Matt Colvin is a Snap-on dealer, and while he drove to different shops selling tools, he would also look to see who had what and what he could trade for it. One day he was picking up some motorcycle parts from Moreland Choppers of Solana Beach, California, and the owner, Ken, asked if he wanted to buy his old Chevy truck. It just happened to be Ken's lucky day, because Matt was looking for a project truck. Ken warned him it was a fixer-upper, but Matt was handy with his hands and didn't mind the challenge. Matt filled the gas tank to the top and drove home through the coast. On the way people were honking at him and giving him funny looks. Matt was just happy to have a new running toy that he didn't give it much thought. But when he stopped and the full gas tank with the rotten fuel lines spilled out on the ground, he figured out why other drivers were giving him grief. A quick run to the parts store for a new hose, and he was back on the road home.
Meanwhile, I first met Matt well before I was an employee of CLASSIC TRUCKS magazine. I was working as a grease monkey at a Cadillac dealership, and he would come in every week and try to sell me the newest Snap-on tools. Being a gearhead, he would make his rounds to the other mechanics and then stop to see what random thing I was working on at the time. We usually talked about our motorcycle projects and how cool it would be to get a group together and ride somewhere far. One day he mentioned his '57 Chevy Stepside and how it was going together.
Matt had the Stepside at Westcoast Tire & Wheel of Oceanside, where the owner, Scott Bailey, was rebuilding a Chevy 350 for the truck. A few weeks went by and Matt invited me to his house to show me the pickup; I fell in love with the truck right there. At this point Matt had been in possession of the '57 for about four years, and he was determined to finish it soon.
Running a business while his wife, Lauren, was pregnant with his oldest son, Declan, meant time was very limited. After Matt got out of work he would finish up the day's paperwork, have dinner with Lauren, and head out to the garage to tackle the next step of the build. He enlisted the help of Chad and Everett of Acme Garage to help with the build. They installed a Heidts Mustang II kit with disc brakes, and wired the truck with a new Ron Francis electrical harness. The truck had an old tired Chevy 350 in it, and Matt knew that Scott was in with Keith Black Silv-O-Lite pistons, so he had Chad and Everett install a Ford 9-inch rearend with 3.89 gears. They decided on a 700-R4 with a 2,500-stall converter, since the motor was now ready to install and estimated to deliver 375 hp at the crank. By this point the truck needed to be pushed around, so it required four matching wheels with nice tires. Matt and Lauren went to the Big 3 Auto Parts Exchange in San Diego, where they found a new set of black Wheel Vintiques steel rims. Later, Lauren also surprised Matt with a set of four Firestone bias-ply tires for Christmas.
Matt said what he enjoys most about the truck is the steering wheel from a Studebaker Hawk GT that he had machined to fit a '85 Chevy steering column, and, of course, having his wife, Lauren, help with the build and the upholstery.