If there's ever an argument that will stand the test of time, it's nature vs. nurture. No matter who debates the feud, at the end of the day, the balance of scales is more or less at a dead lock. Growing up in Nebraska, the Cornhusker State, one could say that a typical Nebraskan view on a truck is through the eyes of working the fields, being that the vast majority of Nebraska is farmland. But if that's the typical view, then what we here at CCT want to know is, what happened to Carl Welchert?
Carl bought his '55 Chevrolet 3100 for the grand sum of $1,500 at the ripe old age of 15. The truck was bone stock and served out its daily duties as his high school ride. But one fatal day on the interstate at about 80 mph, the main bearings in the 235 gave way, and Carl was left wondering what to do next. Abandoning the thought of leaving the truck with the appearance of all work and no play, Carl went crazy.
Being a tooling designer, Carl knew a little about the modern ways of design. With that knowledge, he began designing a new frame for the '55 on Pro/ENGINEER, a 3D CAD software program. Carl designed the frame pieces and than cut them out on a CNC punch. Next, he welded the pieces together. For the front suspension, he grafted a '71 Camaro clip to the frame. In the rear of the frame, he incorporated a Ford 9-inch into a triangulated four-link.
With the custom chassis coming together, there was one last thing left to do. Calculating the fact that this Chevy's days in the field were long over with, there was no need to worry about ground clearance, and in fact, what Carl actually wanted was zero clearance. The only way to accomplish that was to install a Firestone airbag at each corner, and that's exactly what he did. For get up and go, Carl pirated a 400ci motor with a 350 tranny from a '77 Impala. With the heads rebuilt, a paint job, new valve covers, and a new air cleaner, the 400 was dropped in. The motor also received a York air compressor yanked from a Ford motor, which Carl mounted to the motor with some custom brackets he designed. The compressor fills the two five-gallon air tanks that complement the airbag system.
Carl was midway through building a custom truck, and he wasn't about to let up there. He still wanted the truck to look like the same hauler he drove in high school, but there were a few things that needed to be tweaked. He always thought it would be cool if the Chevy had a tilt frontend, but he didn't want to hack into the fenders or anything else of that sort. Instead, he welded the hood, fenders, grille, and splash apron all together. When doing this, he also frenched the headlights and removed the chrome around the turn signal. Next, Carl fabricated a slide system that moves the entire frontend forward about 18 inches. As for the the truck's rear, all-new sheetmetal was ordered from Chevy Duty. Instead of opting for a traditional bumper, Carl welded in a roll pan. He then built a custom bed floor that allows the truck to lay frame and clear the rearend and the 20-gallon fuel cell mounted between the framerails. Lastly, he made a custom flush-fit tonneau cover frame out of 1-inch tubing and angle iron. Then the tonneau cover was covered with black vinyl. Finishing touches, such as shaving the door handles, emblems, and mirror, were made, and then the truck was dropped off at Iggy's Auto Body in Omaha, Nebraska. Their first orders were to smooth all the rough edges. They then sprayed the Chevy in satin baby blue enamel. With the truck painted, the last exterior detail was a set of 17-inch Chrome Smoothies. The rear wheels were wrapped in Yokohama 255/40/17 tires, and the fronts were wrapped in Yokohama 205/50/17 rubber.
With the exterior finished, Carl focused on the inside. He took a page from the car audio books when it came to his sound system. First off, he opened up the dash to house a Kenwood receiver. Then various panels inside the cab were modified to hold a total of four Kenwood 6 1/2-inch speakers. Lastly, the rear of the cab and bed was cut to house two Infinity 12-inch subwoofers and two Kenwood amps. As for the rest of the interior, a Dodge Dakota seat was used, and Carl installed Stewart Warner gauges in the dash. Now that the truck is finally finished, Carl is the first person to admit that for the past five or six years he'd been saying the truck should be up and running the following spring, but he somehow never seemed to make it. He's also the first to admit that every time he steps back to look at the truck, the first thought that scurries through his head is, "I can't believe I built this thing from scratch!" Whether Carl's taste in trucks is a result of nature vs. nurture, who cares? This slammed baby blue Chevy is rad either way!
QCarl fabricated a custom...
QCarl fabricated a custom bed floor as well as the tonneau cover he built from 1-inch square tubing, angle iron, and black vinyl.
Besides the Stewart Warner...
Besides the Stewart Warner gauges and Kenwood sound system, the cab interior was kept pretty simple. However, that is a Dodge Dakota seat resting in there.
Housed under the custom-fabricated...
Housed under the custom-fabricated tilt frontend is a 400ci Chevy motor Carl pulled from a '77 Impala. Dig how clean that tilt front-end setup is!