When Andrew Rosemark of Rochester, Minnesota, set out to build his first custom car, it would be the custom truck of his dreams. But first, he had to convince the toughest of critics around-his father-in-law, James Klein. The truck had been put through its paces as a farm truck and was in rough shape. Where others might have seen a heap of rust and broken-down farm implements, Andrew saw a gem just waiting to be polished. Andrew, along with his wife, Karen, picked up the '54 Chevrolet 3100 pickup for a whopping $500. It ran-poorly-so they had to limp it home from North Dakota.
Andrew stored the truck in his garage as he schemed to make a truck into one he could call his own. Remember that this was Andrew's first build and he knew it had to be epic so when a chance encounter with Bob Lampher of Bob's Rod Shop in Savage, Minnesota, turned the tide in his quest for the ultimate hot rod truck. Andrew had been dreaming of this since he was a boy so he knew exactly what he wanted as he handed the truck over to Bob. Andrew said the hardest part was picking out which monster engine he wanted to power his dream ride.
The stock frame was boxed and the chassis was loaded with miles of braided hose. Andrew had Bob shave every emblem as well as the door handles. Bob frenched the headlights and added a third brake light. He then removed the vent windows, smoothed the firewall, and filled the cowl vent panel. The front bumper came from Chevs of the 40's and was polished to a high shine.
Painted by Bruce Tschida of Lakeville, Minnesota, the Sikkens Capri Blue color came from the Mercedes-Benz palette, giving this truck a very upscale and regal look. The turn signals are molded into the side rearview mirrors, allowing for a cleaner looking grille. Rounding out the rear of the truck Andrew used red oak bed wood purchased from Bruce Horkey's Wood and Parts. Boxing all that goodness is a smoothed tailgate. A custom vanity plate of "DREWS54" leaves no question as to whose truck this is.
The interior matches the exterior in quality as occupants are greeted by a full Dakota Digital gauge cluster behind an ididit steering column topped with a Billet Specialties Rail steering wheel. Paul Lovas of Rivertown Upholstery in Stillwater, Minnesota, filled the interior with many custom amenities. He covered the Tea's Design split bucket seats with ostrich pleats inset on imported vinyl. Bob smoothed the dash and created a custom panel hidden in the glovebox to house the radio, headlight switch, wiper controls, and an extra power outlet. The tunes are supplied from a Secretaudio stereo system from Custom Autosound. Two 61/2-inch JL TR 600 CXI speakers front and rear bring the thump.
The punch in this truck comes from a World Products Motown 427ci small-block Chevrolet engine throbbing out a massive 560 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 540 lb-ft of torque at 4,800. Bill Mitchell from The Engine Shop in Ronkonkoma, New York, completed the fresh motor before unleashing it to Andrew's truck. A pair of aluminum Motown 220 heads with 2.080/1.60 Manley valves contributes to the 10.1:1 compression ratio. A 4-inch stroke Eagle 4340 crankshaft is tied to Eagle H-beam rods topped with 4.125-inch Mahle pistons. An AED Hardcore carburetor supplies 870 cfm and works in tandem with a Comp Cams hydraulic roller camshaft measuring in at 0.562-inch lift on the intake and 0.580 on the exhaust side; the camshaft has 248 degrees duration on the intake and 254 on the exhaust side. All that oomph creates a lot of heat; Andrew and Bob collaborated on how to keep the beast cool and came up with a solution to use a Performance Rod and Custom aluminum radiator with a 16-inch SPAL puller fan. The entire setup breathes in comfortably through a K&N 14-inch billet aluminum five-spoke air cleaner and exhales through a set of Sanderson 13/4-inch headers connected to a 3-inch Dynomax system with built-in exhaust cutouts. Bob added some bling to the motor with a Tru-Trac serpentine system and compiled every trick billet piece and braided hose he could find.
A custom-built 700-R4 from Gear Star of Akron, Ohio, and a 10-inch lockup-style Yank 3,200-stall torque converter makes easy work translating all that power into usable strength.
Planting all that power is a full set of 18x8 Billet Specialties Rail wheels, wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1-GSD3 rubber. Keeping the truck pointed in the right direction falls to the Heidts Mustang II setup with 2-inch drop springs. A rack-and-pinion system with a power steering unit from Billet Specialties helps steer and 11-inch front and rear discs keep everything in check.
Out back, Andrew had Bob install a 9-inch Ford rear axle from John's Industries with a 3.70 final gear ratio and 31-spline axles. Rear springs and shocks are from Chassis Engineering and easily set the right stance of the truck.
Andrew may not have been able to afford such a thing as a young boy, but things of this quality are often worth the wait. He has graduated from making car noises in his room while pretending to drive an imaginary car, to now having a street truck worthy of any of our wildest dreams. Just remember Andrew, this isn't the same sort of animal you're used to driving. This beauty packs a brutal one-two combo of power and classic good looks that no minivan can match.