Have you ever wondered how and when one crosses that line between building a low-buck beater and a show-quality pickup? David Strom Jr. of Kingsville, Texas, is still scratching his head trying to figure out exactly how he zigged when he planned to zag.

It all started innocently enough about a year ago when he found a '55 Chevy sitting on an S-10 frame. The truck was in good condition, but it was a basket case. The previous owner tried to turn it into a rat rod and got in way too deep. David purchased the truck figuring that it wasn't going to take much to complete the rat-rod concept and have a cool daily driver.

David's plans were to finish up the S-10 frame, get the body mounted, drop a well-running drivetrain in place, throw a primer finish on it, and let it roll on a set of billet wheels-a low-dollar driver. At first, the work went just as planned. The finish welding was done on the frame, and the cab was mounted to the chassis. All that was left was to throw on a quick prime job, drop in the motor and transmission, and put together a simple interior, and it was done.

Before he knew it though, Junior was shaving the emblems and door handles and replacing the truck's front end with one from a '47-'53 Chevy. He incorporated an LED taillight between the roll pan and tailgate and replaced the original bed floor with one he'd hand-formed himself. As the bodywork began to take shape, something happened: His plans for the truck did a complete 180.

A call to Air Ride Technologies garnered a full complement of air-ride components, and while Junior waited for the product to arrive he boxed the S-10 frame and shaved every hole that wasn't going to get used, in preparation for paint. The front suspension was treated to ART's CoolRide kit and a set of Suicide Doors control arms. The rear received ART's Air4Link setup and a narrowed Ford 9-inch rearend. The air system is plumbed in stainless tubing and managed by an ART compressor and valves.

Bolted securely between the framerails is a vicious small-block that's been opened up to 355 cubic inches. David stuffed as many performance parts inside the motor as he could for many years of worry-free service. It's set to breathe heavy through a set of polished aluminum heads that are force-fed plenty of air through a Dyer's supercharger, which David tells us produces over 700hp.

With almost all of the design and fabrication work completed, Junior's '55 is just about ready to be blown apart for final paint. The truck has loads of classic character plus enough custom fabrication to make it scream "look at me!"