Unlike journalists in the real world reporting the bad news, we most often document the success stories in the hot rod hauler hobby. Even if a vintage truck has languished for a time with one owner and didn't get finished, there's a great chance someone down the road's going to complete it. One man's woeful pickup is another's show-winning ride. All the pain, money, effort, time, and frustration are somehow worth it when your hauler is in its first event. Consider Kim and Mel Post's 5-year pickup project. In the 12 shows they've entered with their truck they call Fantasy '52, they've won 11 Best of Shows and came in Second on the other occasion. If that's not an endorsement for persevering, we don't know what is.
Shortly after Mel and son were done building a '52 Chevy 3100, said son decided he'd prefer a different pickup project. So Mel took over the '52 and began taking it apart. He had a fantasy to fulfill-a Pro Street beast whose blown big-block would make at least 1,000 hp. After sourcing an '85 454ci Rat engine, Mel sent it to Gene Scott and demanded the 1,000-plus. Deriving 468 cubes, Gene bored the block .060-over and went to town with the best go-fast goodies. A COMP Cams bumpstick with 286/296 degrees of duration, a steel crankshaft, JE forged 8.5:1 compression pistons, a Pete Jackson gear drive, Manley rods, Crane roller rockers, a CSR electric water pump, Power Master torque mini starter and MSD 6AL ignition box all contributed in the hopes of making the lofty power goal. Mel mated a Holley 420 Mega Blower (8-71) with two Holley 900-cfm double-pumper carbs and a shotgun air cleaner. Backed by an 11-inch Zoom diaphram clutch and '69 Borg Warner T-10, the drivetrain was built parallel to the construction of the Pro Street chassis. Mel and Russ Engman created the undercarriage by boxing 3 feet of the existing framerails and fabricating the rest. Modified with Engman custom tubular A-arms, an AMC Pacer IFS, complete with '03 GM vented disc brakes and Firestone airbags, formed the front suspension. Comprised of '03 GM drilled rotors, 32-spline axles, and a 4.56:1 geared Detroit Locker Posi, the narrowed Ford 9-inch differential was located with ladder bars and coilover shocks. Braided stainless steel brake lines and hard stainless fuel lines plumbed the chassis. Once the engine/trans were installed, Drivetrain Specialist supplied a balanced, heavy-wall driveshaft to complete the powertrain. Upon mock-up of the undercarriage, Mel disassembled the chassis so that Steve Merrill of Steve's Paint-N-Body in Muskogee, Oklahoma, could paint the frame PPG Violet.
While the rolling chassis was approaching ready, Mike Stafford of Springfield, Missouri, modified the firewall, hood, doors, bed, and fenders. He molded in a fiberglass front roll pan and created a steel rear roll pan. Shaving all the door handles and trim and final paint prep occurred before he and Larry Williams applied a PPG custom mix called Mel's Yellow, beneath yellow flames and purple skulls.
Mike's brother Ron trimmed the Steel Horse bucket seats in Pure White Ultraleather, in addition to the rest of the cab. By creating a custom wiring harness and routing the wires in a stainless steel conduit, Anthony Dawson wired the truck.
Thanks to the efforts of Kim and Kirk McMahan, Rex Snider, Russ Engman, Gene Scott, and Mike and Ron Stafford, Mel's Fantasy '52 became a reality, after 5 years of hard work. Though Mel's happy to earn awards at various shows, he's proudest of the engine dyno numbers that the 468ci blown big-block produced: 1,040 hp and 750 lb-ft of torque. The next time you're in the southeast, look for the Posts' brilliantly executed Chevy Pro Street. We bet you'll hear it before you see it!
From stainless steel tubing,...
From stainless steel tubing, with 2.5-inch- diameter primaries and 5-inch diameter collectors, Russ Engman fabricated the fabulous custom headers. The owner had the headers ceramic-coated inside and out. Notice also the NOS setup, that provides a 250hp increase to the supercharged 468ci Chevy engine.
Equipped with purple Crow...
Equipped with purple Crow competition drag racing five-point harnesses, the Steel Horse bucket seats were reupholstered in Pure White Ultraleather. Being a Pro Street-capable vehicle, the cab also has a full rollcage. The center console includes a NOS bottle.
Billet Specialties valve covers...
Billet Specialties valve covers dress up the brilliantly executed engine.