Fate is a funny thing. It arrives when you least expect it and, more often than not, in a package you hardly recognize. Brothers Xavier and Sergio Villanueva used to work in the off-road and dragster-building world in Santee, California (20 miles northeast of San Diego), back in the late ’70s.

Xavier’s talents would get him into Vel Miletich’s Torrance–based VPJ Enterprises, in which Vel was a partner with racer and Indy winner Parnelli Jones. VPJ had cars that won the Indy 500 in 1970 and 1971 (with Al Unser driving the Johnny Lightning cars) and VPJ had forged a rather successful association with other Indy drivers too.

By 1978 Sergio had joined his brother at the facility, and they were busy helping design and build tubs and suspension components; but only a year later the industry had started to dry up. A well-known metal bender from England, Bill Eaton, brought the brothers to England to help with the F-1 program that was ongoing at McLaren Motor Racing, and they worked on developing the sidepods, wings, and suspension on the cars. Chromoly suspension components, titanium roll bars, stainless exhausts, and wind tunnel models were all part of the norm, and the job was long on hours, but otherwise the brothers viewed it as “a cool experience.”

By 1983 Xavier and Sergio were back in Southern California, and life, with its economic demands, was getting in the way. Having a background and an interest in graphics, Xavier started an offset printing business and Sergio enrolled at University of San Diego and, in 1987, was hired as a manager with Fender Musical Instruments Company.

Xavier rediscovered his tin-bending roots in 2004 after bailing out of the offset-printing business by building some custom V-twin motorcycles. Unfortunately, that market took a huge dive in 2008, so it was back to square one and, given their previous experience with cars, it seemed that customizing one would not only showcase Xavier’s talents, but it might be a fun project, too.

Sergio’s day job with Fender continued to flourish (he’s currently a vice president with the firm) and allowed him a choice of car to build and, since he’d always loved the lines of a ’56 Ford truck since he was in high school in the ’70s, the decision was made.

They bought a truck in April of 2009 from a local guy in San Diego, and it came with a 454 and C6, but it had never been restored from the ground up. The idea was to retain the truck’s essence and cool vibe, but by using their decades of experience, the brothers thought they could have some fun reinterpreting the iconic shape.

Among the first things they did was to sit down at the computer and model the ’56 in 3D so they could visualize everything they wanted to change before cutting into anything. Then everything was stripped down to the frame and bare metal. As you can see from the photographs, a major part of the rework has already happened, with the reshaping of the fenders and hood currently underway. New bedside panels and a tailgate will be fabricated too.

The brothers still have their VBrosVTwin.com website—a place where you can see some of the past projects they’ve done plus potential customers can discuss future projects. It should be obvious that with the talent the V-Brothers possess, they could be building anything, and it’s great that they turned their attention to a ’56 Ford truck. We’ll just have to wait to see how the whole project turns out. CCT