Charlie Dickerson of Jacksonville, Florida, makes his living working in the body shop at the local Freightliner dealership pulling dents and hosing down paint on a large scale. When the whistle blows, Charlie likes to head home to where his wife says she can always find him, "out in the garage working." A few years ago Charlie built a show-quality '54 Chevy pickup he sold soon after it was done, and regretted the day he did. A friend Charlie worked with knew he was aching to customize another old pickup, so he told him about a '41 Chevrolet that was only a few blocks away from their shop. As it turned out, the old Chevy was a truck Charlie had seen running around town for years, but then disappeared. The '41's owner parked it when the stock 216-inch six-banger engine started knocking like something wanted out. Charlie and his friend pulled the valve cover off and discovered the dipper-rod stovebolt had a bent pushrod, or two. Between them they got the old girl running again, but Charlie knew a stock truck wasn't what he needed. "One Sunday afternoon I started to think about how much nicer it would be to have a good suspension and brakes along with some real horsepower, so I pulled the cab, fenders, and bed clean off the stock chassis." Charlie's next step along with his friend Skip Szala was to figure out how to roll an '86 Chevy S-10 chassis underneath it. To line up the wheelbase Charlie scrapped the stock S-10 rearend, and then mounted a 9-inch Ford rearend with 3.73:1 gears he scored from Kevin Bayless eight and a half inches further back, and added 18 inches to the rear of the framerails to support the bed. In place of the stock Ford drum brakes a disc brake kit was installed by Kevin's dad, Merle Bayless, who used S-10 front calipers along with some kind of GM disc brake rotors. Because the width of the S-10 chassis was too wide to accommodate the '41 cab around the passenger side, Charlie whacked the bulge out and welded it to the inside of the framerail, along with boxing the rest of the frame. To mount the 12-volt battery next to the power brake dual master cylinder underneath the floorboards, Charlie used a Freightliner battery box that Barry Hill modified. The floor tunnel on the '41 is a Freightliner exhaust stack that was split in two and then welded in. when he spoke about all of the good people who were involved Charlie said, "I can't forget to mention all the coworkers at LC Transportation that helped me build the truck."
The first engine Charlie dropped in the '41 was a "sweet running" 327 built by J.D. and Eric Ray, but after what Charlie described as "maybe revving it a little too high, too many times," the 327 packed it in. The engine under the '41's hood now is a 355-inch Vortec acquired from friend John Senuta. To soup the small-block motor up there's an Edelbrock Performer intake topped with Demon 650 carb, HEI ignition, and ceramic-coated Hedman headers running to Dynomax mufflers. A Lokar floor shifter is used on the transmission, a B&M-equipped Turbo 400. To handle 12-volt electrical and to help with the cooling chores there's Ron Francis wiring and a SPAL electric fan. The radiator is a custom five-row core built by Butch Hubbard. The paintjob on the '41 Charlie did himself using a combination of DuPont Sandstone Beige Pearl on the hood, bed sides, and cab, and accented the fenders in DuPont Laser Red.
The interior features a Grant steering wheel, VDO gauges, and air conditioning. Keith Clark upholstered the bench seat robbed from a Freightliner in buckskin leather and stitched the burgundy tweed door panels, headliner, and carpeting. Graphic details in the upholstery include flames and a Chevy bowtie sculpted into tweed.
Between moving from one state to the next it took Charlie over five years before his '41 Chevy was ready to roll. In closing he wanted to make sure credit and thanks was given to Skip, Kevin, Merle, Barry, Jackie, Chad, Greg, Jim, Randy, J.D., Eric, Butch, Keith, John, Shawn, Tom, Josh, and particularly his wife Rhonda and children, Eric and Ashley for their love and support.