Bob Lathery has been lettering and pinstriping trucks longer than he cares to admit. From fine-line striping to cool hand-lettered doors and race cars, the man can put a graphic treatment on virtually anything.
Bob is a self-admitted "two-year man," he builds a hot rod car or truck, enjoys it for a couple years, and then it is time to move on. After selling his Deuce roadster, this 55,000-original-mile 1951 Chevy truck came along. The quintessential barn find, this low-mileage truck was wearing the original green paint applied in 1951. Inside the cab the original seat and rubber floor mat remained in place the perfect patina on the gold dash completed the look.
Driving a rock-stock truck is simply not in Bob's DNA, so it didn't take long to drop the truck using a Camaro subframe up front and lowering blocks out back. This provided modern steering, disc brakes, and independent suspension, and while the Blue Flame-six still had some fire in it, Bob opted for more power through a 1988 350 Chevrolet crate motor. The dried-out and cracking original wiring was replaced with a complete Ron Francis wiring kit and the truck was ready for some serious cruising.
Bob enjoyed the old truck with nice original paint and the proper hot rod stance for a year or so, but then during one of the Indiana winter weekends he started to think it was time for a change. This time, rather than sell the truck and move on, he would simply give the truck a whole new look, with a tribute to the great street and show trucks of the '60s and early '70s.
Being an artist himself, Bob is a student of the automotive art culture and this would be a tribute to the Watson era when lace, cobwebbing, fades, candies, and flakes were all hitting the custom scene. With that theme in mind, Bob taped out a great traditional panel paint scheme and proceeded to ply his trade with metalflake paint cobwebbing and endless lines in seemingly endless color combinations. Jeff Parham shared the painting duties with Bob.
For the most part, the dark green base is the original paint on the truck with green and copper flake panels laid over top of the original paint. Chrome rims with candy green centers complete the look that is very true to the '60s era. Randy Riall fabricated the louvered tailgate, but in keeping with the '60s movement, the rest of the truck is stock with the paintjob defining the truck as a custom.
Inside a custom seat was covered by Larry Sneed along with a pair of door panels. The stock speedo is still in the dash, but now it rests alongside a large Mallory tachometer. A 1959 Chevy steering wheel seems appropriate in the truck and that original 1951 rubber floor mat remains in service to this day.
And so the truck rolled out of the Lathery shop this spring with a whole new look, barely recognizable from the basic green hauler of last year. Reaction to the truck varies, for those who remember the '60s, nods of approvals and smiles are the norm, while those who "just don't get it" seemed shocked at the wild paint. Personally, we like the fact that the truck is a no-excuses trip back in time with all the proper paint.
Of course this is the third season for Bob and the truck, so you know what that means, but we can only wonder what might roll out of his shop when this truck finds a new home.
1951 Chevy Pickup
Frame / Manufacturer: Chevrolet
Modifications: Camaro front clip, C-notch rear rails
Chassis plumbing: all-new steel lines
Rearend / Ratio: Camaro 10-bolt
Rear suspension: leaf springs, lowered
Rear brakes: Wilwood
Front suspension: Camaro
Front brakes: Camaro disc
Master cylinder: Corvette
Steering box: Camaro
Wheel covers: chrome lug nuts, bullet dust caps
Front wheel make, size: Wheel Vintique chrome rims 15x5
Rear wheel make, size: Wheel Vintique chrome rims 15x78
Front tire make, size: 205/75R-15
Rear tire make, size: 235/70R-15
Gas tank: stock Chevy
Make: 1988 Chevrolet crate motor
Radiator: original 1951 Chevy
Valve covers: Cal Custom
Manifold / Induction: Edelbrock
Ignition / Wires: Accel
Exhaust / Mufflers: Flowmasters
Transmission: Chevrolet 350 turbo
Style: 1951 Chevy
Modifications: louvered tailgate by Randy Riall
Grille: painted 1951 Chevy
Bodywork by: owner
Paint type / Color: green and copper flake
Painter: Bob Lathery and Jeff Parham
Graphics: Bob Lathery
Headlights / Taillights: original
Outside mirror: 1951 Chevy
Bumpers: new chrome bumpers
Insert / Gauges: Mallory tach
Stereo / Speakers: Kenwood
Air conditioning: windows
Insulation: original horse hair
Wiring: Ron Francis
Steering wheel: 1959 Chevrolet
Steering column: GM
Upholsterer: Larry Sneed
Material / Color: green vinyl
Carpet: original black rubber mat