When Brad Gosdin bought a 1957 Chevy 3100 pickup, two of the first people he told about it were his friend Steve Allgood and Steve's father Randy. Brad's story goes back to when he was a 6- or 7-year-old boy, riding down country dirt roads in the very same truck with the old farmer who owned it. Because the farmer was a family friend, Brad was able to keep track of the truck over the years. After some 25 years, Brad managed to talk the farmer into letting him buy it. He drove the 1957 around a little on weekends, but the truck was too worn out for long-distance travel.
Randy and Steve happen to be the owners of Kenwood Rod Shop in Fayetteville, Georgia, and did some work on the truck at that time. Anything more than the necessary repairs was not a priority for Brad, who was starting a family with his wife Kristen.
It wasn't long before Brad's father-in-law, Rick Chambers, told Brad that he'd like to buy the 1957 and fix it up for his grandson, Brantley (Brad and Kristen's son). Rick and Brad agreed to have Randy and Steve plus Jeremy Stiltner at Kenwood Rod Shop "hot rod it a little."
At the shop, the rebuild began by taking the truck down to the bare frame. The frame was kicked up 4¾ inches to accommodate the drop when the air suspension is deflated. The 'rails were boxed and all crossmembers front to rear were replaced with new 2x2 or 2x4 boxed tubing. A Currie Enterprises TrueTrac limited-slip 9-inch rearend features 3.89:1 gears driving 31-spline axles. It's suspended by Heidts polished stainless four-bars. The Total Cost Involved independent kit added to the front includes 2-inch drop spindles and polished stainless A-arms. The four-corner RideTech ShockWave air suspension is managed by RideTech's RidePro E3 control system. A custom-built 16-gallon fuel tank was tucked up flush with the bottom of the framerails behind the rear axle. Stopping is handled by Wilwood four-piston polished calipers on drilled and slotted 12-inch rotors. Many of the suspension components, the tank, and all lines and fittings, are polished stainless.
Power is provided by a Chevrolet Performance 502 crate engine. To make the big-block shine, as well as perform, the heads were removed and polished, and the intake manifold was chromed by Performance Coatings in Jonesboro, Georgia. The Holley Ultra Street Avenger four-barrel is topped by a Billet Specialties air cleaner. Exhaust is routed through a pair of coated Hooker Headers leading into 3-inch stainless pipes with MagnaFlow mufflers. Torque is transferred to the polished aluminum driveshaft through a Tremec TKO 600 five-speed transmission with a RAM hydraulic clutch setup, operated by a Hurst floor shifter.
You can see that the stock cab was not radically reworked. Very little rust repair was required. Mild modifications include shaved driprails, a filled cowl vent, and the removal of exterior ornamentation from the stock hood and front fenders. Kenwood Rod Shop replaced the stock grille with a fresh repro piece, shaved the front bumper bolts, and added new glass. Halogen headlights improve forward illumination.
The original longbed was restored and the bed floor was raised 5 inches to clear the rear axle while in the lowdown position. The bed wood is black walnut with polished stainless strips installed using hidden fasteners. LED oval taillights from Lokar were installed in the fabricated rear pan and a third brake light was incorporated into the custom tailgate. Shannon Pittman from Zebulon, Georgia, made sure every inch of sheetmetal was massaged to smoothness before spraying the 1957 with PPG Concept Black paint.
The rear wheeltubs house impressively wide Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/R tires, specifically designed for hot rod applications. The 29x15.00R20LT meats roll on 20x13 Schott Venom wheels. In front, power rack-and-pinion steering directs 18x10-inch wheels wrapped up in 28x10.00R18LT Mickeys.
Climb inside for a look at the redecorated interior. The stock bench that Brad perched on when he was six or seven has been replaced with a factory molded seat from a 1991 GMC pickup. Kenwood Rod Shop constructed the console, which houses controls for the Pioneer AVH-X audio system and the panel for the Vintage Air Gen II mini unit hidden under the dash. Vents for heat and A/C are spaced across the stock dash, where the 1957 instrument panel is now filled with a Dakota Digital VHX Series gauge package. An EZ Wiring harness keeps the components functioning without fail. Billet Specialties supplied the Fast Lane steering wheel and the Profile Street Rod pedals. The brake and clutch are equipped with Kugel Komponents 90-degree bracketry. The beautiful saddle-tone leather upholstery is the handiwork of Gary and Brian Thomas at Gary's Auto Interiors in McDonough, Georgia.
It took two years of work on the 1957 to "hot rod it a little," but time couldn't have been a critical issue, since the truck's current owner won't be driving it for a while. The project was completed in time for Rick Chambers to present the truck to his grandson Brantley for his 5th birthday. He's old enough to enjoy the ride, but it will be a few years before Brantley will be able to enjoy driving the truck, like his dad. In the meantime, he has kindergarten to think about.