Lots of builders realize that it’s sometimes better to start with an already customized truck rather than starting from scratch. Upgrades that are beyond your capabilities could already be in place, simplifying your construction efforts and getting you behind the wheel sooner. One look is all it takes to know whether or not you like the changes and a test drive can usually clinch the deal. That’s the approach that Matt Majeski took when building his beautiful 1951 Chevy 3100.
Matt is a correctional officer living in Miami, Florida and he says with a smile, “The truck was one of the best Christmas presents I ever got!” The project began at Daytona’s famous Turkey Run Car Corral. The primered vintage Chevy had a for-sale sign on it and listed lots of interesting upgrades. The truck was in primer with a 2.75-inch chopped top, (although many hours of metal massaging would be required later to achieve a smooth exterior).
The truck had boxed original framerails, mounted to a second-gen Camaro subframe. Heidts tubular control arms and QA1 coilovers were added up front. Out back, a Heidts four-link, Panhard bar, Alden Eagle springs and double adjustable coilovers hold the 10-bolt rear from a 1969 Camaro fitted with 2.73 gears. The 400 CID small-block V-8 under the hood was running on only six cylinders, but fortunately it was enough to get Matt back to Miami.
At the same time that Matt got his truck, his brother Kyle got a motorcycle and the family welder allowed the pair to tackle the rebuild projects together. Their dad, Roger Majeski, is a professional mechanic who helped his sons throughout the build process. Basic troubleshooting and an infusion of new parts soon had the 400 small-block running on all eight cylinders. The truck uses a Holley 600 carb and Victor Jr. intake along with Hooker full-length headers that feed a stainless steel exhaust system and Flowmaster mufflers.
The engine is mated to a Chevy Turbo 350 transmission. Matt realized that a new wiring harness was in order when he lost power one day on his way to the store. Everything in the truck died including the door poppers. Investigation revealed that there was only a single fuse in the wiring harness and when it blew, everything shut down. They pushed the truck home in the rain and rewired the truck from bumper to bumper.
Bodywork was next, beginning by massaging every inch of the aging sheetmetal. The front end was smoothed and a show-chromed grille and bumper were added along with stainless steel headlight rings. The door handles were shaved, the hood pieces welded together, the cowl vent welded shut, and classic sport side mirrors added. Matt chose Pro’s Pick side panels to update the bed, along with steel reproduction rear fenders and smooth running boards. Four LED taillights shine from the custom rear pan. Since wheels can make or break a truck, Matt picked out a set of Billet Specialties Rails, 18x8 up front, and 20x8.5 in the rear, running 40-series Michelin Pilot Sport rubber. To ensure modern stopping power, hefty six-piston Baer brakes with 14-inch rotors and stainless steel lines grab all four wheels.
The inspiration for the elegant interior began with a few photos that Matt had been carrying for years. Since the oak bed had already been stained a rich Colonial Maple, Matt wanted an interior color that would complement the bed and his choice of natural leather blends perfectly. The seats are full power buckets from a Cadillac, stitched by the specialists at Unlimited Designs in Dade City, Florida, who also created the elegant leather headliner and matching wool carpet. The custom dash is from Bitchin’ Products, originally designed for a 1937 Dodge and fitted by the crew at C&C Rod Shop in Port Richey, Florida. It holds a six-gauge Classic Instrument package and Vintage Air oval A/C outlets. When the engine is off, another form of music fills the cab thanks to the Alpine head unit in the center console, controlling the hidden Alpine amp and powering Boston Acoustik 6.5-inch component sets in the kick panels and 6x9s in the rear. Once all the details were attended to, the final step was paint. After finishing the bodywork, the C&C Rod Shop crew sprayed the distinctive Aston Martin Lightning Silver paint.
On the day that the truck was complete, Matt and Kyle headed out to a car show. Unfortunately, Matt’s conservative driving style wasn’t quick enough for Kyle who leaned over and stepped on the gas pedal. The truck fishtailed on the wet street and although they were fortunate to avoid the canal, they did wind up crashing into a tree. “A real learning experience ensued after that,” Matt says with a smile. The rebuild process began again with a new front clip and we photographed the truck shortly after it was complete for the second (third?) time. Matt says driving his new truck back to Daytona was an amazing experience, retracing the route where it all began. Although the truck had more than a few setbacks during the eight-year build, Matt says, “We can all laugh about it now. The truck came out gorgeous and everyone in the family was part of it. All of our skills and patience came a long way.” ct
1951 Chevy 3100
Frame: modified stock
Modifications: boxed, Camaro subframe
Rearend / Ratio: 10-bolt / 2.73:1
Rear suspension: Heidts four-link, QA1 coilovers
Rear brakes: Baer 14” disc
Front suspension: Camaro clip, Heidts tubular control arms, QA1 shocks
Front brakes: Baer 14” disc
Steering box: GM 605
Front wheels: 18x8 Billet Specialties
Rear wheels: 20x8.5 Billet Specialties
Front tires: Michelin
Rear tires: Michelin
Gas tank: 18-gal fuel cell
Engine: 400ci SBC
Valve covers: aluminum
Manifold / Induction: Edelbrock / Holley 600 cfm
Exhaust / Mufflers: stainless / Flowmaster
Style: 3100 pickup
Modifications: top chopped 2.75”, nosed, shaved
Fenders front / rear: stock / stock
Hood: stock, filled
Bed: Pro’s Pick sides
Bodywork and paint: by owner and C&C Rod Shop, Port Richey, FL
Paint type / Color: urethane / Aston Martin Lightning Silver
Headlights / Taillights: halogen / LED
Outside mirrors: sport
Bumpers: stock, front; rolled pan, rear
Dashboard: custom Bitchin’ Products
Gauges: Classic Instruments
Air conditioning: Vintage Air
Stereo: Alpine, Boston Acoustic
Steering wheel: Billet Specialties
Steering column: ididit
Upholstery by: Unlimited Design, Dade City, FL