On a list of things to do one day it seems like every classic truck lover has a favorite truck they’d like to build from the ground up. For Donny De Renzo of Penngrove, California, his dream was to find a ’56 Chevy shortbed complete with a factory optional Panoramic rear window and really go to town. To help make the task not such an overwhelming proposition Donny, enlisted the help of Sonoma County Street Rodz in nearby Petaluma.
The crew at SCSR consists of the Costa family along with good friends Marty Frey and Kyle Simmons. In the early days, SCSR was a little more than a serious hobby the guys did to escape the daily rigors of constructing custom homes. On the weekends, SCSR showed their latest efforts at Reno’s Hot August Nights to Pleasanton’s West Coast Nationals. Come Monday morning it was back to the grind, and Jeff Costa was sweating out every complicated little detail to make sure one-off 8,000-12,000 square-foot homes went up without a hitch. Donny said it was Jeff’s ability as a project manager to stay four steps ahead of everything he had planned to do. “We’d brainstorm over what I was planning, and Jeff knew way in advance how to avoid the pitfalls.”
Things started to rock and roll when Jeff located the ’56 big-window on a farm outside of town and hauled it back to the shop. He called Donny and the year-and-a-half build was under way. A lot of money was saved because Donny was able to do a lot of the grunt work. Under Jeff’s supervision, Donny completely disassembled the truck and got it ready to blast down to the bare metal. All of the sheetmetal went to Max at American Canyon Stripping while Donny borrowed SCSR’s in-house sandblaster to take the frame down to bare metal.
Once the frame was primered, the rails were boxed and a Total Cost Involved IFS was installed. Jeff’s brother Stephen, who had 25 years experience as a welder for Chevron, took care of all SCSR’s welding chores. Not only did Stephen weld the frame, he welded in new cab corners and a floor from Brothers in the ’56’s cab. The original bed was in terrible shape, so Jeff located a pristine example to replace it. For bed wood, a kit from Brothers was installed and an aluminum 19-gallon gas tank from Classic Performance Products was mounted underneath.
Donny’s ’56 rides on airbags via AccuAir controls up front with a Total Cost Involved static suspension in the rear. The non-posi differential with 3.33:1 gears came out of a ’72 Camaro; Monroe shocks are used for dampening. For wheels and tires, the ’56 rides on 17-inch Wheel Vintiques wheels shod with 225/50/17 Hankook tires from Jay & Bill’s Tires of Petaluma. Under the hood, power comes from an ’88 Chevy 350 remanufactured by Blueprint Engines of Kearny, Nebraska. SCSR sources all its engines from Blueprint; in this instance Donny’s motor is a 355-incher putting out 390 hp with 410 pounds of torque. For carburetion, an Edelbrock 1406 sits on top of an Edelbrock Air-Gap intake manifold. The exhaust chores are handled with San Francisco–made Sanderson headers piped into Flowmaster mufflers manufactured in nearby Santa Rosa, California. Kelly at the Muffler Works in Petaluma installed the exhaust system. Transmitting the 355’s power is accomplished with a Gennie shifted 700-R4 rebuilt by Rohnert Park Transmissions.