Everyone has a hobby, whether it's collecting stamps or building hot rods. Mark Newhan of San Diego is no exception to the rule. Rather than spend his time and money on building a cherry '32 Ford Roadster or a sweet '57 Chevy Bel Air that most guys build, Mark had his sights set on a slightly larger project, say a '73 Chevy prerunner. His truck of choice was originally featured in the pages of OFF-ROAD two years ago, but that's when it had a blue paintjob and a totally different look and feel. Upon tiring of Cool Blue, as it was named back then, he sold it to a friend and moved on to a different set of wheels. As with most things worth keeping, he soon found himself buying his beloved Cool Blue back so that he could reconfigure it. With a new direction in mind and the ability and resources to do it, he embarked on a new mission.
The transformation spanned a four-month period and, as the pictures show, proved to be well worth his time and effort. Being no stranger to the aftermarket suspension industry, Mark owns Bullseye Industries, a company that manufactures custom spindles for anything with wheels. Mark did most of the work himself with a little help from friends Bob Gall, Gabe Agana, and Hurt Beam. To achieve the 22 inches of front wheel travel, the front suspension was redesigned using 4130 chrome-moly lower A-arms and upper J-arms. A set of modified Stock Car Products spindles and hubs was integrated into the system, as well. Fox 2-1/2-inch coilover and bypass shocks are responsible for the car-like ride quality of the truck. The 35 inches of rear suspension travel is achieved from a four-link setup, featuring Eibach springs, Fox 2-1/2-inch coilovers and bypass shocks, and a custom-made rear sway bar. A Sandy Cone Dana 60 rearend with a built-in truss houses the 40-spline axles with a full spool.
Power for the rig comes courtesy of a 383ci Chevrolet V-8 that was balanced, blueprinted, and filled with some of the best components on the market. Components such as a Crower crankshaft, rods, and valvetrain find refuge within the aluminum walls of the block, as well as the Wiseco pistons and the ported Dart heads. Fitted atop the Wieand intake is a 750-cfm Holley double pumper carburetor, which assists the engine in creating 480 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque. Paired with the engine is a reworked Turbo 400 transmission, which hails from Valley Transmission of El Cajon, California. Fitted with a special torque converter from The Converter Shop of Lake Havasu, Arizona, a shift is never missed.
Stopping the 35x12.50R15 Goodyear Wranglers mounted on 15x7 American Racing wheels with bead locks is a custom brake system complete with Wilwood discs at each wheel and a specially valved CNC adjustable-bias master cylinder.
The bodywork for his truck was custom-fabricated by the good folks at Autofab in Santee, California. The one-off fiberglass fenders, the bed sides, and the hood were then treated to a few coats of paint by R.W. Little of San Diego. Following with true prerunner styling, Mark created a custom rear-mounted two-position lightbar, which houses four Hella Rally 4000 lights.
The interior of the truck is just what one would expect of a prerunner. It has the mandatory Taylor race seats and Simpson five-point racing harnesses, as well as a few other goodies. A custom-made aluminum dash houses a full array of Auto Meter liquid-filled gauges along with a Kenwood two-way race radio, a Magellan GPS System, and a 400-watt Sony/MTX sound system. Situated right at home between the two race seats is a Winters shifter and a Bazooka subwoofer.
One look at Mark's ride is all that it takes to make you want to forget about the other hot rods and go out and build a prerunner instead. How many custom rides can go through a sandy wash or skate atop rocks and boulders on a Sunday afternoon? Not many, which is why the idea is beginning to make more sense the longer we think about it. Fun, entertainment, and fulfillment are just a few of the words that come to mind after stepping out of the truck after a long ride. Come to think of it, aren't those the same words that describe what a hobby should be?
|Owner/hometown ||Mark Newhan/San Diego, California |
|Make/model ||'73 Chevrolet standard cab |
|Suspension ||Independent front system; four-link rear system |
|Tires ||:35x12.50x15 Goodyear Wranglers |
|Wheels ||15x7 American Racing with bead locks |
|Transmission ||Turbo 400 automatic |
|Engine ||: Chevrolet 383-cid V-8 |