We're not certain what it is that makes a person keep a truck for a long time; we suspect it "just happens." Terry Temples bought this '59 Chevrolet from the original owner in 1967 for the princely sum of $950. It was the same year that Terry married his wife, Linda, and the black truck with gold interior was their only means of transportation. In 1969 Terry drove Linda to the hospital in it for the birth of their son, Wesley, so this truck has plenty of sentimental value.
The '59 was used as a daily driver until the mid '70s when it was relegated to weekend duty. Still black, with a set of Western wheels, it was a good looking, albeit mostly stock, Chevy pickup. Being a car guy, other cars came and went-a '67 GTO among others-but the truck always had a spot in the garage.
In 2004 Terry decided it was time to take the old truck to the next level and perform a complete frame-off build. James Boyd of Road King Customs in Woodstock, Georgia, had recently opened his shop, and Terry brought the truck to him with a clear vision of what he wanted. James had all the skills to make it happen. The interesting thing about Road King Customs is that every bit of the work is performed under one roof-frame, body, and upholstery-and it's all done by James.
The plan was simple. Terry likes the ofttimes under-appreciated looks of the '59 Chevrolet and wanted the truck to remain basically stock in appearance. Then, through a series of subtle modifications, great panel work, and a proper hot rod stance, Terry felt certain the old truck would be a real head turner. As you can see it was a solid approach.
The first order of business was to remove the cab and bed from the frame. A Heidts independent front suspension was installed, providing a great stance and modern disc brakes. Out back the framerails were boxed and C'd to provide strength and axle clearance for the new lower stance. The 8.8 Ford rearend is located via stock-style leaf springs. After 40 years the old 283 was ready for retirement, and to that end Twister Engines in Cummings, Georgia, built up a 350ci engine that produces 403 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. Chrome accessories dress up the engine, while a Billet Specialties Tru-Trac system mounts the A/C compressor, alternator, and power steering pump. Fuel is fed through a Holley carb and Edelbrock intake with Mickey Thompson stainless steel headers handling the spent gases. The potent small-block is hooked to a 700-R4 overdrive transmission with a Hurst shifter handling the gear selection. When all the chassis fabrication was complete the frame was detailed, painted, and polished to perfection.
While many vintage trucks have suffered through years of abuse as a work truck, this '59 had lead a charmed life being garaged since new. The cab and bed were virtually rust free and the body was in excellent overall condition. Of course that's a relative term, as panel fit and finish on a stock '59 Chevy truck is hardly what a top-built custom truck should be. To that end James turned his focus on the bodywork. The somewhat cumbersome hood ornament was eliminated along with the front fender trim. The door handles were shaved and the tailgate hardware removed, all else is just as Chevrolet made it in 1959. Untold hours were spent fitting and finishing the panels on the truck before James sprayed the Viper Red paint on the truck.
All the aluminum and stainless trim on the truck was brought back to better than new condition before being reinstalled on the truck. Inside the bed Jennifer Boyd finished the oak flooring that is joined with stainless steel strips. James machined the tailgate latches making this one very smooth tailgate that opens with the push of two levers. The lighting front and rear remains stock, with LED inserts in the taillights for superior lighting.