In today's fast-paced digital world, there seems to be virtually no limit to what can be found by simply sitting at one's wirelessly linked computer, logging onto the Web, and surfing one's way to a site that features something that piques one's interest.
Take Jim Arrabito, for example. Jim is a commercial photographer by trade, and he has had to adjust to dealing with megapixels instead of emulsion types. With the transition to a digital world, Jim found himself well versed in surfing the vast reaches of the Internet as a resource for his varied passions, one of which is classic vehicles. Late one evening Jim stumbled on a Web site by the name of Deals On Wheels. He surfed past so many great rides that night that he doesn't remember bookmarking a '41 Chevy 1/2-ton. But like a haunting message from The Twilight Zone, in the following days Jim kept receiving pictures of a classic Bow Tie pickup in his e-mail.
Curiosity finally got the best of Jim, and he decided to look into the truck a little further. After talking to the truck's owner the old-fashioned way-by phone-the pair decided on what Jim thought was a fair price. The only hitch was that Jim would have to fly south to California and drive the truck home, leaving him only enough time to superficially examine the truck before hitting the road.
The trip north went smoothly, and Jim's spirits were buoyed along the way home by the warm reception he received each time he gassed up the old hauler. Things took a downward turn, though, when he rolled into his hometown of Port Townsend, Washington, two days later. Jim dropped in on his friend KC Davis at his shop, Welding Plus, to show off his new ride and get the truck in the air for a closer inspection. That's when the bubble burst. With the truck up on KC's lift, it became clear the Chevy was in need of major frame repairs, and he recommended Jim not drive it any further. On KC's firmly worded advice, Jim left the truck at the shop, where KC began the needed repairs to make the chassis roadworthy.
KC ground down and re-welded all the mounts securing the Mustang II front suspension the previous owner had installed, added new cross-bracing, replaced all the worn-out bushings, and double-checked the Camaro steering column that leads up to a Grant GT steering wheel. Repairs were also made to the shock mounts to keep the front Koni shocks in place, and KC fixed the various "bullet holes" in the frame while boxing the 'rails for added strength. For the chassis' finishing touch, KC utilized a laser to ensure the alignment was on the money.
While the truck was on the lift, Jim noticed the '63 Vette's 327-inch motor had its share of problems as well. The green ooze seeping from the block was due to rusted-out steel freeze plugs, which KC replaced with brass ones. KC went through the top end, which now inhales through a Carter AFB mounted on an Edelbrock aluminum intake manifold. To light the mixture, the 327 relies on a Mallory Pro-Master distributor, with the spent fumes quieted to a throaty rumble by a pair of Cherry Bomb mufflers. The truck came equipped with a Turbo 350 automatic tranny Jim felt was operating well enough, so it was re-sealed and readied for more miles, though Jim has plans to update the current Pep Boys' shifter to a Lokar unit.