Not only is our pal Rick Amado one heck of a photographer, but he’s got some kind of sixth sense when it comes to finding awesome subject matter as well. This time around Rick’s done it yet again capturing Trish and Rich Wright’s beautiful ’51 Chevy.
The Wrights first spied the pickup on a message board when their friend in Austin, Texas, put it up for sale. The truck had been treated to a restoration just a few years before by a local Austin-area shop, but the asking price was a bit too steep for the couple. They liked it and figured they’d keep their eye on the posting for a while just in case the price dropped. Lucky for them it eventually did—and they went ahead and made the purchase over the web. That’s when the stress set in…not only had the couple never actually seen the truck, checked on its paperwork, title or VIN number, they’d actually never even met their message board pal face to face. Though they did have plenty of faith in their long-distance pal, buying a vehicle sight unseen was still a new experience, so with crossed fingers they went ahead and mailed out a check for the pickup and hoped for the best.
Two weeks later the truck and its required paperwork arrived at the Wright’s. Everything looked good and the paperwork seemed to be in order. They then had the VIN inspected by the local sheriff, transferred the title and got it registered the very next day. After putting a few miles on the Chevy, Rich found a number of things he really didn’t care for, some based on personal taste and a few he knew had to be addressed. There was no telling how long the truck had been sitting before they got it, and there were a few things that were obviously neglected during that time. The tires had some pretty severe flat spots (Rich said they were only round on the top), and the bed wood had never been finished, so it was dried out and beginning to buckle and split. The paint had faded and was covered with more than just a few chips and scrapes, and the electrical wiring was pretty much a rat’s nest.
The Wright’s tackled those issues one at a time. Beginning with the electrical system Rich swapped out the generator for a 12-volt alternator and rewired everything under the dash and in the engine compartment. Next he stripped the pickup’s ’57 Chevy 261ci inline-six down to a long-block, reassembling it with fresh parts, paint, and pinstriping. He then added a cast Fenton exhaust header and split pipes equipped with a pair of glasspack mufflers. The original single-barrel Rochester was swapped out for a Holley 94 two-barrel. (Rich has a bunch of experience with the Holleys and is able to tune them so they outperform the Rochesters, as well as giving the pickup a good seven to 10 more miles per gallon.)
According to Rich, the bed wood didn’t look so bad that it’d need complete replacing, so he just gave it a thorough sanding and a few coats of Minwax urethane. Next, Rich set out to see if he could bring some new life to the pickup’s weathered paint. He rolled up his sleeves and began wet sanding the surfaces, starting out with 1,200 grit and working his way up to 200 grit. After sanding, he buffed the surface to a bright, shiny finish that you can see looks like it was painted yesterday.