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.
For wheels and tires, the '65 rolls on 15x10-inch chromed Corvette Rally Sport wheels shod with 50-series BFGoodrich T/A s. At the time we shot Al's truck, he was running the '65's original four-speed truck tranny complete with compound low. Since then, Al has installed a beefed Turbo 400 with a Lokar shifter. Under the hood lies the heart and soul of rock 'n' roll, a super nasty 383 stroker from Kirk Westberg and his partner, Andrew, at Advanced Engine. Starting from the top, induction is handled with a pair of Edelbrock 500-cfm four-barrel carbs sitting caddywhompass on an Edelbrock cross-ram intake manifold. From here, the mixture is swirled through a set of Airflow Research cylinder heads with valves taking orders from a COMP Xtreme hydraulic roller cam fixed to a Cloyes geardrive setup. On the spent end of the combustion cycle, Flowtech headers dump into a pair of Flowmaster mufflers. For oiling, the stroker Chevy relies on a heavy-duty oil pump drawing 20-50 from a polished aluminum oil pan.
Inside the cab, Al's bright green '65 features the upholstery skills of Lee Henning of Deer Park, Washington. Lee re-covered the stock Chevy bench seat in rich black velour with black deep-pile carpeting to match. For the 65's sound system, Al custom-rewired the entire truck and stuffed in an Eclipse head unit and amplifier feeding an assortment of MTX and Panasonic speakers into the cab.
For as many months as Washington state weather permits, usually early May to sometime in October, Al likes to drive his '65 as much as possible. When the climate turns bad, Al rolls his truck into his really nice home shop (we know this firsthand since we visited Al last August) and tears back into the '65. For the 2007 show season, Al tells us he'll be rolling out with a smoothed firewall and a bunch of super-trick Jim Meyer goodies. Since the Spokane Goodguys show is on Custom Classic Trucks' list of must-attend shows, we'll be there in full force to check it out.
The '65's dash cluster is packed with red-lit VDO gauges and an Eclipse head unit. The ste
Egads, dual-quads! Advanced Engine punched the '65 out to 383 inches and packed it with Ai