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Son Of Evel

by Scott Mason

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Randy Fortenberry is no stranger to manipulating metal into stunning structural elements. As the owner of United Steel Works, Inc., he and his team create sculptures spanning the gamut from luxurious steel staircases to point-supported glass walls and canopies. In other words, the sort of grandiose architectural appointments that draw oohs and ahhs from those with the most discerning taste. The crew at USW have been doing their thing for nearly a decade-and-a-half, and have a stunning portfolio of work under their belts.

Even with a busy schedule of production, travel, and installations, Randy finds time to let his hair down and get busy on some fun projects with his crew at his other gig – Steel Works Garage in Moody, Alabama. Their collection of completed builds ranges from rat rods and patina trucks to drivetrain swaps and paint and body work. If it’s a cool project, they’ll tackle it.

When the opportunity arose to build an ‘87-1/2 C30, Randy jumped to attention. He had been cooking up a concept for an Evel Knievel-themed tribute for some time. The larger-than-life canvas presented by a virgin crew cab long bed dually was too much to resist, and he began to transform the concept into a plan. 

The truck was torn down to the bare frame and the back half construction began to take shape immediately. The team constructed new rear frame rails incorporating a 4-link setup. Up front, drop spindles were added and 2500 hubs were swapped in place of the original 3500 hubs to narrow the track width. To help get the truck on the ground, Slam Specialties 2800 bags were used front and rear, along with Viair compressors out back, a York engine-driven compressor under the hood, and Accuair e-Level air management.

Polished 22×8.25 Cali Off-Road Summit wheels were bolted on at each corner with Lexani 245/30R22 tires and they create the perfect contrast with the rough patina finish on this behemoth of a truck. Speaking of patina, contrary to what the casual observer might think, the details were all created with paint, not vinyl. Randy has fun explaining the work that he put into the finish – rust holes, water drops, ghost graphics, stars and stripes, and various other elements work together to become a crusty tribute to the late, great godfather of daredevils.

Under the hood, you’ll find more craftwork. The custom sheetmetal and engine hardware are adorned with more stars and stripes. A Texas Speed-cammed LS3 mated to a built 4L60E sits proudly amidst the tinwork. The custom headers and polished stainless steel exhaust system were crafted by Brandon Quesenberry of Steel Works Garage.

The interior is 100% Evel. Stars, stripes, pleats, and leather were stitched together by Trey Cochran at Shade Tree Shop in Oxford, Alabama. Kicker audio components, AutoMeter gauges, and a Forever Sharp steering wheel work together to make the cabin comfy and functional. In the bed, you’ll find tribute artwork, a bitchin cooler rack, custom painted cooler and air tank, and custom sheet metal throughout.

As Randy puts it, “We built this truck in 3 months. The idea was to grab attention and have fun. So far, so good! The old Dirty Thirty is doing exactly what we set out to do.”

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Randy Fortenberry • ‘87 C30
  • GM LS3 6.2L
  • Speedway aluminum intake manifold
  • Texas Speed & Performance camshaft
  • Custom Evel theme painted intake manifold
  • 4” intake by Steel Works Garage
  • Red Dragon throttle body
  • PSI Conversions engine wiring harness
  • Hinson Motorsports plug wires
  • Holley fuel pumps in stock dual tank setup
  • Custom 3” polished stainless exhaust with X-pipe by Brandon Quesenberry of Steel Works Garage
  • Magnaflow stainless steel mufflers
  • Griffin aluminum radiator
  • Custom built 4L60E transmission
  • Circle D 4,000 rpm stall torque converter
  • Summit Racing floor shifter
  • Custom driveshaft by Michael Gears of Steel Works Garage
  • Original frame with custom 4-link back half
  • 2500 hubs replace original 3500 hubs to narrow the front track width
  • 2” drop spindles
  • Rough Stuff rear disc brake conversion
  • Custom brake, air, and fuel lines by Steel Works Garage
  • Slam Specialties 2800 air bags, front and rear
  • Accuair e-Level management
  • Viair compressors plus York engine-driven air compressor
  • Hydroboost power steering
  • Cali Off-Road Summit Dually wheels, 22×8-1/4
  • Lexani LX Twenty tires, 245/30R22
  • Bodywork by Steel Works Garage
  • Custom red/white/blue patina paint by Randy Fortenberry
  • Brothers LED headlights and taillights
  • Chrome trucker shop tractor-style mirrors with tripod stand-offs
  • Rear fenders widened 3” 
  • Raised bed floor with custom suspension access panel
  • Evel Knievel-themed OG Igloo cooler in custom bed-mounted cooler rack
  • Evel tribute panel in bed
  • Auto Meter Dashlink 2 with iPad Pro
  • JVC head unit
  • Kicker KXA800.5 and KXA1600.1 amps
  • Kicker CompQ speakers and sub
  • Vintage Air climate control
  • Forever Sharp billet steering wheel
  • Custom seats built and upholstered in red, white, and blue leather by Trey Cochran of Shade Tree Shop in Oxford, Alabama

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