The 1990’s were an exciting time to be involved the custom pickup scene for many reasons with one of the most important being what ‘new’ trucks were available to purchase at the time. Minitrucks were everywhere and readily available, and the full size truck circuit was being completely overtaken by a fresh GM pickup – what we now refer to as the OBS ‘88-‘98 C/K. Pickups of all sizes were dropped lower than they ever had been in the past, and an eye-catching paint palette was all the rage. Folks who grew up around tricked out trucks of this era certainly have this time period deeply embedded in their DNA, there’s no doubt about that.
Barrett Stewart, of Laurens, South Carolina, is a true product of 90’s truck culture, although it wasn’t until the tail end of the decade and into the early 2000’s when he really started getting serious about his projects. “I’ve actually had three of my trucks featured in magazines before”, Barrett states. “It was a great time in my custom career, and an experience that I was very interested in revisiting again.”
Custom fabrication is something that Barrett has stuck with since his early days of building trucks. He currently owns and operates Superior Auto in his hometown where he gets to remain active in the scene by helping others get their own rides dialed in to show. Barrett has made a lot of friends and contacts in his line of work, which has proved to be an invaluable tool when it comes to networking. “After making the decision to start the hunt for a new project, I thought of a truck that Brian Baird of Baird Automotive had been working on but kind of stalled out on for a while”, Barrett says.
Barrett’s latest truck acquisition did come with a solid foundation underneath it. Before it was sold, Mr. Baird built a custom 2×3 square tube frame that was fully decked out with an assortment of bells and whistles. It featured a stock floor bodydrop that already had the Chevy sitting at lower than throwback ride height and it was then ‘bagged with Air Lift and Ridetech components to make it absolutely slammed! The set of 24-inch Raceline wheels finished off the truck’s adjustable stance just right.
Barrett’s vision for the final product was a truck that he could drive everyday while creating that attention-grabbing power unique to a true show truck. It was at this point in the timeline when Barrett reached out to Kevin Fulmer of Shade Tree Customs to streamline the truck’s surface a bit before working on a paint scheme that would get it noticed. In the end, the guys landed on Toyota Cavalry Blue, a color option found on late model Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner trucks. Out of context, the hue does look completely custom as it’s sporty and has a lot of class – perfect for a low riding 90’s American truck. Kevin added some paneling and pinstriping down the center of the cowl hood, center of cab roof and halfway down the tailgate to break up the monotony. With the addition of some proper exterior accessories, Barrett’s Chevy was looking like a legit OBS champ.
Custom body and paintwork was also incorporated under the hood that frame the ’00 Chevy LS engine with style. Everything under the hood is smooth and squeaky clean, which Barrett plans on keeping that way as he still expects to show the truck in between the its regular driving duties. The power plant not only looks good, but it performs great. It has been decked out with enough performance add-ons to run up the HP rating well over stock numbers.
With the truck steadily taking shape, Barrett began the final leg of the build process by moving his attention inside of the cab. Since mobile audio is a specialty of his, Barrett took charge wiring up a well-rounded grouping of component including a pioneer head unit, Sony 6.5-inch components, and JL Audio amps and 8-inch sub. This was more than enough firepower to fill the single cab Chevy with a highly balanced sound signal that would please every audiophile within earshot.
Barrett did make one pivotal interior upgrade with the later-model dash that does add a sense of familiarity for owners of the next generation Chevy trucks. New Creations, of Lattimore, North Carolina, was given the opportunity to further outfit the cab with updated modifications. A Snowden seat foam was brought in, modified to fit the factory seats and wrapped in gray distressed leather – the same material that also covers freshly revamped door panels. This interior is tasteful yet dripping with flavor.
In a matter of four years, Barrett was able to steadily transform a truck that was partially built and set on the side burner. Picking up where someone else has left off can sometimes present a frustrating challenge, but Barrett was able to build off the quality work that was previously completed and make the truck his own – something of a nod to the days when he was knocking magazine worthy trucks out with the quickness.
“I had a great group of talented folks help sharpen my vision for the truck”, says Barrett. “The feedback to the truck has been amazing so far, but when I was at Battle in ‘Bama in 2020, I was proposed with a very flattering compliment. Craig Rowley asked me if they could use my truck’s image on the 2021 show shirt. Being featured in a magazine is amazing, but this was a new kind of recognition that really made this project truly rewarding in its own special way for me.”
Barrett Stewart • ‘90 C1500
- 2000 Chevy LS 5.3L
- Comp Cams Big Mutha’ Thumpr
- Be Cool aluminum radiator
- Edelbrock Pro Flo intake manifold
- Boost Brothers 1 7/8-inch headers
- Custom 3-inch exhaust system
- Spin Tech mufflers
- Chevy 4L80E transmission
- Custom build 2×3 square tube frame by Baird Automotive, Liberty, SC
- Michigan Metal Works control arms
- Two-inch drop spindles
- Air Lift ‘bags all around
- Ridetech shocks
- Custom rear 4-link
- Auburn limited slip
- Moser axles
- Rear disc brake conversion
- Hydroboost master cylinder
- RCI aluminum fuel tank
- 24×8 and 24×12 Raceline Status 6 wheels
- Delinte DS8 265/35/24 tires
- Stock floor bodydrop by Baird Automotive
- Shaved tailgate, rain drip rails, third brake light and shaved gas door
- Goodmark steel hood
- T-Rex grille
- Bodywork and paint by Kevin Fulmer at Shade Tree customs, Prosperity, SC
- Martin Senour pro//BASE Toyota Cavalry Blue
- OEM replacement headlights, taillights, outside mirrors
- Smoothed front bumper, steel rear roll pan
- Snowden seat foam and door panels upholstered in distressed leather by New Creations, Lattimore, NC
- Stock ‘96+ dash
- Loop wool carpet
- Dakota Digital gauges
- Vintage Air A/C
- Pioneer head unit, JL Audio amps and 8-inch subwoofer, Sony 6.5-inch speakers
- Audio install by Barrett Stewart Superior Sound & Speed, Lauren, SC