As is so often the case, there's always a story behind the story. In Dean Rybicki's case he started out with a '52 Chevy pickup but it didn't take long for reality to set in on just how much effort and money it was going to take to bring his dream to the street. So, off goes the '52 and the hunt began for a clean '57 custom. Again, reality set in and it wasn't long before this idea also fell by the roadside, and it was back to looking for a '48-55 Chevy five-window.
It took many months of looking but along came this '54. It was expensive but it had a great deal of quality workmanship to show for the coin. The truck came with the Fatman IFS and many of the nifty body mods. Dean added a much warmed-over 355-inch small-block Chevy complete with a BDS 6-71 blower and an NOS 150-shot two-stage fogger. Credit for building the huffer small-block goes to Joe Clarke and Wheelers Speed Shop in Huntington Beach, California. But, we are getting ahead of ourselves.
The frame is fundamentally stock it has been boxed and the wheelbase stretched 2 inches. Again, Clarke gets credit for "tuning" the frame. The Fatman Mustang II IFS features lowered springs (1 1/2 inches) with Edelbrock shocks, while the braking is late-model GM with 11-inch rotors and single-piston calipers, a GM master cylinder and power booster is also pressed into service. A Mustang II rack-and-pinion steering coupled with an '89 GMC truck column and Budnik wheel completes the steering chores. In back is a Camaro 10-bolt posi-rearend with 3.73 gears, drum brakes, Edelbrock shocks, and National springs. Ed Miner gets the nod for the traction bars. At the corners you will see very cool Budnik wheels, in front they are wrapped with 225/50R-16 rubber and in back 17's wrapped with 275/50R-17 skins.
The heartbeat for this '54 Chevy five-window pickup is a 355-inch small-block Chevy built by Joe Clarke of Cypress, California, and equipped with Crower rods, JE pistons with chrome-moly rings, and a complement of Lunati parts that include a camshaft, pushrods, lifters, and valvesprings coupled with a Donovan geardrive. Cylinder heads are the venerable "camel hump" heads from the '60s but massaged with a mild polishing job and outfitted with 2.02-inch stainless intake valves. Resting on the Vette hi-po heads is a BDS 6-71 blower setup by an Edelbrock carb filtered by a K&N air filter. A NOS 150-hp two-stage fogger juices the entire package. Firing the fuel load is an ACCEL electronic ignition matched to ACCELL wires and coil. Exiting the spent gases is a pair of S&S headers with Flowmaster twin-chamber mufflers. The 500-plus-horsepower motor is hooked up to a Turbo 400 tranny that was tweaked by Clarke with a B&M Shift Kit coupled to a B&M 3,000-rpm-stall-speed torque converter while the custom driveshaft was built by Driveline Specialties in Long Beach, California.
Ed Miner and Fast Freddy, both of Riverside, California, get the credit for all the metalwork, custom splash pan and rolled pan, modified bed, tailgate, and taillights as well as the running boards, firewall, and dashboard. Rich Evans of Huntington Beach Body Works sprayed on the PPG brilliant Corvette-Yellow paint along with the modest application of airbrush artwork.
Inside, Ed, who also installed the VDO gauges and hooked up the Painless wiring kit, 'fabbed the custom dash. To this package is an Alpine 800-watt CD/DVD player working through a pair of kick panel speakers and 10-inch subwoofers located under the seat along with a pair of 6x9 Alpine speakers.
The seating is a stock bench modified and covered in tan tweed and vinyl. The headliner is molded tan tweed stitched by Quality Auto Trim in Bloomington, California. The rearview mirror is a Zoops while the seatbelts come from a '98 GM vehicle.
If you get out and about in SoCal be on the lookout for this five-window. It has made the rounds at Pismo Beach, weekly Friday cruise nights, the Labor Day Cruise, and many other classic truck events where it has brought home many top flight awards.
F A C T S & F I G U R E S
DEAN & CHERRI RYBICKI
Seal Beach, California
Frame / Manufacturer :modified stock / GM, Joe Clark
Modifications :boxed, custom crossmembers, lengthened wheelbase
Rearend / Ratio :'67 Camaro 10-bolt, 3.73:1
Rear suspension :National parallel leaf
Rear brakes :drum
Front suspension :Fatman Mustang II IFS
Front brakes :11" disc
Master cylinder: Corvette
Steering column :'89 GMC
Front wheel size :16x8.5
Rear wheel size :17x10
Front tire size :225/50R16
Rear tire size :275/50R17
Gas tank :stock
Year and make :'69 Chevy
Displacement :355 ci
Cooling fan: Spal electric
Heads :'67 Corvette 2.02
Valve covers :Zoops, billet aluminum
Manifold / Induction: BDS / BDS 671 blower, Edelbrock 600-cfm carbs (2)
Ignition / Wires :ACCEL /ACCEL
Exhaust / Mufflers: 2.5" stainless/ Flowmaster
Year and make :'71 TH400
Trans mods :Joe Clark
Body style / Material : pickup / steel
Body manufacturer :Chevrolet
Body mods :custom rolled pan, inner fenders, tailgate, bed, door handles, and running boards
Hood :modified stock
Grille :modified stock
Bed:custom, by Fast Freddy & Ed Miner, Riverside, CA
Bodywork : Fast Freddy & Ed Miner
Painter :Ed Miner
Paint type / Color: PPG / Competition Yellow (Corvette)
Custom paint:Rich Evans, Huntington Beach Body Works, Huntington Beach, CA
Headlights / Taillights: stock / modified Corvette
Outside mirrors :stock
Dashboard :custom, by Ed Miner
Stereo / Speakers: Alpine DVD-CD player / Alpine
Wiring :Painless Performance, Ed Miner
Steering wheel :Budnik
Seats :modified stock
Upholsterer :Quality Auto Trim, Bloomington, CA
Material / Color: tweed, vinyl / tan
Carpet :tan and gray wool