Josh decided that the rear of his pickup had to be every bit as custom as the front, so it was with that intent he rolled up his sleeves and went to work. First, he fashioned the perimeter walls of the bed out of 16-gauge sheetmetal and sections of both round and square tubing. He fabricated it so that the rear of the box ended at the rear fender lines and followed the curve of them as well. The upper side box rail area was narrowed to give the fenders a larger appearance and the tubing was carried all the way to and across the tailgate area. Josh also fabricated the custom bed side steps, too, fashioning them so the exhaust tips (also fabricated by him) fit tightly under the step edges. Since the box had been configured as a closed unit (no working tailgate) Josh fabricated a remotely controlled custom, doored cargo box that rises upward electromechanically (utilizing seven linear actuators, eleven relays, and six limiting switches) from inside the bed walls for secure storage. He also fabricated a one-piece rear bed wall/rolled pan combination and extended the fender corners to mount flush with the custom bed sides and rear panel.

Josh spared no imagination or elbow grease on the pickup’s interior either. He not only fashioned the custom consoles but, like the rest of the truck, he did everything aside from the actual upholstery and carpet installation—heck, he even fabricated his own steering wheel from scratch and handled the installation of the Vintage Air system and the stereo, too.

At this point, I’m sure I’ve left out a bunch of Josh’s custom modifications but I’m sure you gather just how much thought and work he’s invested in the Chevy. And, I’m sure you’ll agree that he’s done one heck of a job at that. Now all we have to do is bide our time and keep an eye open for Josh’s next full-size classic truck project, cuz I’m pretty darn sure this baby isn’t the last custom we’ll see rolling out of the Carlson garage.

Josh & Shawna Carlson

Billings, Montana
1955 Chevy


Frame: modified stock
Modifications: Camaro clip, rear C-notch, GMC radiator core support, shortened front frame rails
Rearend / Ratio: ’78 Monte Carlo 10-bolt / 3.42:1
Rear suspension: stock ’55 Chevy springs, KYB gas shocks
Rear brakes: drum
Front suspension: ’76 Camaro clip, 2” drop spindles
Front brakes: disc
Steering box: GM 605
Front wheels: Boyd Coddington, Turbo 18 x 8
Rear wheels: Boyd Coddington, Turbo 20 x 10
Front tires: Yokohama, AVS Sport, 225/45SR18
Rear tires: Yokohama, AVS Sport, 285/35SR20
Gas tank: custom stainless


Engine: 355-cube small-block Chevy by Dennis Grimm
Heads: Vortec
Valve covers: chrome
Manifold / Induction: Edelbrock Performer / Edelbrock 650cfm
Ignition: MSD / GM HEI
Headers: Dynomax
Exhaust / Mufflers: 2½” Magnaflow / Magnaflow Super Turbo
Transmission: TH350
Modifications: Jeff Specht, Billings Montana
Shifter: Camaro


Style: big-window pickup
Modifications: shaved, rounded hood and door corners, one-piece fender and grille surround, Frenched headlights
Fenders front / rear: modified stock
Hood: pancaked, rounded corners
Grille: custom owner fabricated
Bed: completely handmade by owner
Bodywork and paint by: owner and Bob Koschel (Toxic Designs, Billings, MT)
Paint type / Color: PPG / ’02 VW Jetta blue
Headlights / Taillights: Frenched Hagan / Hagan
Bumpers: custom by owner, flipped, flaired, narrowed


Dashboard: modified stock, owner fabricated consoles
Gauges: Dakota Digital
Air conditioning: Vintage Air
Stereo: Pioneer / Eclipse
Steering wheel: handmade by owner
Steering column: Camaro
Seats: ’96 S-10
Upholstery by: Harold’s Upholstery, Billings, MT
Material / Color: leather / Neutral Grey
Carpet: wool, Neutral Grey