Negative camber. It's something attributed to pretty much any automotive circle when suspension modification is prevalent. Back when I was a youngin' foolin' around with VW Bugs, negative camber was the ultimate achievement for me, despite the fact that it meant the life of my rear tires would be a fraction of what it was meant to be. (The real "cool" guys were able to get their drops without this effect, though.) Through the years, negative camber quickly migrated to the front suspension, as it was rare that anything I owned ever had a transaxle beneath it. But the word never meant the same thing...until now.

Whether he meant to or not, Nathan Porter resurrected the real meaning of negative camber for me when he dropped his uncle Ron Porter's '55 Chevy Stepside gently onto terra firma before my eyes for the first time. Some don't care for this aspect, and rightfully so, but knowing this particular independently Vette-suspended chassis is also equipped with Air Ride Technologies' ShockWaves tells me this is no Bug, and its tires will last as long as the gas pedal permits!

Beyond the truck's unique stance, it has an ultimate modern feel to it, but at the same time it doesn't deviate from its original charm one bit. Sure, the custom billet grille is a big departure from the stock stamped-steel unit. Set within a '57 surround, though, the aluminum piece speaks loud and clear that this truck is not your ordinary hauler. Things get more interesting beneath the surface, though, and that's because Nathan's shop, Porterbuilt Street Rods, specializes in custom suspensions, which brings us right back to the negativity...of the camber, that is!

Porter's '55 is a testbed of sorts for Nathan, and his Mantis chassis now serves as his business card on wheels--especially with the open-view bed floor construction--even if his uncle is the one who now carries it around! The cause of the negative camber on the Coddington Smoothie IIs is the ShockWave-leveled C4 independent setup with custom rocker arms. The other half of the C4 combo was done in similar fashion, creating an equal amount of camber angle on both ends. Resting atop the Vette IFS is the appropriate fodder: a 5.7 LS1 backed by the equally appropriate 4L60E overdrive trans (which, with the 3.90 Dana 44 rear gear, ought to offer some nice highway cruising). A unique touch Porterbuilt added to the completed chassis, the satin black ceramic-coated Flowmasters and subsequent exhaust, actually acts as a thermal barrier as well as looking cool.

The paint on the 1/2-ton--which originally started out as a 3200 Series longbed--is House of Kolor's Tru Blu Pearl, which as you may have noticed from the photos takes on different tones under varying light. With but the aforementioned polished grille strips and Coddington five-spokes, the truck relies heavily on the paint and bodywork, both of which handle the job respectfully. On the inside, Curly's nicely offset the almost-monotone exterior with light tan UltraLeather and a contrasting simulated carbon fiber material, which was also used to cover panels in the truck's bed as well. A smoothed dash inset with Auto Meter instrumentation, a Billet Specialties Vintec wheel mounted atop a Flaming River column, a Pioneer sound system, and plenty of creative handiwork make for very impressive inner confines, regardless of how limited those confines are.

Had it not been for Uncle Ron becoming young Nathan's first real customer, he'd probably still be working at his dad's automotive repair shop...and probably still building the '57 in his spare time. Thanks, Uncle Ron!