The younger guys in this industry always seem to be pushing the envelope. Older guys put 'bags on their trucks and younger guys put 'bags on their trucks, too. Although, the difference is many old-guy trucks barely tuck tire at full dump, while some of these younger guys are removing body parts to get their truck that much deeper in the weeds. Cutting be damned, it's a no-holds-barred-non modification festival for some people. Having been born into the hot-rod scene and growing up knee-deep in it, J.D. Lusardi is one of these young guns who is breaking all of the rules.

This '48 represents J.D.'s first truck and its original intent was to transport him to and from high school while still looking good and turning heads at the local cruise nights. What transpired from there has been a rocky road of youthful ignorance, filled with the occasional run-in with the local constable. Tickets have been issued for everything from exhibition of speed, due to burnouts, to a variety of unsafe vehicle violations because of dragging the truck with the 'bags deflated. We won't mention any of the speeding tickets. Oops, we just did. It's all in the name of good fun, of course, but it sure can get you in trouble in a hurry. It's something many of us can relate to, at one point or another in our lives.

Under the '48 is a completely custom-built chassis consisting of 2x3-inch box tube steel from end to end. Although the GMC was considered a fullsize truck in its day, by today's standards, it's actually quite diminutive. To make fitting a radical suspension under the truck easier, along with making finding parts easier, the front suspension is all from a Chevy S-10. The rear axle is from the same stable. DJM drop spindles combined with Slam Specialties RE-6 airbags brought the 18-inch Budniks deep into the fenders. Also, a triangulated four-link holds fast to the S-10 rear axle with Slam Specialties RE-8 'bags, which were mounted onto the lower link bars for a better ride and an added lift. Larger 20-inch Budnik wheels are at home out back, and they have that nice deep lip we can't get enough of. J.D. is a fabricator for Street Rod Factory (SRF), so it's no surprise to us that he did all of the fab work in-house.

Now well removed from high school, J.D. still enjoys smoking the hides once in awhile, which requires some extra doses of testosterone. Under the hood is a bored-out Chevy 350 block, which now sports 383 ci, thanks to a 400 crank, .060 over pistons, and it thumps to the tune of a Crower camshaft. Sanderson block-hugger headers were HPC coated and flow out to Flowmaster mufflers stifling the roar from a heavy right foot. Shifting chores are handled by a custom-built 700-R4 spinning a Vista Driveline driveshaft and 3.25 gears. Under the bed is a 25-gallon fuel cell feeding the mill, and the spark is courtesy of an MSD ignition and Taylor wires juiced by an Odyssey battery mounted under the passenger seat.

With so many companies stamping out replacement sheetmetal these days, it's rare to find a truck in its original steel, but J.D. has it all. Not afraid to make some sparks fly, this truck has been cut a little more than most. It's difficult to explain, but the stock '48 truck had an additional panel that ran under the cab and the front portion of the bed that spanned the distance between the body and the running boards. That was done away with to get this truck laid out right and looking good, and then the running boards were subsequently raised to meet the base of the cab. That left the front fenders with a lot of overhang that was cut off and reshaped to flow correctly. Out back, the 6-inch shortened bed was raised, then from the rear view, the cab appears to be chopped, thanks to the relocated bed. With the custom 2x3 frame, the GMC sits flat on the tarmac, resting its smoothed running boards comfortably. A full shave occurred at Street Rod Factory (SRF), with welders shutting any and all openings that were deemed unnecessary. A Gaylord bedcover was modified by SRF for a better fit before the painting ensued. SRF mixed together some PPG Viper Blue for the bottom half and Kawasaki Green for the top. Jim Waggaman sprayed the flames that roll back into a color separation line with a fade from Viper Blue to a custom-mixed purple. You won't find a hint of factory chrome or otherwise on the exterior, as the grille, bumpers, and even the headlight rings are now colored as one.

To make the driving more entertaining, a sound system that GMC couldn't have imagined in '48 was added. A Kenwood head unit feeds Kenwood speakers in the kick panels, while an MTX amplifier beats bass vibrations from MTX subwoofers mounted underneath the seat. Seating comfort was swapped from a BMW and covered in tweed by N.C. Upholstery in San Marcos, California, along with the door panels. A tan leather headliner looms over the dark brown carpeting. The steering came courtesy of LeCarra and the archaic 6-volt factory gauges are now 12-volt Dakota Digital. Southern California summers can get good and warm, so the '48 has a cold A/C to keep both driver and passenger chilly and comfortable.

Now 23 years in existence, J.D. has been messing with this truck for almost half of his life. Since we last spoke, a little birdie told us it was getting redone-again. First trucks are hard to forget, and although not in his case, most of us remember our first truck fondly and wish it was still in our hands today. J.D. has a long future ahead of him if he keeps up this kind of work, but it can't be done alone. His family was a helping portion, and of course, the family-run business at Street Rod Factory in San Marcos, is his home territory. A member of Xtreme Lowz car club, J.D. can be seen touring much of the Southwest show circuit, should you desire to see this GMC live and up close.

  • «
  • |
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • View Full Article