You know how you see something and just have to have it-you don't know what you're going to do with it, or why you really want it, you just have to have it. Well that's the way it was with the '57 Chevy truck Bob Parks found way back in 1985. A good friend had owned the solid California truck that was finished in a light, even dusting of primer and surface rust. The 283 in the engine bay was backed by a Vega four-speed and all systems functioned fairly well. Fact is Bob drove it home after its purchase, where he looked it over closely before packing it away in deep storage and continued on with life for the next 15 years.
By 2002 Bob had seen enough trick trucks around to know what he did and didn't want out of his; he wanted sheetmetal alterations, a big engine capable of pumpin' out some serious horsepower, good road manners, a quality sound system, and a really trick interior. Seems like a tall order, but if one of your friends is Terry Getzelman, owner of Getz's Hot Rod Innovations Inc in Hampshire, Illinois, it's not a real stretch. Bob and Terry sat down and hashed out more of the details in the build plan, so the boys at Getz's could drag out what they like to refer to as the "simple hand tools" and started carving on the truck's tin.
One of the first orders of business was to separate the body from the frame and decide just what would stay and what had to go. As it turned out, there were going to be so many suspension alterations that they agreed it'd was easier to construct an entirely new frame out of 1/8 inch plate steel rather than try reconfigure the original. When the framerails were completed a Heidt's four-link was installed to control the Ford 9-inch rearend and a set of Air Ride Technologies airbags to control ride height, stability, and comfort. Up front, a combination of Air Ride and Heidt's parts were used for all the previously mentioned reasons, then Wilwood disc brakes were added to the axles and capped off with some 18- and 20-inch American Racing wheels and BFGoodrich tires.
Because the '57 was to be a hot rod truck, Bob selected a 400-inch Chevy motor for a starting point. From there it would be freshened inside, painted outside, and topped with a polished Weiand 871 blower and a pair of 660-cfm Holleys, all neatly stacked on a polished intake manifold. There's an MSD ignition system to fire the compressed charge and a set of custom headers that dump into the 2 1/2-inch exhaust system. The neat part is that the blower really puts out 7 pounds of boost, so there's plenty power on tap yet it has the street manners of your everyday family sedan. As a final touch, the engine was not only painted to match the truck but was dressed up with a pair of custom made rocker covers and a one-off hand-formed air cleaner housing a large K & N filter, as well. Then, a mildly modified 700-R4 with a 2,400-rpm stall converter was bolted to the back of the engine to transfer the ample ponies to the rear wheels.
So like we said, it's a hot rod truck; there's plenty of power, a trick chassis to improve ride and handling, and enough disc brake to bring it all to a sudden halt when need be. But hot rods usually have modified bodies-and this one is no exception. There are modifications aplenty happening on this guy.
Bob and Terry wanted the body to make a statement, yet be subtle enough to have people wondering what other little details they may have missed, so here's a primer that touches on the highlights. The top was chopped 2 1/4 inches, the roofline extended to create a small sun visor, the hood was pie-cut so the leading edge was lowered by 1 1/2 inches, then a mechanism was constructed so the hood tilted forward in clamshell fashion. The rear fenders were shortened 3 inches, the front turn lights frenched, the bed corners rounded, a rear roll pan created, the front bumper sectioned, turned upside-down and tucked in tight to the body, and, of course, the normal trim and door-handle removal. When all the slicing and dicing was completed, the welds ground flush, and every imperfection massaged out of the sheetmetal, it was time for Getz's Hot Rod Innovations to lay down glass smooth coats of DuPont Cinnamon base/clear.