Deep in the heart of Kansas, if indeed Russell is the heart of the Sunflower State, there's a father and son shop turning out customized cars and pickups that rival the best of them. Mike Schoech and his son Matt run Auto Artistry on a full-time basis, and the pretty little '41 Chevy street rod pickup you see gracing these pages is what they call their "shop-rod." On the days that the two aren't grinding, welding, or painting steel they're pulling down the long, hard miles hitting the custom car show circuit on the Interstate. On the day we shot Mike's '41 it was after the Mid-West All-Truck Nationals had just concluded in Kansas City, and the '41 had just won First Place in its class.
Mike told us originally the Chevy was an oil field pump truck that had seen better days. Since Mike had already built a truck of this style (featured in an earlier edition of Custom Classic Trucks) he knew the "no bells and whistles" route was the one he wanted to take. The stock '41 framerails were boxed and "re-curved" to give the truck its lowered stance and accept a four-bar suspension on the rear. Up front there's a Super Bell 4-inch drop axle suspended with a mono-leaf spring hooked to four links. The '96 S-10 reared is packing 3.55:1 gears, and the transmission is a '73 TH350 mated to a '73 Chevy 350 running 9.1:1 compression with an Edelbrock AFB carb on top of an Edelbrock Performer aluminum intake manifold. The camshaft is a Crane RV, and the exhaust exits out of a pair of block-hugger-style headers. Mike conservatively estimates the horsepower at 275.
After the Schoech boys finished the custom paint up in DuPont Jazzy Blue the little pickup went to Troy Gasper in Victoria, Kansas, for upholstery. Troy stitched the '84 Jag XJS buckets in brown and tan leather and laid the carpet in complementary hues. The dashboard is from a '40 Buick and the custom wiring harness is from Affordable Street Rods. A Grant steering wheel is connected to a Unisteer rack-and-pinion arrangement. The window glass was done right in Russell at Al's Auto Glass. Although the pretty little '41 looks like it only sees sunny days and is babied, when Mike isn't hauling parts to the shop in the bed, the truck has done everything from race with rat-rods in the mud bogs to charge right up to 130 ... on a private track of course.
Editor's Note: Getting your truck into Readers' Trucks is a snap, of the camera, that is. All it takes is a stack of good-quality photos of your ride that are in focus and well lit. Due to the volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot return photographs. Send photos of your truck (no Polaroids or printouts) to: CCT, Readers' Trucks, 774 S. Placentia Ave., Placentia, CA 92870. It is important that you include a detailed description of the modifications you have made to your truck, including any interesting stories behind it.