An image you can never forget can mean a lot of different things to different people. For someone who grew up with a pickup truck in the family, that image is oftentimes a truck reoccurring in their dreams several decades after it's long gone. For Al Ming of Valley, Washington, the truck he could never forget was his dad's pure white '65 Chevy shortbed Fleetside that he bought brand new and learned to drive in. Al grew up in Hinckley, California, where his folks had the only paved driveway in town; not only was it paved, it was about 50 yards long. Al's dad gave him the keys to the 283-inch V-8-powered pickup and let him practice shifting the three-speed column from one end of the driveway to the other. As the years passed, many things in Al's life changed, chromium 6, PG&E, and Erin Brockovich, just to mention a few. With a heavy heart, Al left the California high desert he loved dearly and transplanted his family to the Spokane, Washington, area. It wasn't an easy move. Al worked through Washington's cold, damp winters shoveling mud out of ditches just to make a living while dreaming about owning a '65 Chevy shortbed Fleetside.
Al searched for 15 years, but the '65s that weren't too expensive were rusted-out, cancerous hulks he wouldn't wish on a PG&E executive. Then one day Al spotted his future '65 for sale within the pages of the local Wheels & Deals newspaper. The first thing Al did when he got the truck home was to tear it down to the bare frame and ship all the body parts to a paint shop in Spokane. Auto body shops are like lawyers-you never know if they're any good until it's too late. After 1 1/2 years at the first "half-wit bodyshop," Al discovered the 65's paint was peeling off the surface-rusted steel panels like it was a mid-'70s General Motors product. Al's luck with the second "half-wit body shop" was just as bad, but the third time turned out to be the charm. Al had Barry Brent in Spokane repaint the '65 in a Sherwin-Williams custom-mixed green base with a clear urethane topcoat. It was right before we photographed Al's truck at the Goodguys' Great Northwest Nationals that Barry rolled the '65 back into his shop and laid out ghost flames, artwork, and pinstriping that can't be felt to the touch thanks to a ton of clear and a whole lot of Barry's craftsmanship.
With the exception of the paintwork and the '65's 383 stroker motor, Al did most of the work on his truck. The rear suspension was lowered using components sourced from Early Classic Enterprises in Fresno, California, with KYB gas-adjustable shocks installed. For gearing, the Chevy packs 4.11:1 gears with a posi-traction. Up front, Al installed a super-trick Jim Meyer bolt-on IFS kit complete with power rack-and-pinion steering with 12-inch power disc brakes and a beefy heavy-duty front sway bar.