After finishing the complete rolling chassis, paint and all, and with the full driveline installed and all of the bodywork, paint prep, edging, jamming, and the sheetmetal hung, his first son was born. This was followed closely by two more. As you might imagine, this put the project on the back burner for a while. In fact, it simmered on that burner for eight years.

Then, about a year or so ago, with his oldest son beginning to show an interest in cars (and all his pals hounding him to either finish the truck or sell it) he set himself a goal of finishing it for New Year's 2013. Diving back into the project he began with the hair-pulling job of lining up the gaps in the front sheetmetal. He started by whacking off 2 inches of the front hood lip and adding it to the upper grille bar. Next he lined up all of the hood and fender gaps, adding and removing metal until they were all perfect. After that chore was complete he then spent countless hours priming and blocking the pickup. When he was finally satisfied, he laid down a basecoat of white sealer followed by eight coats of a custom-mix (a mixture of three different House of Kolor pearls) color and four coats of Sikkens Autoclear III.

Mike's brother Steve (a veteran Chris Craft boat restorer) had fashioned a custom mahogany bed floor for the pickup which Mike stained by spraying and then hand-wiping off the orange pearl paint used on the truck body – letting the pearl in the wood grain. The "stained" mahogany was then treated to 12 coats of hand-rubbed clear and then installed in the bed with the use of stainless no-bolt bedstrips.

When it became time to tackle the interior Mike enlisted the help of his pals Jeff Redding and Eric Wunder, who started with the sound system. The Pioneer CD/DVD head unit was first followed by two Kicker amps, two Rockford Fosgate 10-inch subwoofers, and two 6¼-inch mids. The trio then fabricated and installed custom-made speaker enclosures and fashioned the other hard parts like door panels and storage compartments. Carpeting was then installed and the Honda buckets, door panels, and headliner were covered with mandarin Ultraleather. After that came glass installation and the final assembly like grille, lights, bumper, etc.

Mike says though it took a bit longer than expected, he never gave up, and the Chevy came out just as he'd pictured it in his mind 17 long years ago. Not bad for an owner-built classic pickup crafted in a two-car garage, wouldn't you say?

1955 Chevrolet
Mike Krummen
Cincinnati, Ohio

Frame: modified stock rails, shortened 12 inches, boxed, custom crossmembers, C-notched rear, tubular airbag bridge
Rear suspension: tubular airbag bridge, four-bar, Firestone airbags, triangulated Panhard bar
Rearend / ratio: 1969 Camaro 10-bolt / 3.55:1
Rear brakes: 11-inch disc
Front suspension: Fatman MII crossmember, adjustable upper A-arms by Scott's Hot Rods, Heidt's 2-inch drop spindles, RideTech airbags
Front brakes: 11-inch disc
Steering box: rack-and-pinion
Front wheels: Boyd Coddington New Wave, 18x8
Rear wheels: Boyd Coddington New Wave, 20x10
Front tires: BFGoodrich 245/45ZR18
Rear tires: BFGoodrich 275/40ZR20
Gas tank: stainless by No Limit Engineering

Engine: 2002 Trans Am LS1
Heads: stock
Valve covers: stock
Manifold / Induction: stock / injected
Ignition: stock GM
Headers: stock
Exhaust / Mufflers: custom 2½-inch stainless by owner / Flowmaster Hushpower II
Transmission: GM 4L60E
Shifter: column

Style: second-series pickup
Modifications: shaved door handles locks and mirrors, relocated fuel filler, all seams joints firewall door jambs cargo bed and spot welds smoothed, rear stake pockets lengthened, suicide doors with owner-fabricated hinges, power one-piece side glass, big-window conversion, hood front trimmed 2 inches and added to grille top, owner-fabricated inner fenders and rear wheeltubs
Bed: Mar-K, mahogany bed wood stained with body color
Fenders front / rear: modified stock
Hood: modified stock
Grille: stock
Bodywork and paint by: owner
Paint type / Color: House of Kolor / custom mix by owner
Headlights / Taillights: halogen / 1980s Cadillac
Outside mirrors: nope
Bumpers: smoothed front, rear rolled pan

Dashboard: custom dash and center console fabricated by owner
Gauges: Dakota Digital
Air conditioning: Vintage Air, owner-fabricated venting
Stereo: Pioneer, Rockford Fosgate
Steering wheel: Billet Specialties
Steering column: ididit
Seats: modified Honda Prelude
Upholstery by: Jeff Redding and owner
Material / Color: Ultraleather / mandarin
Carpet: tan