The carbureted Chevy small-block that was in the truck when Arturo bought it was replaced with a 5.7-liter tuned port injection GM crate engine, rated at 330 hp. Vortec heads are topped with Southern Rods valve covers. Space is tight in that engine compartment, even with a fabricated firewall, but block hugger headers fit fine, connecting to Flowmaster pipes and mufflers. The 700R4 automatic transmission was built by Phoenix Transmission, and features a B&M cooler.
The interior was completely redesigned and redone. Arturo chose a 60/40 split bench seat out of a Ford Ranger, so there’s room for Angelique and Alexis. The seat, door panels, and headliner were upholstered in Ultraleather, black with purple ostrich print inserts, by Shawn Cook at Cook’s Auto Top & Trim in Murphy, Texas. The Budnik Mercury steering wheel on a Flaming River shifter column was selected to match the wheels. A set of Dakota Digital gauges were installed in the modified dash. A lower dash extenion houses the controls for the Vintage Air A/C, and the retractable cup holders. An overhead console holds the stereo receiver. Arturo is a musician and a music buff, and needed a first-class sound system. The Alpine receiver has built-in Sirus stallite radio with direct connect for iPod and a CD changer. Other components are a stant x604 amp, JL Audio 500-watt amp, Eclipse subwoofer, and Diamond speakers in the kick panels and car corners.
Work on the ’54 was a two-year job, but worth the time. Dale Dinse has since relocated to Monterey, Tennesee, and Arturo’s still in Texas, where he shows off the California-influenced Chevy at local shows or whenever Goodguys holds an event at the Texas Motor Speedway. Maybe somebody will see it, like it, and be inspired to builld a “Texas-style” truck just like it. CCT