While trucks have always been a hot commodity over the years, they seem to be picking up more steam recently. With the addition of specific truck classes like that at Street Car Takeover, Optima’s GTT class, and others, companies have been quick to add performance suspension, brakes, and other components to their truck lineup. Nowadays, it’s not that uncommon to see a full-size truck ripping at the dragstrip, autocross, or on a road course. And there’s something special about a truck going head-to-head with a modern muscle car and being competitive.
Preston Folkstead, Marketing Manager for GC Cooling, has been part of the automotive industry for some time, despite his young age. In fact, in 2017, he entered the SEMA competition, Battle of the Builders with a Squarebody Chevrolet. This truck had everything a hotrodder could ask for, including a candy paint job, custom wheels, interior, and a custom chopper motorcycle in the bed to match. And while the truck could hold its own on the autocross course, after a few laps and some rock chips, Preston realized the truck was way too nice to tear up. So he and his father, Bob Folkstead, owner of GC Cooling, decided it was time to build another Chevy dubbed Baba Yaga (Russian for the Boogeyman), derived from the hit movie, John Wick. And while this pickup may not look like the Boogeyman, we can tell you that it’s a nightmare for any vehicle that comes against it on a road course.
Chassis, Suspension, and Mods
To get some help with the chassis setup for the truck, Preston dropped the frame off with Joe Rosenburger of 515 Fabrication. Instead of using an aftermarket frame, the guys decided to stick with the factory unit, but not before boxing it in and adding more bracing to eliminate flex. Rosenberg also built a custom roll cage that ties the truck together from front to rear. Finally, with the chassis complete, it was time for suspension.
With the bones of Baba Yaga in Rob McGregor’s hands, of No Limit Engineering, it was time to handle all of the suspension and setup for the truck. The guys decided on a No Limit Wide IFS kit on the front and the company’s four-link system on the rear. The truck also utilizes a set of Ridetech coilovers and Hyperco springs.
The truck was stripped down as far as possible to rid itself of some weight. The inner fender wells were ditched, as was the bed internals, to get Chevy as light as possible.
Heart Of The Beast
Preston started with a Concept Performance LS-R aluminum block stuffed with everything needed to concoct a 427 cubic-inch powerplant. The short block was then topped off with a set of heads from Frankenstein and one of the company’s billet intake manifolds. The 427 cranked out an impressive 768 horsepower and 613 lb-ft of torque to the wheels when it was all said and done, which is awesome considering this engine is naturally aspirated. A Holley Dominator is responsible for keeping all of the engine parameters in line with help for a digital dash.
Since the truck was armed with over 750 horsepower, the guys needed a driveline to hold up to the power. For that, a Tremec T56 Magnum transmission bolts to the all-aluminum powerplant and sends the power down the line through a custom-built driveshaft from Dynamic Drivelines. From there, a Quick Performance 9-inch rearend puts the power to the ground with a set of 4.10 gears.
Stoppers and Rollers
Since this truck was built to be competitively raced, it needs to do everything well, and stopping a going is crucial. So Preston turned to Wilwood for a set of 6-piston disc brakes on the front and four-piston on the rear. For wheels, Forgeline GA3Rs were selected in 19-inch on all four corners of the truck. The wheels are wrapped in massive BFGoodrich Rival S series tires.
Preston’s truck was featured in SEMA’s Battle of the Builders in 2019 and won a golden ticket for Optima’s Ultimate Street Car Challenge. Since then, the team has managed to make a few events with Baba Yaga and even came in first place at Optima’s USC event in Utah in the truck class. And we expect to see a lot more of this truck in the winner’s circle in 2022 so stay tuned.