When this Chevy truck rolled away from the dealership, it immediately began duty as a work truck. Over the years, the truck changed owners a few more times, but one thing stayed constant—the ’48 remained a work truck. By the time Lew Rice found the Chevy it was in rough shape, but as a lifelong gearhead he could see the tired truck had possibilities.

Lew started reconstructing the half-ton from the ground up in his home garage. The frame was sandblasted, then the forward portion was boxed. The stock front axle was tossed and in its place went a Heidts IFS with rack-and-pinion steering, 11-inch disc brakes, and tubular A-arms; while in the rear, new leaf springs located a Pontiac Trans Am rearend with 3.36:1 gears. Replacing the original six-cylinder babbitt basher is a 350 Chevrolet from Jasper Engines. Stock internally, the small-block is connected to a Turbo 350 from I.G. Burton Chevrolet.

While Lew felt confident about handling the mechanical end of construction, he sought help to add the custom touches to the body he had in mind. Lew’s friend, Richard Shockley, began making the long list of modifications, but sadly he passed away before they were completed. J.R.’s Auto Body stepped in and saw the project through to completion.

Starting at the front, the headlights have been frenched, and a rolled pan was added. The hood has been shaved, smoothed, and the center seam welded. A whopping 5¼ inches were removed from the top, the door handles have been removed, and custom running boards were fabbed. Replacing the stocker is an ’89 bed that has been narrowed 30 inches and has a solid filled and smoothed panel where there once was a tailgate. When all the bodywork was wrapped up, J.R.’s covered it in GM Monte Carlo white from DuPont.

Inside the five-window cab, the smooth theme continues with a dash devoid of anything other than a speedometer; additional gauges are in the center console and mounted overhead. All the electronics are connected by an owner-installed Painless wiring harness with all the switches and controls hidden from view.

Lew wanted the truck to be comfortable so Trans Am six-way power bucket seats were selected, then Sapp’s Auto Interiors stitched up the rolled and pleated vinyl that covers all the upholstered surfaces. One of Lew’s concerns about the truck was the safety of its occupants. All the doors are electrically operated from the outside with a key fob, as well as inside by buttons; backup manual release cables were added to each door to keep Lew and his wife from being trapped in case of an electrical failure.

When the truck was nearly complete, Lew decided to take it to a few shows, even though he still intended to add some sort of graphics. But the more he looked at it, and the more admirers advised him not to change a thing, the plans changed and the truck didn’t. One thing that hasn’t changed is Lew’s Chevy is still a work truck—of course now the only thing it hauls are awards. CCT