As one of the primary sources for '37-54 Chevrolet restoration parts, Chevs of the 40's doesn't seem the likeliest source for a hot rod pickup. Recently, though, the company broadened its scope to cater to the expanding street rod market. Following in its parent company's footsteps, the new company, Street Rod Headquarters, is a one-stop source for '30s to '50s Chevrolet vehicles. However, it differs in one critical way: It caters exclusively to hot rod and custom enthusiasts. To illustrate the breadth of its vendors (several hundred, according to co-owner Rob Logsdon), the company assembled this '47 pickup using parts from its own catalog.
While the pickup that the company built is a calling card of sorts, it has greater implications than merely an ice-breaker. According to Rob: "Our first reason to build a pickup was to see what parts we may be missing in our catalog and also to see the quality of parts we sell from an end-user point of view."
Though Street Rod Headquarters offers reproduction bodies, Rob indicated: "They weren't available when this project started." Instead, the project started as a complete three-window pickup and spare five-window cab. "We would have been money ahead by using a Dynacorn cab by far," he said. "On a scale from one to 10, the truck was a negative 10, but it was a five-window and that's what we were looking for."
Though boxed and suspended on independent suspension front and rear, the chassis started as the one from under the three-window body. "There were several challenges," Rob noted. "The goal was to hide everything possible-no exposed lines, wiring, etc." For example, the built-in tanks for the pneumatic systems aren't just hidden; they've got conduits for wiring, fuel lines, brake lines, and so on running through them."
The rest of the truck is similarly detailed. For example, rather than springs, the hood rises via a pair of pneumatic cylinders; an OEM-style trunk latch locks it down. A bed slat lifts to reveal the fuel filler; the whole bed tilts to expose the rear suspension. The doors naturally lost their handles, and the cockpit between them, with its paddle shifter and multimedia-adorned center console, is far from trucklike.
While a lot of the pickup's modifications are purely aesthetic-and justifiably so, considering the truck's duty as an endorsement for the company-a great deal of those changes improve the pickup's functionality without taking away its old-truck charm. The one-piece bent windshield eliminates the obstructive post where the old glass panels once butted. The positive-locking bear-claw latches greatly increase safety, and the split-bench seat improves cockpit space and passenger comfort. And you'd certainly appreciate the power its triple-carb 383 stroker puts to the road. Whether or not you're an automatic transmission fan, you'd certainly welcome its extra gear on those open highway stretches. There's little doubt that the air-sprung Corvette underpinnings make this pickup a comfortable and, most importantly, a fun driver.
Though Chevs of the 40's staked its claim with a comprehensive line of high-quality restoration parts, the '47 pickup makes it pretty clear that it applied that same model when it created Street Rod Headquarters. It just happens to be that the proof is a rolling work of art.