Having a classic truck built on the barter system is one of the best ways for many of us to not only enjoy our hobby but to enjoy it on a budget. Using one's skills in trade for another's is a great way to work out a paintjob, upholstery, or engine and tranny work. And that's just what Jeffrey Mattazaro did when it came time to build his dream truck, a 1956 Chevy big window.
It all started when Jeff found the '56 on the internet. Around the same time, his close friend Paul Garrett had mentioned that he was in need of a little addition in the way of a custom garage. It just so happened that his buddy Paul was the "P.G." behind Rods by P.G. and Jeff was himself the owner of a general contracting company, both in the El Cajon, California, area. It was as if the barter system stars had aligned perfectly. The two inked themselves out a friendly contract and before long the frame was being raised on Paul's garage as the frame of Jeff's truck was being slid out from under the stock body for the first time in 50 years.
The first item for the team at Rods by P.G. to tackle was to update the stock Chevy suspension. A Total Cost Involved Mustang II IFS was installed up front while a Ford 9-inch rear was slung out back off a similarly sourced four-link setup. The Total Cost Involved package brought with it some much needed upgrades in the brake, steering, and handling department via Wilwood discs, rack-and-pinion steering, and Bilstein coilover-equipped independent suspension. Raceline wheels shod in Nitto rubber complete the rolling accoutrements, 20s up front and 22s out back.
To power the hauler, Jeff went with the veritable small-block Chevy in the guise of a ZZ4 350 equipped with a polished Edelbrock induction setup and matching finned air scoop and valve covers. A Billet Specialties V-Trac setup keeps the chrome alternator and A/C compressor mounted nice and tight against the block while a chrome water pump and an aluminum Be Cool radiator ensures the 350-horsepower engine stays at a sage operating temperature and not a degree over. Backing the small-block is an evenly matched TH350 trans.
With the mechanical side of things complete, Paul rolled the Chevy over to the body and paint division of Rods by P.G. where the crew converted the wood bed to a metal floor and knocked the tin nice and straight before blasting it with the Kiwi Green hue it wears today. Once dry, the crew laid out the miles of wiring necessary to mate all the electrical components under the dash, hood, and elsewhere before sending the truck down to Martin Advanced Audio in El Cajon, California, where they installed an Alpine audio system. The final stop on the build tour was Benny Gonzales' El Cajon shop where he pulled a few yards of tan leather over the Glide bench seat and custom panels. Finishing off the interior is a tilt column topped by a Billet Specialties Classic steering wheel that mounts under a Classic Instruments-equipped filled dash.
It's easy to believe looking at the photos of Jeff's truck that it truly is his dream truck come true for not only his business, but because both man and machine were created in 1956. And the fact that it all resulted from a simple barter's bargain makes it all the more worthwhile.