The itch for building a classic pickup is a feeling lots of gearheads experience as time goes by. Some scratch that itch early in life; some hold off until they just can't ignore it any longer. In Frank Tucker's case, it took a fair amount of time to start scratchin' and near 10 years to finally satisfy that itch. Frank's satisfaction came in the form of this way-cool '52 Chevy three-window pickup.
Back when Frank finally decided that it was time to quit thinkin' about an ol' truck and to start lookin' he eventually ran across a less-than-pristine, but pretty darn nice West Texas workhorse. The Chevy turned out to be a good solid foundation for a slow but steady rodstoration. The task was a bit slow cuz Frank had always had his hands full keeping his clientele at Industrial Crankshaft Repair happy and steady with the help of both friends (Craig 'n' Shorty Clark and Ken Stek) and the hot rod craftsmen (at Stek Lo Hot Rods, Wadell's Auto Body, and Indian Summer Upholstery) when duty called at the machine shop.
The pickup's stock frame was modified with the installation of a Mustang II-style IFS crossmember and components up front, a custom trans crossmember, and a freshened-up set of rear leaf springs mounting an 8-inch Ford rearend (via a pair of 2-inch lowering blocks). Power for Frank's flyer is supplied by a stout LS1 Vette motor backed by a 4L60E electronic overdrive transmission.
The pickup's updated chassis then became the fresh foundation for its newly restored/repaired sheetmetal. The cab and bed assemblies were massaged back into pristine shape as well as slightly modified with details like a shaved and filled hood, shaved door handles, relocated fuel filler, and a neat rolled rear pan. With the Chevy's cab and bed freshly repaired and prepped, Frank chose an eye-opening shade of DuPont Tangier Orange. Once the folks at Wadell's Auto Body had finished applying the glass-smooth orange urethane, Frank then decided to add a helping of purple flames as well as some tasteful pinstriping applied by Monte Smith of Performance Plus.
With the chassis and body complete, the icing on the cake ended up being the pickup's comfy cabin. A pair of late-model bucket seats and custom door panels were upholstered in a combination of vinyl and tweed, a billet instrument cluster filled with a full complement of VDO gauges were installed in the dash, and a Vintage Air combination heat and A/C unit was mounted under/behind the dash. Added to those upgrades were a high-quality sound system and a later-model GM column topped by a good-lookin' Lecarra steering wheel.
It seems to us that Frank has done a great job of scratchin' that classic truck itch. His pickup is one great-looking ride that was surely worth the time and effort it has taken to turn it from just an ol' truck into an awesome hot rod hauler.
Frame: modified stock
Rearend / Ratio: 8-inch Ford / 3.25:1
Rear suspension: leaf, 2-inch lowering blocks
Rear brakes: drum
Front suspension: Mustang II IFS
Front brakes: disc
Steering box: Mustang rack-and-pinion
Front wheels: Foose billet / Wheel Vintiques Smoothies
Rear wheels: Foose billet / Wheel Vintiques Smoothies
Front tires: Hankook
Rear tires: Hankook
Gas tank: Tanks Inc.
Engine: 346ci LS1
Valve covers: Corvette
Manifold / Induction: GM / EFI
Ignition: GM electronic
Headers: Hooker, Super Comp
Exhaust / Mufflers: 21/2-inch aluminized / Flo-Pro
Modifications: shaved, molded, V-butted windshield, rolled pan
Fenders front / rear: stock / stock
Hood: stock, filled
Bodywork and paint by: Wadell's Body Shop, Oskaloosa, Iowa
Paint type / Color: DuPont / Tangier Orange, Chrome Illusion Purple
Headlights / Taillights: stock / LED
Bumpers: stock / rolled pan
Dashboard: modified stock
Air conditioning: Vintage Air
Stereo: Kenwood / Alpine
Steering wheel: Lecarra
Steering column: GM
Upholstery by: Indian Summer Upholstery, Oskaloosa, Iowa
Material / Color: vinyl, tweed / black