There is something about a black hot rod truck that stops us every time. Artists love to argue that black is not a color, rather it is either (according to the argument used) the presence of all colors or a complete absence of color. We’re not here to argue but when you paint something black it takes on a special personality and anyone who has ever done bodywork knows the extra challenges of painting a truck black. And so it was no surprise when we stopped for a closer look at Tim Savage’s ’55 Chevrolet Stepside.
Upon closer examination it had everything we like in a black truck, laser straight panels, a great hot rod rake, and enough chrome plating and polished aluminum to make the black even darker. But it is what lies underhood that really sold us on this package, because if you have a truck with an attitude, nothing backs it up quite like 454 ci of big-block Chevy power.
When Tim Savage isn’t working at his electronic security job, you can probably find him in the garage or behind the wheel of his ’55. The approach to the truck was basic: rely on the inherent good looks of the Chevy, change virtually nothing externally, and put plenty of performance under the truck.
To that end, a TCI chassis supports the flawless sheetmetal. This gives the truck independent front suspension with a 9-inch Ford out back. All four corners are adjustable thanks to Ride Tech air suspension. Buying the TCI frame proved to save a lot of time and effort, since even the big-block Chevrolet motor mounts were located on the new chassis. While the ride height is fully adjustable, the addition of a traditional “rubber rake” comes in the form of Billet Specialties Legacy wheels that measure 15x6 and 15x10, front and rear respectively. Big Hoosier Radials harness the big-block power (31 x12.5-15) while up front Michelin 205/65-15 provide direction.
Everything from the taillights...
Everything from the taillights to the tailgate chains is original on this Chevy hauler. The big Billet Specialties wheels and Hoosier tires add plenty of hot rod flavor to the truck.
With the rolling chassis complete it was time to install the big LS motor, and no, we’re not talking about the latest small-block from Chevrolet. No, this is the big LS motor from the muscle car wars of the ’70s and the 454ci, 450hp big-block was originally delivered under the hood of a Chevelle. Internally the motor remains at original LS6 specs, because, frankly, it is a package that needs no improvement. A Performance Rod & Custom aluminum radiator cools the big-block and Hedman headers exit the spent gases through a set of Flowmaster 3-inch mufflers. Externally the LS6 has a more contemporary look with cast Chevrolet valve covers in black and a fully polished Edelbrock intake that blends with the polished aluminum serpentine belt system. A 3000 stall converter and Turbo-400 transmission pass the power back to the 9-inch Ford rear.
The body on the Savage truck appears to be stock, maybe it is the basic black paint and the use of an original chrome grille and bumpers, but one major body mod that most people miss is the subtle 1½-inch wedge cut out of the hood. It is just enough to streamline the hood and visually add a rake to the body without appearing to be modified. Other than the shaved gas filler, smoothed bedrails and the mini-tubs for those big rear tires, the body remains stock. Wayne Raleigh handled both bodywork and the spraying of the Matrix Black paint.
Much like the rest of the truck, the interior is clean and functional. C&C Custom seats are covered in a light gray Ultra Leather while Vintage Air maintains the cabin temperature. The dashboard has been smoothed and the glove box door was filled. A Flaming River steering column and wheel includes a column shifter while a custom console includes cup holders and the Jensen stereo.
Tim Savage has a truck that combines the best from several hot rod eras. There is no doubt that 1955 was a banner year for Chevrolet and the LS6 motor was a high point in big-block performance, and it is all wrapped up in a timeless package that will forever be in style. CCT
It would take a real ’55 Chevy...
It would take a real ’55 Chevy expert to notice the 1 1/2-inch wedge cut in the hood, but the subtle modification is just enough to give this truck a unique profile.
Gray Ultra-leather over C&C...
Gray Ultra-leather over C&C Custom seats provide comfort and style. Flaming River column and wheel blend perfectly with the interior.
The stock gauges have been...
The stock gauges have been replaced with Dolphin gauges and the glove box was filled too.
Don’t let the contemporary...
Don’t let the contemporary Chevrolet valve covers and serpentine belt system fool you; this is pure vintage big-block power in the form of an LS6 454 producing 450 hp. An Edelbrock intake and carb combined with Hedman headers for improved breathing.
Lowering a truck often requires...
Lowering a truck often requires a raised bed floor, we like this approach. Rather than raise the entire floor the bed floor was Z-d to match the chassis.