This LS Swapped 1984 GMC Sierra Gets a Second Life
By Fuelish Media
While there’s a lot to be said about off-the-wall, full-blown show trucks, there is an equally important conversation to be had regarding classic pickups that are rescued from imminent demise and given a second life on the road. When Chris Prokopow of Cottonwood, California, found his ’84 GMC Sierra a few years back, it had fallen into major despair and its previous owner was just looking to have it simply removed off his property. Being a lifelong custom car enthusiast and tinkerer, Chris knew exactly what he could make of the truck even in its current, poor condition.
“I first saw the GMC Truck on Facebook Marketplace listed for just $900,” Chris admits. “The truck was not running and had been left for dead years ago on an old Almond farm. The DMV fees were also backed up on it, so the owner ended up offering the truck to me at a better deal that I just couldn’t refuse.”
Now, there was a reason for the deep discount Chris was offered. The GMC truck was in need of a total restoration—there was no way around that. The top of the cab was rusted and the bed and tailgate were both in just as rough condition. The shock mounts were also broken, among other major issues that would have to be given attention to, but Chris was not scared off by the truck’s mounting set of problems.
To help get things going, Chris recruited his son, Cole, to assist in the rebuild of the Square body GMC. To kick off the process, Chris and Cole looked underneath the truck to see how they could fix the broken shock mounts, along with other spots on the chassis that could use some work. After making the necessary repairs, the guys then lowered the truck’s ride height with LMC Truck 2-inch drop spindles up front, along with a flip kit and drop shackles at the rear. Of course, fresh lowered shocks were used at each corner to keep the GMC riding as smooth as possible with its more aggressive static drop.
The braking system was then completely rebuilt for reliable stopping power. As far as the GMC’s rolling attire, Chris opted for 15-inch steel wheels and factory hubcaps covered in meaty 235/75 whitewall tires. The combination looks clean and classy without straying too far from the factory flavor, which Chris intended to maintain throughout the rest of the rebuild.
Next, Chris began on the GMC’s bodywork. He did what he was comfortable doing, and for additional help, he relied on his friends the Kennedy Brothers, in Pomona, California, to ensure everything was done correctly. Once the series of metal massage sessions were completed, Chris suggested a killer gold paint color to finish off the exterior overhaul just right. Direct factory replacement parts in the way of new bumpers, door handles, taillights, and headlights round off the additions made to the outwardly refresh.
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With the project picking up steam, Chris began shopping for engine and transmission options to replace the GMC’s worn-out powertrain. Since the main objective was to promote modern reliability and adaptability he landed on an ’03 5.3L LS engine with a matching ’03 4L60e transmission. The combo gives Chris peace of mind with the ability to drive his truck daily without having to worry about anything going wrong underhood. Also, the popular LS engine platform will allow Chris to build upon the engine’s prowess whenever he gets the urge to crank up the power.
A quick peek inside the GMC’s cab will reveal Chris’ attention spent on creating a cohesive restyling that flows seamlessly from the exterior. The factory bench seat was reupholstered in an original ’61 Cadillac gold material that complements the truck’s gold paint perfectly. The factory door panels were also reused and dressed in wood grain to match what is used on the instrument cluster and dash. Speaking of the dash, Chris sourced a brand-new dash unit from USA1 Industries as well as upgraded gauges from Dakota Digital. An early style steering wheel was also included in the interior refresh, as was saddle-colored carpet from LMC Truck. Family member Josh Prokopow also contributed to the interior work by wiring the RetroSound head unit to the replacement speakers, also from LMC truck.
With what started out as a dissolving fossil of a farm truck, Chris was able to transform into a clean, classic Square body pickup that he can comfortably drive every day and also enter into shows when he has the time for that. “One day after I had just completed the rebuild, someone asked to buy the truck off me right then and there,” Chris adds. “At that moment I realized what a great job all of us were able to pull off with a truck that had once been abandoned.”
In just three years, Chris and Cole and the supporting cast of talented friends got the square body GMC once again back on the road and looking and performing better than ever. While the truck simply looks like a clean relic from the past at a distance, a closer look shows the amount of deliberate thought and work that was sunk into this newfound form and function.