Growing up nose deep in the little pages of countless custom books, scanning the shelves for the latest Car Craft and idealizing customizers such as George and Sam Barris, the Alexander brothers, Frank DeRosa, Darryl Starbird, and more, it was only fitting that Rick Nowak grew up to mimic his idols. Fueled with limitless ideas spawned from his custom heroes, and a few of his own, Rick's customized '48 Chevy is a true testament to the spirit of customizing.
While sitting at home enjoying a magazine, Rick stumbled across Gaylord's Advance Design silver and purple-flamed Chevy and fell in love. One, because the truck is way rad, and two, because he had a '48 Chevy sitting outside that was in dire need of a change. Armed with newfound inspiration in the Chevy and a lifelong dream to radically customize something, Rick decided to go for broke. Even his wife chipped in when she called Gaylord's to ask how many inches their truck had been chopped and sectioned, and then surprised Rick with the info!
Back in the shop, or should we say Rick's garage, he got down to business. For starters, Rick picked up an '84 S-10 chassis. From there he did some slicing and dicing on the S-10 chassis and the '48 chassis. In the end, the '48 chassis was equipped with an S-10 front clip and a rearend from a '57 Chevy. To bring the front of the chassis down, he installed Belltech 2-inch drop spindles, and in the rear he removed all but three of the leaves to drop it down. Powering the new chassis is a Chevy 350. For the most part, the motor is stock, but an Edelbrock RV intake manifold and camshaft along with an Edelbrock 600-cfm carburetor were installed. Mooneyes valve covers and a Mooneyes air cleaner polish up the stock mill. Channeling the power from the motor to the rearend is a Turbo 400.
With the chassis complete, Rick dropped on the '48's cab. He knew he wanted the truck to be chopped and channeled similar to Gaylord's truck, yet not identical, so he began taking some measurements and transferring them to his vivid imagination. What he ultimately decided on was to section the cab four inches all around. Next, he whacked four inches from the front of the top and three inches from the rear. To give the cab's side profile a distinct look, the window sill was angled ever so slightly. Rick also suicided the doors. Up front, the fenders were frenched and new headlights with internal turn signals were installed. For a hood, Rick found a similar-year Chevy dump truck hood because they came sectioned from the factory, then sliced four inches from the rear and five inches from the front to give the nose an ultra streamlined effect. The box was left stock, but Rick did install two-inch-wider rear fenders and running boards from the now defunct Old Chicago. He also installed Ford taillights and a custom rear valance panel that sits between the box and the rear bumper.
For a shop that never was, it sure had us fooled! From this angle you can also see the way
Rick's wife, Terry, is responsible for stitching up the Mexican blanket interior.
With the bodywork finished, Rick laid down the SEM flat black himself. As for the Jim's Garage on the door, it is a tribute to his father, who used to fix all the neighborhood kids' bikes in his garage, and all the kids referred to the house as Jim's Garage. Although Jim's was never a real shop back in the day, Rick made sure the logo, telephone number, and lettering were period-correct for an authentic look. Taking things one step further are red wheels with bullet centers and four-inch-wide Coker whitewalls.
On the inside, Rick kept with the custom theme. Instead of a stock Chevy dash, he narrowed a '59 Impala dash to sit inside the cab. From there, he painted all the metal bright red, installed Classic Instrument gauges, and his wife stitched up the Mexican blanket interior. We'd say all those years with a custom car book stuffed between the pages of whatever textbook had to be open in school paid off, because Rick's '48 is one rad kustom truck.