From Statesville, North Carolina, Jerry Lyndon is a dedicated Corvette enthusiast. Combining work and pleasure, he owns a sporting goods business and has been doing Corvette restorations for 40 years. The store is now run by his two sons, giving him free time to enjoy his Corvette collection, a passion that dates back to when he was a boy.
Jerry smiles when he explains, “I was ruined by a Corvette early in life!” At age 16 he got a ride in his first Corvette and the excitement has never diminished. He now has six Corvettes including a ’56, a ’60 that he bought 44 years ago, a ’68, ’69, ’71, and a 2001. And, oh yes, this cool pickup truck in the photos is really a Corvette in disguise. (Don’t let the bed fool ya!) All the running gear under this ’54 Chevy came from a ’96 Corvette. The independent front and rearend, steering, and brakes are all Corvette and it handles like one. Under the hood is a high-performance 502 crate motor so it goes like one.
From the outset, building this truck was a challenge, beginning with the fact that Jerry saw the Chevy five years before he was able to buy it. It was owned by a lady in town who used it as her fishing truck. Finally she called, said make her an offer, and the upgrades began. Jerry brought the truck home and, although it was drivable, it needed lots of work. Calling himself “old school,” he disassembled the truck himself and saved as much of the original sheetmetal as he could, trying to keep it authentic. Once the vintage tin was smooth and rust free, he hit upon the idea to incorporate all the modern handling and performance advantages of a Corvette with the classic style of his half-century-old Chevy pickup. Fortunately, the aftermarket is an amazing place.
Jerry contacted Flat Out Engineering in California, a company that develops all the components you need to put a Corvette suspension in your ride. You tell them what year Corvette components you’re using, the year and make of your truck, and they engineer the rest. Jerry began by boxing the original Chevrolet chassis rails, and when the new parts arrived he simply followed the directions, welding in the supports, then bolting in the Corvette underpinnings.
The truck uses four-wheel, independent suspension with tubular A-arms up front and a Corvette pumpkin with half shafts in the rear and stabilized by Flat Out’s crossbar. Coilovers are used on all four wheels along with 11-inch Corvette disc brakes. For such an awesome outcome, the procedure was deceptively simple. Looking back, Jerry says, “I followed the instructions and it came out perfectly.” The accomplishment is even more unique since Jerry never welded anything in his life. He bought a welder, did a little practicing, and began the process. “I knew that first trip down the road was going to be a little scary, since I welded everything myself,” he says with a smile, “but it turned out even better than expected. Everything worked like a charm and the underneath is as pretty as on top!”
Once handling was established, performance was next. Jerry chose a 502 crate motor, capable of 502 hp. As any hot rodder knows, more is always better and Jerry is fortunate that he lives close to a machine shop that he considers the best in the business. Heintz Brothers in Statesville, North Carolina, added a Holley 850 double pumper on an Edelbrock intake, accomplished some precise porting on the GM aluminum heads, installed a new Comp Cam with roller rockers, and finished up with Sanderson headers, stainless exhaust, and Magnaflow mufflers. Their effort brought the totals up to an estimated 640 hp. With the powertrain complete and the chassis rolling on 20-inch Foose wheels, body mods were next.