Yes, you are looking at a 1957 Chevy 3800 dualie diesel! It's an interesting and super-unique truck that definitely turns heads. A 1957 3800 dualie isn't something one sees everyday, yet it's an awesome truck that deserves some good ol' fashion CT recognition.
The owner Joel Cornuet of Lakewood, Colorado, says, "I wanted to build something different; something you wouldn't see anywhere else, and something with a modern diesel in it." Joel wanted a high-quality unique truck that wouldn't cost him over $30k. In the end with roughly 3,400 hours of labor and a little over $16k invested Joel had accomplished what he set out to do, and well under budget to boot. He also wanted to build this truck especially for his dad, he said his father had the dream of rebuilding it someday, but just never got around to it.
Joel's father, John Cornuet, purchased the truck back in 1983 from a local guy in Colorado. Originally he had big plans for the 1957; he'd wanted to turn it into a nice, lifted 4x4, but as often happens things didn't stick to schedule. Finally in 1987 Joel and his father finally began to tear into the truck starting with removing the front sheetmetal and bed. (Truth be told, Joel was only 2 years old at the time, but was ready and willing.)
After partially disassembling the truck it and all its components were strapped to the back of the frame, it moved from house to house and storage unit to storage unit. In late 2009 a much older Joel decided since they had never gotten back around to the project he was going to try and sell it on Craigslist – with only a few inquiries it wasn't looking all that promising. Meanwhile, Joel and his wife decided to head to the 2010 Street Rod Nationals in Pueblo, Colorado, and after looking at hundreds of hot rods and cool trucks Joel decided to keep the truck and restart the project.
He began by purchasing a wrecked 2003 Silverado, which Joel would use quite a few parts from to build his 1957 diesel dualie. The 6.6L LB7 diesel motor was the perfect fit for Joel's project, but with the weight of the Duramax motor Joel knew he needed a better, stronger frame. He found a shortened 1957 3800 frame that is a 1-ton frame, plenty capable of handling the extra load from the diesel motor as well as the Allison 1000 tranny he'd pulled from the donor truck. We all know that the motor and tranny weren't going to just snug right in without modification and so did Joel. Much of the first year Joel spent getting the motor and tranny mounted correctly, custom fabricating a brand-new firewall, and widening the rear fenders 5 inches to fit the dualie rearend.
The donor truck ended up working out great for Joel as he was able to not only use the motor and the tranny, but the seats, dash, computer (ECU) and the entire wiring harness as well. Moving on to the stance of this dualie, Joel left the majority of it a stock 1957, using the front straight I-beam axle with the GM five-leaf spring sets on both the front and rear. The dualie was equipped with a Dana 60 rear with a gear ratio of 3.73:1 by Front Range Drive Line in Denver. All six 16x8 stock 1957 3800 steel wheels were wrapped in Geo Trac 235/85/16 tires to help keep this behemoth stable and on the ground.
Year two of the build was quite a task for Joel as he did most of the bodywork, paint, and assembly himself. He had to custom fab a skeleton for the Silverado dash to mount to and kept the donor interior mainly stock with all the Silverado parts, including the seats, the dash, the gauges, and the stock GM stereo. He threw down some new black carpet to cover the floor of the cab as well as some nice new door panels from Brothers Trucks. Joel also threw a nice custom headliner into the mix and added a factory GM compass/outside temp rearview mirror too.
When it came to the exterior of this rig, Joel stated it was one of the most challenging parts of the build. He said, "I have done bodywork before, but I have never had to do a whole vehicle. It's not hard, it's tedious and repetitive." Joel did a great job for being a greenhorn at bodywork – heck, he even fabricated the cool custom grille as well. Another great idea was the use of a Jeep JK Rubicon front bumper. Joel chose Goodmark for the new rear bumper and a pine bed floor from Brothers Trucks. To finish his rig off right and how he wanted it, Joel went with Summit Racing Hot Rod Black paint and also did it on his own.
Joel drives his rig on a weekly basis, whether it's to work or to a show, and he is planning on taking it to Reno this upcoming summer for Hot August Nights. "I would have used the 2003 chassis and spent my time shortening that and getting the body to fit on that instead," stated Joel. His most memorable experience was when he got everything all wired and tried to start it for the first time. "It cranked over about three times and started right up!" Joel says, "It was a great sense of accomplishment," and we couldn't agree more.
1957 Chevrolet 3800
Frame: modified Chevy 3800
Rearend / Ratio: Dana 60 / 3.73:1
Rear suspension: heavy-duty leaf
Rear brakes: drum
Front suspension: leaf sprung I-beam
Front brakes: drum
Steering box: GM
Front wheels: 16-inch steel
Rear wheels: 16-inch steel
Front tires: Geo Trac 235/85R16
Rear tires: Geo Trac 235/85R16
Gas tank: custom
Engine: 2003 GM Duramax 6.6L
Valve covers: stock
Manifold / Induction: stock / injection
Headers: iron manifolds
Exhaust / Mufflers: custom / big
Transmission: Allison automatic
Style: 3800 dualie pickup
Modifications: custom grille, widened rear fenders
Fenders front / rear: modified stock / modified stock
Grille: custom by owner
Bodywork and paint by: owner
Paint type / Color: Summit Racing / Hot Rod Black
Headlights / Taillights: aftermarket / custom
Outside mirrors: stock Chevrolet
Bumpers: Jeep front, Brothers Truck Parts rear
Dashboard: 2003 Chevy Silverado
Air conditioning: Silverado
Steering wheel: Silverado
Steering column: Silverado
Upholstery by: factory GM
Material / Color: vinyl / black