Wayne and Barbara Charles of Rosemount, Minnesota, went looking for a big, loud, and sleek muscle car to call their own. They searched high and low for the right one, yet nothing seemed to do the trick. One was not the right color, another was too flashy, and yet another was just not their style. You see, what they didn't know was that the right car for them wasn't a car at all; it was a truck. All of the frustration they suffered in trying to find a recreational toy was part of a bigger plot they couldn't yet see.
Wayne's problem wasn't that the cars were wrong or bad. He just didn't have an emotional attachment to any of them to match what he had with only one other vehicle during his lifetime. As it turns out, the vehicle he was searching for was right under his nose the entire time. A vehicle that was purchased by Wayne's father in the late 1950's in which he learned to drive at age 12 on the farm: a '51 Chevrolet 3600 pickup.
As fate would have it, this very truck was still at the farm under 30 years of dust, mice, rust, and bird droppings. But have no illusions that this was some prized "barn find" that was well preserved by the ravages of time. No, this was a strict work truck and much like everything else on the farm, earned its keep. It spent the majority of its life with a wooden box, hauling hogs to market. Oftentimes the truck would be full of feed for an entire week. The hogs would use the truck as a scratching post and for other pig-type duties.
At age 13, Wayne was allowed to take the truck to the market by himself, but only in the winter. Wayne figured out quickly why he was given such responsibility at an early age, the heater was broken. A couple years later the truck was used as a hunting truck to schlep him to and from the duck marshes. At age 18 Wayne bought a car and forgot about the Chevy. It continued to see service up until 1974 when it was retired to the barn, to some day be resurrected.
The body was in rough shape due to normal farm work: climbing on, walking on, and sitting on panels that were never designed for that sort of activity. But, Wayne was able to preserve the original fenders even if it would have been more financially prudent to purchase new ones. Wayne had to replace the front driver door hinges and cowl panel after catching it on the barn while prying the carcass out of retirement. Wayne completed the subframe and soon realized that he was in way over his head as he had zero fabrication experience and needed help. The exterior got lots of love from Bob Lampher at Bob's Rod Shop in Savage, Minnesota. The top was chopped 2 inches, the door handles shaved, the taillights frenched, the firewall recessed, the fenderwells smoothed, and the headlights frenched as well, all in an effort to give the truck a sleek and modern look.
The old wooden box was ditched for a metal box from Bruce Horkey with white oak bed wood. A third brakelight was added to give it a modern look and the rear roll pan and the tailgate are smoothed Pro's Pick items. All topped off with a custom dark-metallic green from Sikkens done by Bruce Tschida of Lake Marion Collision in Lakeville, Minnesota. Naturally, Wayne's wife, Barb, came to the rescue and helped Wayne pick the perfect color.