A '55 GMC provided the best cab, so Bob went to work on that. With guidance from neighbor Westin Nehring, Bob sliced 4 inches out of the top and cut another 4 inches out of the body and hood to create a low, sleek silhouette. All handles and emblems were removed, the drip rails shaved, and the cowl vents filled. A custom grille shell was built using 23 pieces of metal, starting with the top of a GMC grille flipped upside down and used on the bottom. Bob also built the custom aluminum grille insert. "The whole idea was to keep the GMC flavor," Bob says of the grille. "I had my '91 GMC sitting in the garage door and that's what I kept working toward."
The bed also saw its share of custom fabrication, starting with the raised floor built from 10-gauge sheetmetal. Wheel tubs were made from trailer fenders cut in half, and the tailgate was welded shut and fitted with a custom window. Custom taillights and a third brake light were built using LED lighting elements. When all of the bodywork was finally finished, Mark Mitchell of Fortney Auto Body sprayed the yellow paint, mixing a little gold pearl into the clearcoat.
Fabrication work continued on the interior, where Bob smoothed the dash, built a custom gauge panel and console, and even constructed his own seat frames. The seats were then upholstered in tan vinyl and fabric by Cal Fast Distributing Co., along with the rest of the custom interior. Unlike his old race cars, Bob's pickup has plenty of creature comforts, like Vintage Air and a Pioneer sound system.
Looking back at the truck's construction, Bob can compare it to a race - an endurance race. "t took three years to build," he says, "and that was working almost every night, all weekends, holidays and with no vacations (only to go to car shows to gather more parts). There are so many things on this truck that have been changed and modified that I cannot even remember them."
With the pickup finally finished, Bob and Charlotte are adjusting to their role as car show participants instead of race car drivers. But despite the change of pace and scenery, one thing remains the same: They're still taking home plenty of wins.
Facts & Figures
Bob & Charlotte King
1955 GMC First Series
|Frame / Manufacturer ||modified '48 GMC |
|Modifications ||boxed front and rear sections, engine and transmission mounts raised |
|Rearend / Ratio ||9-inch/3.00:1 |
|Rear suspension ||owner-built four-link w/ air springs |
|Rear brakes ||disc |
|Front suspension ||Pinto IFS, Heidt's spindles, air springs |
|Front brakes ||11-inch disc |
|Master cylinder ||dual chamber |
|Steering ||Mustang II rack-and-pinion |
|Steering column ||'85 Camaro |
|Front wheel make, size ||Wheel Vintiques, 15x8 |
|Rear wheel make, size ||Wheel Vintiques, 15x12 |
|Front tire make, size ||BFGoodrich, 205/50R15 |
|Rear tire make, size ||BFGoodrich, 305/50R15 |
|Gas tank ||17-gallon steel, owner-built |