The 1988 C1500 pickup kicked off the Sport Truck scene twenty years ago. Right out of the gate, these trucks were heralded for their daily driver usability and good looks. GM had a hit on their hands and the aftermarket wasted no time developing drop kits and other parts. Inspired by the then-new C1500, shops like Boyd Coddington, Trader Tim and Belltech built copious amounts of lowering parts along with dress-up items. Cruise nights and car shows were ruled by Sport Trucks with the C1500 leading the charge. These trucks had a lot of style, but performance and ride quality were lacking. Times have changed and so have expectations.
Today, classic trucks need to do more than just look good. They must live up to the performance benchmarks set by modern trucks like the GMT900 and all new K2 platforms. In response to resurgent interest in 1988-1998 C1500s, RideTech developed a true performance suspension system that does more than just lower your truck. Part of RideTech’s StreetGRIP line, the design significantly improves handling and ride quality while maintaining load carrying capacity and towing capability.
The logical follow-up to RideTech’s StreetGRIP suspension systems for 63-72 and 73-87 C10 pickups StreetGRIP suspension systems is here. RideTech is proud to introduce an all new StreetGRIP performance suspension system for 1988-1998 C1500 pickups. Like all StreetGRIP systems, we focus only on the areas that need improvement rather than upgrading every last part on the truck. In the case of 88-98 C1500’s, that means keeping the factory control arms and leaf springs. Getting down to business, we start with a heavy duty C-Notch design that is unlike anything else on the market. It’s significantly longer than other C-notches and features reinforcements in multiple planes to to maintain frame strength — both torsionally and longitudinally. The result is ample axle clearance even when carrying a load.
Beyond a sturdy foundation, the next important part of this new StreetGRIP system is — by far — the custom-valved shock absorbers. They feature superior monotube damping control inside of an impact forged housing. Monotube shocks are more responsive than twin tube shocks and provide far better body control. Built in shock rebound adjustment lets you fine tune the valving to suit your personal preferences. RideTech includes rear shock extender brackets to maintain proper shock angle. It really is remarkable how well these trucks go down the road with the right set of shock absorbers. RideTech shocks carry an exclusive million-and-one-mile warranty. No other kit on the market can compare.
To get the front of the truck down, RideTech’s StreetGRIP performance system includes custom matched coil springs along with forged ‘Drop” spindles. The springs work in conjunction with the aforementioned monotube shocks to support the front of the truck when the road turns curvy. The spindles lower the vehicle while maintaining suspension geometry and alignment. Brand new grade 8 hardware and heavy duty powder-coated brackets round out the system. RideTech never skimps or cuts corners.
How does this new StreetGRIP system work? The sum total is greater than its individual components. There is something special about these trucks. They feel small compared to subsequent truck generations like the GMT800 and 900s. In a sense, 1988-1998 C1500s are more like muscle cars than pickups. With a low cowl height and low side window sills, you look down on the top of the dash and hood as you move down the road. Likewise, you can rest your arm on the window sill in full comfort. RideTech boss, Bret Voelkel, prefers the factory bench seat, but many of us here really dig the factory buckets and console in our red shop truck.
Taking that notion one step further, you might want to consider an 88-98 C1500 instead an 80s or 90s muscle car. These trucks have plenty of room for big rubber and their double A-Arm suspension design responds favorably to upgrades. With the right wheels and tires, plus our StreetGRIP system, you’ll be blown away by how well these trucks work. Great examples of 88-98 C1500 trucks can be found for less than $5,000 which hopefully leaves money in your pocket for more upgrades.
Lowered C1500 Measurements Are Comparable to a 4/6 Drop:
- Wheel Opening Front: 26.25″ with 255/40-18 tires.
- Wheel Opening Rear: 26.75″ with 275/40-18 tires.
- Front spoiler height: 3.75″ from the ground.
- Height of rocker behind front wheel: 5″
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