Sometimes you start out building a cool cruiser to have some fun with, then you get distracted and the next thing you know it's five years later and your truck is a finalist for the prestigious Ridler Award, wins Best of Show at Shades of the Past, a Top 10 Choice at SEMA, and Goodguys Truck of the Year. It doesn't happen all the time, but it happened to Alan Beers last year.
Alan had been looking for a '57 Chevy to customize into something fun to drive, with looks he could be proud of. Before he even had a truck, he was talking to Jim and Jason Smith at Hot Rod Garage in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. Not only were Jason and Jim eager to take on the project, they knew of a truck in San Antonio that would be just right for what Alan wanted. The truck had been at HRG previously, but the owner pulled the plug and put the '57 in storage. Alan was able to find it, buy it, and bring it back to Oklahoma. It was a rolling chassis, cab, and Apache bed when it came to HRG to be finished. After a visit to the Detroit Autorama, Alan says “my competitive juices started flowing” and the goals for the '57 went up exponentially.
The body is the most obvious example of how far the build-up evolved. Alan and designer/illustrator Jimmy Smith from Phoenix worked together to fine-tune the look of the truck, named QuikSilver, and HRG made it real. Every panel has been modified, shaved, and smoothed. Alan wanted a '57 cab (for the single headlights) and a Fleetside bed. The two were tied together by reshaping the rounded cab body to match the square lines of the hand-fabricated bed. The hood and front end were also reshaped. Greening Auto Company contributed numerous custom components including the bar in HRG's one-off grille (as well as the taillights and tailgate bar, steering wheel, gauge cluster, pedals, hood and tailgate hinges, four-link and Panhard bar, intake stacks and screens, brake calipers, and more). QuikSilver logos were added to the center of the Harley headlights. Strips for the steel bed floor match the grille and tailgate trim. The two-tone silver paint, split by a candy red stripe, was selected for timeless, classy appeal, and sprayed by Jason at HRG.
Building the flush-mounted windshield was a 10-month project in itself. The windshield enclosure from a '56 Ford sedan was transplanted onto the Chevy. The lower edge was pulled forward three inches, and the upper edge was leaned back. Tri-Valley Auto Glass in Pleasanton, California, built the replacement glass to fit the increased angle and the 3-inch top chop, getting the unique contour curves perfect.
Underneath, the stock frame was fully boxed, and Z'ed in the rear, and bolstered with custom crossmembers. A Fatman Mustang II IFS was mounted in front with a Ford 9-inch with 3.70:1 gears and a Strange limited-slip differential in the rear. Greening Auto built one of the best-looking four-link and Panhard bar combinations we've seen. All corners feature Bilstein coilovers.
The 20x8 and 22x12 wheels were designed for QuikSilver by Jimmy Smith and cut at Greening Auto. They roll on 245- and 305-series BFGoodrich tires. Custom machined Baer 6-piston, 15-inch disc brakes were mounted at all four corners.
Alan had always wanted a 600hp big-block for the '57, and chose a GM Performance 540, built by Chaz Rose in Tulsa. The Crower injector stacks belonged to the previous owner and were part of the purchase. They've been converted to electronics using a FAST EFI system. Specially-built QuikSilver valve covers top the Air Flow aluminum heads. Custom headers are from Holloway Race Car in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Vintage Air's Front Runner drive system dresses up the front of the engine compartment. The Gearstar 4L60E features a Compushift controller. The engine hasn't been dyno'd but horsepower is estimated at 650.
Chuck Rowland at CAR Upholstery was asked to combine a bench seat and tach console as part of his complete custom cockpit. Ten hides of monochromatic Mercedes red leather are varied by smooth and perforated textures. The sanitary interior features a Greening custom steering wheel and gauge insert that continues the V theme of grille and taillight trim, and injects a little '57 Chevy flavor into the modern cab. Classic Instruments made the gauges, including the tach and sweep speedo.
When the '57 was finished, Alan entered it in the 2013 Detroit Autorama, the show that had inspired the amazing level of design and engineering. The inspiration paid off, as the truck was selected as a Great 8 finalist for Detroit's famous Ridler Award. That was just the first of many shows and honors for Alan and QuikSilver. He will continue to compete with the truck for the rest of this year before using it the way it was meant all along—for driving and having fun.