This is the final installment in our mild buildup of Jake, the better half of our sibling rivalry with brother Elwood who appears also for the final time in our sister book Chevy High Performance. For some reason known only to the folks at CHP, they renamed his bro Delwood. Go figure.
Up until this month, we have focused on transforming our California Transportation Department castoff into a reliable and more powerful hauler. To refresh your memory, we added a DynoMax after-cat exhaust and new catalytic converter, a set of HPC-coated DynoMax headers, and a Hypertech chip that combined with the Hypertech Power Charger affectionately dubbed the "soup bowl" all was worth a strong 68 lb-ft of torque and 44 hp!
Along the way, we also added a Penda under-rail bedliner and those trick stainless steel Hide-a-hooks, a Summit hidden trailer hitch, roll pan, and a flip-up license plate to give the GMC a little bit of style. We also lowered our truck with a complete front and rear kit from Eibach that worked perfectly along with a set of Edelbrock shocks. Now it was time to add a little style to our efforts.
Two big projects lay in our path to transform Jake from a Cal-Trans refugee into a bona-fide street cruiser. First, we needed to change that faded industrial orange, and we also needed a stylish set of tires and wheels. We decided to attack the rolling stock first.
We were looking for something polished but not too flashy. Wheel Vintques offers an incredible selection of wheels that will fit the 11/42-ton GMC/Chevy 5x5-inch bolt pattern, and we landed on a set of 17x8-inch Billet Rally wheels with a 5-inch backspacing finished off with a reproduction set of early Camaro Rally wheel center caps and a set of McGard wheel locks just to ensure Jake doesn't get mugged in some deserted parking lot. We decided to go with something a little different with a set of 255/50R17 Hankook Ventus ST tires. These tires have an aggressive tread pattern that are intended as all-season light truck and SUV tires that offer exceptional dry handling combined with solid, predictable performance in the wet and a good tread life.
Now it was time to do something about that orange paint. We decided our best bet would be a great paint job at a decent price, so we sought out our local Earl Scheib dealer.
One of a car crafter's biggest hurtles is surviving what has affectionately been called "paint jail" where your car becomes incarcerated for months at a time. Not so with Perry Girakhoo and his crew at our local Earl Scheib. We delivered Jake on Monday morning and by Thursday evening we had a stylish pickup where shabby old Jake had once been. Including removing a half-dozen dings and dents, Perry and crew smoothed out Jake's rough spots, hit him with a basic primer coat, and then applied a 100 percent acrylic-urethane silver coat that, with the Pro 3 version, includes a clearcoat finish. They did the job in a matter of a few days, and the price for just the paint job, including painting the doorjambs, came to just under $550.
While your local Earl Scheib dealer can also do the bodywork, the hot ticket is to perform the bodywork separately and then deliver your cruiser to them with as much detail work as possible already performed. For example, we removed the C/K1500 emblems and also stripped all the rubber trim around the doors to make the masking less troublesome. That's the process that worked the best for us and represented the least amount of downtime. Then, to protect our new paint (after a month cure time), we also invested in a new Covercraft car cover.
We also added a couple more underhood details to convert Jake into a fully dependable daily driver. First, we bolted in an Optima red-top battery for excellent hot-weather starting power. We also spent most of one day under Tim Moore's hoist bolting in a B&M 4L60-E shift improver kit, choosing the least aggressive heavy-duty version and also installing a B&M trans cooler to take some of the heat out the transmission. We also added a Trans Dapt air inlet kit that replaced the factory air inlet silencer and included a high-flow K&N filter and a chrome lid. You can get the lid separately as well.
This whole process required a little longer than just three months to assemble, but now that it's completed, we couldn't be happier. Jake has gone from Cal-Trans freeway parolee to a stylish version of a Southern California cruiser. It tows our trailer and 3,500-pound '65 Chevelle with ease and can handle a serious payload without complaint. It runs great, looks good, handles better, and has been an all-around budget-based success. We bought Jake at an auction for $2,600, and for a total investment of under $8,500 we have an outstanding pickup that can manage 14 mpg while towing a car, makes a perfect junkyard parts-chaser, and yet can also look good at the neighborhood car show. This has been such a fun project that we can't imagine our car-crafting world without Jake.
|Power Pulls |
|Configuration ||HP ||LB-FT |
|Test 1, baseline ||140 @ 3,850 ||200 @ 3,850 |
|Test 2, after-cat exhaust, tune-up ||168 @ 4,100 ||229 @ 3,800 |
|Test 3, above w/headers ||167 @ 3,500 ||237 @ 3,500 |
|Test 4, above w/Hypertech chip ||176 @ 4,050 ||260 @ 3,300 |
|Test 5, above w/Power Charger ||184 @ 4,100 ||268 @ 3,400 |
|Total improvement ||44 ||68 |
|Percentage gain overall ||31% ||34% |
|Component ||Manufacturer ||Part Number |
|Wheels, Billet Rally ||Wheel Vintiques ||90-780505 |
|Billet disc brake cap ||Wheel Vintiques ||1047 |
|Tires, Ventus ST ||Hankook ||255/50R17 |
|Locking lug nuts ||McGard ||24109 |
|Steel cowl hood ||Goodmark ||4146-200-881 |
|GM TBI fuel regulator ||Turbo City ||630-130 |
|TBI injector spacer ||Turbo City ||630-105 |
|Air cleaner kit ||Trans Dapt ||2452 |
|Throttle-body spacer ||Trans Dapt ||2534 |
|Truck cover ||Covercraft ||see catalog |
|Shift improver kit ||B&M ||70239 |
|Trick Shift ATF ||B&M ||80286 |
|Trans Supercooler ||B&M ||70266 |
|Hi-temp hose kit ||Summit/Goodyear ||GTR-5005 |
|Battery, spiral cell ||Optima ||8004-003 |
|Carpet, black ||Auto Custom Carpet ||see Web site |
Auto Custom Carpets
PO Box 1350
100 Enterprise Blvd.
Optima Batteries Inc.
Earl Scheib Paint & Body
P.O. Box 909
625-E Old Norcross Rd.
Trans Dapt Performance Products
Hankook Tire America Corp.
Turbo City Inc
1455 Citrus Ave.