When Montana native Ed McKay moved to sunny California, he put the snow and frigid winter weather of Big Sky Country behind him for good, or so it seemed. He adapted well to the Golden State and eventually turned his love of hot rods into a thriving business in Yreka, California, where he ran his own custom shop for nine years. One evening, a chance meeting with a fellow whose old V-Dub sputtered to a halt across the street (courtesy of loose cylinder bolts, which Ed tightened) got Ed thinking of returning to his home state. As it happened, the Dub's owner was a representative of the Montana Fish and Game Department, and when he found out about Ed's background in the bio-tech field (Ed hadn't always slung wrenches for a living), specifically fisheries, it wasn't a day later that an offer to move back up north was presented to Ed. Not overly anxious to return to the sub-zero winters, Ed replied, "For the right price, I might..."
Apparently that price was right, and Ed closed the doors to his shop and returned to Pablo, Montana. What does all this have to do with the Inferno Red '68 Chevy on these pages, you may be wondering? When Ed made the move east, he brought his shop tools with him, since building custom rods has been something he's been at for 48 years, and he wasn't about to let a few fish and a little cold weather take away his passion.
After settling into his new home, complete with a healthy-sized garage/shop, Ed soon found four very tired '68 Chevy pickups offered as a package deal. After careful inspection, Ed realized it would take all four trucks to get enough usable steel to construct one fresh truck. After negotiating a fair price, Ed took the quartet of pickups home and began the process of sorting the good from the bad and the ugly.
Finding the best of the four frames was the starting point for Ed. From there he used ACAD software to design the best ways to add strength in strategic places. When it came to this vintage of Chevy frame, Ed knew in advance that the stock frames were too weak for the big-block motor he planned on running and prone to tweaking due to the crossmembers, so he used the software to lay out the design for boxing the frame, adding tubular crossmembers with gussets and his own pro-street rear section, while always sticking to the "measure twice, cut once" principle.
The rearend of choice was a 9-inch Ford posi unit that houses a set of 3.50:1 gears. The rearend is suspended by Monroe shocks and a pair of Classic Chevy coil springs. Working his way forward, Ed chose Fatman crossmembers with Heidt's tubular A-arms with 2 1/2-inch drop spindles. A Mustang II rack-and-pinion setup was then fitted into place and topped with a '97 Chevy tilt steering column. Ed chose to run 11-inch Ford discs all around, and the truck rolls on Weld Pro Star rims fitted with Hoosier tires front and rear.