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Cruise-In fans, father and son, complete their very first custom vehicle

Pickup upgraded from a stock V6 to a modified V8, among other things
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Father and son Cruise-In fans Mark (left) and Brodie Johnstone, have just completed their own custom vehicle project, performing a major engine upgrade on Brodie’s pickup. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Langley Good Times Cruise-In charity car show is coming up. And in advance of the huge community event being held in downtown Aldergrove on Saturday, Sept. 10, the Langley Advance Times has put together a series of stories talking about the people involved and the festivities planned. Stay tuned here, daily, for more about the upcoming Cruise-In.

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After years of looking over custom car and truck projects on view at the Langley Good Times Cruise-In, two long-time fans of the annual show and shine have just completed their own.

Brodie Johnstone and his dad, Mark, were always going to upgrade the V6 engine in Brodie’s 1999 GMC Sierra 1500 truck to a V8, just not right away.

“I bought it two years ago as my first vehicle,” Brodie explained.

“We were planning to engine-swap it anyway.”

“It was a little V6,” Mark commented.

“The plan was to at least get another summer out of it.”

But when the six-cylinder abruptly stopped running and couldn’t be revived, the upgrade had to be moved up.

Brodie Johnstone (left) and dad Mark, long-time Cruise-In fans, have just completed their first custom vehicle project, swapping a stock V6 for a modified V8 in Brodie’s 1999 GMC Sierra 1500. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Brodie Johnstone (left) and dad Mark, long-time Cruise-In fans, have just completed their first custom vehicle project, swapping a stock V6 for a modified V8 in Brodie’s 1999 GMC Sierra 1500. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

About two months ago, father and son completed the transplant in their home garage behind their Brookswood home, swapping in a second-hand 5.3 litre LS V8.

It was a running motor that they upgraded with new cams and a head, bringing the horsepower up to an estimated 400.

That required a new transmission that could handle the added power, and a B&M ratchet shifter was added.

The pickup truck had already been lowered, with new rims.

Father and son have kept a photo album to chart their progress step by step, from acquiring the V8, to modifying the motor, to installing it — ending with a proud Brodie seated on the back tonneau cover.

Brookswood resident Brodie Johnstone at work on installation of the 5.3 litre LS V8 that now powers his 1999 GMC Sierra 1500. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Brookswood resident Brodie Johnstone at work on installation of the 5.3 litre LS V8 that now powers his 1999 GMC Sierra 1500. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

It was the very first time father and son have worked together to upgrade a vehicle from stock to something better.

For Mark, a novice at custom car work, the project with his son was his first “automotive experience,” while Brodie had several years of secondary school automotive courses to draw on.

“We had a lot of friends helping out,” Mark recalled.

“It still boggles my mind that that thing works.”

Brodie will be turning his love of cars into a career, starting the KPU auto technician course in September.

READ ALSO: Cruise-In: Preparing for road closures in downtown Aldergrove

Father and son have been attending Cruise-In for years, “since I was little,” Brodie remarked.

Brodie wasn’t planning to show his truck at the annual event in Aldergrove this year.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Langley’s Burnouts In The Sky show and shine gets an extension

The truck has already been exhibited, at one local show and shine, but it wasn’t exactly planned in advance.

It happened on Aug. 9, when father and son dropped by the Burnouts In The Sky event at Langley’s George Preston Recreation Centre to show support for the memorial fundraising show that honours the memory of Brad McPherson by raising funds for scholarships in his name.

Brodie Johnstone (foreground) and dad Mark, long-time Cruise-In fans, have just completed their first custom vehicle project, swapping a stock V6 for a modified V8 in Brodie’s 1999 GMC Sierra 1500. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Brodie Johnstone (foreground) and dad Mark, long-time Cruise-In fans, have just completed their first custom vehicle project, swapping a stock V6 for a modified V8 in Brodie’s 1999 GMC Sierra 1500. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

After looking over the Johnstone’s redone truck, one of the organizers suggested they enter, and they did, just for the fun of it.

“I don’t think we even washed it,” Mark laughed.

Brodie is considering more improvements at some point in the future, currently trying to decide between supercharging or turbo charging the V8.


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Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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