Would you trade a TV for an old truck? Most of us would without even knowing too many details! About 25 years ago, that's what Pete Fries gave his father, Al, for his '56 GMC, since Al was gonna sell it to buy a new television set. Pete didn't think he had much of a choice but to keepthe '56-it was part of the family. Al bought it new for his personal transportation, to haul motorcycles, and for the three service stations he owned and operated. Remember, this was back when service stations actually worked on vehicles, so the truck saw lots of use carrying stranded passengers and the parts to make them mobile again.
Al retired and didn't use the truck much, and that's when he swapped it for the TV. Al taught Pete to drive stick in the old Jimmy, and Pete didn't know it at the time, but he'd also teach his own son, David, to drive with the three-on-the-tree, too. Over the next 20 years, Pete and his neighbors would use the truck for everything a truck is built for, including the unexpected. In '94, the Northridge earthquake rocked parts of California, including the Fries' home. As they rebuilt their house for the next two years, all the hauling chores landed square on the GMC's broad shoulders.
In '02, long after the dust cleared, the old truck was finally in need of some sort of attention to keep it on the road. Since David was a wide-eyed teen, he and his dad took on the father/son duties of rebuilding and customizing. With his youthful exuberance, David dismantled the '56 in a week's time while the two formulated a plan. The truck would have to be a clean custom while maintaining reliable driving sensibilities-they weren't building any sort of trailer queen.
The guys handed the chassis over to Tri-C Engineering in Valencia, California, to have the front of the frame boxed before the Total Cost Involved crossmember was welded in. The IFS got topped off with their 11-inch disc brakes, Bilstein coilovers, rack-and-pinion steering, and a chrome package for added class. In the back, a TCI 9-inch rearend is held between the fenders with a TCI leaf kit to smooth out the ride. Pete got a '02 GM ZZ4 355-cubic-inch crate motor and a TH400 tranny from nearby Ace Automotive. The potent small-block is dressed with an Edelbrock Air Gap intake, Holley 750 double-pumper, Hooker headers, Moroso valve covers, and a K&N air filter. The better-than-new undercarriage was put back together by Jenson Engine and Suspension with help from Pete and David.