While "removing firewalls" will have a totally different meaning to computer geeks, to us gearhead types it will always have connotations of making space for a bigger motor, because if the firewall is in the way, that's usually the reason why, not to mention a new, shaved firewall looks much better. Direct Sheetmetal manufactures a recessed firewall for '55-'59 Chevrolet and GMC trucks in addition to many others, which not only offers improved engine clearance but also cleans up the firewall without having to weld plugs into the numerous holes in the stocker.

When KA Custom in Huntington Beach, California, told us they were about to install such a piece, we headed straight over, though it soon became apparent that there'd be a little more work involved than first thought, as the cab the customer supplied was a little worse for wear, and had been involved in a substantial collision at some point in its life. Now mounted on a straight frame, the firewall and right side of the cab was bent, twisted, and generally a mess. However, the mounting holes in the floorpan were still in alignment (it fit the chassis perfectly) so even though some of the floor was kinked, it wouldn't take much to return it to its rightful shape, especially given we'd be cutting much of the damaged sheetmetal out.

Kevin Francis at KA Custom had originally intended to reuse the lower firewall section, but after inspecting the cab when it arrived, and realizing what would have to be done to repair it, he opted to fabricate his own lower piece, which we'll show you in the second installment of this story. Meanwhile, let's get on with it, and straighten out that cab.