I bought this truck in 2004, the year before Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Ironically, I purchased the truck from a man who was part of the Hurricane Hunters at Keesler Air Force Base. A good picture of the grey "before" truck is on the picture that has the text and bordered by blue.
I kept buying parts after the hurricane when I did not have time to work on it because of my business and hurricane damages. After much thought and deliberation I decided to do a complete frame-off restoration and make the truck like it could have been back in 1953, except for a nice paint job and rims. Now that it is done, I get more comments and compliments about the fact that I left it with a 6 cylinder and didn't put an LS in it.
Actually, I did not start working on the physical sheet metal and replacement of parts until probably 2014.
I did a couple of things to make the truck safer to operate: dual master cylinder and power front disk brakes.
The whole frame and cab was stripped, de-rusted and EDP-coated prior to powder coating the complete frame. I liked the EDP coating that it would get paint where you could not even see (behind the double wall in the back of the cab). The underside of the cab, inside of the fenders and under the running boards have thick truck bed coating to help preserve it.
The whole interior was covered with Dynamat
for sound and heat. I also included a YouTube link at the bottom to hear the difference in closing the doors with and without it
. It is great stuff!!!
It still has the original torque tube drive shaft, but I did have the rear end gears changed by Stans Powertrain so I could at least do 55 mph locally. The kingpins were rebuilt and I kept the front straight axle. Lowered leaf springs were added all around to improve the stance.
The paint job was completed in August 2018 by Lawless Customs in Slidell La. The color is Camaro Synergy Green. It seems a little darker than Synergy Green, but I am happy with it. Oh, by the way my favorite color is blue, not sure how I ended up with a green truck.
It took most of the next year to complete it. My brother-in-law, who built cabinets, custom cut and routed the Cypress wood for the bed. That seems appropriate for our location in the south. I finished it off with ebony stain and several coats of gloss urethane. The bed strips are also stainless steel for longevity.
The truck was completely rewired throughout; added hidden turn signals; installed a modern retro looking radio, hidden speakers and even a sub. (I like the bass). I rebuilt all of the gauges and changed the wipers to electric instead of vacuum since the power brakes were now using the vacuum. All of the lights are LED and much easier to see, including headlights. All fasteners were changed to stainless steel.
All of the original glass was replaced with smoked glass and all new gaskets. Both vent windows were completely rebuilt and powder coated black to match the original accessory step on the running boards. I added stainless steel bumpers instead of chrome also for longevity.
The engine ran well already and did not smoke so I just cleaned it up and painted the 1956 235 engine, added an Offenhauser dual manifold, dual carburetors, headers and dual exhaust. I included a YouTube link below to hear the dual exhaust.
I have seen a lot of different colors of engine "grey" colors, for that year, so I don't know which one was correct. I chose to use Bill Hirsch's high temp grey engine enamel. It has held up very well. I topped the engine off with chrome valve and side covers.
I added custom Boyd Coddington 17" aluminum rims, with lower overall height tires to maintain the overall diameter of original tires with 16" rims.
This seems like a good place to mention the "search'" button on this site. I used it many times when I needed more knowledge than I had to complete some part of this project. If you haven't used it I would encourage you to, there are a lot of people who already know the answers to your questions. Just ask!
I first took it to Crusin' the Coast in 2019 on the Gulf Coast where over currently 9,000 classic cars and trucks will be here this year. I plan to continue to go and I would encourage anyone with a classic truck or car to come. It is a week of cruising 26 miles of beach with plenty to do and lots to see! It always takes place in October and the weather is usually pretty mild.
The truck has been to several local car shows (that do some kind of fundraising for a good cause) and has won several awards. At one of theses shows, I was answering many questions for a seemingly long time. One man left me a business card. He said to send him some text and pictures of my truck -- that he had a magazine. He really liked the fact that I pretty much kept the truck stock. So this year my truck was previewed in the April 2022 Gulf Coast Motor News magazine. You can see this in the two pages pictures outlined in blue borders in the Flickr link below.
Here are the YouTube video's one of which let you hear the difference between a door closing with Dynamat and without (big difference) Dynamat
][/color] and the 2nd one being the dual exhaust sounds
. Dual exhaust sounds
The 3rd one is a 6 min. slideshow of my frame off restoration
from start to finish 6 min slideshow
]Here are some additional build pictures
] on my Flickr account.[img]http://flic.kr/p/2okauYZ