In one way or another, we all seem to be pretty well immersed in this hobby of ours. Most of us, though, get to enjoy the hobby in our spare time. Harry Weimann is one of a small number of enthusiasts who have the enviable opportunity of earning their living while enjoying their hobby. Maybe that's why Harry drives this flamed classic Chevy pickup to work with a huge smile on his face.
Harry is a program director at Pennsylvania's WyoTech, where he plays an important role in shaping young students into skilled mechanics. He oversees WyoTech's Street Rod, Chassis Fabrication, and High Performance Powertrain program at the ever-popular college. With a family in mind during his younger years, Harry built rides he could haul the kids in. He'd always had a fondness for '47-54 Chevy trucks, so he started looking for one when the kids grew up.
When Harry's wife stumbled across an ad for a '54 Chevy truck in the local paper, he called the owner. When he went to look at the truck, he decided to buy it the moment he saw it because, well, it had a certain style he'd always liked. In fact, this particular style of Chevrolet truck was only made in 1954 and in the beginning of 1955. They were popular because of their bullnose front, one-piece windshield, flat-top bed sides, and step-down rear bumper. Harry brought the truck home to Greensburg, Pennsylvania, rolled up his sleeves, and got to work. The truck was driveable, he said, and had been the basis for a partially completed updating project.
Though it was painted PPG Chevy Truck Red by a previous owner and the finish was good, the rest of the truck needed some TLC. The body was stock and all steel except for the fiberglass rear fenders. Oak slats surrounded by stainless steel slats were used to fill the bed. Wanting to maintain a nostalgic look for his ride, he thought it would make a great experience for some of the students to work on the truck.
The project began by redoing the front suspension. A Heidt's Mustang II crossmember was added along with Speedway Motors spindles featuring a two-inch drop. The truck was soon sitting down in the weeds where it belongs. The control arms were rebuilt and Monroe shocks were added along with disc brakes with 11-inch rotors for reliable stopping power. In back, the original springs were retained, but a Ford Posi-traction 9-inch rearend was installed on 1 1/2-inch lowering blocks from Chassis Engineering. Monroe shocks were selected to enhance driving comfort. GM Rally wheels were mounted on the front, with wider (8-inch) Stockton Rallys out back. National P225/75R15 tires were mounted on all four corners.
About that time, Horsepower TV was at the campus in Blairsville, Pennsylvania, filming some of WyoTech's technical tips, so it was decided to use the truck as a basis for the painting tips segment. Gary Klotz, a street rod instructor at the college, quickly laid out some hot licks. With the appropriate amount of heat adorning the truck, it was sent to the upholstery shop. It didn't have to travel very far, though, because Harry and his wife, Susan, operate their own shop, Weimann's Interiors, which has been responsible for the upholstery in quite a few award-winning and magazine feature cars over the past 20 years. Two of their trimmers, Frank Gross and Mark Chase, played a big role in stitching up the Katzkin black and gray leather covering the original seat and door panels, relying on 2 1/2-inch pleats to add to the '50s look. Black wool carpeting complements the plush appearance. TPI-Tech instruments were installed in the stock dashboard and augmented by blower booster gauges, while a Grant wheel tops an '85 GM steering column. A Kenwood CD system pumps out cruising tunes. Harry rewired the truck using an It's-a-Snap kit.
Harry realized the engine was a little tired and in need of an update, and that is when, he said, "all hell broke loose." The students in the WyoTech High Performance class said it was time to make the truck run like it looks, so they talked Harry into building a blown small-block engine. With Tim Bowman and Jody Hall, two of the High Performance instructors, looking over their shoulders, the students worked on the engine for the following six months.
The '70 Chevy small-block was bored .040 over, resulting in 357 cubic inches. Next, it was balanced and blueprinted once a Crane hydraulic roller cam was installed along with Edelbrock aluminum heads. Valvetrain modifications included Harland Sharp roller rockers and Crane triple springs with hydraulic roller lifters. SRP 8.5:1 pistons and Eagle 2 Beam connecting rods were also installed. The Weiand 6-71 blower is mounted on a Weiand intake manifold and relies on Edelbrock 600-cfm carburetors for the necessary breathing, while an MSD electronic distributor with Mallory wires provides the ignition. An Edelbrock water pump pushes coolant through a Be Cool aluminum radiator.
The engine was built by Nicholas Koenig and installed by Tyler Hunt with help from Matthew White and all the students in the High Performance class. The engine now tops out at 500 hp. Despite the brute force, the truck gets 15 mpg on pump gas!
The truck's first trip with its new engine was to the Goodguys '07 Hershey show, where Harry said his ride performed extremely well and got lots of attention. He enjoys the truck "because it's me. I like the nostalgic look and all that horsepower, so I have the best of both worlds." Could a guy get any happier?
|Facts & Figures
|Harry & Susan Weimann
|FRAME:|| stock |
|REAREND / RATIO:|| Ford 9”, Currie axles / Strange Posi 3.70:1|
|REAR SUSPENSION:|| stock, 1 1/2” lowering blocks, Monroe shocks|
|REAR BRAKES:|| drum |
|FRONT SUSPENSION:|| Heidt’s IFS, Speedway Motors spindles, Monroe shocks|
|FRONT BRAKES:|| 11” disc|
|STEERING BOX:|| rack-and-pinion|
|FRONT WHEELS:|| GM Rally, 15x7|
|REAR WHEELS:|| Stockton Rally, 15x8|
|FRONT TIRES:|| National, P225/75R15|
|REAR TIRES:|| National, P255/75R15|
|GAS TANK:|| stock
|ENGINE:|| ’70 Chevrolet 350|
|BUILT BY:|| Nicholas Koenig, WyoTech student|
|INSTALLED BY:|| Tyler Hunt & Matthew White, WyoTech students|
|HEADS:|| Edelbrock aluminum|
|VALVE COVERS:|| Edelbrock nostalgic|
|MANIFOLD / INDUCTION:|| Weiand / Weiand 6-71 blower, Edelbrock 600 carbs|
|HEADERS:|| Summit Racing|
|EXHAUST / MUFFLERS:|| Alumacraft/ Flowmaster|
|RADIATOR:|| Be Cool aluminum|
|TRANSMISSION:|| ’86 GM 700-R4
|STYLE:|| Series 3100|
|FENDERS FRONT/REAR:|| steel / fiberglass|
|GRILLE:|| stock |
|BED:|| oak flooring|
|BODY WORK AND PAINT BY:|| prior owner|
|PAINT TYPE / COLOR:|| PPG / ’99 Chevy Truck Red|
|GRAPHICS:|| Flames by Gary Klotz, WyoTech instructor|
|HEADLIGHTS / TAILLIGHTS:|| Speedway tri-bar / stock|
|GAUGES:|| TPI-Tech Instruments|
|STEERING WHEEL:|| Grant|
|STEERING COLUMN:|| ’85 GM|
|UPHOLSTERY BY:|| Weimann’s Interiors, Harry & Susan Weimann|
|MATERIAL / COLOR:|| Katzkin leather / black & gray|
|CARPET:|| black wool