In '93, John Fernandez, of Cerritos, California, laid eyes on this '57 Chevy truck. Unfortunately, that gaze was where John's dream surrounding the truck began and ended, because the '57 belonged to John's dad, John Sr. All he could do was sit back and imagine.
As the years passed, John's dad let the truck sit there and rot away. Sr. had always intended to build the truck; he just never got around to it. In the meantime, every time John saw the truck he would tell his wife how much he would love to have it. Ten years after that first encounter with the '57, John's dream came true and he got the truck. Only John didn't know he was getting the truck. Instead, he came home from work on his birthday and his wife surprised him with the Chevy.
From the beginning of the project, John always had the intention of doing as much work on the truck himself as he could. However, some things were just out of his league. For instance, chassis work. John wanted to completely revamp the chassis, and the only way that was going to be possible was to enlist the help of Boulevard Custom's, in Gardena, California. At Boulevard, the crew removed the straight-axle up front and installed a new Total Cost Involved Mustang II setup with drop spindles and coilover shocks. Out back a Firebird rearend was flipped to complement the drop up front. Needing more room in the cab, Boulevard installed a Brothers gas tank behind the rearend.
When it came time to choose a powerplant, the only thing that made sense to John was to drop a big-block Chevy 454 into the '57. Boulevard got ahold of a '70 454-inch motor with four-bolt mains. From there the engine was machined 0.030 over, and then Boulevard equipped it with an Edelbrock Performer 2.0 intake manifold and 750cfm carburetor. An Isky 280 Mega Cam, Mallory ignition, and Sanderson headers were also tossed in to give the rat motor some more pop. Highlighting the 454 are chrome Chevy valve covers, a Walter Prosper air cleaner, and Zoop's pulleys. Matching the performance of the 454 is a brand-new B&M Turbo 400 tranny with a B&M Holeshot converter.
With the chassis finished, John needed to start looking for a reliable paint shop. On a tip from a co-worker, John got hooked up with A-Universal Paint and Body, in Gardena as well. Mainly, he wanted the body straightened and the rust repaired, but he also had a few touches of his own he wanted to throw in. For starters, trim, badges, and the gas filler neck had to go. Next, the bed needed a new tailgate, which came in the form of a Mar-K setup with hidden braces. John also had the rear bumper cut and pulled closer to the bed, and custom Mar-K LED taillights installed. Other touches include a smoothed firewall and dash. The last step was to choose a color. He wanted something red, but couldn't quite find one on a color chip he liked. What he ended up with is a custom-mixed GM Corvette Torch Red his painter, Paco, worked up. Back home, John and his dad began assembling the truck. They also installed a new Oak bed from Mar-K. Not to mention, a new set of 17-inch Intro Vista wheels with Kumho 235/50 (front) and 255/50 (rear) rubber.
Determined to finish the truck, the father/son duo chipped away assembling the truck. By this time they had already finished the exterior, and were rounding third base on the interior. They had wired the truck, installed the ididit column, Auto Meter gauges, and billet aluminum trim pieces. All that was left to do was stitch the upholstery. John then dropped the truck, and a set Glide seats, off at House of Trim, in Paramount, California. House of Trim then began working on the custom interior by stitching the truck in tan vinyl, cloth, and suede. They also built a custom center console and door panels for the truck. Now that the truck is finished, John and his dad can usually be found cruising single file; Sr. has a '55 Bel Air. And here in a few months John's wife will be right there with them. Because since she got him the '57, well it's her turn to get a '69 Camaro.