Some trucks have such a sentimental connection with their owners, it's nearly impossible for an outsider to put it inyo words. Randy and Kendra Correia's relationship with their '50 Chevy advanced design pickup is one of these cases.
"I acquired the truck in 1975 when my wife and I were dating while in high school and college. Back then the truck was a retro 1950's show truck, black with a great flame job. We toiled over the truck before taking it out for an evening, always waxing and washing the truck. She was a good sport about it but stories of this pre-date routine abound to this day. After college and while building a career and family, the truck rested in my mother's garage (thanks, Mom) for 17 years and had declined to the point that we decided to bring the truck back just enough to take a ride once in a while, maybe to go get coffee on Sunday mornings. Fortunately, my cousin, Ron Fagundes of Tracy, California, had a professional garage, Fagundes' Tenth Street Garage, and was the "hot rod guy" in his town. So with the intention of just getting the truck running well again, I turned it over to him to begin repair and improvement in 1998. However, part way through the process, we moved to the San Diego area and discovered Randy Clark and his team at Hot Rods & Custom Stuff. One good idea led to another and three years later the result was a ground up rebuild with all the comfort and conveniences of a modern car with the fit and finish of a quality show truck."
A Fatman Fabrications chassis was ordered up to replace the aging stock unit with a Ford 9-inch rearend out back and Mustang II IFS up front. To provide ample stopping power for the Chevy hauler, 11-inch Corvette disc brakes were installed at all four corners fronted by 18-inch Boyd Coddington Rodders wheels wrapped in Nitto Extreme ZR rubber. Powering the pickup is performed by a crate GM Performance Parts 502ci Ram Jet engine dipped in plenty of polished aluminum and chrome and backed by a 700-R4 transmission.
When it came to the exterior sheetmetal work, the crew at Hot Rods and Custom Stuff had their hands full with custom mods before the basic bodywork could begin. The hood molding was removed and smoothed and the original hinges were upgraded. Under the hood, the radiator shroud was filled and smoothed, handmade steel inner front fenders were fabricated, and the firewall was shaved. Outside, Honda Civic flush door handles were installed while all the emblems were removed and smoothed. The stock air vent on the passenger side was also filled, the headlights frenched, and a single-piece curved windshield was installed. Both front and rear bumper splash pans were reworked with a custom rear roll pan added to the rear to house the taillights that necessitated the rear stake pockets to be extended as well. Hidden tailgate latches and hinges and a hidden fuel cell with a top fill in the bed rounds out the back side of the truck.
Once the body mods were completed and the bodywork finished, it was time to spray the custom mixed PPG Black Cherry hue over the massaged Chevy body. But arriving at the color the Correia's desired was a trip in and of itself.
The most challenging part of the build-up was "getting the paint and overall color scheme perfect. My wife and I had a specific vision of the paint color we were trying to achieve. While the custom black cherry candy color took several weeks to get just right, my wife is an interior designer and agonized over matching the deep subtle colors in the custom paint to the stain in the bed, the color and texture of the leather, and the colors in the carpet. The end result draws rave attention from those who study the truck closely. She did a fabulous job."
With the paint dry, it was then time to select upholstery fabric and color, another tedious time as they went over numerous fabric samples to get just the right combination to complement the Black Cherry paint. They decided on a tan leather sample with an Ostrich inset to set off the interior in color and texture. Hot Rods and Custom Stuff handled the upholstery job in-house, covering the door and kick panels, headliner, and the Glide bench seat. A cluster of Classic Instruments gauges replaced the stock Chevy units with a tilt steering column topped by a Klassix chrome "Bullit" steering wheel mounted underneath. The rest of the dash remained fairly stock, with the exclusion of the Vintage Air climate controls and a Crutchfield head unit.
As one could imagine with a truck that's been in their lives for so long, so are the stories that accompany said truck. Randy related one of our favorites:
"In the early years, while parked outside of my high school (Tokay High in Lodi, CA.) someone set off the ancient car alarm system which was nothing more than a large school bell linked to the doors and hood. When the alarm sounded, all the students in our PE class thought it was in fact the school bell and returned inside for the end of the period. I received many thanks from my fellow students that day, although the PE teacher was not too happy with me."
And by breathing new life into their old truck, new experiences are added to those old stories:
"Soon after completion and while participating at the three-day Del Mar National Goodguys show, I would observe how interested in the paintjob and color individuals and families became. Many would openly disagree and argue on the color and finally approach me for clarification if it was black or something else. This was exactly the mysterious effect we were looking for when we designed the color. Interestingly, the women and kids saw the deep black cherry hues, while the men usually see it as black. We have a lot of fun with this."
And that's what it's all about!