Buildings, businesses, governments, and custom classic trucks all have one thing in common: a solid, sturdy, quality foundation. In the classic truck world, the foundation comes in the form of a stout chassis. Even though stock chassis work, in today's high society of comfort, control, horsepower, and looks, more enthusiasts are starting from the ground up and building their truck around a new aftermarket chassis. With the purchase of a new chassis, one is automatically equipped with disc brakes, IFS, power steering, enhanced geometry, and a multitude of other items found in today's aftermarket.
Being winter, this is the perfect time to tear down your truck and build it from the ground up. To aid you in your quest for the best your ride can be, we've gathered up a handful of aftermarket chassis guys who manufacture direct replacement chassis. Think of it this way, we're here to get you framed! How many times are you gonna hear that in a positive connotation? Exactly, so put your noses to the book and let the studying begin.
1.No Limit Engineering
No Limit Engineering (888/297- 6032, www.nolimit.net) started as a chassis shop in 1984 in Norco, California. Now located in San Bernardino, California, they occupy over 17,000 square feet. With 20-plus years of experience, their chassis are built to be strong, complete units with superb handling.
Frame Info: Depending on the vehicle, chassis are 2x4 or 2x6 main 'rails. All 'rails, crossmembers, and supports are 3/16-inch-thick material. Most chassis feature round-tube substructures for additional bracing and strength. All their chassis include body, bed, core support, motor and transmission, and bumper mounts to make the buildup process as easy as possible. All base chassis include No Limit's Wide Ride IFS.
Applications: '47-54 Chevy, '55-59 Chevy, '48-52 F-1 Ford, '53-56 F-100, and '67-72 Chevy pickups.
Options: Fatbar four-bar IRS High Kick rear rails are available at no extra charge, air-ride, big brakes, air control, fuel tanks, plumbing packages, and custom powdercoating in over 50 colors.
2. Speedway Motors
Speedway Motors (800/979- 0122, www.speedwaymotors.com) has been in business since 1952, and is recognized as one of America's oldest speed shops. Centrally located in Lincoln, Nebraska, Speedway operates from a massive 520,000-square-foot warehouse and manufacturing facility employing stateof- the-art equipment. Their vintage truck frames are regarded for their great value, strength, and long list of standard features.
Frame Info: Speedway's 1935-40 Ford frame assembly features fabricated, fully boxed framerails laser-cut from 11-gauge plate and welded on a jig. The Mustang II front crossmember is TIGwelded for optimum strength and appearance, as is the tubular center crossmember assembly, which incorporates a transmission mount and brake pedal mount and arm. Body mounting nuts are welded in the frame for clean, easy assembly. The frame is set up to accept Mustang II-style independent front suspension components and can accommodate various rear suspension styles.
Applications: '35-40 Ford trucks, '28-31 Ford Model A, '32 Ford, '33-34 Ford, as well as an extended '34 Ford frame assembly to fit Speedway's fiberglass '34 Club Cab pickup body.
Options: Speedway Motors offers everything you need to turn your frame into a rolling chassis, including Mustang II IFS parts, rear suspension kits, rear axles, engine mounts, and brake components.
3. Art Morrison Enterprises, Inc.
Founded in 1971, Art Morrison Enterprises, Inc. (800/929-7188, www.artmorrison.com) got its start as a full-service drag race chassis-building shop. As turnkey race car construction continued, the company began its mail order business in 1983. With mail order sales outpacing race car construction, the decision to halt race car fabrication was made in 1989 so the company could focus on product design and manufactu ing. Today, Art Morrison Enterprises, Inc., located in Fife, Washington, and housed in an 18,000-square-foot facility, is continuing its focus on highperformance replacement chassis and suspensions forclassic vehicles from the '40s to the '70s. Utilizing the latest CAD (computer aided drawing) and suspension analysis technology, Art Morrison Enterprises, Inc.'s chassis and suspension designs enable enthusiasts around the world to have a classic vehicle with modern performance handling.
Frame Info: Art Morrison Enterprises, Inc. utilizes mandrel-bent 2x4 box tubing in both .120-inch wall and .188-inch wall tubing thickness. Based on the size, wheelbase, and weight of the vehicle, they will also use 4x4-inch and 2x6-inch tubing that is then grafted into the 2x4- inch sections.
Applications: Because of the custom nature of their chassis, they can custommake frames for virtually any truck.
Options: Power steering, C6 Corvette IFS, Pro-Street back half, custom-set ride height, air-ride.
4. Fatman Fabrications
Fatman Fabrications (704/545-0369, www.fatmanfab.com) began in 1985 as a one-man shop, with Brent VanDervort doing the complete buildup of hot rods for customers. Now Fatman has 43 employees who occupy an 18,000-square-foot industrial complex. Fatman saw the tremendous interest in classic pickups way back in the '80s, and have always made them a focus of efforts to develop new products. IFS suspension kits were first, with rear four-bar kits soon after, and eventually things lead to a full direct replacement chassis. Fatman chassis offer superb ride and handling because of a design that combines good fabrication practices with the proper geometry. The final result is a chassis many times stronger than stock with handling on par with new factory-built sport trucks.
Frame Info: Fatman uses 3/16-inch wall rectangular 1020 SAE steel tubing, generally in a 2x5 size for strength. Mandrel-bent sections join to the main 'rails with internally doubled joints to provide very nice kickups over the rear axles. Fatman frames feature stainless IFS standard on all chassis, along with 9-inch rears mounted on coilovers and rear fourbars, engine and trans mounts, and floor-mounted pedal assemblies. All body, bed, bumper, and sheetmetal mounts are provided for an easy fit to the truck body.
Applications: '37-59 GM and '32-66 Fords.
Options: QA-1 or Pro coilovers, Air-Ride from Air Ride Technologies, Wilwood, Baer, or ECI brakes.
5. Street Rod Engineering, Inc.
Street Rod Engineering, Inc.(928/855-5616, www. streetrodengineering. com) has been manufacturing custom frames and chassis for classic trucks for 20 years. Located in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, in a 6,500- square-foot facility, they use precision CNC equipment to manufacture state-ofthe- art chassis, and all work is performed in-house by American craftsmen.
Frame Info: Frames are heavy-duty TIG welded, fully boxed with tubular crossmembers. Frames feature a solid axle with four-link and trailing arm-type rear suspension and Mustang II front suspension. Chassis are custom-built to order, so a buyer can specify exactly how they want it built.
Application: '48-52 Ford F1. Options: Chrome, stainless steel, and powdercoating options are available, as are many steering and brake options, including the entire Wilwood brake line. Also available is a coilover or air-ride option.
6. Chris Alston Chassisworks
Since 1975, Chris Alston Chassisworks (800/722-2269, www.chassisworks.com) has supplied chassis to the industry. To this day Chassisworks parts are still made in America in a 54,000-square-foot facility located in Sacramento, California. The facility houses state-of-the-art CNC mills, lathes, lasers, punches, press brakes, tubing benders, robotic welders, and much more. Chassisworks pride themselves on shipping most orders within 24 hours of placement, and all products come with detailed instructions, not to mention CAD drawings.
Frame Info: Manufactured from mandrel-bent 4x2x.120 box tube, frames can be ordered factory welded with 4 1/2- or 6-inch frame clearances, or in unassembled kit form complete with assembly diagrams.
Applications: Ford, Chevy, and Dodge trucks from '48 to present.
Options: 4-inch ID exhaust ports, 4x2x60-inch forward frame connectors, A-arms, rack-and-pinion, spindles, coilovers, Air Ride Technology ShockWave air springs, springs, brake kits, FAB9 housing, ladder bar, four-link rear suspension, antiroll bars, and more.
7. Total Cost Involved
In 1974, Total Cost Involved Engineering (800/984-6250, www. totalcostinvolved.com) began building Model A reproduction frames. Today, they own and occupy a 27,000-square-foot manufacturing facility located in Ontario, California, where they deliver a broad mix of products serving street rod and musclecar enthusiasts nationwide. They have earned numerous design awards, including the coveted Manufacturer of the Year Award from SEMA-SRMA. Through a team of engineers and machinists working on state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment and machinery, they're still setting high standards for reliability and performance.
Frame Info: TCI frames are designed around 8-inch fully boxed framerails. They feature MIG-built 'rails with a 1 1/2x1 1/2- inch fully boxed square crossmembers. Each chassis is TIG-welded for strength and looks. Although chassis come designed after the stock setups, step-up 'rails on the chassis are available.
Applications: '55-59 Chevy pickups, '53-56 Ford pickups.
Options: Air-ride front and rear, custom IFS, Mustang II IFS, rear four-link with coilovers, leaf spring rear suspension, wide variety of front or rear disc brake options and upgrades.
8. Jim Meyer Racing Products
The performance bug bit Jim Meyer (541/994-7717, www.jimmeyerracing.com) at an early age when his father built modified oval-track roadsters. From that experience, Jim began building his own hot rods in the early '60s, and by 1974 he started building chassis and street rods full time in his garage at home. In 1980 he opened the first Jim Meyer Street Rod Shop in Portland, Oregon. Today, Jim has 13 employees occupying his 3 1/2 acres with a 12,500-squarefoot building building chassis and IFS for just about any car, pickup, or cab-over.
Frame Info: The 2x4 box-tube mandrel-bent or fabricated chassis features 2x5 main framerails with stock cab mounts, core support mounts and front bed mounts, all in their stock locations, to make this a true direct replacement chassis. All the IFS feature a 2x4x.188- inch wall box-tube front crossmember with tubular A-arms. The chassis also features an adjustable stance of about 4 inches.
Applications: All make pickup chassis' from '28-87.
Options: Custom front or rear subframes, engine and trans mount kits, custom-width 9-inch rearends, four-link control arm kits, large-diameter disc rake kits, steering linkage kits, master cylinder/booster kits, heavy-duty IFS kits, as well as any industry option.
9. The Roadster Shop
The Roadster Shop (847/742-1932, www.roadstershop.com) has been in the street rod and classic truck chassis manufacturing market for over 20 years. The new Roadster Shop facility, located in Mundelein, Illinois, is set to open January 1. This brand-new 30,000-square-foot facility will be the new home of the Roadster Shop, offering complete chassis manufacturing services, parts installa tion, sheetmetal work, as well as building complete turnkey cars.
Frame Info: All chassis feature fully boxed fabricated framerails. A tubular dual-level center crossmember is utilized utilized for added strength, and includes a drop-out trans mount. Chassis come complete with motor and trans mounts set up to each customer's specs, and are test-fitted in the jig with an actual block and transmission. Complete Stage III chassis are designed to directly bolt on to all stock cab, bed, and core support mounts as well as fender, running board, and bumper mounts utilizing stock bracketry.
Applications: '28-41 and '53-56 Ford trucks, '47-53 Chevy, '54-55 1st Series Chevy, '55-59 2nd Series Chevy.
Options: Chrome and polish packages, IFS, traditional drop axle (pre-'34 only), Wilwood disc brake upgrades, brake line packages, sway bar packages, Air Ride, coilovers, Ford 9-inch rearends, independent rear suspension, Pro-Street chassis options, lowered ride height, multiple stance options.
10. Chevs Of The 40's
Chevs of the 40's (800/999-2438, www.chevsofthe40s.com) has been in existence for over 26 years. The business literally started in a bedroom with parts stored under a bed, and has now grown into a 20,000-square-foot ware house with a huge inventory of restoration and street rod parts.
Nowadays Chevs of the 40's is one of the world's most complete suppliers of '37-54 Chevrolet car and truck parts.
Frame Info: Chevs of the 40's chassis features new 'rails, Heidt's Mustang II crossmember, Heidt's tubular A-arms top and bottom, manual rack-and-pinion, a 9-inch rearend used with axles (the third member is not included), parallel rear spring kit, tubular K-member, motor mounts, brake pedal with power booster and master cylinder, 11-inch vented rotors, new calipers and wheel bearings, transmission mounts, and gas shocks.
Applications: '47-53 Chevy trucks.
Options: Body mounts, running board mounts, battery tray, brake lines, powdercoating, power rack-andpinion.