as we do when we are driving our custom truck around town, right? Customizing your character to a gamer is customizing a truck to a gearhead. So, we combined the two lifestyles, and a name was born: Project Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt for Trophies!
Stage one for this multi-stage resto-mod is to get the suspension replaced. We don’t want to be cutting and grinding the frame with a nice paint job or custom wrap. Definitely don’t want any greasy mechanics getting in and out of our nice new interior. So, we called up Ridetech, told the crew our goals, and they helped us order a complete, turn-key air-ride system designed to fit ’88-’98 Chevy and GMC C1500 trucks. When I say complete, I mean absolutely everything you need to fully bag your OBS without needing to run to the parts store. Suspension components, compressors, air springs, electronics, hoses and even all the fittings you will need, guaranteed! We were so impressed by the ease of ordering and the logistics behind this entire process, and we can’t recommend it enough for your GMT400.
Once the complete kit arrived, we packed everything up and headed out to SaltWorks Fab in Myakka, Florida, for the install. Thom Ophof is the man behind all the metal magic that comes out of this amazing shop. We were impressed by his confidence when he assigned a few of his best men to tackle the teardown. Chris Hagerty and Telly Violleto were excited to break away from their high-end fab work for a couple of days to bag our OBS. We were there pestering them throughout the whole process. This issue we will focus on the front, the next issue will be the back. Then we have something special coming for Artemis—and his name is Glarb!
RideTech Suspension Install 88-98 Chevy OBS CK GMT400 Trucks
Generally, truck trends are unpredictable and cycle quickly through the ranks of the top industry builders and ballers. F-100 bump-sides and pro-touring, patina-paneled C10s are just a few recent examples of popular projects that the average Joe wouldn’t think to produce until they see a fully completed custom gracing the pages of national publications or influential social media channels. These ideas and completed concepts come from the mindset of being unique with the goal of making a statement at massive events like SEMA, LST and Texas Heatwave. With that said, I think it’s safe to say we all see the next major trend hurling down the pipeline like a 6-foot surfer named Bodhi riding a 15-foot wave off Bells Beach during the 50-year storm. (That was a “Point Break” reference if you didn’t catch it. What a great ’90s movie!)
Speaking of the ’90s, if you were a natural born truck junkie finally making it to the legal driving age around those times, you most certainly wanted a Chevy C/K truck since they were literally everywhere. Everyone from utility company employees to school district secretaries used these heavily produced pickups for their day-to-day operations. Even your grandpa’s grocery-getter was most likely an ’89-’98 Chevy. They came in so many different visual styles with factory options galore. Originally designed by Donald Wood in 1983, Chevy was able to move 551,223 of these GMT400 trucks by 1989 alone according to the Standard Catalog, not to mention the popular 454 model released in 1990 that sold 16,953 units over the four years with 13,748 of those units selling in the first year of production alone.
With that heavy of a number, it’s easy to see why we not only saw a massive increase of these trucks in magazines, but also why the custom aftermarket scene is heating up so much right now. These trucks are still pretty easy to come by and the demographic of buyers are slightly older and more well-off than your average new-truck enthusiast. The guys who wanted these trucks in their teens are now older, generally successful and more comfortable than they were at 16 years old. These factors are driving the great custom parts manufacturers to focus on these industry icons to get ahead of the curve.
It’s easy to talk the talk, but it’s far more impactful to walk the walk. So, we put on our Airwalks and jumped into the deep end of desire by picking up a running, driving 1995 Chevy C/K truck from the original owner for a smooth $2,000. Cold A/C and a solid cranking 4.3-liter V-6 gave this truck the appeal, but a full gas tank and a fresh oil change just shows that the previous owner still has love for this 20-plus-year-old family member.
In the next few issues we are going to take you through the process of giving this truck new life on the same old roads it’s been cruising down since its inception, first starting with suspension, brakes and wheels/tires, followed up with a facelift for the ages. The plans don’t stop there, but you’re going to need to stick to the script the see the next steps. If you’re not a subscriber already, I implore you to do so. If this truck doesn’t motivate you to go out and start wrenching on your own project, I’m not sure you picked up the right publication. Now let’s get to the good stuff!
Key features of these brakes:
No need to buy new spindles, just modify current spindles
Uses new calipers, not rebuilt
Precise machined hub
Laser cut mounting bracket
Fits 19-inch wheels and larger
Will work with most aftermarket wheels, since caliper offset is kept to a minimum