It doesn't matter what road you take, so long as you end up on the right path. for Dennis r. schaffner it took him awhile to find his way behind the seat of a custom classic truck. But, as you can see, once Dennis found his way, he really found his way by building this wicked awesome '47 Chevy Here's Dennis telling his tale:
"My interest in old trucks started many years ago as a young boy. growing up in the late '50s, early '60s, my dad always had an old truck. as a teen i worked on my uncle's farm during the summer months and there was always old trucks scattered about the farm. i learned to drive a 1955 ford f-100 when i was about 14 years old. that was the foundation of my infatuation with old trucks.
"In 1987 I was attending a neighborhood yard sale and saw a sign for an old chevy truck selling for $300. after some investigation, i discovered the old truck overgrown with weeds in the corner of a vacant lot. The truck had a lot of dents and rust. i thought what the heck and made an offer of $250.
"At this point my goal was to put a minimal amount of money into it and keep it as a stock vehicle. Up to this point my main interests were in corvettes, and i didn't know much about sheetmetal repair. When i bought the truck, I thought what's the difference if it's dented or rusted, it still needs to be repaired. as I proceeded to sandblast the sheetmetal I learned a very valuable lesson about rust: avoid it at all possible cost. after two or three years of a frustrating on-again, off- again process, the truck took a back seat to other activities for 10 or 12 years.
"About five years ago the street rod bug bit harder than it had over the past 25 years. i started thinking about the old truck in my backyard again. With the help of my nephew, troy gutshall, and my son, colby, i tore the chassis completely apart and added a Mustang ii front suspension, chassis engineering rear leaf springs, a 327 chevy small-block backed by a 350 turbo tranny, an 8-inch ford granada rearend, and a frame-mounted gas tank from No Limit engineering. Living less than an hour from two of the biggest automotive swap meets in the world, Carlisle and hershey, Pa, i thought I should be able to find better sheetmetal. i started gathering nice original fenders, bedsides, a tailgate, a grille, and a nice cab. With all the sheetmetal in primer, the truck was assembled and driven for approximately two years.
"In the winter of 2005 the truck was taken to Leon 'smitty' smith in abbottstown, Pa, for the final tweaking of the body and the paint. as per my plans, smitty removed the drip rails, peaked the hood, shaved the door handles, fit the extended and smooth running boards from smoothie fabrications, built a custom roll pan with '56 chevy taillights, frenched the headlights, narrowed and filled the stake pockets, removed the tailgate hinges, and contoured the front of the bed to the back of the cab. then he proceeded to squirt the imron corvette torch red paint. smitty also narrowed the '49 cadillac dash i found in a salvage yard and mated the Cadillac door panels to the original window garnishes.
"Inside the cab, all the switches and controls are located along the bottom 32 feBrUary 2008 n custom classic trucks of the dash. cruise control from Dakota Digital was added for creature comfort. the seat, seatbelts, and headliner are from rod Doors. Both have been slightly modified. Billet specialties gets the credit for the column and Vintec steering Wheel. classic instruments all American series gauges add a touch of class to the '49 cadillac dash.
"once all the necessities were added, an upholsterer was needed to stitch a clean, contemporary interior. after months of searching, the name Mike haverstock, of Chambersburg, Pa, came to the forefront. Mike and I came to an agreement on colors and styles and chose a dark tan hide and matching suede for the headliner and a complementary square-weave carpet. Mike created a panel to cover the area behind the seat housing the fuse panel, battery, and speakers, as well as a nice overhead console that houses the sound system by alpine. the center floor console that i made from the original hood ornament was also covered in leather."
"Also at this time, the frame was boxed, c-notched, and powdercoated silver gray. i also added a 700r4 tranny and 4.11 gears. the suspension was updated with heidt's tubular control arms with air bags, air ride technologies compressor and controls, 11-inch rotors, and a remote-fill master cylinder from eci inc. the rear leafs were also replaced with a tci four-link with coilovers. flowmaster 40s create the sounds from the pipes. i also machined the oak planks and added the hidden bolt WOW strips.
Refining the engine's look...
Refining the engine's look are Billet Specialties valve covers and air cleaner, and a lot of chrome.
The '49 Cad dash and Classic...
The '49 Cad dash and Classic Instrument gauges look right at home in the cab.