Hauling More Than Just Parts with A Twin-Turbo’d Shop Truck

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We’ve seen a few builds out of Hot Rod Dynamics, and each of them has been more impressive than the last. So it’s no wonder that they would have one of the coolest shop trucks that we have seen. Imagine hauling parts and other work equipment in a 1954 Chevy Pickup with more than 700 horsepower.

Joe Lutz, owner of Hot Rod Dynamics, had a specific truck in mind, and knew exactly what he wanted. “We wanted something from the ’40s or ’50s, with a decent body that we could throw a quick junkyard engine in and make reliable on the cheap,” Joe told us. “After looking at a bunch of rust buckets and pursuing dead ends in three states, we had about given up.”

Just as he was ready to call it quits, a co-worker pointed him in the direction of the perfect truck, and it was just down the street. It belonged to Michael Farr, a high school friend of Joe’s. Joe and Michael struck a deal, and Joe drove it the five minutes trip back to the shop. “After hundreds of miles and a couple months of searching, we found exactly what we were looking for in our back yard.”

The truck had been modified about 20 years ago, with a mid-seventies Camaro subframe and small-block 350 cubic-inch engine. They drove it for a while as is, but quickly got bored with the power.

The 5.3-liter engine (left and center) and the 350 small-block in the truck when Joe bought it (right).

Joe’s dad had a 5.3-liter engine that came out of a wrecked truck, so they freshened it up with new Total Seal rings, added MLS head gaskets, and ARP head studs. They also added CNC-ported heads, a custom Tick Performance turbo-spec camshaft, PAC valve springs, and Comp Cams‘ trunion rockers.

The engine uses a Holley Hi-Ram intake with 80-pound injectors, and HRD-built headers. “We knew the little 5.3-liter would make decent power with some boost, so we decided it would be best to beef up the drivetrain some” Joe explained. “It kinda snowballed after that.”

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Behind the LS is a CK Performance-built 4L80E transmission with billet internals, a billet converter from Circle D, and a custom driveshaft from The Driveshaft Shop,” Out back is an adjustable four-link rear suspension with a Fab 9 rearend with a Truetrac differential, and 3.55:1 gears. They also added a custom fuel tank with a Walbro 450 pump inside, and a stainless steel, 3-inch dual exhaust with turnouts through the rear fenders.

The fuel injection and transmission are controlled by a Holley Dominator EFI system. “The truck delivers 746 rear wheel horsepower using 93 pump gas and 16 pounds of boost,” Joe told us. “The truck sees boost and tire smoke pretty much every day.”

The truck came with a decent red paintjob, but that “didn’t fit the look we were going for,” Joe described. The crew sanded the metal to give it a distressed look, and they sprayed it with the flat clear.

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“Since then, I’ve driven the truck on several trips including one Hot Rod Power Tour.” Joe said. “We’ve put over 10,000 hard miles on it, and a few sets of tires.”  The truck is driven almost daily and they really use it as a shop truck.

Joe says that this truck is possibly the most fun vehicle he has ever owned, and after seeing it and hearing what it’s made of, it isn’t hard to understand why. It’s a relatively simple build that is probably more fun than any vehicle you can drive regularly and put to good use?

If you were building a shop truck or work vehicle, what would you start with? Would it possess the vintage of this five-window Chevy, or perhaps something a little newer? If you already have something cool that you use as a parts hauler, tell us about it. We’d love to hear from you.

About the author

Kyler Lacey

A 2015 Graduate from Whitworth University, Kyler has always loved cars. He grew up with his dad's '67 Camaro in the garage and started turning wrenches at a young age. At seventeen, he bought his first classic, a '57 Chevy Bel Air four-door, and has since added a '66 Plymouth Valiant and '97 Cadillac Deville to his collection. When he isn't writing for Power Automedia, he's out shooting pictures at car shows, hiking in the forests of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, or working on something in the garage.
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