This is a completely new vehicle. Although we didn't have to deal with rust and body rot notorious with a restoration project, we did pound, bend, and stretch the new sheetmetal to fit into our plans for a custom parts hauler.
This project was unique because rather than hiring a professional shop to build the truck it was built by employees at Classic Industries, enthusiasts who wrench and pound on their own projects. These employees needed a place to work, so we built a 5,000 square foot "Tech Center." The tech center is a state-of-the-art shop with Burr-King grinders, Bend Pak lifts, Auto Twirler body rotisserie, Gearwrench hand tools, Ingersoll Rand compressor and tools, Island Clean Air downdraft units, Iwata spray guns, and Miller Electric welding equipment.
With the Tech Center completed in November, it was time to start building the truck. The concept was drawn by Jaime Seymour with our classic color scheme of silver and burgundy. Edgar Soler was pulled from the Showroom to be the project manager. He enlisted the help of Call Center employees Jason Poling and Christian Carrillo as well as Keith Pittman from Returns to be the main builders. Other employees for specific tasks include Freddie Ruiz from the Marketing and Research department and Byron Stewart from the Call Center to do the woodworking, Bret Dethlefsen from the Marketing and Research department and Accounting department's Regina Rowletts husband, Lance, for body prep and paint, Ed Stevens from Tech helped with the reassembly and more were called up when needed.
We started with a TCI Chassis, bolted on some SSBC Force 10 Brakes with remote reservoir, mounted a GM Performance Parts ZZ383 engine with Edelbrock intake, valve-train and MSD ignition sparks the fuel from the polished Mooneyes tank in the bed, strung some Zoops goodies and connected it to a B&M TH700R4 transmission, which spins a Moser rearend turning our signature American Racing Salt Flat wheels burning Toyo rubber. The exhaust shoots through Dougs Headers and down Magnaflow system with Race Pro mufflers and fire out the rear fenders.
Body mods, such as frenched Delta Tech headlights, leaded seams, one-piece hood, hidden latch tailgate, custom dash and console, were added to the new body available from our catalog. The underside and bedsides were finished with the durable Al's Liner. Out front the Briz bumper from Chevs of the 40's sits tight to the grille and fenders. The body was squirted with House of Kolor shades and striped by Jeff Styles and polished by System One and Surf City Garage.
The interior keeps outside noise down with Hushmat sound deadener panels and has Procar Seats with custom embroidered covers from Distinctive Industries mounted on custom seat brackets. Auto Meter gauges sit behind an ididit column. The sounds pound from a Sony Xplod system with a custom speaker box behind the seats. Edgar and the boys built a custom center console with hidden cupholders. The windows ride up and down on Electric Life power window kit using handles from Clayton Machine Works. All the electrical is strewn through Painless wiring.
With most projects like this, the deadline was moved up to make the unveiling at the Pismo Beach Classic Car Show June 20-22. Another challenge to this build was the cameras that followed the build on Speed Channels hit series "Chop Cut Rebuild." The crew would come in a couple days a week to catch the progress, while host Dan Woods would assist with that week's tasks. This process, at times, interrupted the workflow and made it a challenge to meet our deadlines. We are happy to report that after long nights and endless days the truck fired up and barked its first gasp right on schedule-six months in the making.
So what's next for the Tech Center and Classic Industries? Well, after this challenge it's too overwhelming to think about the next project, but there has been talk about a concourse-level 68 Firebird Convertible restoration.