Behind every great hot rod is a great pickup truck. Maybe it's a tow vehicle, or a shop truck, or just cool daily transportation. Maybe it's another build project, like the '47 Chevy pickup that STREET RODDER editor Brian Brennan has in the works.

His plans for Project Shop Truck were laid out in the January issue, where in addition to telling you about the mechanical components he'd be using on the buildup, we also explained the unusual concept of the project. In case you missed it, the idea is to build a nostalgia-style '47 Chevy pickup with nary an OEM Chevrolet part, only parts and components that are now readily available from the aftermarket. And though we haven't been able to stay as close to on top of the project as we wish we had, the pickup is well underway at Hot Rods by Dean in Phoenix.

Brennan is using a fully assembled steel reproduction Dynacorn Classic Bodies '47-53 Chevy five-window truck cab, which he got from Chevs of the 40's, riding on a Fatman Fabrications truck chassis. It's a great combination, and it's turning into a pretty cool pickup. Cool, with heat.

Since the Chevy isn't going to be packed with lots of bells and whistles, he decided to forego A/C, but a reliable heater/defroster was one creature comfort he definitely wanted to install. He's planning on driving this truck, and on cool mornings and evenings he'll be glad to have a heater feeding hot air into the cab and defroster to eliminate condensation on the windshield.

Vintage Air's Compac GEN-II heater/defroster seemed like just the product he needed. The box's integral floor outlet is actuated by an electronic servo, and opens to drop heat down toward his feet; from there, like all hot air, it will rise. A pair of flexible hoses feed the defrost ducts mounted at the stock dash openings.

Tearing open the box from Vintage Air, we were impressed by the size of the unit. It definitely is compact, but we wondered if it would move enough air to do its job in the '47. No problem. If it can warm up a street rod interior, we know it can heat the cab of Project Shop Truck without breaking a sweat.

On this application, the installation was a simple procedure. The biggest challenge was finding the optimal spot for mounting the heater box on the firewall. On the '47, the only obstacles we had to worry about were the cowl vent and the windshield wipers-and the only visible part of the system is the small three-knob control panel. Jonathan Williams at Hot Rods by Dean had the upgrade finished in no time. The average-skilled home builder should be able to finish the job between breakfast and lunch, using tools he probably has lying on his workbench right now. For builders with less-than-average skill, add 10 minutes.