Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes-from songs, movies, paintings, aspiring beauty queens, and, yes, Chevy trucks. When Laurence Fairey set out to find something to boost his own morale, he never dreamt that his new venture would also bring some sunshine into others' as well.
It all started in November 2005. Laurence had just lost his job, and his good friend Glen convinced him that building a truck would fill his downtime void and act as therapy as well. Being an enthusiast, Laurence had no clue about what it took to build a classic truck, yet once again Glen stepped in and introduced Laurence to Garvin Harvey, the owner of Rod Shop of Memphis in Cordova, Tennessee. The meeting couldn't have come at a better time due to a recent slump in Garvin's business. It was clear that Rod Shop of Memphis was the perfect fit for the build, yet one concern still remained: what kind of truck should they build? After some deliberation, they decided the truck for Laurence was none other than a 1949 Chevrolet.
It took the Rod Shop a year to build what appears to be a basically stock '49 Chevy; however, underneath the yellow paint, the truck is anything but stock. When Garvin and Laurence talked about the Chevy's direction, Laurence wanted a truck that looked classic on the outside but had all the mechanics of a state-of-the-art street rod. Following Laurence's words, Garvin begin by fabricating a custom chassis. Everything about the stock chassis mechanics was thrown out the door, and Rod Shop of Memphis drew up plans to build a chassis with four-corner independent suspension. The new chassis is based around a front and rear IRS from Kugel Komponents. The front IFS is based around new tubular control arms that mount to a weld-in crossmember. The IFS also comes equipped with disc brakes and Carrera coilover shocks, and Garvin ordered 500-pound springs for the coilovers. To update the steering, Garvin also incorporated a Flaming River rack-and-pinion unit into the new chassis. Out back, the Kugel IRS features tubular stainless control arms, a Ford 9-inch member, and four Carrera coilover shocks. The stock Kugel IRS comes with two shocks, but due to the truck's weight, they ordered the additional coilover package. For added handling, Garvin also ordered an IFS with the additional Kugel Torque Arrest radius rods. To highlight the wicked awesome IRS, Memphis laid down a polished stainless bed floor instead of traditional wood. Now when one looks under the chassis, the first thing they see is double vision.
Something new, something old...
Something new, something old is probably the best way to describe the '49's interior, with its classic look mixed with hues of modern influence, such as the billet components and Billet Specialties steering wheel.
The GMPP 502 has been decked...
The GMPP 502 has been decked out with a Vintage Air A/C system as well as just about every billet accessory on the market.
No expense was spared on the...
No expense was spared on the Kugel Komponents IRS; Rod Shop of Memphis even laid in a polished stainless bed floor to get mirror reflections above the IRS.
With the chassis squared away, it was time to install a drivetrain that's just as state of the art as the chassis. Nothing says power and performance like a brand-new GM Performance Parts 502 crate motor, which seemed like the perfect match. The Rod Shop dropped in the 502, but not before they painted the block to match the truck and decked the motor out with a billet serpentine system, valve covers, air cleaner, billet reservoirs, Vintage Air, and just about every other billet accessory one can buy. Backing the 502 is a TCI Turbo 400 with a shift kit.
In terms of getting the chassis to roll, the state-of-the-art concept was overlooked. Laurence wanted the chassis and running gear to be top-notch, but he also wanted the truck to have a straightforward, timeless look. Therefore, each corner of the truck received a 15-inch Cragar SS. Up front, the vintage rollers measure out to 15x7 inches, but out back, Laurence needed a little more meat, so he went with 15x10 inchers.
The outside of the truck still looks like Chevy's original design team intended it to, but, of course, when the truck arrived at Rod Shop of Memphis, it was nothing of the sort; it took hours of meticulous work from Rod Shop of Memphis' newest crew member, Tommy, better known as T Square around the shop. T Square had just arrived at Memphis after evacuating from New Orleans, where he and his family lost everything in Hurricane Katrina, and one of his first orders of business was to rework the '49 back to pristine condition. Once T Square finished his end of the bargain, the shop supervisor and paint artist, who is also named Tommy, finally got the chance to give his brand-new paint booth some work. He rolled the '49 into the booth and laid down the flawless DuPont Yellow paint job. After that, the truck was taken over to Nick Epps in Memphis, Tennessee, to install the white and yellow leather interior. Nick also worked up some custom seats for the truck and covered the Rod Shop of Memphis custom center console.
Upon the truck's completion, Laurence figured there was only one thing to name the bright yellow Chevy: Sunshine. When asked why, his answer was simple, "You see, here is the setting: I had just lost my job, Garvin was having a slump in business, Tommy had a new paint booth that was underutilized, and T Square had lost all but his family at the hands of Katrina; then came the opportunity to create Sunshine. I guess it is true that bringing a little Sunshine into somebody's life is a blessing."