Juan wanted to keep the exterior as original as possible, preferring clean and simple lines. “I don’t like it when the trucks are overloaded,” he told us. “The truck may be resting on the ground but the body looks just like it did in 1948.” While all the pieces were in the original overflowing baskets, everything needed a strong dose of tender loving care. The cab, fenders, running boards, and even the original door handles required lots of careful attention to bring them up to modern standards of fit and finish. The truck was originally equipped with a long bed, a rare option that Juan retained. His one main departure from originality was converting the three-window truck into a five-window using custom panels from LMC. While the finishing touches on the sheetmetal were wrapping up, it was time to update the interior.
The bench seat is the original factory version, modernized with new springs, padding, and an elegant combination of Ultra Leather and ostrich hide upholstery. Ostrich trim was added to the door panels, window surrounds, shift boot, and headliner. A chromed Flaming River steering column holds the Billet Specialties wheel and Juan chose a Lokar shifter and pedals. All the original gauges were reworked and modernized to run on 12 volts. Period correct loop pile carpet covers the floor. Carrying the inside theme to the outside, the same ostrich hide is used on the electrically actuated bed floor, now dotted with rows of sharp spikes left over from a Harley build (Load this “Bed of Nails” at your own risk!). William from Bahamas Auto Upholstery in Miami handled the stitch work. The final touch was the smooth Bone White paintjob, with Marlon and George from Auto Spec in Miami accomplishing the metal prep and final finish.
Is Juan happy with the finished truck? Although the initial goal was to create a nicely modernized old truck, the ’48 turned out to be an amazingly sophisticated ride and Juan couldn’t be happier. “I don’t think I’ve ever said ‘This is what I’m going to build and this is exactly what it’s going to look like.’ The build always writes its own story.” Clearly a story with a very happy ending! What’s the best part? Juan told us “None of my trucks are trailer queens. I drive them all!” Our kinda guy! CCT