Like so many truck lovers, Dustin "Dusty" Randall was virtually born to love old cars; it's in his DNA. For, you see, his father, John Randall, was building hot rods and race cars in and around Sebring, Florida, even before Dusty came on the scene. So it was only natural that Dusty and his brothers John and Eddy all became car guys. Dusty's dad had a '56 Chevy truck when Dusty was just a youngster and the image of that truck was burned into his memory. He just loved the way the old truck looked and vowed to have one himself someday. And all the while the three brothers helped dad on the truck, Dusty dreamed of his own hauler somewhere down the road. The truck project was followed by dad's next project, a '57 Bel Air and once again the Randall brothers were wrenching on an old car. These projects allowed the senior Randall to pass along his skills and knowledge to his three sons while running his shop, Heartland Performance.
Dusty grew up, married Lauren, and moved to the Atlanta area, but he never lost that vision of building a '56 Chevy truck. While searching for a suitable truck to hot rod he came across an ad for a '57 Chevy truck in Jasper, Georgia. The price was a paltry $500, so Dusty and his brother John loaded the trailer and headed for Jasper. Now we'd love to tell you Dusty pulled up to an old barn and found a pristine old truck just waiting for a new home, but alas, that was not the case. What he found was a typical work truck with 2x6 timbers for a bed floor, rust in all the usual places, and an overall worn and tattered hauler. But hey, for $500 they loaded the old truck up and took it home.
Upon closer examination Dusty decided the best course of action would be to sell everything but the hood and the frame, and that's just what he did. The proceeds of parting out the truck netted him $1,000 so he now had a good chassis, a very nice hood, and a little extra cash to get started. A replacement cab was located, along with '56 fenders and a bed. These parts were mounted on the '57 chassis and promptly rolled onto the trailer for the 600-mile drive to Sebring, Florida, where the majority of the work would take place. Once again the Randall family would be building a '56 Chevrolet truck.
John Randall was busy assembling a nicely warmed over 350ci Chevrolet motor and 700-R4 combination for the truck that employs a Weiand 142 blower, Lunati cam, Stewart aluminum water pump, and Hedman headers. Over at Father and Son Paint & Body in Avon Park, Florida, Willie Tolentino was busy putting a '80 Camaro subframe under the truck. Out back, a '66 Nova 10-bolt rear mounts to the stock leaf springs with air shocks for final ride height adjustment.
With the truck rolling around on its new suspension, Willie turned his attention to the body. Dusty likes the stock appearance of the '56 Chevrolet so there was no need for dramatic changes. A few subtle modifications including a shaved hood, rolled rear pan, custom taillights, and one-piece side glass was all it took to give the truck a clean look. After untold hours the panel fit and finish was complete it was time to lay down the PPG Sport Red with gold flip-flop ghost flames.
The painted truck was brought to Irwin Upholstery in Sebring where Richie Irwin stitched up a traditional pattern using tan leather. The dashboard is smoothed with a filled glovebox, while the Lokar shifter handles gear selection. White Auto Meter gauges monitor the blower motor and Pioneer components rock the cabin. Jon Delucio handled the installation of the Nostalgic Air Parts, completing the cabin of the truck.
At this point the truck came back home to Georgia where Dusty finished up the detailing, final assembly, and the installation of the wood in the bed. The oak wood was finished by the late Charles Hunt Jr., a.k.a. Granddaddy. Charles finished furniture for a living so it was only natural that he provide the final finish on the bed floor. He would often tell Dusty, "I better be the first one to ride in that truck," but sadly he didn't live to see it completed. As you can see this truck was a true family affair, and Dusty would like to credit his dad for teaching him so much about cars and trucks and to all the friends and family who helped build the truck.
After attending to the myriad details that truly finish a truck, Dusty and Lauren Randall were ready to ride, and because the truck was built with basic, roadworthy parts, it is a good driver, and with that blower motor tucked under the hood, there's plenty of power underfoot too.