Here is the truck when I first...
Here is the truck when I first walked up to it. I told you it was buried.
This is the story of my vacation. Instead of taking a trip like most normal people, I stayed in town to buy, build, and then drive a new truck to work. There were a lot of sleepless nights and a constant flow of money flying out of my wallet, but there would be no crossing the finish line for me. All the hard work sort of paid off in the end, but I still didn't get to drive the truck to work. Here is the story on how it went, what happened, and who has the smelliest gas in the land.
A few months back, I took the first day of my 28-day vacation to buy and build a daily driveable truck. The truck in question happens to be a 1/2-ton '68 Chevrolet short fleet that was owned by a friend of my dad's. The truck was buried in this guy's garage-and when I say buried, I mean it. The owner was just starting a full house remodel, and all the stuff he packed into boxes was stacked around the truck. To top it all off, there was a huge mound-excuse me, if I exaggerate-of sand piled in front of it. The owner needed the cash for his house project and the room in his garage for storage, so I went to take a look. After about an hour of climbing around the truck like a monkey looking for rust and other things, I figured out it was a good deal and I bought it. I told the guy I wanted the truck ASAP and asked if he could dig it out-literally.
Back at my dad's shop, we...
Back at my dad's shop, we got the motor fired up and made sure it would move under its own power.
The bed was littered with...
The bed was littered with some usable parts for the truck and one jewel, the CST seat.
He called me the next day and said it was out of the garage and sitting in the driveway, ready for pick-up. Luckily, the guy's house was right around the corner from my dad's upholstery shop, so we pushed it there and started wrenchin' on it. After doing a quick inventory of what the truck needed, me and Pops set forth to fire up the 350ci small-block under the hood. After putting in a new battery, a set of spark plugs, and some fresh fuel, we got the motor to light off. Surprisingly, the motor purred like a kitten and even sounded like it had a small camshaft-sweet. There was one bummer: The starter was either wrong or just not shimmed properly, because when we hit the key, it sounded more like a cat being tortured than a truck starting. With the truck running, we checked the function of the brakes and dropped the shifter into drive to see if it would actually move, and it did. That was enough for me to take it on its maiden voyage toward my shop a couple miles away. While driving, a few problems showed up. There was an alignment issue because the truck pulled to the right pretty bad. Also, there was something definitely wrong with the carb since the truck had a bad stumble as I tried to accelerate. Luckily, the truck made it to my shop without breaking or overheating, so I was stoked about that.
I spent the next week fixing the carb, some general tinkering, making my list of parts needed, and drawing up concepts in my head about how to build it. Like I stated before, I bought this truck for a daily driver, so there will be no frame-off restoration going on here, just a quick mechanical once-over and get the truck in one color. One thing I knew I wanted was the wheels. My dad picked up a set of vintage ET Fueler wheels at a swap meet for his '56 210 Chevy, and I fell in love with the design. After a little web search, I found out a company called Team 3 is still making them, and after a little measuring, I ordered up a set. Because I found the wheels I wanted, it made it very easy to decide on a paint scheme. The look of the wheels screams muscle to me, so a musclecar paintjob will round out the design of the truck. My first thought was to put a set of SS-style stripes on the hood, reminiscent of a '70 Chevelle, but I really didn't want the stripes on the tailgate so that idea got canned. Then, the idea of stripes on the side of the truck, much like the Yenko Novas had on them, popped into my head. I drew up a ghetto concept drawing by printing a picture of the truck and doodling all over it. I liked the way the sketch came out, so that part was figured out. Now for the color-for me, when I think of musclecars and fast trucks, the old red oxide primer color is classic, and I thought, why not? To help me with how that would look, I searched the toy store for a die-cast car, and I found a '56 panel truck in the Road Rats line that was not only the right shade of red oxide, but it also had black scallops on the side-perfect. There was one more element to the muscle theme that was missing, and that was the hood. Every SS from back in the day had some sort of styled hood, and lucky for me, Goodmark makes a Camaro-style cowl hood for the '67-'72 Chevy pickups, so I ordered one.
It is funny where inspiration...
It is funny where inspiration will hit you. The wheels were inspired by one of my dad's cars, and the paint color came from a die-cast model.