Many of us who own vintage cars make changes to our rides to create an extension of our own personality. That means we often have to dive right into undoing what previous owners have done to at least bring that customization back to zero before starting the process of making it ours. I guess you could occasionally snag a car that had all the perfect modifications you want, but that’s so rare in my experience.

That certainly wasn’t the case when my friend Brett decided he wanted a vintage pickup. An orange 1979 Chevrolet appeared on the side of the road one day and he decided that, despite the vibe being virtually the polar opposite of what he wanted, it had good bones. It was merely a starting point, after all.

He ran down the modifications he had planned, and I fell in love with the idea of showing how much of a transformation two guys could accomplish in a weekend. Brett brought the truck over to my garage, and we started with the easiest part of the transformation—the front end. A previous owner put in a cheesy custom grille and grille guard that gave the truck a distinctively 4×4 look, despite the lack of four-wheel-drive.

Brett ordered a factory replacement grille, but that didn’t mean it was going to bolt right up. Instead we had to think outside the box to get the new grille attached and that grille guard removed. Just those two small changes make the truck seem more legit, but on the floor nearby there are still boxes filled with parts that will really dial up the cool factor of this stepside squarebody.

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