Installation Highlights: 73-87 GM “Square-Body” StreetGRIP System
With the values of 67-72 GM C/K pickups on the rise, some enthusiasts are turning to GM’s 3rd generation or “Square-Body” pickups. In production for 15 years, “Square Body” pickups are more plentiful than prior generations. Though they have always been popular, you can still find a great example for less than $10,000. The stylish body style also lends itself nicely to customization. The wheel openings will seemingly accept any wheel and tire combination. Of course, the sky is the limit as far as drivetrain combinations. You can retain the existing seventies/eighties small or big block, or swap in an LS engine with room to spare for turbos. One important benefit is that 73-87 interiors are a bit more spacious than second gens thanks to an increase in wheelbase and relocated fuel tanks. Our favorite “Square Body” feature is that they trigger the right memories. Remember the “Indy Hauler Official Truck” from Cannonball Run? It was a 1979 GMC Sierra Classic 35 3+3. It was the epitome of cool with a screamin’ chicken on the hood, shiny Alcoa wheels, and “too many” driving lights. Lee Majors and Heather Thomas drove around in a long bed “Square Body” in the “Fall Guy” while officer John Baker drove a stepside in “CHiPs.” Those two trucks were four wheel drive, but you get the idea. If the Bandit drove a pickup instead of a Trans Am, it would be a Square Body.
RideTech just picked up this sweet 1987 Fleetside for the last step in the 73-87 series’ StreetGRIP R&D program called the “validation” phase. Though we had a truck for the prototype phase, we purchased a separate vehicle in order to perform a full installation. The validation phase is our last opportunity to install parts in the same manner as you, our customers. We take photos, write instructions, and — once the truck is all together — drive the heck out of it. It is a regular occurrence to see a RideTech R&D vehicle driving on our test track and throughout the streets of Jasper, Ind. The validation process was a success as StreetGRIP parts are now in stock. You can consider this article the official StreetGRIP product launch for 73-87 GM pickups.
This particular truck is by no means perfect. The chassis is covered with decades of crud and the interior is well-worn. On the plus side, the truck is all original with rust-free sheetmetal and miles of character. 1987 was the only year that fuel injection was offered. Follow along as we show you a few highlights from the installation process!