To each their own, or in this case, to each do as they will with their pickups...even if that means masking its true identity to a degree. In the situation of David Thompson, doing his own thing resulted in a little frontal cosmetic surgery on his '58 GMC pickup. If you hadn't already noticed, gone are the quad headlights and the very utilitarian grille and bumper ensemble-all in favor of the simpler, smoother look of a '55-56 Chevy front group. Purist Jimmy fans may undoubtedly disagree with David's particular approach, but as we're sure most readers have learned by now, so what...it's not their truck! And because of that, we'll let David himself tell the tale of how his '58 came to be.
"I bought the truck back in 2004 as a completely gutted-out shell-no motor, trans, electrical, not even a rear differential, and very few of the original parts-for $800! (Might help explain the earlier front end a bit! -Ed.) I dragged it home, where it sat in my garage for the following year as I planned out my build. In June 2005, my son Robert and I started the project by tearing down what was there, which didn't take long since there wasn't much to begin with!
"After teardown, I took the cab to a local body shop for paint; the frame and a truckload of parts were sent out for powdercoating afterward. Now it was time to go shopping for parts. I used CLASSIC TRUCKS for almost all of what was needed, and over the next few months, the UPS truck began dropping off packages a few times a week-so much so that I got to know the driver by name!
"Once all the parts had arrived and the powdercoating finished, I started putting everything back together in the garage. (My wife was good about it, even though she had to park outside, while I used up our entire three-car garage!) First came the small-block 350 crate motor from Phoenix Engines; a TCI Street Fighter Turbo 350 transmission with a B&M converter from Summit Racing followed.
"About five months into the build, I went over to the body shop to check on my cab. Upon arriving, I saw that almost nothing had been done. The owner of shop informed me that he had just sold the business and would be retiring in two weeks. Needless to say, I was a bit upset, but nonetheless, he asked me: 'Do you have anyone in mind to take on your truck?' Obviously not, as I wasn't expecting him to retire before my truck was finished. He said: 'I know of someone who will take on the job.' So around the corner of his building we go, off toward the back to a small, one-man shop where I was introduced to Dave Lopez, owner of Dave's Custom Paint. I glanced around the shop, and all I saw were classic cars. After a short conversation, the project was his. In the long run, this day ended up turning out to be by far the best thing that had happened to my truck!
"Over the course of the next year, as the parts continued to show up and Dave finished up the cab (and forthcoming body panels), I could see everything coming together...I could see life finally returning to this old '58.
"April 2007 was the truck's maiden voyage. Wow, two years of busting my knuckles in the garage, and now I was driving her around the block. The smile on my face went from window to window as I cruised down the street!"
|Facts & Figures|
|1958 GMC Stepside|
|Modifications:|| Camaro front clip|
|Rearend / Ratio:|| Chevy / 3.23:1|
|Rear suspension:|| Air Ride Technologies|
|Rear brakes:|| GM disc|
|Front suspension:|| Camaro w/ShockWaves|
|Front brakes:|| GM disc|
|Steering box:|| Saginaw power|
|Front wheels:|| Torq-Thrust II, 18x8|
|Rear wheels:|| Torq-Thrust II, 20x10|
|Front tires:|| Nitto, 225/35ZR18|
|Rear tires:|| Nitto, 275/30ZR20|
|Gas tank:|| 16-gal., under bed by Kustom Tanks |
|Engine:|| Phoenix Engines 350 crate|
|Heads:|| Edelbrock |
|Valve covers:|| Billet Specialties|
|Manifold / Induction:|| Edelbrock Air-Gap / dual Edelbrock Thunder AVS 500s|
|Mufflers:|| Summit Racing|
|Transmission:|| TCI Street Fighter TH350|
|Modifications:|| B&M 2,500 converter|
|Shifter:|| Lokar |
|Style:|| 1/2-ton Stepside|
|Modifications:|| ’55 Chevy front clip, shaved handles/emblems|
|Fenders front / rear:|| ’55 Chevy / stock|
|Hood:|| ’55 Chevy|
|Grille:|| ’55 Chevy|
|Bed:|| stock, rails filled/capped, smooth ’gate|
|Bodywork and paint by:|| Dave Lopez, Clovis, CA|
|Paint type / Color:|| PPG / Prowler Orange|
|Headlights / Taillights:|| ’55 Chevy / ’39 Ford LED|
|Outside mirrors:|| Billet Specialties|
|Bumpers:|| ’55 Chevy front, LMC rolled rear pan |
|Gauges:|| Auto Meter, inverted ’32 Ford billet insert|
|Air conditioning:|| Old Air Products|
|Stereo:|| Custom Autosound by owner|
|Steering wheel:|| Billet Specialties|
|Steering column:|| Flaming River|
|Seats:|| ’96 Honda buckets|
|Upholstery by:|| D&D Custom Vans, owner|
|Material / Color:|| Katzkin leather / tan|
|Carpet:|| tan wool |