Imagine, if you will, the proverbial blue-collar worker. Hard hat, dirty fingernails, worn clothing, a little rough around the edges, carrying their lunch in a paper bag. This image is The Brown Bagger personified. An American hero. As I write this, I am the current owner of the ‘Bagger. I’ve upgraded and spruced her up a little, but the original concept is very much intact.
The real story of this truck is the original owner/builder and his vision for an old Squarebody Chevy. He’s known as “Soup”. His real name is Jason, but got his nickname from his obsession with Super Sport Chevrolet cars of his youth. His mother had a 1965 Chevy II SS which was the first Super Sport he ever rode in and later drove. Fast forward to 2016. Soup sold his ’70 K5 Blazer and quickly regretted it. Seeing the rising prices in ’71-’72 2WD models, he opted to search for a Squarebody to build. His search yielded a 1977 Silverado Big 10 in Reno, Nevada. Once the deal was made, he drove his prize to Show Low, Arizona (yes, that’s a real town and the name fits the subject truck). The old farm truck was delivered to Performance Auto & 4X4 Center and its transformation was quickly underway.
The talented crew at Performance Auto – along with Soup’s help – tore into the truck and the frame was separated from the body. The sheetmetal was pretty much left alone other than cutting out the bed and raising it up to get the truck slammed down. The front inner wheel wells were also altered. The frame got some extensive mods, however. The front and back halves were cut off and GSI air ride kits were installed. A 21-gallon Boyd Welding tank was squeezed between the rails in the rear. The Bagger came with dual fuel tanks which were accessed on either side with fuel doors. Those doors came off and presented the perfect location to exit the 3” exhaust that runs through a pair of Flow Master mufflers. A narrowed 12-bolt rear end with 3:43 gears hooks up with the aid of an Eaton posi unit and Moser axles. The chassis also has a NASCAR 3-piece sway bar.
The truck is a highly optioned Big 10 short bed. It came with A/C, power steering, power brakes, automatic windows, and door locks. It was also born with a factory 454 backed with TH400 trans. The original big block motor was bored and stroked into a 496 ci behemoth and shoved back in. Edelbrock aluminum heads and intake were added along with a Holley Sniper EFI unit. Vintage Air provided the A/C and the front runner serpentine drive system. The ceramic coated headers add a nice touch, too.
I’m not afraid to say it, air ride systems can be a royal pain in the butt to access, but Soup had an idea along the lines of a work truck. Why not use a tool box to access the air ride components? He did just that. A Better Built tool box was secured from the hardware store and converted to house the important parts of an Accuair E-Level management system. A couple of Optima yellow top batteries are also in there for safe keeping.
The interior was fancied up a little with new carpet, Custom Auto Sound radio and speakers, new windshield, some trim parts, and Dakota Digital gauges.
Now, last but not least, how about those wheels? Those are Delmo’s Specials. 22X9 in the front and 22X12 out back, wrapped in Lionhart 245/30ZR/22 front and 335/25ZR/22 tires in the rear. The color of the wheels you ask? Daffodil Yellow (which is a one off color). A bold move, but boy does it work with the brown body. As a side note, 1977 was the only year that offered the yellow side trim.
The next time you see The Brown Bagger, remember she’s just a blue-collar truck with a crazy Daffodil Yellow hardhat.
BRAD WISE • ‘77 Silverado
- 496ci Big Block Chevy engine
- Holley Sniper EFI
- 3” exhaust system with Flowmaster mufflers
- TH400 transmission
- GSI front and rear frame air ride frame sections added to original frame
- Narrowed 12-bolt rear axle with 3.43 ring & pinion
- Eaton posi differential
- Moser axles
- 4-link rear suspension
- Delmo’s Special wheels, 22x9 front and 22x12 rear
- Lionhart 245/30ZR22 front and 335/25ZR22 rear tires
- Raised bed floor
- Gas filler relocated to bed floor
- Dakota Digital gauges
- Original power windows and locks
- Custom Auto Sound head unit
- Vintage Air climate control system