More times than not, even the simplest of plans turn into a full-blown outline on how to dismantle an atomic bomb. All it takes is that first step, and before you can say, "Steve Perry," you've already moved forward in leaps and bounds. Frank Quadrato knows a thing or two regarding this subject.
When Frank and his then 14-year-old son, Chris, set out to build this '54 Chevy longbed, the plan was short, simple, and to the point: teach the boy how to paint and do bodywork and then give him something to drive when freedom rings at the age of 16. Well, it wasn't too long before they decided to do this, which led to that, that in turn opened this door and, before they knew it, two years later there was a full-blown show truck in front of them.
Before any body lessons could take place, a few ground rules needed to be taken care of first-and it started with assembling the chassis. For starters, the frame was stripped down and cleaned up. From there, the straight-axle up front was tossed and Frank installed a Mustang II frontend and motor mounts to accommodate a V-8 transfer. Up front, the truck was dropped with spindles and new coil shocks, but the rear received a different treatment. To optimize road manners, airbags were set up in the rear of the truck for instant adjustment when needed. Once the frame was worked out, it was then disassembled and taken down to the powdercoaters. Giving the truck that much-needed hot rod sound, and some get up, is a 350 yanked from a Monte Carlo. The motor has been stroked for added horsepower-and a Holley carb helps the motor breathe fresh air. For ideal driving conditions in all areas, a Turbo 400 transmission was bolted up behind the motor.
With the underpinnings all wrapped up, Frank could move forward with his original plan: to teach Chris bodywork. For starters, they began by cleaning up the lines of the flowing '54. In order to accentuate the look of the truck, the first mission was to de-accessorize. All the chrome pieces on the truck were removed and the remaining holes were welded up. Then the door handles and locks were shaved, along with the cowl vents on the cab. Up front, the hood was shaved clean and the headlights were frenched. In the rear, the bumper was yanked and a roll pan was welded in. Instead of sticking with the stock taillights, two '59 Cadillac taillights were frenched into each rear fender. From there, Frank and his son worked the body smooth and clean, readying the truck for paint. They decided to give the truck an old-school, hot-rod feel with a traditional-styled flame job, but first the truck was shot in black by Rod Moore. Rod also laid down the yellow, red, and green flames. Adding to the paint scheme are opposite-colored scallops that follow the front and rear fenders. Along with that is a highly painted tailgate and a flamed firewall. Accentuating the old-school look are the chrome reversed wheels with bullet caps and whitewalls.
The inside of the cab was kept simple with a sleek and subtle black-and-gray cloth and vinyl theme. Carrying the flamed theme on the inside is the dash that has been flamed to match the exterior. Genesis Auto Upholstery also created some flamed door panels, too. Although things may have strayed from the original plan, it's safe to say that the truck turned out for the better.