Goodguys OBS Truck, Roadster Shop OBS chassis, OBS Low Pro chassis

Building the Goodguys OBS Giveaway ’88 Chevy Truck – Part 1

Break out your Ray Bans and acid-washed jeans, everyone – we’re flashing back to the late-’80s! Goodguys has teamed up with Roadster Shop to create a bitchin’ new ride for our 2022/2023 Grand Prize Giveaway vehicle: a custom ’88 Chevy Silverado!

As Goodguys cruises into a new era – one where we welcome vehicles up to 1997 at our National events – it seemed appropriate to celebrate with a newer generation of giveaway vehicle. And let’s face it, the hottest platform in the custom truck scene these days is the 1988-98 Chevy and GMC, affectionately known as the OBS (Old Body Style). Enthusiasts are buying, cruising, and customizing these trucks in numbers not seen since the ’90s, making this the perfect vehicle to welcome a new generation of Goodguys.

Our friends at Roadster Shop saw the OBS wave coming and jumped on the opportunity to develop an all-new chassis specifically for these trucks. They unveiled their new OBS Low-Pro offering – the actual chassis that will go under our Goodguys OBS giveaway truck – at the 2021 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Needless to say, it generated an immediate and substantial buzz.

Goodguys OBS Truck, Roadster Shop OBS chassis, OBS Low Pro chassis

Here’s the OBS Low-Pro chassis that wowed the crowds at the 2021 SEMA Show. The Roadster Shop team nailed the ’80s flashback vibe with white powder coat accented with teal and pink spatter effects and accessories. Is that totally radical, or what?

In addition to building great chassis and suspension components, Roadster Shop is also well known for its trendsetting and award-winning custom builds. Partnering with the shop to build this Grand Prize Giveaway truck was a no brainer, and you can be certain the effort will involve much more than just dropping an old body onto this great new chassis. This build will be all-in, with a new Chevrolet Performance E-Rod LS3 engine from Gandrud Chevrolet, Bowler Performance 4L60E transmission, a host of subtle and cool body mods, throwback graphics, and a fully customized interior with even more subtle one-off elements. We know you’re gonna dig it.

Goodguys OBS Truck, Roadster Shop OBS chassis, OBS Low Pro chassis

Before the Roadster Shop team built its new OBS Low-Pro chassis in steel, they used computer-aided design to engineer it virtually. This process allows them to easily experiment with different design approaches and refine a variety of parameters before investing the fabrication time to build the first prototype. This sort of engineering goes into all new Roadster Shop chassis designs.

Low-Pro Foundation

It’s accurate to say that this project originated with Roadster Shop’s decision to build an OBS Low-Pro chassis. Now, for rodders who are accustomed to building pre-’50s rods, it might seem odd to create an all-new chassis for a relatively recent platform like the ’88-’98 Chevy and GMC truck. There were several good reasons for this, though. First, many pro builders have found that it’s actually more cost effective to start with a new frame than to extensively modify an old one. On top of that, Roadster Shop wanted to craft a chassis that incorporated all the desired elements – low stance, good drivability, great performance – into a single no-compromise package.

Goodguys OBS Truck, Roadster Shop OBS chassis, OBS Low Pro chassis

Once the design was finalized, the chassis was built in steel. The heavy-duty fabricated frame employs dual 5-inch inner and outer frame rails engineered to fit the stock Chevy and GMC bodies while incorporating RS’s Low-Pro front suspension and an innovative new trailing-arm independent rear suspension. Also note the factory core support, body, and bumper mounts.

One key goal was to achieve an extra-low stance without the need to raise or alter the pickup bed floor. Mission accomplished. Thanks to an innovative low-profile trailing-arm IRS system with air springs and cantilever shocks, the chassis allows you to build a truck that, when aired out, will virtually sit on the ground, while still retaining the stock bed floor height. Not only that, it also provides a great ride, incorporates a mandrel-bent sway bar for precise cornering, and employs tough components like a GM limited-slip center section, billet multi-link arms, 300m drive axles with 930 CV joints, and Corvette C7 sealed bearings and brake mounts.

Goodguys OBS Truck, Roadster Shop OBS chassis, OBS Low Pro chassis

Roadster Shop wanted to avoid having to raise or alter the pickup bed floor with its new chassis, so they designed an innovative low-profile trailing-arm IRS system with air springs and cantilever shocks. It uses a GM limited-slip center section, billet multi-link arms, 300m drive axles with 930 CV joints, Corvette C7 sealed bearings and brake mounts, plus a mandrel-bent sway bar.

The Low-Pro front suspension is equally impressive, incorporating heavy duty fabricated upper and lower control arms, Corvette C7 spindles, air springs with cantilever-mounted shocks, a tubular sway bar, and rack-and-pinion steering. The front and rear suspensions are built into an extra-sturdy frame with dual 5-inch inner and outer frame rails, clearance for 3-inch exhaust, and integrated mounting points for air tanks, air management, ride height sensors, and air line routing. A variety of engine and transmission mount configurations allow for popular powertrain combinations, while factory core support, body, and bumper mounts make it simple to bolt up your cab, bed, and front sheet metal.

Goodguys OBS Truck, Roadster Shop OBS chassis, OBS Low Pro chassis

The RS Low-Pro uses heavy duty fabricated upper and lower control arms, Corvette C7 spindles, air springs with cantilever-mounted shocks, and a tubular sway bar. Rack-and-pinion steering will help ensure precise handling and good road feel.

Goodguys OBS Truck, Roadster Shop OBS chassis, OBS Low Pro chassis

The OBS Low-Pro chassis can be had with engine mounts for a conventional small- or big-block engine, or LS- and LT-series V8s. An adjustable transmission mount allows you to use just about any common auto or manual transmission.

The SEMA display chassis was built with the Goodguys Grand Prize Giveaway Truck in mind and was appropriately powder coated white with hot pink and teal accent pieces, not to mention some ’80s-style spatter effects on the frame rails. Baer brakes with teal anodized calipers further the theme, as do the RS Smooth Valve shocks from FOX. The 24-inch Billet Specialties wheels provide a visual link to 2022.

Goodguys OBS Truck, Roadster Shop OBS chassis, OBS Low Pro chassis

Here’s a different look at the rearend and rear suspension. Mounting the air springs forward on the trailing arms helped keep a low profile, as did the outboard-mounted arms themselves. The thoughtful chassis design even includes brackets for mounting air tanks and lines.

A Bitchin’ Build

The OBS Low-Pro chassis is just the start. In coming issues will showcase some of the other first-rate ingredients planned for this pickup. These will include a Chevrolet Performance E-Rod LS3 engine from Gandrud Chevrolet, a Bowler Transmissions 4L60E, Ultimate Headers, and a custom stainless steel exhaust built using Borla mufflers and pipes. We’ll also highlight some of the cool custom metalwork done by the Roadster Shop fabrication team to make this ’80s hauler even smoother. And with new elements like Vintage Air and Kicker Audio gear inside, you can rest assured this truck will be comfortable to cruise in, too.

Goodguys OBS Truck, Roadster Shop OBS chassis, OBS Low Pro chassis

Goodguys OBS Truck, Roadster Shop OBS chassis, OBS Low Pro chassis

So, what will we be mounting to that cool new chassis? Here’s the starting point – a garden-variety ’88 Silverado single cab short bed. This humble body is destined for some custom work of its own to make it worthy of such a stellar foundation. Stay tuned for future installments as Roadster Shop transforms it into a sleek ’80s-flavored custom sport truck worthy of Goodguys giveaway status!

Goodguys OBS Truck, Roadster Shop OBS chassis, OBS Low Pro chassis

Goodguys OBS Truck, Roadster Shop OBS chassis, OBS Low Pro chassis

The 24-inch Billet Specialties wheels have a retro curved-spoke design, but in a modern size and with intricate machine details on the spokes. The Baer brake calipers get the teal-and-pink treatement, too.

In other words, stay tuned – we’ve got a lot more to show you on this bitchin’ flashback Goodguys OBS build. Better yet, start making plans to be at the 24th Summit Racing Nationals presented by PPG in Columbus, Ohio July 8-10, 2022. That’s where the Roadster Shop crew will pull the cover off and unveil the completed truck. That’s also when we’ll tell you how to qualify to win it. We have a feeling it’s going to be totally bitchin’, and we hope to see you there!

Goodguys OBS Truck, Roadster Shop OBS chassis, OBS Low Pro chassis

We like the teal anodized multi-link arms with hot pink inserts – a theme found throughout the chassis. Even the FOX shocks are blue and pink!

Goodguys OBS Truck, Roadster Shop OBS chassis, OBS Low Pro chassis

Photos, Renderings, and Video courtesy Roadster Shop

Editor, Goodguys Gazette

Damon Lee began snapping photos at car shows when he was 10, tagging along with his father to events throughout the Midwest. He has combined his passion for cars and knack for writing and imagery into a 20-year career in the automotive aftermarket, writing for titles like Super Chevy and Rod & Custom and, more recently, working for respected industry leaders Speedway Motors and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association.