It took Sam Kimbrough nearly 10 years to complete his dream truck. He's quick to acknowled
The 1948 retains many of its classic characteristics, but the lowered stance and Vintage A
Every part of the truck was removed and refinished. The interior was done by Taylors Uphol
A 1971 Chevy big-block bored .030 over sits under the hood. Sam says the engine was built
When Sam Kimbrough looks at his 1948 Chevrolet pickup he sees a dream come true. For 30 years he looked through magazines and wandered around car shows, dreaming of the day he would complete a project of his own. After nearly 10 years of hard work and with continued support from his wife and son, Sam has a completed restoration project: his 1948 Chevy he affectionately calls Blue Heaven. It’s a truck that has been rebuilt to be dependable but with enough power--as Sam puts it--"to run with the big dogs."
Sam and his wife purchased the truck in 1986 for $200. It had most of the original parts, including a stock transmission with a broken housing. In addition, the front fenders were missing, so obviously it couldn't be driven.
With a set of replacement fenders and a donor transmission the truck was again driveable in the spring of 1987. Continued hunting turned up a similar truck that could be cannibalized for parts. With a late-model four-speed, original running boards, a 12-bolt Posi and a set of Chevy passenger car hubs and brakes, the 1948 was ready to be driven on the highway, at highway speeds. Two years later the truck was wheeled into the garage of the family’s new house to be completely disassembled.
Sam started by adding a 1979 Nova subframe assembly and a 1971 Chevy big-block to the package. The 300hp 402 was bored .030 over. Speed-Pro lifters and a Speed-Pro RV-grind camshaft replaced the stock units. The original crankshaft, valves, heads and connecting rods were retained. On the intake side, a 750 Quadrajet and a Holley manifold work in accord, and the factory cast-iron headers send the remnants on their way. The Rat motor is mated to a Turbo 400 transmission that’s controlled by a column-shifter from a 1979 El Camino. Sam had the driveshaft shortened and balanced by Race Car Engineering in Rolla, Missouri. He says that with the 1969 Caprice rear axle and the 12-bolt Posi, the combination is very driveable.
After Sam grafted the Nova front end to the subframe, he had the Welding Works in Rolla do the final welds. He changed the stance using cut coil springs and 51/2-inch lowering blocks. In addition, he removed three leaves from each of the original parallel leaf springs and bolted up Monroe heavy-duty shocks to smooth out the ride. Uniroyal rubber surrounds 15-inch Vintage American Racing wheels, which gives the '48 an aggressive appearance while retaining a classic look.
While the chassis was being completed, Sam took the opportunity to remove all the body parts. Everything was hand-stripped, and replacement cab corners were installed. The hood seam was welded and filled, all the emblems were removed, and a third brake light was added. The front-bumper bolts were welded and smoothed, and a custom-built bed, running boards and rear rollpan were created by Sam and his friend John Umlauf. A MAR-K louvered tailgate cover and rear taillights from an El Camino went on before John painted the 1/2-ton with Ditzler Spinnaker Blue. The finishing touches to Sam's Blue Heaven were added by pinstriper Rotten Ron of Pacific, Missouri.
Taylors Upholstery of Cuba, Missouri, did the interior with medium blue cloth to match the exterior. Sam opted for seats from an 1985 Dodge Challenger, 1974 Chevy pickup instrumentation that’s been adapted to fit the stock bezels, dark blue carpet and a glovebox-mounted Mitsubishi stereo. The steering wheel was donated by a late-1970s Camaro. For better visibility, Sam removed the division bar in the windshield. The glass was then removed and V-butted. Sam says he has driven his dream truck to numerous events since its completion. He plans to add air conditioning, but for now he’s just enjoying the ride. After 30 years, we think he deserves it.