In Hollywood, movie sequels are most often made to tap into the money stream that's still flowing from the first flick. A sequel's not generally supposed to be better than the initial film.
Very different from Hollywood's bottom-line business practices, hot rod hauler hobbyists tend to build more custom and expensive vehicles with each successive project. Whether we're challenging our building prowess and bank accounts further each time or striving to obtain vintage custom truck nirvana, the point is we're doing our best, unlike some movie studios that are chasin' the coin.
When Connie and Rick LaMarche, a father/son build team who live in La Verne, California, set out to create a sequel to the 1972 Chevy Fleetside they completed in 2004, they turned very bad luck into good fortune. While parked on the street in front of the family home in spring '04, the freshly finished '72 shortbed was half-destroyed by a runaway 12-ton dump truck. Since the two built the Bow Tie for Rick's little brother Lee, they didn't spend too much time consoling themselves about the munched pickup. They began collecting components to build a show-winning Chevy hauler.
The guys came across a '69 cab that had a bit of rocker panel rust and some floorboard cancer on the passenger side. After replacing the rusty areas with new sheetmetal, they filled the firewall, except for openings to accommodate the steering column and throttle cable.
By welding in the back section of a Chevy Blazer frame with an added C-notch for chassis lowering, they could rebuild the rest of the foundation. To the factory IFS, 2.5-inch drop spindles and 2-inch-lower coilsprings were installed. The Chevy's original front disc brakes were renewed. In the back, the LaMarches installed a '78 Chevy differential with a 3.08:1 final drive ratio, and enhanced the pumpkin with GM disc brakes from ABS Power Brake in Orange, California. Budnik Fontana's rolling stock, 17x8 inches in the front and 18x10 inches in the rear, were shod with Michelin radial tires, 255/50R17 and 285/50R18 front to back, respectively. For safety's sake, Connie and Rick fabricated a 14-gallon fuel tank, located it beneath the bed and behind the rear axle, and plumbed it with braided stainless and hard stainless lines. They disassembled all the appropriate chassis components, painted the pieces, and reassembled the chassis.
One of the LaMarche's Bow Tie building specialties is creating a sanitary engine bay. Since a smoothed firewall and inner front fenders were in place, they needed a stellar engine to occupy the space between the front framerails. The '04 Chevy ZZ 383 crate engine that powered the first pickup was not damaged in the accident. So its induction was swiftly improved with a Barry Grant Demon 750-cfm four-barrel carb. The engine's look was vastly enhanced with custom ball-milled Billet Specialties valve covers and air cleaner. The Toy Shop in Pomona, California, provided a built TH350 trans optimized with a 1,500-stall custom converter. One of Inland Empire's balanced aluminum driveshafts completed the tricked-out drivetrain.
Father and son LaMarche call their home shop Connie & Rick's Garage. Since C&R had a running and rolling chassis, they could finish the Chevy's exterior. Connie filled the louvers on the cowl and modified the cab's interior to hide the Vintage Air Gen II HVAC system behind the custom dash. Friend Colin Silva from nearby Covina designed the graphic paint scheme. After C&R's Garage finished the painstaking paint prep and panel fitment, L&G Enterprises in San Dimas applied the House of Kolor True Blue and Orion Silver with Pearl hues. L&G also sprayed the Gaylord's fiberglass tonneau. Mr. Silva's graphic scheme included the careful application of House of Kolor Tangelo and Lime Time, which L&G Enterprises artfully applied. The installation of a '72 billet grille from Classic Industries, custom headlights with built-in flashers and turn indicators, and a '67 GMC front bumper completed the Chevy's exterior.
Before the truck could go to Covina Auto Trim, C&R custom-made the dashboard and center console. They wired the '72 with a Painless Performance Products wiring harness. Once at the upholstery shop, more fabrication ensued: the door panels, headliner, and other interior panels. Covina's ace stitcher, Tony Garcia, trimmed the entire interior in either Mercedes Silver Gray Reno leather or Mercedes gray wool carpet. To C&R's and Covina Auto Trim's credit, the cab's confines are now the ultimate in luxury, looks, and comfort. The Chevy's interior turned out as nice as the rest of the truck.
If Lee LaMarche's '72 Fleetside shortbed was a movie sequel instead of a truck, it would be a blockbuster, and better than the first. Bravo, Connie, Rick, and the rest. What will you build for an encore? We can't wait. In the vintage custom truck realm, Spielberg and Lucas can't touch Connie & Rick's Garage.
Boasting 425 horsepower at 5,400 rpm and 460 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm, the Chevy ZZ 38
A CNC-engineered C10 emblem and an Auto Meter Antique Beige Series analog clock fill the d
Atop the Flaming River polished stainless tilt steering column is an Impy's Hot Rod Comet
From aluminum and fiberglass, father and son LaMarche fabricated the mid-'60s Corvette-sty
Auto Meter Antique Beige Series instruments fill the driver-side dash pod.
The oak and stainless stringer-filled bed floor came from Classic Industries, as did the F
Covina Auto Trim's Tony Garcia trimmed all the interior panels, including the headliner, i
The Infinity amp and one of the cab's many speakers are hidden behind the driver's seat.
Mercedes S-Class perforated Reno Silver Gray leather hides trim the much-modified '04 Hond