by Scott Mason

Joe Locklear shares a common thread with countless guys across America. He had a yearning desire burning inside. He always knew that the minute he laid eyes on the prize, he wouldn’t be satisfied until he had it in his grasp. For some guys, it’s money, or a watch, or maybe even their dream girl. For others like Joe, it was a squarebody Chevy.

“I bought my 1985 C10 from a local truck dealer in my hometown of Maxton, North Carolina. The truck was bone stock, but in good condition when I purchased it. After driving it for a year or so, I ended up swapping in a small block 383 stroker. I modified the engine further with a new cam, roller rockers, pistons, and a 750 Holley carburetor. You know, the usual stuff. I drove it like that for the better part of 20 years, but I always wanted to do a full build with it.”

 After years of saving money, along with extensive research on every chassis manufacturer, Joe felt like GSI Machine and Fabrication was the best fit for his squarebody. “While talking with GSI, I asked them if they knew a builder who could do a turn-key build, and they introduced me to Jeremy Rice over at Tre 5 Customs. Jeremy listened to the ideas I had in mind, and then he expanded on them and came up with ideas that made sense to both of us.”

“After my discussion with Jeremy, I decided to trust Tre 5 with the build. Even better yet, GSI was Jeremy‘s premier choice to build the chassis, so that’s right where we started.” Once the chassis arrived at the Tre 5 Customs shop, the crew got busy building a custom 20-gallon saddle fuel tank and adding their touches to it. All hard lines and plumbing for the fuel and air systems were completed in-house. The Accuair e-Level air management system and Viair compressors were mounted, along with Ridetech and Firestone air bags to make this truck glide down the road. The Magnuson-supercharged 416 cubic inch Don Hardy LS engine and Chevrolet Performance 6L80E transmission provide more than enough grunt to leave black stripes on the pavement with ease. Stainless steel Ultimate Headers connect to a beautiful 3” stainless steel exhaust system designed and crafted by the guys at Tre 5. Borla mufflers do their best to quiet the beast under the hood, but this thing still rumbles like a psychotic lion. Up front, an Entropy aluminum radiator helps keep everything cooler than a cucumber.

Tucked in behind the 22” US Mags Bandit wheels, you’ll find Tre 5’s brake kits of choice – Baer 6P – front and rear, with 14” two-piece rotors and 6-piston billet calipers. A Baer Remaster master cylinder and proportioning valve along with a CPP hydroboost unit provide effortless stopping power that’s more than capable of comfortably whoa-ing the massive amounts of go. Connecting the inside to the outside, an Ididit steering column precisely transfers the pilot’s input to the rack & pinion steering setup.

Inside the cabin, you’ll find a completely re-styled aesthetic that’s been designed and fabricated by the mucho-talented Steve Yiu at Elevated Design in Phoenix. When I say re-styled, I mean top to bottom, side to side, and inside out. It’s different, cool, good looking, and filled with awesome components from Morel, JL Audio, Restomod Air, Billet Specialties, Dakota Digital, and Stinger to name a few. 

Joe confides, “Since Jeremy is the expert with a lot of experience with custom builds, I handed him the reigns to make a lot of the executive decisions and he did not disappoint!” The exterior is further proof of that. Shaved emblems, locks, trim, and rain gutters are just the start. The one-piece tailgate skin fabricated by Bob Grant is simply amazing, and is complemented by the masterfully crafted exhaust exits and license plate holder by Tre 5 chilling just below it. UP Auto lights and side mirror round out some of the details on the body. The laser straight bodywork and killer paint are straight from the Ikandy Paintworks studio, conveniently located next door to Tre 5 Customs’ shop.

After two long years of construction and refining, Joe finally has his dream truck back in his hands. At the end of the day, sometimes it’s the simpler things in life that make a fella happy. We asked Joe about some of his most memorable experiences with his truck. “Cruising through town on the weekends with friends and listening to the cam in the small block sing to me. I’m really looking forward to doing that same thing again, only with a much nicer truck!”


  • 416 ci Don Hardy LS Engine
  • 4340 3.622” stroke 6-bolt crankshaft
  • 4340 H-beam connecting rods
  • Diamond forged pistons
  • Don Hardy camshaft, .629/.620 lift, 236/246 duration
  • Entropy aluminum radiator
  • Wegner accessory drive
  • Magnuson TVS2300 cog drive supercharger
  • Injector Dynamics 85 lbs/hr injectors
  • Ultimate Headers, 1-7/8” primaries
  • Custom 3” stainless steel exhaust system by Tre 5 Customs
  • Borla mufflers
  • Chevrolet Performance 6L80E transmission
  • Custom-built driveshaft
  • GSI Machine and Fabrication chassis
  • Chassis powdercoated by Pac Coast Powder
  • Air and fuel line plumbing by Tre 5 Customs
  • Currie Enterprises rear axle with 3.50:1 ratio
  • Parallel 4-link rear suspension with Watts link and sway bar
  • Airlift 2600 front air bags, Firestone F9000 rear
  • Ridetech shocks, front & rear
  • Baer 6P brakes with 14” drilled and slotted 2-piece rotors and 6-piston billet calipers, front & rear
  • Baer Remaster master cylinder & proportioning valve
  • CPP hydrobooster
  • Rack & pinion steering system
  • Ididit steering column
  • Accuair e-Level air management
  • Viair compressors
  • Custom built 20-gallon saddle-style fuel tank by Tre 5 Customs
  • US Mags Bandit Wheels, 22x8.5 front, 22x12 rear
  • Toyo tires, 265/35R22 front, 33525R22 rear
  • Shaved emblems, key locks, trim, rain gutters, and one-piece tailgate skin by Bob Grant
  • Custom exhaust exits and license plate trim by Tre 5 Customs
  • Paint and body by Ikandy Paintworks, Peoria, AZ
  • Interior custom built by Steve Yiu at Elevated Design, Phoenix, AZ
  • Dakota Digital HDX gauges
  • Stinger 10” head unit display
  • JL Audio amplifiers
  • Morel 5.25” speakers in doors, 6.5” in kick panels
  • JL Audio slim 10” subs
  • Restomod Haymaker climate control
  • Billet Specialties steering wheel
  • Snowden seat

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