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.
Although he had never done it before, armed with tech articles from CT, he chopped 3 inches from the top, repositioning the rear window lower in the body rather than cutting the glass. He frenched the headlights, eliminated the parking lights, and after removing the front bumper, reshaped the grille with a lower air dam. The new headlights incorporate turn signals. It took a few beers before he had the courage to cut the Chevy Bowties in the hood with an air saw, but he got it right the first time. Although the running boards are original, they now feature inlaid chrome strips on top with side-exiting exhausts on the bottom. Of course, the truck was fitted with a set of Corvette taillights in the new rear pan.
Moving inside, Jerry transplanted a distinctive 1959 Chevrolet dash, adding Auto Meter gauges and creating a fiberglass center console to hold all the controls. Olds Bravada seats were the perfect choice, pampering occupants yet slim enough to fit the tight confines of the vintage truck. The interior was stitched by Quality Upholstery in Statesville, North Carolina, using rich Italian leather on the seats, door panels, headliner, and even the floor. Since the master cylinder and the battery are still under the floor, removable panels are preferable to carpet. Creature comforts include a Kenwood stereo system with DVD and satellite radio, air-conditioning, and power windows, making this truck the perfect long-distance cruiser. Thanks to his good friend and expert woodworker, Malcolm Reese, the bed floor was created with quarter sawn oak, inlaid with African hardwood on either side of the painted steel strips. The final step was paint and like almost everything else on the truck, Jerry handled the PPG Ferrari Red paintjob himself. Black inserts on the hood add a distinctive touch.
Is Jerry happy with the results of the three-year build? “I have a Z06 Corvette and between the suspension and motor upgrades, the truck drives just like it. It will make the most beautiful set of black marks you ever saw. All my buddies have Corvettes and hot rods and we like going to shows together. Sharing good times with friends is a great way to live life.” We couldn’t agree more. CT
Statesville, North Carolina
1954 Chevy 3100
Frame: modified stock, Flat Out Engineering components
Modifications: boxed rails, reassembled using ’96 Corvette components
Rearend / Ratio: Corvette / 3.73:1
Rear suspension: Corvette IRS
Rear brakes: disc
Front suspension: ’96 Corvette
Front brakes: disc
Front wheels: Foose
Rear wheels: Foose
Front tires: Nitto 245/35ZR20
Rear tires: Nitto 275/35ZR20
Gas tank: custom
Engine: ’09 Chevrolet 502ci, by Heintz Bros., Statesville, NC
Valve covers: billet aluminum
Manifold / Induction: Edelbrock / 850-cfm Holley
Exhaust / Mufflers: custom polished stainless / Magnaflow
Modifications: Michael Harrison, Columbia, SC
Style: 3100 pickup
Modifications: 3-inch chop, shaved, relocated fuel filler
Fenders front / rear: modified stock
Hood: modified stock
Bodywork and paint by: Jerry Lyndon
Paint type / Color: PPG / Ferrari Red
Headlights / Taillights: custom Tri-Lights / ’67 Corvette
Outside mirrors: billet
Dashboard: ’59 Impala
Gauges: Auto Meter
Air conditioning: Rainbow
Steering wheel: billet
Steering column: ididit
Upholstery by: Steve A., Statesville, NC
Material / Color: leather / tan