Roy Gidlund has built race cars for several NASCAR Sprint Cup teams in the past 16 years, but he has been a fabricator for over 30 years. He decided it was time to showcase his talents and build himself a one-of-a-kind custom truck. It has been almost two years since he made the decision, and now his hard work and determination have turned into the prized piece of custom machinery on these pages.
Before building this particular truck, Gidlund was a part of Robert Yates Racing when driver Dale Jarrett won the NASCAR championship in 1999. He then moved over to MB2 Motorsports, but when MB2 fell on hard times the company was sold. Eventually, the team merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc., which meant nearly 170 employees lost their jobs, including Gidlund.
Luckily, he bounced back immediately by landing a spot as the shop foreman for the Xpress Motorsports team of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Despite traveling the NASCAR circuit for over 15 years, the last three years Gidlund has maintained a stationary lifestyle, which has allowed him to start working on the truck. Because he is an experienced fabricator, he has taken the tricks of his trade and applied them to his own vehicle to make one of the cleanest machines in the Southeast.
While some trucks have the Pro Street look and feel, Gidlund's ride is true race vehicle to the max. "It was a look I was going for," he says. "I have worked on cars for a long time, and I have always had a love for '49 Fords. So one night I was toying around on the computer and I happened to type in "1949 Ford" on eBay. Well, to make a long story short, I liked what I saw so I went ahead and bought one."
The journey from dream to reality was full of trial and error and was done with the help of some talented hands.
The truck turned out really trick, considering that it's filled with many custom parts that you might not initially recognize. Take the interior for example. At a glance, it appears to have your standard gray tweed upholstery, but when you take a closer look between the two seats you can see the detail of a V-8 symbol sculpted in the back panel. Then, if you take a closer look at the detail of the truck and its body lines, you'll find that it's full restoration proves Gidlund is a true master of his trade.
The Chevy 350-cid engine is also as well built as the rest of the truck: It throws out nearly 600 hp. When Gidlund decides to get heavy-footed, consider yourself warned because you'll likely end up a speck in his rearview mirror.
"When I started this project, I thought of how I worked so long putting together cars for other people, then I knew it was about time that I did something for myself," Gidlund says. "It's just one of those things where I thought I could build a nice-looking truck for myself, and I knew once I got the time to do it I was going to be able to build one kick-butt hot rod. I think that was accomplished with this truck."
It just goes to show that building for yourself is the most important reason to build something. Just ask Roy Gidlund.