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Hard Work - 1997 Chevrolet 2500 Long Bed

Posted in Features on January 1, 2012 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Stephen Van Court

Like a great number of us, Chris Ovrebo started fabricating in his garage building bumpers and light bars for his previous Ford Ranger. Soon, he began working on his friends’ trucks, which lead to building bed cages and suspensions. Currently living in northern Colorado via the Air Force, Chris is originally from Southern California where he spent most of his off-road time running around the sand playground known as Glamis. Sadly, during the big Glamis weekend of Thanksgiving 2006, Chris suffered a broken back going just a touch too big flying over the dunes. The accident led him to being medically discharged from the military, and shortly after he relocated to Colorado.

He had no intention of letting all that keep him from the dunes. Searching online for his next project truck, he located a ’97 Chevrolet 2500 Long Bed truck with 173,000 miles on it that belonged to an underground drilling company used as a load hauling truck. When he went to pickup the truck, the drilling company didn’t have the original pink slip, but he decided to take the truck home anyway. After searching for seven months, he was able to track down the original owner and obtain a proper pink slip to transfer the title.

The stock Vortec 350ci V-8 is still running strong with over 200,000 miles racked up. The only additional horsepower modifications are a custom-built Home Depot cold air induction using a K&N filter as well as a dual 3-inch exhaust using a Flowmaster 40 Series muffler. The stock 4L80E transmission was given firmer shift points using a Power Programmer system.

Enthusiasts like Chris are what OFF-ROAD Magazine is all about; hardworking guys who get their hands dirty and don’t let anything stop them from achieving their goals. When he submitted photos of his truck and we heard his story, we knew it had to be shared. Chris built this ’97 Chevy in his garage using years of trial-and-error engineering, some back-breaking labor (bad pun—sorry, Chris), and a ton of heart to put this truck together.

And that’s always more fun to read about, isn’t it? As cool as the multi-hundred-thousand dollar trucks are, most of us can relate to countless hours of pain-in-the-ass work on our own trucks and the pride that comes with knowing that you turned the wrenches to bring your creation to life.


Vehicle: ’97 Chevrolet 2500 Long Bed
Owner: Chris Ovrebo
Chassis: Shortened 2500 chassis, 1.75-inch DOM full rollcage
Engine: Vortec 350ci V-8, K&N air filter, Flowmaster muffler
Drivetrain: E-150 Ford 9-inch, Powertrack locker, 4.88 gears, 31-spline axles
Suspension: Front E-150 beams, rear custom three-link, King coilovers, Bilstein bypasses, F.O.A. airbumps
Steering: Dual swing-set, Grant wheel
Brakes: Front E-150, rear GM 1/2-ton
Tires/wheels: Hercules 315/75R16, BFG KM2 spares
Other Parts: Jaz fuel cell, Kragen 7-inch HID lights, Simpson belts, JC Whitney seats, Hannemann fiberglass
Favorite Off-Road Area: Glamis

No, the ’97 Chevy didn’t come with I-beams. After years of working on Ford Ranger suspensions, Chris took his knowledge and applied it to his Chevy with the use of E-150 beams using modified 7/8-inch king pin ends, 1.75-inch DOM steel tube and 3/16-inch plate. The stock pitman arm was also modified to accept heim joints. Chris also designed and built the dual swing-set steering setup.
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