Once the powertrain and suspension were complete, it was time to rejuvenate the half-century old sheetmetal. Rust had taken its toll so several replacement panels were needed, including doors, hinge pillars, steps, floorpans, and roof. The original bolt-on sunvisor was removed, cut in half, louvered, and streamlined with 3/8-inch rod around the edges before being welded back onto the cab. Custom mirror mounts were fabricated for both doors. Fiberglass rear fenders from Bebop are 3 inches wider than stock and cover the fat rear tires perfectly. Doug sectioned the running boards, widening them to match the new fenders. Take a look at the subtle, Hagen LED taillights, molded in and almost invisible until you step on the brake. Lots of attention was paid to the tubbed bed, beginning with the elongated sheetmetal inner fender panels that follow the flow of the rear fenders. A Hagen gas door was added on the driver side, the stake pockets were welded shut, the tailgate was smoothed, and the bumpers were rechromed. As a final touch, the bed was fitted with rich Brazilian cherry boards.
Moving inside, Ed Schreck of Schreck's Custom Upholstery and Auto Trim in Deland, Florida, was the man in charge of the custom interior. The Glide Engineering bench seat was trimmed in complementary shades of Allspice leather and Peanut Butter ostrich. The beautifully upholstered panels wrap around the seats, covering the rear of the cab, the doors, and the headliner while Tango Camel carpet covers the floor. Keeping track of the big V-8 is the five-gauge instrument panel, using an Auto Meter gauge cluster in a custom chrome bezel, augmented with an oversized Auto Meter tach. The steering column is from ididit and Jim chose a matching Billet Specialties wheel. Doug fabricated a custom panel along the bottom edge of the dash for the Vintage Air A/C vents. The final step was paint, with Doug spraying a subtle combination of House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl and Bittersweet, carrying the colors to the inside of the cab as well.
The Glide Engineering bench...
The Glide Engineering bench seat is trimmed in a combination of Allspice leather and Peanut Butter ostrich. Door panels, behind the seat, headliner, and the steering wheel were wrapped in the custom leather. Both exterior paint shades were brought into the cockpit. Auto Meter gauges help Jim monitor the big 572ci V-8.
The completed truck not only looks good but also satisfies one of Jim's primary goals. All the modifications make the rejuvenated truck handle like a dream. Jim jokes about the time and money it took to create his dream truck saying "There were times when my wife gave me a choice of truck or her! Luckily, she is still with me." Now, he and Carol enjoy cruising in the truck and competing at local shows.
Brazilian curly cherry covers...
Brazilian curly cherry covers the bed floor, tubbed to accommodate the 18-inch-wide Mickey Thompson rear tires. A Hagan gas filler door was built in to the driver-side tub and everything was painted to match the exterior.