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Chevy Silverado 1500 PreRunner - The Recycler

Posted in Features on August 20, 2008 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Collette BlumerKristen Van Horne

You know a rollcage is strong when it takes not one, but two mammoth bucket loaders to smash in the top. After seven years of existence and a complete metamorphosis, Adam Householder decided that the best thing to do with his truck was to watch it get shredded into bite-size chunks of steel.

That's right. The truck on these pages no longer exists - at least not in recognizable form. Since scrap steel lives many lives, metal molecules from Adam's truck might very well be flying down the rails as part of a commuter train, holding a building together as part of a girder, or pedaling down a trail in the form of a bicycle.

Before you get all misty-eyed, keep in mind that Adam's truck, aka The Blue Whale, led a great life. The Chevy Extended Cab began life as Adam's daily-driven transportation while he was still in high school. Primarily a pavement pounder, the Bow Tie was treated to a lift kit and some oversize tires and wheels. At the time, Adam was heavily involved in Sprint Car racing. He needed a truck to haul stuff around; off-road capability was far from the "must-have" list. One trip to Glamis changed everything. After experiencing the dunes, Adam decided that Sprint Car racing's combination of horsepower and dirt would be that much tastier with a bit of air in the mix. Goodbye circle tracks, hello desert.

Glamis started it all. You can see more of the Blue Whale in the newest Bonzen Productions film, Ignition. The film is available at 4 Wheel Parts, Off-Road Warehouse, Kartek Off-Road, and PCI Race Radios, and can be purchased directly from www.bonzenproductions.com.

The Chevy began to evolve. The lift kit came off. Eventually, Adam retired his truck from daily driving duties, so that he could concentrate solely on performance without worrying about keeping the truck street-legal. Fast-forward a bit, and the Householder Chevy had been morphed into a fully 'caged, four-linked dune weapon with an aggressive engine under the hood. Rear paddle tires were adept at slinging sand. Adam's truck ruled Glamis with a sandy fist.

Although the dunes were fun to play in, the competitor in Adam longed for a starting line and a checkered flag. About this time, Adam's path crossed that of Ryan "Bonzen" Lewis during a Glamis weekend. Ryan's "Trophy Tacoma" (see "The Point of No Return," Mar. '06) was fitted with a dune-and-desert-proven long-travel kit up front. At the time, the Blue Whale had a long-travel front suspension, but it was obvious to Adam and Ryan that the Whale needed a stronger front end to withstand the pounding of open desert. With the '06 MDR California 200 night race looming on the horizon, Adam and Ryan built a completely new front suspension during a three-and-a-half-day marathon. The Whale made that starting line and went on to become a Prerunner-class threat whenever it showed up to a race.

Adam had several strong finishes in the MDR series, but his proudest moment came at the '07 SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge when he held off Alan Pflueger's bona fide Trophy Truck through a sweeping turn.

A broken A-arm uniball cup was the truck's undoing. The cup broke during a Glamis weekend, unleashing a front wheel and sending the truck onto its lid at high speed. His initial plan was to replace the cab and the damaged suspension components and keep driving the Whale, but Adam soon realized the whole truck really needed a stronger rollcage. Add to the mix Adam's under-construction Trophy Truck (built by Blitzkrieg Motorsports), and it didn't seem worthwhile to revive the damaged Whale. What the Whale now needed was a fitting farewell.

Despite the rollover damage, there were still plenty of usable high-zoot parts to be gleaned from the chassis. This included the engine, transmission, shocks, seats, brakes, hubs, rear axle, front spindles, etc. Everything that wasn't frame, rollcage, or cab was stripped off.

The truck's final day came at a SoCal recycling yard. Adam and crew took the empty hulk to the yard with video camera in hand. The resulting video, as of this writing, is posted on YouTube as Bye Bye Blue Truck. The Whale's skeleton was first plucked from a trailer. Setting it on the ground, a pair of monster-size Caterpillar bucket loaders realized they would have to work in tandem to get the 'cage to crush. The Cat's front wheels actually lifted off of the ground while trying to force the top of the 'cage down. Impressive. After the first stage, the twisted steel hulk was set on a conveyor belt and fed into a shredder. Out came a steady stream of bite-size steel chunks ready for a proper meltdown and a new life elsewhere. The truck may be gone, but the steel lives on.

Recycling. It's good for the bottle. It's good for the can. It's good for the truck.

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