After spending the better part of his life working on race cars, fabricator Glenn "Red" Skillman decided his efforts were better spent crafting custom trucks and street rods instead. His shop, Red's Custom Fabrication of Kannapolis, North Carolina, specializes in constructing truly custom vehicles with attitude and attention to detail. Years of racing embedded within his soul the idea that speed was king, but attending car shows like the NOPI Nat's proved to Red that style was just as important. Red has old-school sensibilities, for sure, but he's combined them with some pretty progressive new-school ideas in the buildup of his '85 Chevy.
For starters, Red not only gave his square-body Chevy an old-school chop, but he also took some flavor from the '80s and connected the bed to the cab in unibody fashion. Were it not for the handmade aluminum bedcover, his pickup would look much like a Blazer and that's a good thing. More metalwork commenced throughout this truck, much of it performed in the name of creating a smoother appearance. The body has been relieved of the usual suspects, like the door handles, bumpers, and whatnot. Check out the custom grille shell, which surrounds headlights pulled from a '97 Suburban. A cowl hood sits between custom fenders, which frame a hand-built steel bumper as well.
Red kept on cutting and welding, which aided in smoothing the firewall of his truck. The firewall features a smoothed and rounded recess that provides clearance for the '01 Chevy LS1 small-block and six-speed ZF manual tranny, which sit much higher up in the custom chassis. The potent powerhouse has so far received Street & Performance stainless steel headers and a drag-proof 2.5-inch MagnaFlow exhaust system. The custom chassis allows the body to sit even with the very bottom of the framerails, giving it the same effect as a body drop. Once the air is released from the Air Ride Technologies Shockwaves, the pinch weld below the rockers sits flat on the tarmac like it ought to. Beneath the bedcover, a 20-gallon fuel cell replaces the stock gas tank, which would otherwise drag on the ground.
Red's ride rolls on 20-inch KMC Stealth wheels. The interior is a work in progress. When photographed, the dash was gone, but Dakota Digital gauges were keeping tabs on the vital signs from below the center of the windshield, which we gather will eventually hide a sheetmetal dashboard. Reactive bucket seating and a Grant GT steering wheel rounded out the interior mods. Red's plan ultimately calls for a candy red basecoat to run in and out of the truck, with ghost flames thrown in for good measure. He'll also finish off the engine compartment with steel inner fenders and a custom motor cover. Once he wraps up the interior and detail work, he'll debut the truck, and hopefully, we'll be there to catch it on film before he drags the rockers off of it.