It's so easy when we know what we want. There's no reasoning, doubting, second-guessing, or even weighing out the pros vs. cons. Nope. Instead, we see something and it's settled: "I want that." Some just know. Mark Davis is one of those guys. When he saw this '46 Chevy, he knew. It was as simple as calling dibs on the last beer in the fridge.
Upon visiting local hot rod shop Auto Artistry in Mark's hometown, Russell, Kansas, he spotted the nearly completed '46 and immediately called owner Mike Schoech over to call the proverbial "shotgun" on the truck when Mike was ready to sell. Originally Mike was building the truck for himself-and as an advertisement for the shop. He was planning on selling it a few months down the road, but with the offer on the table Mike figured now was as good a time as any. Upon completion, the keys were handed over and that was that. Let's go back and see how the truck came to be.
A few years ago Mike bought the truck from an employee's grandfather. For years it sat collecting rust. Then, once the time was right, the build was on-but only the original cab, grille, and hood came along for the ride. Starting with nothing but a few pieces, the first thing that had to be made was a chassis. Mike started with 2x4-inch rectangular tubing and decided to set the wheelbase at 126 inches. Because he wanted the truck to be long and low, the front and rear of the frame was Z'd, then a custom four-link was fabbed with a '96 S-10 rearend. Up front, the truck was outfitted with a Mustang II frontend for modern-day driving and handling. Originally the truck called for a 350. As something wasn't settling right with Mike, he swapped it out for a rat motor-a 454 to be exact.
Putting the "Rat" in a rat rod highboy hauler is this 454 Chevy with these way-cool header
Not bad for oak wood and nickel-and-dime aluminum sliding from the hardware store.
Besides cranking out 450 hp, what really sets the motor off are the black Cal Cover valve covers (with matching Speedway air cleaner) and custom headers built by Mike. Transferring power to the rear is a Turbo 400.
When it came to the look of the truck, Mike had a specific idea for a highboy pickup-hence the reasoning for only keeping a few key items. To kick-start things off, the cab was chopped 4 inches. From there it was shaved clean. On the inside, the dash was reworked for Dolphin gauges and an all-metal center console was incorporated into the theme, as well. Next up, the grille and hood was cut up to create a custom one-off look for the front end. As for the bed, Mike completely hand-fabbed the entire thing, including the tailgate, from sheetmetal. On the inside, Mike used a combination of oak and aluminum siding from the hardware store to create the bed floor. With everything put together, the truck was prepped for paint. To set the low-slung highboy hauler off, it was determined a sinister two-tone DuPont Black and Charcoal paintjob (laid down by Mike) would do the trick. To add to the aggressive theme of the truck, a set of Coys 17-inch rims with Nexen rubber put things in motion.
Inside the cab rest two black bucket seats and a custom console. To match the seats, the door panels have been custom-made from black cloth and red highlights by Casper Upholstery. Running along the headliner is another custom console that houses the stereo equipment. With the keys in Mark's hand, he might add a few personalized touches-such as creating some sort of hood, and/or upsizing the wheels and tires. For now, this '46 is exactly what he wants.