Recently we posted a picture of an awesome 1956 Chevy truck with some massive wheels tucked under the fenders. Today I have an interesting update on it. A nice guy named Tim sent me an email with some pictures of what the truck used to look like when he owned it back in the late 1990′s. As it turns out, this thing used to be a Massachusetts fire truck!
The story goes that Tim bought the fire truck around 1997 (Lucky guy! Who doesn’t want to own a fire truck!?). He then removed the fire truck parts, and turned it into a flat bed with some storage boxes on the side. He had it for a couple of years, and then sold it. The truck then seemed to lay low for several years. During that time, it apparently got a chopped top, shortened wheelbase, lowered stance, “normal” truck bed, and some seriously subtle custom touches here and there. Here is the evolution in front of your very eyes.
Special Thanks to Tim W. for sharing the pictures and the history with us!
I’m not sure that this picture does justice for the ungodly size of the wheels and tires on this truck. In person, this truck is massive, and disturbingly awesome. The tire size was claiming 22.5 inch, and I’d agree. The rear differential must have weighed about 800 pounds, and the brake drums looked big enough to stop a large locomotive. I’m not sure who’s idea this was, but they deserve a high 5 and a free sandwich or something for pulling it off. Just gawk at the rear tire for a while and let me know what you think.
If you are going for the ’55 gasser look, you’ll want to first get some advice from this guy because he has clearly got it locked down. The headlights and the rear quarter work are really what seal the deal for me. A…mazing.
Recently a friend of mine was at a car show with his ’63 Thunderbird. It’s a really nice driving car, has a perfect interior, and has very few flaws in the paint. The chrome is beginning to show it’s age, but it’s far from rusty. That day at the car show, a guy came over to my friend and voiced his amazement at how a car that appears to be falling apart (while pointing to my friends T-bird), can actually still be driven. Needless to say, the conversation ended somewhat abruptly.
Fast forward several weeks, I’m at a different car show, and I see this Chevy panel truck-shaped beauty. From a distance I thought it was quite cool because you don’t see many of this body style out there in the wild. I walked up to it, and meandered around to the drivers side to find something truly spectacular. On the side of this truck, in some kind of chalk or wax pencil, it read:
“Hey thanks for telling me how nice this will look with paint and that it’d be a shame not too!”
I instantly began to wonder if the owner of this truck had met the same courteous individual that commented on my friends t-bird weeks earlier! They do say it’s a small world ya know…
We left off the last episode with a freshly fabricated trunk floor, and I had a new tail pan and taillight surround on order. A few days later, they arrived, and work commenced. If you are curious, I would imagine that at this point in the story, I must have had about 75 hours into the removal of the quarter, and the repair of the wheel house, filler neck surround, trunk drop off, and trunk floor. It is easy to see why car restorations add up fast. The labor factor is huge. Moving on…
I began this round with the test fitting of the tail pan and the left taillight surround. They were both perfect, except my trunk floor wasn’t. Everything needed some TLC with hammers to align it all. Once I was happy with the tail pan, I drilled a million holes in it and spot welded it all the way down just like when the car was new. I then coated it in ugly reddish primer because that is what was within reach.
The taillight surround was much more challenging to align than the tail pan was. I used a variety of clamps, and cleco’s. If you have never used cleco’s you are missing out. They are cheap little devices that hold metal together like a champ. Every tool box should have some.
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This morning I landed on a crash test video that was made by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. When I was done watching the crash test, I realized that there were about 590 more to watch! GOLD MINE! There is no denying it, watching cars smash into each other without real lives at stake is really about as good as it gets. Most of the videos are short, sweet, and all business. Car enters at stage right with a high rate of speed, smashes object at stage left. Then they do a slow motion replay, and it’s a wrap. Next! It isn’t just brand new cars either, there are a variety of older car tests too! Here are 4 of my favorites so far.
Here is a 1996 Chevy Astro Van folding up:
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Raise up those hands if you love Monte Carlos! No? Yes? Anybody? Ok, now raise your hands higher if you love the subtle lower fender 454 SS emblem on the 1st generation bodies. It’s nothing, just a mere 500 foot pounds of torque at 3500 rpm. Whhhaaaaaaaa??! Oh it’s no big deal really. Sure you can smolder your tires into a pile of molten goo at every intersection, but then you are just a show off, and who wants that? » Continue reading more of this post…