The Low Pro Pre-Slammed OBS Chevy Truck Chassis Is The Next Big Thing For Custom Pickup Builders
Slamming a full-size pickup is an approachable project for enthusiasts looking to drive something different from the lifted 4x4s that make up the majority of modified trucks on the modern landscape. With prices on classic pickups continuing to rise, shops and individuals alike have increasingly been turning to the 1988-2002 'Old Body Style' or OBS Chevrolet trucks as a starting point, which are both easier to find in good condition, and more affordable to purchase.
In recognition of the growing interest in OBS Chevys, the aftermarket has begun to swing further in that direction in terms of support and parts availability. One of the most intriguing developments for those looking to slam their OBS truck has come from the longtime chassis and suspension experts at Roadster Shop: a 'pre-slammed' chassis aimed specifically at Old Body Style builders.
The Perfect Solution To A Very Specific Problem
Buying a 'pre-slammed' chassis might at first seem a bit like cheating, or even unnecessary given how easy lowering a pickup can be, but the truth is there's a lot of extra engineering that's been poured into the 'Low Pro' OBS setup delivered by Roadster Shop that goes well beyond a simple suspension swap.
The single biggest point of departure between a home-brewed slam and the Low Pro chassis is the replacement of the factory's solid rear axle with an independent suspension design that makes use of a rear trailing arm. An airbag setup and a cantilevered shock step in to replace the original geometry, and a tubular swaybar helps to tie the chassis together for improved handling.
The end result of the improved rear end make it possible to maintain the stock bed floor height even with the Chevy's frame scraping on the ground. Why is this important? One of Roadster Shop's primary goals the with Low Pro chassis was to create a platform that could be used on a daily basis, for all of the typical activities and jobs that a full-size pickup is called upon to do. The company refers to it as a transition away from the fair weather, or 'trailer queen' style of past builds and towards a future where modified trucks are regularly driven.
In the same vein, the overall suspension design of the Low Pro OBS chassis is intended to facilitate a comfortable and controlled driving experience, rather than the kind of choppy or roll-heavy situation that can result from some slammed pickups. This is accomplished in part by carefully matching shock motion front and rear. The chassis' wheel spindles are borrowed from the C7 Corvette, as are the sealed bearing wheel carriers.
The Challenges Of Slamming
When building a slammed truck, there are a lot of different options to consider and problems to solve before you can lay frame. Matching the right set of control arms, drop springs, or air springs can take trial and error, depending on the result you are trying to achieve, and what worked for someone else in the custom truck community might not always be appropriate for your own particular project.
At the same time, finding room for hydraulics systems and air compressors can be challenging when dealing with the standard truck bed, which often requires serious modifications to accommodate the factory axles and differential when lowered.
While there are companies that offer raised floor kits, this type of mod makes it more difficult to haul around toys, cargo, or other gear given the reduction in depth.
There is of course always the option to notch the bed in order to allow the suspension, air tanks, or other hardware to poke through when the truck is riding at its lowest. This removes even more practicality from the equation, as the holes in the bed severely limit how it can be used even when the pickup is at standard ride height. It can also reduce overall structural rigidity (and by extension, ride comfort), while increasing the chance that corrosion will begin to eat away at the edges of the metal surrounding the gaps in the bed.
Costly, But Worth It
Despite the expense involved in swapping the Roadster Shop Low Pro chassis under your OBS (with the kit starting at a hefty $34,995), the advantages listed above are numerous.
There's also one more thing to consider: the Low Pro represents a fully-engineered solution that Roadster Shop has taken into account the ability to run a wide variety of wheel and tire sizes, as well as accommodate the most common engine swaps that are installed in OBS trucks.
Taking the guesswork out of the 'what part will fit with what part' game, as well as ensuring peace of mind when planning a drivetrain and wheel and tire setup is often worth the extra dollars—especially when you don't have to spend extra cash undoing work that didn't pan out the first time. As the GMT400 platform continues to climb in popularity among truck fans seeking an approachable classic, it's great to see options like the Low Pro providing a firm foundation for the next generation of slammed trucks.