Next, Joe set his attention on the 2017 GM LS3 crate engine. This inspiration came from a Keith Black small block that graced the cover of a magazine in 1979 that always stuck in his mind. The process began with Joe rounding out all the sharp edges and points of the block. Then he headed out into the Phoenix heat of 120 degrees, in a full head mask, to media blast the entire engine three times to create the perfect, subtle, mechanical finish that looked more like something from a 70s Indy car than what we are used to seeing in high-end truck builds. Some people might think going that extreme on an engine block is crazy, and they’d be right, but it’s that extreme detail and patience that set Squarebody Syndicate Series trucks apart from the rest.
Charles Hendrickson, at Pro Dyno in Chandler, Arizona, took care of all the internals including a custom camshaft. To match the finish of the engine, a one-off set of Drive Junky accessory pulleys were media blasted, then blasted again, and again, with different grits until they finally had the exact look needed to dress the front of the engine. Up top, the LS was dressed with blue and red anodized hose fittings coming in and out of the Holley fuel system, a raw Magnuson Supercharger sixth generation TVS2300 and a set of gold anodized Syndicate Series billet valve covers from G.S.I. to finish it off. Rob began tucking away the Painless Performance wire harness underneath the Jet-Hot white coated Hooker Headers while the engine sat cradled in its final home with plenty of room thanks to the Holley oil pan. And lastly, a Frostbite Radiator, cooling fans, topped off with Prestone anti-freeze, keep everything cool. To handle the power, Joe turned to American Powertrain to send out a 2018 Tremec Magnum 6-speed manual transmission with a White Lightning shifter, Hydramax hydraulic clutch kit and PST 3.5 inch driveshaft. Rob and Dave Melian installed a Hays Dragon Claw clutch and Quick Time bell housing to finish off the raw, finished transmission easily capable of taking the abuse Joe intends to inflict. A custom built MagnaFlow 3-inch stainless steel exhaust fabricated by Hubcaps Hotrod and Custom, follows along the driveshaft to the Narrowed Currie Enterprises 9-inch rear end and aluminum 3rd member. Syndicate Series by Baer Brakes Pro + 14-inch rotors and calipers were utilized to stop the one-off set of Syndicate Series turbine style wheels commissioned to Curtis Speed. Joe decided on 20x9s in the front and 20x11s in the rear to allow room to “bring back the bulge” in tires he had envisioned since the beginning of the build. The front 12-inch wide Michelin Pilot Sport tires with 2-inch sidewalls and rear 14-inch tires, with 3-inch sidewalls, did just the trick to mimic that 70’s fat tire look we all remember. The wheels where also powder coated to a crinkle finish by Kevin at Pacific Powder Coating. An E-Stopp electronic parking brake system was also installed.
The team at Hubcaps Hotrod and Custom handled all the sheet metal work, as well as fit and finish with custom work to the firewall, core support, trans tunnel and raised bed floor with hidden trunk compartment, battery tray, fender wells, gas filler and a full roll cage inside the cab.
To keep a traditional feel, Joe decided to use vinyl graphics for the iconic red and blue strobe pattern. If you happened to stop by the shop at any time during the two weeks that Joe was deciding exactly what shade of blue and red to use, you may have left with blurry vision after sifting through the stacks of color swatches laying across the shop at any given time. In the end, it’s that dedication some may call obsessive that paid off as the depth and warmth of the colors chosen help highlight the rich white body of the future super truck. To help accentuate the graphics, Rob and Joe installed the very first set of laser straight Mar-K trim on the body and installed the brand new, crystal clear glass with rubber seals from Precision. N.O.S. parts were used throughout the build when at all possible, including all light covers and front trim. However, when a N.O.S. GMC grille could not be found, Joe knew he could turn to the team at G.S.I. to make a full billet grill to mimic the factory look, but even better. What was delivered in return was better than expected and really helped tie in the front end of the truck with the rest of the build. Below the grill, a chrome LMC bumper paired nicely with the chromed Billet Badges on the fender.
Out back under the electronic self-raising bed floor, Joe once again went against the grain and brought the fuel tank to the front of the bed above the frame rails and across the whole width of the truck to give himself 28 gallons of fuel storage thanks to David over at Boyde Welding. Behind the giant tank sits the Accuair CVT system for easy access and finally a weatherproofed two-level suede lined trunk. This design was very important to Joe after driving SS01 on long distance trips where storage space was limited. Now, there is plenty of room for a couple bags, as well as cleaning supplies under the false floor.
Inside the cab it is easy to miss the many details at first glance. The exposed, removable transmission tunnel sits firmly between the rawhide-wrapped leather seats by Empire Custom Upholstery, which are comfortably positioned inside the chromed roll cage. Two separate USB ports are poking out from the floor behind the seats to keep phones charged during long trips, while the seats themselves have pockets inside to keep the phones safe during highspeed turns. The USA-1 industries dash pad is perfectly fit around the front of the roll cage that leads up to a vintage Wink rally 5 panel rear view mirror. Behind the anodized black billet steering wheel by GSI with leather inserts, sits a set of Syndicate Series Dakota Digital Gauges. Empire also took care of the rawhide door panels and hook-and-loop carpet. Comfort at the wheel is a must, and thanks to the shortened IdidIt steering column, it’s as cozy as can be. Additionally, Joe insisted on a sweet audio system with SS02. A complete Kicker Audio setup was used with front and rear component speakers at the corners, and an enclosed powered 10-inch subwoofer under the passenger seat with a Kicker Iq500.4 amp under the driver’s seat. All sound deadening was provided by Vibro Solution. Climate control is handled by Old Air Products complete square body Hurricane Series system. Finally, all fluids used were provided by Royal Purple.
Joe Yezzi with the help of Rob “C10 Doctor” Yezzi, Joey “Broey” Carberry, Dave “The Professor” Melian and all of the dedicated sponsors and talented craftsman that put their hands on every surface of this truck, has created a truly jaw dropping square body. The functionality, reliability and style all come together to create one incredible custom truck, with a heck of a great story backing it up.
- American Powertrain - Transmission prep, Shifter, Hydraulic clutch kit
- Baer Brakes - Pro + 14-inch rotors and calipers
- BASF Automotive Refinish - Single stage BASF RM paint
- Currie Enterprises - Narrowed 9-inch rear end and aluminum 3rd member
- Curtis Speed Equipment - One-off set of Syndicate Series turbine style wheels
- Dakota Digital - Gauges
- Drive Junky - Accessory pulleys
- E-STOPP - Electronic parking brake system
- Frostbite Performance Cooling - Radiator
- GSI Machine & Fabrication - Syndicate Series billet valve covers, Billet grill, Anodized black billet steering wheel
- Holley Performance Products - Fuel system, Oil pan, Hays Dragon Claw clutch
- Hooker Exhaust Systems - Headers
- IDIDIT, LLC. - Steering column
- KICKER - Front and rear component speakers at the corners, and an enclosed powered 10-inch subwoofer under the passenger seat with a Kicker Iq500.4 amp under the driver’s seat
- LMC Truck - Front bumper
- MagnaFlow - 3-inch stainless steel exhaust
- Magnuson Superchargers - TVS2300 Supercharger
- MAR-K Quality Parts - Trim
- Michelin - Pilot Sport tires
- Old Air Products - Climate control
- Painless Performance Products - Wire harness
- Precision Shaft Technologies | PST - 3.5 inch driveshaft
- Quick Time - Bell housing
- RideTech - HQ adjustable shocks and R-Joints
- Roadster Shop - Syndicate Series Spec Chassis fitted with a parallel 4-link, upper and lower control arms, one-off watts link
- TREMEC - Magnum 6-speed manual transmission
- Vibro Solutions - Sound deadening
- Squarebody Syndicate - Builder