"While the cab and front end were in the "bubble," the bed was being prepared for the new ash wood, stainless steel strips, and bolts. The ash wood strips were sanded, marine lacquer applied, then resanded. This process was repeated several times until the finish was like glass. New crossmembers were welded into place and then the wood slats and metal runners were bolted in. Hidden spring-loaded latches were installed inside the tailgate and rear fenders, leaving the outside completely smooth.
"With the bed finished, the next project was the custom front bumper. A new 1968 Chevy pickup bumper was purchased and the chrome was sanded off and all the boltholes filled and ground smooth. The bolts were then welded to the inside of the bumper and the bumper was painted the color of the body. The result was a completely smooth, wraparound bumper.
"Once painted, it was time for some serious decisions to be made in regards to the upholstery and interior. Jill and I went to Custom Interiors in Camarillo and spoke with the owner, Jose Villacorta, and told him what we wanted. Jill picked out the colors and material from his samples and with some recommendations and suggestions from Jose, Jill decided on a full bone-and-cream German leather interior with dark beige Mercedes wool carpet. A Chevy Suburban seat frame was modified to fit the cab before being completely reshaped with foam by Jose. The dash, door panels, armrests, quarter-panels, and fold-down seat divider were all handmade and then covered. After about three weeks, the results were fantastic. The interior turned out just the way we wanted, with the style and stitching similar to our Yukon, as we were looking for both class and comfort.
"The truck was then returned to Alan who realized he had only two weeks to left until the Carpinteria Rods & Roses car show, which was the completion date. The next step was to align the frontend. It was during this process that it was discovered that the upper control arms were too short and new ones needed to be made, which were quickly ordered from Scott's Hot Rods. Upon arrival, it was discovered that the new arms were not the right size either, so a third set was then ordered and fitted. In the meantime it was determined that the lines and hoses for the power steering were also incorrect and needed attention. With one week until Rods & Roses, things were looking grim. The disc brakes were also giving Alan grief but until the truck's suspension was put back together, these problems could not be corrected. The deadline for the Rods & Roses show looming, the outcome looked even grimmer. Two days before the show, Alan called and said everything was put back together and ready just in time for the show.
"The truck was delivered late in the afternoon on the day before the show and it was beautiful! It looked great, sounded great, and everyone breathed a little easier now that it was here and in show condition. The next morning Alan transported his custom 1971 Blazer up and we drove both trucks over to the show and had a great day. Our truck won two awards and was the talk of the town for days."