Todd Curtis of Mechanicville, New York, and his truck, an '86 fullsize Chevrolet 4x4, go way back. According to Todd, this was the very first truck he owned, and he purchased it new. Over the years, he continued to customize and adapt it to blend in with the times and trends. Then, in the early '90s, he decided to do a ground-up restoration on the K1500. In the midst of the rebuild, a neighbor saw him working on the truck and suggested that he show the 4x4 at some of the local jamborees and truck shows. Upon hearing this suggestion and knowing what he was adding to his rig, Todd took the idea and ran with it. In 1999, Todd and his truck won First Place Grand Champion at the New England Four-Wheel-Drive Jamboree Nationals in Vermont. What does this truck have that makes it a Grand Champion? Let's take a look and see.
Having built custom trucks in the past, Todd wanted to incorporate a little bit of everything from all of his past creations into this buildup while at the same time incorporating some of the new ideas that are on today's hottest rigs. The first step was to raise the suspension a whopping 12 inches. To accomplish this, a set of 12-inch Superlift springs was installed up front, while a set of 8-inch arched springs was placed on 4-inch blocks in the rear. To raise the rig just a little bit higher to make room for the monster 19.5/44-15 Super Swamper Boggers on 15x12 American Racing wheels, a 3-inch Trail Master body lift was also put in place. Rounding out the ride are Dick Cepek Race Series 77 shocks. To strengthen the axles, both front and rear, custom axle trusses were fabricated along with 52-inch-long ladder bars and limiting straps, which were installed to prevent over- extending any of the components. To eliminate squeaks, rattles, or rolls, all bushings and body mounts were replaced with polyurethane bushings.
Todd's next stop was at Four Star Engine Builders in Syracuse, New York, for some additional horsepower. Using a '74 350ci V-8, the block was bored 0.040 inch over. Inside the newly massaged block is a who's who list of high-performance engine components. The Holley 650-cfm carburetor, which was tuned by Four Star Engine Builders, allows fuel and air to flow effortlessly through the Edelbrock manifold. The Competition Cams valves, the hydraulic lifters, and the camshaft provide enhanced airflow, and the Trick Flow pistons create a 10.5:1 compression ratio. The Summit Racing oil pump and extra capacity oil pan help to keep the Federal Mogul bearings and Speed-Pro rings lubricated. Responsible for expending the spent gases is a Manley stainless steel exhaust system. Responsible for keeping the entire engine at proper operating temperatures is a polished aluminum radiator by Be Cool, along with a 15-inch-diameter Flex-A-Lite stainless steel cooling fan. As an added bonus, Todd used all copper chrome cooling hoses by Coolflex. The entire block was painted Chevrolet Orange, and key areas within the engine compartment were treated to chrome. Paired up to the 358ci powerplant is a factory GM automatic transmission and a NP 208 transfer case. Todd installed 5:13 gears in the 12-bolt front and rearends.
To apply the white enamel base paint with a clearcoat paintjob, Todd called upon Elmo's Auto Body of Ballston Lake, New York. Todd also had the crew at Elmo's fill in all holes in the frame and install a Lund Racerback spoiler and a Stull phantom grille. They also installed the bed-mounted 20-gallon Triangle Engineering aluminum fuel tank. All exterior trim pieces, moldings, and badging were shaved to give the truck an updated look; the taillights were replaced with clear versions. A chromed 8-inch Westin drop bumper was installed in the rear to compensate for the added height while towing. Up front, Todd installed a Warn winch bumper and an 8,000-pound winch that is kept company by a pair of Hella 550 lights.
Looking inside of Todd's truck proves to be just as impressive as the exterior, the engine, and the suspension. For sound, Todd installed an Optimist/Pyramid stereo system with a 300-watt amp for the front and a 100-watt amp to handle the two subs, which are tucked away behind the seats. The instrumentation is a joint effort shared between the GM factory gauges and a Sun Super tach II. The entire interior was carpeted and upholstered in custom blue cloth by Concord of Ballston Lake. Finishing off the interior is the 2-inch Smittybilt steel rollbar.
What began as a hobby for Todd seems to have blossomed into a full-on love for the sport of off-roading and exhibiting his truck. We can only hope that Todd leaves his radical creation in one piece long enough to win a few more First Place finishes.
|Vehicle ||'86 Chevy K1500 |
|Owner ||Todd Curtis, Mechanicville, New York |
|Engine ||358ci Chevy V-8 bored 0.040 over; Competition Cams camshaft; Trick Flow pistons; GM heads; Summit Racing timing chain |
|Aspiration ||650-cfm Holley carb; Edelbrock manifold;Manley exhaust |
|Transmission ||TH700-R4 |
|Axles/differentials ||5:13 gears in the 12-Bolt Corp front and rearend |
|Suspension ||12-inch Superlift springs (front); 8-inch Super-lift springs (rear); 4-inch blocks (rear); 3-inch Trail Master body lift; Dick Cepek Race Series 77 shocks; custom-fabricated traction bars;axle trusses |
|Wheels ||15x12-inch American Racing wheels |
|Tires ||: 44x19.5-15 Super Swamper Boggers |
|Estimated value ||$26,000 |