As kids, we looked up to our parents in several ways-literally and as role models. Obviously, this begins to change when the teenage years ensue and our outlook on our parents makes an about-face. But as much as we may try, over time we suddenly find ourselves standing in our parent's shoes. Brenda Kuhn is no stranger to her parents and the world of hot rods, street rods, classic cars, and, of course, classic trucks. The only child spent her formative years from the age of 8 riding on the seat of any one of her parent's three '38 Willys going to rod runs, cruises, and all manner of car shows. She probably thought this was how life was for every little girl and boy, and in her mom and dad's circle of friends, it probably was.
Fast forward and we find Brenda married to a guy named Jeff, a car guy-coincidence? Dunno. At any rate, it worked out well for her and her dad, Fred. She got a great husband, and he got the gearhead son he always wanted! Much to the pleasure of both of the guys, Brenda said she wanted an old truck, and before the words could float out of her mouth, her dad was on the phone with a friend who happened to deal in old trucks to find out what he had. Soon there was a '48 Chevy pickup sitting in her garage that was good from afar, but afar from good.
Jeff and Fred promptly got to work, and Brenda wanted in, too, so she started dismantling whatever she could manage along with the nest of mice under the seat. Once the truck was scattered all over the garage, Jeff found himself pretty busy for the next eight years as he wrestled with the '48. First, using the stock 'rails, which he boxed, he built a chassis consisting of a Heidt's Mustang II IFS with 2-inch dropped spindles, a Flaming River power rack-and-pinion, Air Ride Technologies 'bags, and Wilwood's four-piston 11-inch disc brakes at each corner. The Auburn-stuffed '68 Mustang 9-inch rearend is kept under control via Air Ride's parallel four-link and ShockWaves.
Over the years of building the truck, raising their son Johnathan, and day-to-day life, the Kuhns' vision for the '48 changed, which included three color and motor deviations, but in the end, they decided to go with a GM Performance Parts 502/502 big-block crate motor. Jeff has a fastidious attention to detail, so he took the monster motor to Custom Engine in Aurora, Illinois, for some tricks. They performed a small overbore and replaced the stock pistons with some JE slugs, swapped in a Lunati cam and some roller rockers, and changed out the oil pan. The stock GM injection remained on the rat motor, but Street & Performance provided the harness and programming necessary to almost effortlessly ignite the MSD ignition, and soon it roared through a 2 1/2-inch exhaust system that Jeff built using Flowmaster three-chamber mufflers. Street & Performance also takes credit for the serpentine system and all the motor dress-up goodies that look at home in Jeff's stunningly sculpted engine bay.