A sweet Chevy indeed! I couldn't help but take a second look at Bob Brodkorb's '54 as I strolled by it at one of Denver's premier hot rod shows. What an amazing piece of work; the craftsmanship of the build and the way it all came together is impressive to say the least.
Always having a soft spot for the '54's body style, plus the fact that 1954 was his birth year, Bob decided he wanted to build one someday. "I was the kid who could tell you what make, model, and year of every car or truck that was passing by," Bob says. After deciding the time was right to fulfill his dream, he spent months searching online, through magazines and newspaper ads galore, and finally came across what you see today. Well, for the most part. The '54 was an unfinished restoration project of a local gentleman who didn't have the time nor the cash to keep the project moving. The motor that was in it at the time was a typical Chevy 350 V-8 and a turbo 350 automatic conversion. After taking a closer look at it once he had gotten the truck home, Bob found that a lot of the work just wasn't up to his standards. It ran good and would have been fine if he wanted a daily driver, but Bob desired much more. "I wanted more of a weekend Hot Rod," he says. After being garaged for a couple of months while developing a game plan, Bob decided what he wanted to do with his new purchase. "I thought I would toss in a new engine and tranny, lower it, and then drive it." Yeah, sure! We all know how that goes, right. That's how it always starts.
Bob decided to have a chat with Lee Baumgartner at Zoomers Automotive in Denver to see if he would be willing to take on the build. With no project too big or too small for Zoomers, Lee thought this would be a fun build as well. All was going fine until they took the body off the frame. It was a whole new ball game then. So much for Bob's initial budget! With the body off they decided to fill all the unnecessary holes in the frame, replace all the old with new, and then blast it and get it powdercoated once it'd been modified. Bob then decided to go with a Mustang II frontend with 2-inch drop spindles. He wanted it lower though, so he decided to go with a quality air ride system up front so he could adjust the height to his liking. Out back a 4.11:1 geared Currie 9-Plus rear was installed, utilizing custom blocks and hangers custom built by Zoomers. Airbags were also installed in the rear, giving Bob the ability to dump this baby all the way around when at shows or whenever he felt the urge. A pair of heavy-duty disc brakes was installed up front and hefty 11-inch drums in the rear.
With the frame mostly complete Bob was ready to tackle the motor and rid his dream machine of its tired 350. He tossed in a new Chevy ZZ4 350 crate motor outfitted with a COMP cam, a tunnel ram from Edelbrock, and a custom-made set of tube headers backed by custom 21/2-inch pipes and a pair of Flowmaster Super 44 mufflers. A custom Hilborn-style scoop was modified to hold a K&N as well. Bob wanted his new ZZ4 to be at home on the freeway so he decided to go with a Chevy 700-R4, again fabbed up custom by Zoomers. With the motor and chassis work complete, it was time to get going on the pickup's paint and bodywork.