An old saying in life professes that there are no free rides. However, every once and a while rules are meant to be broken, like when you lost your money for the bus and the driver took pity on you (especially when it was raining!), or when you broke down on the side of the road and a passing motorist stopped to give you a much needed lift. It's far and few times in today's life that you ever get something for nuthin', but then along comes Bob O'Connor, president of the Right Coast Association, to send off the old ways and start a whole new tradition. Each year since 2001 at the Syracuse Nationals in New York, Bob has given away a turnkey car to some lucky qualifying participant. The program was such a success that over the years they've given away some pretty bitchin' rides, including a trifecta of Deuces, a '37 Ford pickup slammed to the pavement by Wild Rods, and even a brand-new S-10. This past year, however, Bob decided the classic truck crowd needed some much deserved attention when he resolved to pull out all the stops and build a wicked '49 Chevy hauler to pass off to some lucky winner.
Giveaway vehicles are extremely time- consuming to get involved with, as they require a bevy of suppliers and builders to donate both their time and products on a very tight one-year schedule to make it all come together. The initial kick-start of this project got its first breath when longtime hot rodder and Right Coast Rep Dick Royer of Harrisville, Rhode Island, offered up a gennie '49 Chevy cab to act as the build-up's base. Bob liked the idea so much that after having some artwork done by Pfaff Designs on what the finished truck would look like, he began to put the plan for the latest giveaway vehicle into motion. Dave Tucci of Tucci Engineering was the first one to step up to the plate by having a virtual trailerload of parts delivered to his shop in Marcy, New York, to get the ball rolling and build the '49 into a complete roller.
Knowing that the first and most important part of the build would be a bulletproof base to support the truck, Bob contacted Fatman Fabrications, who generously offered up one of their complete Stage II roller chassis loaded to the hilt with all the right stuff. Starting with a spine constructed from 2x5-inch 'rails, the front suspension makes sure the truck will handle like a slot car thanks to a set of polished stainless steel control arms combined with coils and Koni shocks, while steering duties come courtesy of a rack-and-pinion unit. Wanting to bring just enough whoa into play, hearty 11-inch Master Power discs help bring the truck to a crawl when needed. To be sure the back end is just as tough as the front, a 9-inch Ford rear was called to duty, filled with 3.50:1 gears, while suspension chores are handled by a Fatman four-link combined with Carrera coilovers. Needing the growling sound of a healthy Bow Tie under the hood, Dobles GM Parts Depot in Manchester, New Hampshire, stepped up and donated a 350 crate V-8, while the gang at Mr. Gasket and CoolFlex made sure there was plenty of dazzle added to the mix with just the right amount of chrome goodies to bolt on. Linked to an RMP-built TH350, the truck was given just enough oomph to keep anyone happy pulling away from a green light while rolling with plenty of style thanks to a set of Radir Tri-rib wheels shod with Diamond Back wide white radials.