Some stories aren't meant to be passed down. For instance, stories with so many ups and downs and turns and twists that they sound like a National Lampoon movie are always better from the horse's mouth. Retelling that sort of story is right on par with second-hand news. For that reason, we're going to let Randy Thompson of Castro Valley, California, tell you his story about how his '57 Chevy came to be:
"In '89 I wanted to build a truck, but not just any truck: a '57 Chevy with a big window. After looking at several project trucks, I saw an ad in the Penny Saver that read: ''57 Big-Window Chevy, frozen 396 motor.' I decided to go take a look. Turned out the truck had rotten bed wood, the side glass had bullet holes in them, and the dash was covered with 3-inch-long black gorilla fur! So I purchased it for $1,000. After I drug it home, I proceeded to remove everything from the truck until it was down to bare frame.
"Now fast-forward to '95: After the truck had been sitting in my backyard for six years, my financial situation had improved-as in my kids had moved out-which meant I now had the money to start the truck. First the frame was taken to Magnum Force in San Jose, California, to get boxed and C-notched. They then installed a Chris Alston's four-link with Varishock coilovers. Also in the mix was a 50-inch-wide 9-inch Ford rearend with a Williams pumpkin and axles, Wilwood disc brakes, and 31x18.50-inch rubber. Next, I took the truck to KJ's Auto Body in Oakland. There, Kenny installed a front clip from a '73 Malibu.
"While all this was going on with the chassis I had the body, which I thought was pretty cherry, media-blasted. You can imagine my surprise when I picked up the cleaned parts encrypted with dents, rust, holes, and more dents and holes. I had Kenny at KJ's hand-fab new front and rear cab corners and floorpans. To save money I decided to tackle the body and paintwork. My wife said I just like to make dust, because all I seemed to do was put Bondo on and sand it right back off! By '01 I was ready for paint. That year I also installed a Nash five-speed, at my wife's request. By this point I was taking the truck out for drives regularly. In '04 I met Ben at Smeding Performance and purchased one of his 383 crate motors. With the new motor the truck runs a 12.70 @ 114.28 in the quarter-mile.
"In October 2006, disaster struck. While returning from a show in Lodi, the studs on the driver-side rear broke off and I spun around hitting a concrete overpass at 60 mph backwards. I wasn't hurt, but the truck sure was. Everything from the cab back needed to be replaced and the frame was displaced 6 inches. I then took the truck to East Bay Frame and Axle. There, Marty straightened the frame and installed a new Alston four-link and Currie rearend. I then ordered a Pro's Pick bed, roll pan, and tailgate. The truck, along with the new parts, was then taken to Claire Street Auto Body where Ralph began working his magic on the dented cab and rear half. It was also at this time Ralph suggested to me that we french the parking lights and headlights. Then that thought transpired into also installing new taillights in the roll pan and shaving the antenna, cowl vent, and driprail. After a month of resisting all these mods, I gave the go ahead to Ralph to go crazy. It was at this time he found that the rattle-can primer job I did in 2001 didn't stick. At one point Ralph peeled a 2-foot square of paint right off the truck! At that point he said the only way he would continue is if we-we beingme-would strip the cab and front sheetmetal down to bare metal. Once stripped, Ralph then laid down a basecoat clearcoat custom-mix PPG Aqua/Blue paint job.
"I then took the truck to Sure Fit Upholstery, where Jim covered the interior-based around Cadillac Seville seats-and bed with leather and BMW gray wool carpet. Topping the entire package off is a set of Intro Speedstar rims (8x18 up front and 14x20 out back) with Michelin rubber (235/40/18 up front and 335/30/20 out back). Now that the truck is back on the road I've changed its name from 'Tubby '57' to 'resu-wreck-tion!'"
Now that's what we call a journey. At least it has a happy ending.