The framerails are all jig assembled and welded, with each framerail consisting of three d
In our March 2012 issue we introduced you to our latest project truck, owned by our Tech Center Manager, Jason Scudellari. Adept at all things automotive, Jason decided it was time for a truck of his own and so the search began. Now we’d love to tell you he answered an obscure classified ad in the local newspaper only to find a pristine 1956 Chevrolet truck tucked away under blankets in some little old man’s garage, but that’s not exactly how it went down.
No, this one was located on Craigslist, hauled home for near nothing, and well, sometimes you get what you pay for. The old Chevy had led a long, hard life and beyond the rust, dents, and dings was a ’56 Chevy desperate for repair. That’s the bad news, the good news is, because of strong aftermarket support, all the parts and pieces to bring this truck back to its former glory are readily available. Throw in the abundant amount of talent Jason has and we’re certain this truck will be saved.
After blasting and assessing the sheetmetal, Jason developed a plan for the truck. He wanted a good street driver, one with manners that would make it handle like a new car or better. The plan was the occasional show with some double duty at the autocross. Armed with a clear vision for the truck, it was time to develop the chassis to perform the outlined goals.
It soon became clear that, while front and rear suspension and brakes could be installed on the existing frame, the appeal of a whole new chassis and suspension began to make sense. The old frame would require some repairs prior to suspension installation, then the frame would need to be blasted clean, boxed, and the new suspension grafted to the frame. Listing all the parts needed for the job, it became clear that for a bit more money Jason could have a complete new chassis that would be stronger and more rigid than the original. With that in mind Jason placed a call to Brent VanDervort at Fatman Fabrications, and after discussing the project’s objectives, a new chassis was designed for the truck.
The wedge-cut piece is welded to the bottom of frame stub to form the taper. The hole in t
The chassis would be based on the Fatman Fabrications’ standard replacement frame that is constructed from 0.188-inch wall box tubing. The Mustang II-style front suspension incorporates the tubular control arms that come standard with the frame, and coilover shocks would provide suspension on all four corners. Out back a 9-inch Ford rearend will handle the power, and big Wilwood brakes will provide the stopping power for safe street driving and aggressive autocross braking. Beefy sway bars from Fatman Fabrications are located front and rear for performance handling, and the pedal box will incorporate both the power brake and clutch assembly.
Not only will this all-new chassis perform better than a modified existing frame, it will also speed the project along. Jason stays very busy keeping magazine projects going by day, so shop time for his own project is limited.
After the new chassis was ordered we stopped by the Fatman Fabrications frame shop in Charlotte, North Carolina, to see exactly how a Fatman Fabrications chassis is constructed. It was a true team effort with thanks to the Fatman team of Mike Craig, Josh Layton, Chris Elliot, Pete D’Orta, Scott Hobbs, and Eric Kisiah. We came away impressed and excited about the pending 1956 Chevy pickup project. Follow along with the photos to see what goes into building a top-notch, high-performance replacement chassis. CCT
After grinding the welds down, the taper front stub appears to be one piece. Machinist dye
After scribing the desired radius the piece was carefully cut out on a band saw. Note how
A rolled piece of steel fills the radius perfectly to form the contour over the rack boots
After cutting the weld down with a hard disc the finish grinding is done with a small flex
Tabs are tack-welded inside the main framerail section. These tabs serve two purposes, one
The rear framerail sections are formed much like the front stubs. Mandrel-bent pieces have