Not as in climbing into the cab, but "into it"-a person can get into trucks at any stage of their life. For Ron Doty of Helena, Oklahoma, it was growing up as a child in a rural farming community of about 900 people. Since his teen years in the late '60s, Ron has owned his share of work trucks, but he never quite got around to building his own fully customized truck. Of course, that's if you don't count a bored-out 283 he stuffed into a '56 F-100 during the early '70s to raise a little hell. The string of stock trucks stopped when Ron hit "the big five-O." When Ron turned 50, he realized he was beginning to have the time and money he needed to build the wild custom truck of his dreams. With the decision made to build a hot-rod pickup, Ron put the word out that he was looking for a good core. One of his friends at work told him about an old truck sitting in a barn only two miles away from Ron's house. Not long after that, Ron had the '52 Chevy sitting in his garage torn down into a million pieces.
Starting with the engine, Ron and his friend Norman built a 350-inch Chevy small-block bored out to 355 inches. While the old saying "there's no replacement for displacement" holds true, Ron felt the motor needed a lot more than stock innards. Beginning with the ignition, a setup from MSD complemented a pair of Edelbrock heads and an intake manifold topped with a 750-cfm Demon carburetor. To pop the intake and exhaust valves wide open, they added a COMP hydraulic roller cam to assist the Demon with a set of Dynomax block hugger headers leading to a pair of Flowmaster mufflers. To complete the exhaust's look, Ron had the whole system ceramic-coated, but the finishing touch for the engine compartment was a super-trick FrontRunner serpentine system from Vintage Air. Ron figures he has about 430 horsepower leaving the engine into a beefed Turbo 350 automatic tranny featuring a host of B&M goodies, including a B&M 2,500-rpm stall torque converter.
With the drivetrain near completion, Ron turned his attention to the '52's exterior. He went with the less is more approach on the Chevy, having "Hub" Harness chop 2 1/2 inches out of the top. Keeping it simple was the name of the game for the front of the truck. Ron stuck with the original front sheetmetal by simply smoothing the seams and rechroming the stock grille. Around the sides and rear, the less is more approach is more prevalent-the door handles and tailgate were shaved, while the fenders were smoothed over. The gas filler was relocated to the bed floor to accommodate the gas tank relocated from the cab. With the truck ready for paint, Ron delivered the body in pieces to Laverne Kelley of Kelley's Customs in Enid, Oklahoma, for a custom finish to make his '52 come alive using a super-slick coating of Chrysler Inferno Red Pearlcoat by PPG.