UMI’s Square Body
When the time came for UMI Performance Engineer Nate Peterman to buy a daily driver, he knew he wanted something old. Nate is no stranger to old iron – besides engineering all the new UMI Performance products, Nate is a gearhead. In his free time you can find him in his home garage building race cars or whatever else comes through the door.
He knew that he wanted an older truck. “My interest in muscle cars and hotrods began at a young age by seeing them driving around as daily drivers. I want to continue the hot rodding tradition, not only in my family, but by getting other kids interested as well,” stated Nate. This started the search for an older Chevy pickup. The issue with older vehicles in Central Pennsylvania is they are usually piles of rust held together with some luck. Nate found this ’84 C10 and picked it up. When he got it home and on a lift, he saw how nice the truck really was. Nate said “there’s zero rust on it, and the paint is mostly original. A rare find in Pennsylvania for sure.” He decided right then and there to keep the truck in tip top shape instead of driving it through harsh winters.
“I drove it bone stock for about two months before I lowered it quickly but didn’t upgrade shocks or sway bars,” explained Nate. At the time it was running the stock 305 engine and TH350c transmission. “Then one night on the way home from the dirt track the head gasket blew and instead of rebuilding it, I decided to swap engines,” continued Nate. Fast forward a few months and the truck now sports a fresh LM7 engine along with a 4L80E transmission. He can cruise the truck all day long with tons of power and reliability, something the old 305 never had.
With the truck already lowered and LS powered, Nate wanted to do a few more touches to the truck to help update the truck. One of those was a set of RTX gauges from Dakota Digital. Nate said that “after the LS swap, I didn’t have a speedometer, and the gauges were not very accurate. I got sick of that and once I saw these gauges, I knew that they were the perfect match for my truck. They have the classic Squarebody character with modern accuracy.
The lowering kit wasn’t up to par though. It worked and rode okay, but not the quality Nate wanted. At UMI, he went ahead and developed an entire suspension kit for it that was up to his high standards. “In the rear I designed a new flip kit and shock relocation bracket. The front is drop spindles and performance drop springs. I combined that with a set of front and rear sway bars. The cherry on top was the UMI mono tube shocks though,” stated Nate. A Borgeson 12.7:1 quick ratio box rounded out the package as well. Now the truck rode like it should and handled even better! This is the same kit that UMI Performance now offers.
The last touch was an upgrade from the 15″ truck rally wheels to something a little more modern. He opted for a set of 18″ American Racing VN510 wheels with a 275/40/R18 tire at each corner. The custom front air dam and rounded rear bumper was added to update the exterior as well.
“The truck will always be a work in progress. My daughter, Eleanor loves to help dad work on ‘her truck’ which allows me to pass on the craft of building vehicles. We cruise as a family all summer and enjoy talking to other people who enjoy the car culture lifestyle,” finished Nate.