The Chevy 3100 shortbed truck left a lasting impression on Dave Parish during his childhood and has been a part of his life ever since. When he was 7 years old a neighbor, Charley, asked his parents if he could take Dave to the Missouri State Fair. Charley showed up driving a new '57 Chevy 3100 shortbed-black, six-cylinder four-speed-that was the neatest thing Dave had ever seen. Dave doesn't remember much about that State Fair but the fond memories of driving in the truck stayed with him. In 1966, at the age of 16, Dave found a '55 Chevy shortbed at a local dealer. The Chevy was a six-cylinder with three on the tree and faded red with off-white top paint; $200 traded hands and he was driving it home. A couple of months later he put a 396 four-speed out of a wrecked '65 Chevy Impala SS and the motor gave the truck new life. He owned several of these trucks over the years but never did a full restoration on any of them until he acquired his latest creation, a '57 Chevy 3100 shortbed.
In 2000 Dave had an "exciting" year. He married Pamela and six weeks later fell off a ladder and broke both wrists and his tailbone. Ouch! Pamela took good care of him and even brought home the Kansas City Star, which had the local for sale ads (you know just to give Dave something to look at). It's funny how things happen; a '57 Chevy 3100 Stepside just happened to be for sale. Three weeks of sitting around and cabin fever was setting in. Pamela asked him if he wanted to go for a ride, and he said there was a truck from the paper that he wanted to just look at (right, our wives know better than that). They took a look at the truck and ended up buying it. The owner, Bob Reno, liked Dave and Pamela and wanted it to have the right home. He had started the restoration and wanted the truck to be finished just right. I think he passed the truck to the right hands.
On the way home-two miles from the previous owner's house-the truck suddenly stopped running. Dave tried to restart the '57 but it didn't want to run right away. They cranked the motor over and waited but it was not until after 30 minutes of trying the motor that it finally started up again. Dave thought his worries were all past him but two miles later in the middle of downtown Kansas City traffic, the Chevy was dead as a doornail. Pamela was following Dave and pulled in front of him and said, "Let's pull this thing home." The towrope ended up being about six feet from the tow vehicle's rear bumper to the '57 front bumper and Dave was hoping to just get the truck home. As Pamela pulled away he quickly realized that she had power brakes and power steering, and he was only 6 feet away from her bumper going 60 mph. Remember Dave had two casts, one on each arm, and his tailbone was broken. I could only imagine the white-knuckled ride. It turned out that the driveability problem was a dirty gas tank full of sediment.
A 383-stroker motor replaced the inline-six backed by a 700-R4 and the truck ran well, but it didn't handle good with the suspension components he originally installed. Dave's next plan of action was to rebuild the frame and suspension using a '87 Corvette. When it was time to install the wheels the tires were in the center of the front fenders. Oops! Third times a charm. Dave got rid of the Corvette idea and installed a Global West front IFS tubular suspension kit. Now the wheels and tires fit like they should. The 383 was a lot of fun, but Dave wanted more torque so he rebuilt a 454 big-block and had it balanced and blueprinted.
Dave would like to thank his cousin Randy Evans of Auto Color and Equipment for helping pick the color, and Joe from behind the counter for the countless times Dave called and asked silly questions. A very special thanks goes out to Tim Kinnerman, a longtime friend of 50 years. Tim spent countless hours and late nights welding, hammering, smoothing, and straitening the pickup with minimal complaints. We all could use a friend like Tim.