Robert Wyman has been working on cars and trucks since he was 14 years old. As a teen he was painting cars in the yard for him and his friends, and all throughout his 30-year career as an engineer in the space industry, he was slowly working his way from backyard mechanic to bonafide shop owner. In 1993, Robert built a commercial steel building on his property in Alabama and started Tricks Custom Hotrods. He soon became known for being a perfectionist, paying attention to the details that a lot of shops don't and educating his customers on the build process instead of just taking their money and performing his duties.

Several years ago, a friend of Robert's found a '55 big window sitting about six miles from Robert's shop. He knew of a potential customer who was looking for one, so he went to check it out and ended up bringing it home. The next weekend, the truck was being disassembled for an acid dip. During this time, the customer also decided to replace the low-mileage LT1 in his Camaro with an LT4 crate engine. Robert advised him to reuse all of the stock Camaro trim in his car, keep the Vette parts for the LT1, and install those parts in the truck. Unfortunately, this was one of the last contributions the guy made to his project. Robert was building a street rod for him at the same time, and the truck spent most of its days on the back burner. Eventually he sold the truck to a friend of his, and after about a two-year hiatus, Robert continued the build.

With parts from Mar-K and BeBop's Glassworks, Robert began the long process of readying the '55 for paint. Meanwhile, the chassis had been boxed, C-notched, and fit with a MII frontend. It was about this time that the latest owner began going through a divorce, and once again, progress on the truck was slowed to a stop. By this time Robert had become attached to the truck. Enough so, that he made an offer the guy couldn't refuse and finally, from here on out, the truck was completed without any downtime. The chassis was finished off by installing a Ford 9-inch from Currie and the brake system.

Although the truck was on its way to being finished beyond your usual show-quality standards, Robert still had plans to give the truck an old-school look. Robert bolted big 'n' littles onto the truck in the form of red steelies and wide whites. When the cab and bed were smoothed over to Robert's liking, he sprayed it in DuPont Ferrari Fly Yellow. The truck was reassembled with all new chrome and trim, and a red oak bed floor was installed. The LT1 was backed by built 700-R4 and set into place. Polished pulleys along with a polished alternator and A/C pump accent the Street and Performance-modified top end and powdercoated valve covers. A 2 1/2-inch exhaust system was custom-bent and fit with Flowmasters to flow spent gases from the LT1 manifolds.

Although the flawless paint and engine compartment are enough to draw a crowd everywhere the '55 goes, it's the interior that receives the most attention. Robert wanted a lipstick red leather interior, and he commissioned M&M Upholstery to handle the task. But, instead of intermingling red leather with yellow steel, Robert first shot all of the interior panels in a red satin that is amazingly close in color and texture to the lipstick red leather that he picked out. Robert paint-matched an ididit column topped with a Billet Specialties steering wheel and installed the Alpine stereo system before he set the upholsterers loose. M&M handbuilt the contoured seat and fabricated the door panels to match before covering everything in top-quality leather. Square weave carpet, in red of course, was the final touch to this unique interior.

Robert is definitely glad that he ended up with the '55 and feels it is one of his biggest accomplishments to date. He spent the 2003 show season driving the truck to events all across the country to promote his business. He even participated in this year's Hot Rod Power Tour and is proud to report that a burnt taillight wire was the only repair to report after nearly 7,000 miles. Robert does need to get back to the shop, though. The truck has brought him a lot of new customers.

F A C T S & F I G U R E S
Robert Wyman
Madison, Alabama
1955 Chevrolet

CHASSIS

Frame '55 Chevy
Modifications boxed front and rear, C-notch in rear
Chassis Builder Tricks Custom, Madison, AL
Rearend / Ratio Currie-built Ford 9" / 3.73:1 Posi
Rear suspension dearched leafs with Air Ride Technologies 'bags
Rear brakes drum
Front suspension Fatman MII with tubular arms and ART Shockwaves
Front brakes 11" disc
Master cylinder stainless
Steering box Mustang power rack
Front wheel make, size Early Wheel smoothies, 15x8
Rear wheel make, size Early Wheel smoothies, 15x10
Front tire make, size Diamond Back Classics wide whites, 245/60/15
Rear tire make, size Diamond Back Classics wide whites, 295/50/15
Gas tank, location Rock Valley, under bed

ENGINE

Year and make '96 Chevy LT1
Displacement 350
Camshaft stock
Heads stock
Valve covers powdercoated red with chrome bullet centerbolts
Manifold / Induction LT1, modified by Street & Performance
Ignition / Wires stock GM
Headers stock GM
Exhaust / Mufflers 2.5" / Flowmasters, Clanton Muffler, Madison, AL

TRANSMISSION

Make and model GM 700-R4
Modifications custom-built, Nance Transmission, Huntsville, AL
Shifter on ididit column

BODY

Body style / Material pickup / steel
Manufacturer Chevrolet
Fenders front/rear stock / BeBop's fiberglass, widened 3"
Modifications all seams and gutters shaved, all holes filled, dash and firewall smoothed
Hood stock, nosed
Grille new from Chevy Duty
Bed new from Mar-K
Bed floor red oak from Bruce Horkey's
Bodywork and paint by Tricks Custom Hotrod, Madison, AL
Paint type / Color DuPont / Ferrari Fly Yellow
Headlights / Taillights Adjure tri-bar / '39 Ford from RB's Obsolete
Outside mirrors stock, chromed
Bumpers chrome from Truck Shop, Orange, CA / roll pan from Mar-K (modified)

INTERIOR

Dashboard smoothed and painted to match lipstick red leather
Gauges stock, reworked by US Speed
Stereo / Speakers Alpine / Alpine 6x9s
Air conditioning Vintage Air
Wiring Tricks Custom, Madison, AL
Steering wheel Billet Specialties
Steering column ididit
Seats handmade
Upholsterer M&M Upholstery, Holly Pond, AL
Material / Color leather / lipstick red
Carpet red square weave