With a last name like Steele, you have to have some sort of American iron in the garage. Well, Bill lives up to his last name-and then some. He actually has a shop in Oakdale, Pennsylvania, where he builds rolling works of art, but usually of the two-wheeled variety. Steele Kustoms turns out many one-of-a-kind custom motorcycles, and those with cable TV might have seen him around.

Recently, he and his crew at the shop have turned some attention to things with four wheels and built a very cool Model A ford hot rod that was awarded Goodguys Hot Rod of the Year at their big show in Columbus, Ohio. So it would come as no surprise to tell you that Bill likes trucks too, huh? After all, he needs something to haul all those scooters in.

As it happens, Bill had a '64 Chevy C-10 that was his daily driver/shop truck that he had 'bagged, lettered the doors, and burned through tires in. A good friend of his, Fritz, always wanted that truck in a bad way and finally talked Bill into selling it to him. This was actually good for Bill since he really wanted to find a pre-'55 Chevy to do basically the same thing. The search was on! Bill found an old note from one of the shows in Columbus with the name Dwayne Lawrence and '55 truck written on it and called the number with his fingers crossed. Amazingly, the rare '55 Chevy First Series truck was still there, so Bill headed straight to Kentucky to pick up the clean project.

The '55 was indeed a nice beginning for what Bill wanted to do as it already was 'bagged by Hales Rod Shop in Texas who also set up the rest of the chassis with a Fatman Fabrications Mustang II IFS and the rearend from an S-10. Hales also took care of the mild-yet-reliable small-block and TCI 700-R4 transmission so the truck would be a freeway cruiser. The 350 is topped with a no-muss, no-fuss Edelbrock Performer intake and carb combo and is even stuffed with an Edelbrock camshaft.

The truck came to Bill in a nice natural patina from sitting out in the elements for decades, and Bill thought that was alright for a few months, but got the itch to do something else with it without getting crazy. Well, we all know where this is going! Bill straightened out the body and got it ready to spray flattened PPG Harley (naturally) Sunglow Blue. The low-key paint was by no means crazy, but it was now evident that many parts that were fine before would need a trip to the chrome shop or be replaced all together.

Besides the paint color, Bill said the hardest decision was what to run for wheels and tires. All those late nights of rolling the question around in his head came up with the perfect answer. After his epiphany he ordered a set of Wheel Vintique's steel wheels, but he had them powdercoated in a two-tone of sorts. The centers are gloss black and the outers are simulated chrome so it looks like the rims have beauty rings on them-way cool. He couldn't run any old hubcaps on the 16- and 18-inch wheels either. Starting with plain chrome hubcaps, he taped off the center and had them powdercoated black to match the rims so now the hubcaps looked even smaller in diameter.

After a quick three months, Bill with a little help from Phil and DJ at Steele Kustoms, had himself the perfect truck-one that looks cool that he can drive hard in rain, shine, or snow. After all, he does live in Pennsylvania and with a little air out of the 'bags in the wintertime, the bumper pushes the fluffy white stuff out of the way for his morning commute. That sounds cold, but cool!

Bill Steel
OAKDALE, PENNSYLVANIA
1955 CHEVROLET FIRST SERIES
CHASSIS
FRAME: stock
MODIFICATIONS: C-notch, boxed
REAREND / RATIO: S-10 / 3.08:1 limited-slip
REAR SUSPENSION: parallel leafs, Ridetech 'bags
REAR BRAKES: GM drum
FRONT SUSPENSION: Fatman IFS, dropped spindles, Ridetech 'bags
FRONT BRAKES: GM disc
STEERING BOX: rack-and-pinion
FRONT WHEELS: Wheel Vintique steel, 16x6
REAR WHEELS: Wheel Vintique steel, 18x7
FRONT TIRES: Goodyear, 225/60R16
REAR TIRES: Goodyear, 245/55R18
GAS TANK: Mustang
DRIVETRAIN
ENGINE: '78 Chevy 350ci
HEADS: stock iron
VALVE COVERS: finned aluminum
MANIFOLD / INDUCTION: Edelbrock combo
IGNITION: HEI
EXHAUST / MUFFLERS: custom 2 1/2" / Flowmaster
TRANSMISSION: TCI 700-R4
BODY
STYLE: 3100 three-window
FENDERS FRONT / REAR: stock
HOOD: stock
GRILLE: chrome
BED: stock, raised floor
BED WOOD: stained black
BODYWORK BY: owner
PAINT BY: owner
PAINT TYPE / COLOR: PPG / flattened Harley Sunglow Blue
HEADLIGHTS / TAILLIGHTS: stock / '37 Ford
BUMPERS: stock chrome
INTERIOR
GAUGES: Dolphin
DASH: stock
AIR CONDITIONING: none
STEERING WHEEL: Chevrolet
STEERING COLUMN: ididit
SEAT: modified stock
UPHOLSTERY BY: Trenz City, Columbus, OH
MATERIAL / COLOR: vinyl / dark blue
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