It's not all that unheard of in classic truck circles that a guy has a dream truck in mind for a long spell, and then one day the time finally comes when he gets to build it. Ever since Bruce Singer learned how to drive in his dad's 1964 Chevy K10, he's had a love for old trucks and hot rods. The '64 4x4 Chevy was the shop truck at the Singer family's Standard station, and amongst the tasks Bruce performed on customer cars before he even had a driver's license was to install go-fast parts. The work order would read a hot cam in this, and headers on that, and so it went.
Ever since his younger days Bruce has never been without a pickup, but it was in 1997 that he scored the raw materials for what would eventually end up as his over-the-top ultimate dream truck. Originally the 1955 second series GMC was from Arizona, the truck belonged to the original owner's grandson, and it was in pretty good unmolested shape when Bruce's friend John had the Jimmy shipped to Illinois. Once John got his hands on the GMC he decided with 179,000 miles on its Pontiac-sourced 287-inch engine and compound four-speed tranny that the truck was just a little worn out for his intentions.
No problem, Bruce took it off John's hands and used the GMC to hit the local car shows on the weekends. Around 2007 Bruce put the word out he was looking for a rat motor to drop in the GMC. Word came of 1970 LS7 engine that was plucked out of a Nova drag car that flipped and ate a guardrail. Bruce bought the ex-drag motor and hauled it over to R&R Engineering in Addison, Illinois.
First on the agenda was to detune the rat to run on pump gas. R&R punched the cylinders out 0.60 over and popped in a set of Keith Black 10:1 pistons. In place of its radical solid-lifter cam, a Comp High Energy hydraulic flat-tappet cam was degreed in. The top end got the full Offenhauser treatment with a pair of finned Offy valve covers and an Offy cross-ram dual-quad intake manifold. For ignition there's a Vertex magneto complete with a mechanical tach drive that powers a Stewart Warner tach. Interestingly in this state of tune the rat is a good powerplant for an old pickup – it puts out 525 horsepower at a low 4,200 rpm. Once the decision was made to build the rat up to the gills, the die was cast for everything else on the Jimmy to be a little over the top.
From the bare frame that received 145 lightening holes to hang the front and rear suspension on and beefing it up to handle the rat motor, the chassis work was undertaken by Hot Rod Chassis & Cycle. Bruce credited a major portion of the 1955's build to Kevin Tulley and his crew at HR&C. Chad Hill drew up a concept rendering and then Vince Thomberry at the Paint Spot in Addison, Illinois, took it from primer to Cadillac Black Cherry. Next Vince laid out the scallops in pure black and then pinstripped the edges in silver. Inside the bed there's a flattened cord of custom carpentered walnut, residing amongst a pair of tubs.
A 1963 Buick Riviera gave up its bucket seats to form the interior of the GMC. Ogden Top & Trim stitched black leather and laid black carpet to set the stage for a full complement of Stewart Warner gauges. The folks at Stewart Warner were so impressed with the cherry black Jimmy that they showcased it in their 2012 booth at SEMA. It was Rocco Fleming that mounted the Waltham clock sourced from an early Pierce-Arrow smack center of the Stewart Warner array.
From start to finish the 1955 Jimmy took three years to complete. It was thanks to the efforts of Bruce's son Adam, his wife Gail, and of course the skilled artisans like Ryan "Rocket" Sherman, Dane Larsen, and the guys mentioned previously.
Glendale Heights, Illinois
Frame: boxed, cross-braced 1955 GMC 3100
Rearend / Ratio: 9-inch / 3.90:1
Rear suspension: RideTech four-link
Rear brakes: Ford drum
Front suspension: IFS
Front brakes: Ford Torino 11-inch
Steering box: Heidt's rack-and-pinion
Front wheels: ET Classic V 15x5
Rear wheels: ET Classic V 15x8
Front tires: Coker Firestone whitewall
Rear tires: Coker Firestone cheater slick whitewall
Gas tank: aluminum in bed
Engine: 1970 LS7 454
Heads: aluminum rectangular port
Valve covers: Offenhauser finned aluminum
Manifold / Induction: Offenhauser cross-ram / dual Edelbrock AFB
Ignition: Vertex by Len Hughes
Headers: custom fabricated
Exhaust / Mufflers: custom 3.5-inch / Flowmaster 40
Transmission: 700-R4 by Phoenix Transmissions
Shifter: Hurst Indymatic
Style: 3100 stepside
Hood: 1955 GMC
Grille: 1955 GMC 100
Bodywork and paint by: Hot Rod Chassis & Cycle
Paint type / Color: DuPont / Cadillac Black Cherry
Headlights / Taillights: Sylvania / stock
Outside mirrors: driver side
Bumpers: 1955 GMC
Dashboard: custom panel
Gauges: Stewart Warner
Steering wheel: custom
Steering column: 1955 GMC floor shift
Seats: 1963 Buick Riviera buckets
Upholstery by: Ogden Top & Trim
Material / Color: leather / black