I got an e-mail from Steve Silva late last February that said his best friend and cruising partner Dennis Eaton passed away from ongoing complications from a heart condition. That came as a bit of a shock since I've gotten to know both Steve and Dennis over the last year, and, in fact, I had shot Dennis' '48 Chevy "Grunge Truck" at the Goodguys Lone Star Nationals months prior for a sort of follow-up feature on Steve's '52 Chevy (June '06) that was waiting for its turn at bat. Luckily, it's not often that we need to write a posthumous feature, and thankfully, Dennis put together a fitting story to accompany the info he sent back to us about his truck, so we'll let him have the last word.
"After 40 years of wiping and waxing around 25 different street rods, I was sick of it! On top of it, I was tired of people walking right past my $100K '46 Ford convertible to check out my buddy Steve Silva's 'Grunge Truck,' and even though I was responsible for the original concept for his truck, I was shocked at the reception it received. For every two who stopped to check out my '46, there had to be 50 people standing around Steve's farm truck with smiles on their faces! After that, I thought we might be on to something here; after all, showtime, making people happy, and helping them have a good time is what it's all about, right? No egos, just meeting and entertaining people-what a joy, and it beats all that waxing!
"I told Steve we should take one of the offers I've had on my '46 and build another Grunge Truck. He already knew there was a '48 Chevy five-window in his hometown of Santa Rosa, New Mexico, that was perfect. I headed out from Arizona to meet up with Steve and cut a deal with the owner of that truck, then we hauled it back to Steve's garage. It was totally stock, grungy, and butt ugly-it really was perfect. Now the story goes that in 1950 the Tombstone Mortuary in Arizona was delivering a corpse to Amarillo, Texas, and the truck broke down in Santa Rosa, where it was left in a field under a tree for the last 55 years until we found it and brought it back to life-or that's what we'd tell everyone at the shows!
"Steve built a killer chassis that would mimic his with a Nova clip, a complete Air Ride system with dual pumps, dual tanks, and a 3/8-inch line to make it jump to attention. Fatman's narrowed A-arms and ECI's disc brakes with drilled rotors were also used up front, and the Hydro-boost brake system makes the truck stop on a dime and gives you nine cents change! Out back, connected to the stainless four-link is a John's Engineering 9-inch with a 3.50:1 posi center section. Big 17- and 18-inch American Racing Torq-Thrusts with BFG G-Force NT tires make the gloss-black powdercoated chassis roll.