At first glance, the title of this article might lead one to wonder if they have somehow morphed into a story on American history. Not quite, although this statement is not only part of the preamble to our Constitution, but accurately describes Bob Elms' 1951 Chevy 3100 featured here.
I've described this as a more perfect union because many regard the "Advanced Design" '47-54 era as perfection for style in Chevy trucks. The story started in 2009 with a neighborly drive to his good friend Rocky Krizans' house, where in an open garage, a skilled craftsman was putting in work on a frame. Isn't it funny how an open garage and the mere frame of a classic can be a catalyst for fate to work its magic?
That craftsman was Don Meir, working on the frame to create a dreamlike blend of a '51 and a '54 truck. I am sure that the more knowledgeable among us can instantly recognize from what year, which parts have been joined together. For the rest of us, it has the front clip and frame of a '51. The cab, bed, and rear fenders were formed in 1954. Fast forward about 4,000 miles and some consistent, subtle negotiating later, and Bob became the latest owner of the classic still shod in primer. Bob proudly credits Don with the truck's excellent design and fabrication.
With the two disassembled it was taken to Scott Arnold Restorations in Mesa, Arizona, for several months of paint and body. The choice of a unique shade of PPG Sea Foam Mist Metallic was perfect. The color might be unusual, but at home on this truck. During assembly, Bob found a '30s-era metal trunk making a perfect bed-mounted carryall for cruising. In all, it took two months to get it road worthy, using two weeks dedicated to finishing the ash wood floor alone.
A quick glance at the license plate "NO2BAGS" tells us the suspension story. Bob tells a funny tale about the message it conveyed to one woman (something about saddlebags...?) Don lowered it 2 inches using a Chassis Engineering bolt-on IFS, with CPP spindles, springs, tubular A arms, 10-inch factory disc brakes, and a Mustang power rack-and-pinion unit. A 10-bolt diff with 3.48 gears and disc brakes are from Arizona Differential.
Under the hood is a stock 2008 crate 350. An Edelbrock Performer and Holley 4150 feed fuel via a Carter electric fuel pump. PerTronix distributes the fire that's vented through 2½-inch ceramic-coated Jet-Hot headers into Flo-Pro mufflers. A Walker radiator and SPAL fan unit keeps the 300 hp in check. Accents include Bill's Hot Rod chrome accessory brackets. The '60s-style Cal Custom nine-fin valve covers give it an old-school look and feel. The 700-R4 trans is ideal for all cruising. The Billet Specialties 17x7 Daggers are backspaced 4 inches to tuck neatly inside the wheelwells. BFGoodrich g-Force radials wrap the front in 225/45, and 255/45 rubber on the rear. The staggered tire sizes give it a slight hot rod rake that defines old-school cool.
Bob's choice of buckets are actually from a Honda Civic. Covered in two-tone Prairie Tan/Black marine vinyl, and crafted by The Upholstery Company in Mesa, they really complement the Sea Foam paint. An A/C unit by Vintage Air with a Super Gen II controller swiftly cools the cabin during blazing summers.
When asked about the most unique feature of his truck, Bob's response was "Stance, handling, comfort, performance, fit and finish." That just about covers all the bases. He goes on to say that "After long and careful thought, Don did such a great job that he wouldn't change a thing." Watching the build from frame to finish has been a memorable one, with friends heavily involved along the way. Bob praises and thanks his lovely wife Janice for all her support and understanding.
1951 Chevy 3100
Frame: stock 1951
Modifications: front IFS, crossmembers, body and trans mounts
RearEnd/Ratio: GM 10-bolt 3.48 by Arizona Differential
Rear Suspension: 3-inch aluminum blocks and GM Shackles
Rear Brakes: GM 10-inch disc
Front Suspension: Chassis Engineering bolt-on IFS / CPP tubular A-arms
Front Brakes: GM 10-inch disc
Steering Box: power rack-and-pinion Mustang II
Front Wheels: Billet Specialties Daggers, 17x7
Rear Wheels: Billet Specialties Daggers, 17x7
Front Tires: BFGoodrich g-Force Sport 225R4517
Rear Tires: BFGoodrich g-Force Sport 255R4517
Gas Tank: poly-neck tank
Engine: 2008 GM Crate 350
Valve Covers: Cal Custom nine-fin chrome
Manifold / Induction: Edelbrock Performer with Holley 4150
Ignition: PerTronix Electronic
Headers: HTC ceramic-coated block hugger
Exhaust/Mufflers: 2½-inch Flo-Pro by Don Meier
Transmission: 2009 GM 700-R4
Shifter: B&M cable
Style: 1951 front clip / 1954 cab, bed, rear fenders
Modifications: Innovative Rod Products running boards, taillight brackets
Fenders Front / Rear: stock 1951, front / stock 1954, rear
Hood: stock 1951
Grille: stock 1951
Bed: Bruce Horkey ash with hidden fastener Kit
Bodywork and Paint by: Scott Arnold Restorations, Mesa, AZ
Paint Type/Color: PPG Deltron custom mix Sea Foam Mist Metallic
Outside Mirrors: stock
Bumpers: stock 1951, front / 1954 rear from Brothers
Dashboard: stock 1954
Gauges: Camaro fuel/voltage/temp/oil pressure and Sunpro Tachometer
Stereo: Kenwood head unit and speakers
Steering Wheel: Grant billet
Steering Column: GM
Seats: 1999 Honda Civic buckets
Upholstery By: The Upholstery Company, Mesa, AZ
Material / Color: Medium Prairie Tan / Black
Carpet: custom carpet kit