Terry and Sue Streetman are avid hot rodders with years of experience owning, driving, and building hot rods. A string of different hot rods have graced their garage over the years and they all share some common threads. For one, they tend to be black, as is this '66 Chevy truck-parked between a black '57 Chevy sedan and a black '37 Ford coupe. Two, they all exude simplicity and finally, they are all drivers.
After several years of motoring around in the above-mentioned hot rods, it was Sue who decided she wanted a truck. Terry was trying to steer her toward the ever-popular '67-72 body style, but Sue knew what she wanted. After looking at a lot of '63-72 trucks Sue determined she preferred the earlier version.
With the search narrowed, she was in hot pursuit of virtually any '62-66 Chevy truck. The search finally ended when they discovered a black (what else?) '66 Chevy truck. The price seemed reasonable, but the truck still had plenty of old-truck issues. Certain that this was the one, a deal was struck and Sue Streetman had a project truck on her hands.
Like many trucks, it came with an interesting story. This one involved it being a farm truck all of its life, working in the fields not far from the Streetman's North Carolina home. It seems the original owners were going to fix up the old truck so they had it painted black as the first step in the restoration. The paint and bodywork was well done thanks to Chris Weber at Weber's Paint & Body in Statesville, North Carolina. But as most regular readers of CCT know, paint is one of the last items to be done during a restoration.
Starting with a truck in finished paint added time to the overall build, since care was taken so as not to damage the paint. The front sheetmetal and bed were removed from the chassis and the frame received a thorough cleaning and painting in chassis flat black. The frame was then re-plumbed with new brake and fuel lines. The old straight-six was removed and the entire front suspension was replaced with pieces from a '72 Chevy truck. One-inch drop springs and 2-inch dropped spindles provide the proper front stance. A '72 Chevy dual master cylinder was mounted to activate the GM disc brakes. Out back, 3-inch lowering springs get the job done and it all rolls on American Torq-Thrust wheels measuring 17x7 and 17x8, front and rear respectively.
Since Sue's truck was built to haul, selecting a new ZZ4 crate motor from Chevrolet seemed prudent. A short water pump was bolted to the motor along with a six-blade stainless steel flex fan that draws air through a Desert Cooler four-row radiator by U.S. Radiator. Doug's full-length headers feed the leftovers to a set of 21/2-inch Flowmaster mufflers. GM Special Design valve covers continue with the understated approach to the truck and a set of GM red ignition wires add the perfect splash of color under the hood. The remainder of the engine bay is nicely detailed in contrasting lusters of black. It is a very functional and business-like look that works well in the truck. While it looks simple, achieving this level of detail takes a good eye.
Now you might think a nice cushy automatic transmission would be coupled to the ZZ4, but as it turns out Sue likes mixing her own gears, so a Tremec 600 five-speed transmission was chosen. The Hurst shifter makes changing gears a pleasure.
With an engine bay in varying textures of black and a fine black paintjob, Sue realized the truck needed a splash of color. The original gold interior gave way to a Torch Red interior with the dashboard and door jambs being painted by Rodcrafters in Welcome, North Carolina. The stock dashboard is filled with Classic Instruments that feature black faces and red pointers. The stock steering column is painted black and topped with a Lecarra steering wheel wrapped in leather. A '95 Chevy pickup seat was adapted to the cab and Tony Daniels of Lexington, North Carolina, stitched up a very traditional rolled and pleated seat using red and black Ultraleather. Black carpets cover the floor, and the windows still crank down just like they did in 1966.
It took a bit longer than a year to complete the conversion from farm truck to highway hauler and while there aren't a lot of trick modifications to the truck it is a great exercise in packaging. Absolutely every piece on the truck blends beautifully with the next and as a result the truck has that certain intangible presence that draws you in for a closer look.
With the truck finally completed Sue can spend days on the road, or even doing what she calls relaxing-just spending time with Terry out in the garage with her favorite music playing while she details their three black hot rods. We can't think of a better way to spend a day.