Perhaps it was because the 45th Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts AutoRama in Dallas, Texas, was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Chevy small-block that Chevy trucks seemed to be in the vast majority at the show. It's more likely, however, that Texans just prefer the Bow-Tie brand, both in their basic truck and for muscle-power under the hood.

To highlight the theme, Dallas Area Classic Chevys assembled a display of six '55s, ranging from a restored Bel Air two-door sedan with a Power-Pac 265-cid V-8, through mildly customized examples, to an all-out drag racer. That original powerplant design could be found throughout AutoRama in an array of modifications under the hoods of many light trucks, like those in the "Pickups and Panels Club" display. It even powered two of the three phantom '37 Ford Ute-style pickups, which seems to be the street-rod design-of-the-year.

The mid-February exhibition in the Dallas Market Hall drew about 300 entries in all classes (even power boats).

This fun-loving group has very hot trucks, and we aren't referring to Dallas' semi-tropical climate. We were surprised to see how many trucks were set up for racing, some with Pro Street chassis, big-block engines, superchargers, and multiple carburetors.

There were several trucks among the top entries competing for points in the GM Performance Parts Show-Car Series. Louisiana-based Cliff Angelle showed his 454ci big-block-powered '57 Chevy 1/2-ton with a custom Optima Leather interior (CCT Feb. '05). Lloyd Conley of Stafford, Missouri, is making the show rounds again this year with his immaculate, Sunset Orange Pearl '57 Chevy Cameo (CCT Feb. '03). Jack McCandliss came a long way from Des Moines, Washington, to show his Viper Red Pro Street '71 Ford Ranchero, and John and Mary Sue Bedenbender are again traveling the show circuit out of Mt. Vernon, Texas, with their black '66 El Camino with satin-finish trim.

The Dallas AutoRama is always a showcase for the best street, show, and race trucks Texas has to offer. Take a look at this small sampling of the custom trucks we caught in our view-finder this year.