For those of you who are reading this issue hot off the presses, it will only be a matter of a couple of weeks before the entire world will be knee-deep into the month of November. If you live in a part of the world where it snows, then there is a good possibility you have been contemplating how you should approach your custom classic truck project. That brings us back to the word deep. You should be thinking about setting up your chassis and beginning on the major changes that you want to make to your cab while it is off the chassis.
Oftentimes purposely overlooked in the rehab stages is the truck's firewall. A good analogy to making repairs to the existing firewall is like imagining what it would be like to fill in all the holes in a block of Swiss cheese. Although it sounds like an overwhelming task, the best way to solve the problem is to cut the unsightly stock tattered firewall out and graft in a new replacement. Not only does this cure the Swiss cheese syndrome, but it will add three more inches of clearance between the engine and firewall, a necessary step for someone interested in dropping in a big-block motor.
The recessed and smoothed firewall insert we used on this Tri-Five Chevy cab is from Direct Sheet Metal of El Cajon, California, and will fit '55-59 Chevy and GMC trucks. The first step, and perhaps the most important part of the entire job, is to brace the inside of the cab where the old firewall will be cut out. Failure to properly connect the area to support it will result in a sprung cab. Once the cab is sprung, it will take a person with major skills to pull it back into shape. From this point on, thanks to the modern miracle of plasma cutters and the remarkable simplicity of a wire-feed welder and its ability to keep the heat zone in check, just about anyone can install a smoothed firewall kit into their truck.