Back in the December, 2012 issue of CUSTOM CLASSIC TRUCKS we introduced Art Morrison’s new chassis for ’47 to first-series ’55 Chevy pickups. Like everything that comes out of the Morrison operation, the new chassis is beautifully crafted, gives these trucks a ground-hugging profile, and will make some in the Pro Touring ranks wonder how they just got spanked by an old pickup truck.

When we last dropped in on the Morrison clan, the chassis was finished and they were busy hopping up a new crate motor, and putting mini-tubs in the stock bed to house the fat rear rubber that’s planned.

To power the pickup, a Chevrolet Performance Parts HO 350 was selected. While the small-block rated at 330-horsepower/380-lb-ft of torque would be adequate in most instances, the Morrisons were looking for something more robust. Way back in February of ’09 the guys at another Source Interlink Media publication, Popular Hot Rodding, tweaked the same crate motor and upped its output to 447 horsepower and 445-lb-ft of torque. Seeing no need to reinvent the wheel, the Morrisons copied the combo and even went one better with the addition of MSD’s new Atomic fuel-injection.

Building this truck has been a group effort. While Matt Jones worked on the engine, Team Morrison went about modifying the bed. Art Morrison cut the wood for the floor; Craig Morrison came up with mixture of stains to give the boards patina to match the truck, while Jacob Lusk modified the box by installing a pair of mini-tubs built from a trailer fender.

In an upcoming issue we’ll not only take a look at the finished truck, we’ll have a report on its maiden voyage and get a chance to wring it out on our test track. Stay tuned.

1. All dressed up with somewhere to go. The warmed-up Chevrolet Performance small-block has been fitted with a Vintage Air Frontrunner, Morrison’s own headers and Atomic EFI topped with a Technostalgia air cleaner.

2. Out of the box, the small-block Chevy is carbureted and makes reasonable horsepower, but 100 more are just a few parts away.

3. Other than swapping parts, the only necessary modification to the heads was to open up the pushrod holes to accommodate the increased lift of the Comp camshaft, part number 12-000-08.

4. To go along with the more aggressive camshaft, Comp beehive valve springs (part number 26918-16) were used.

1. All dressed up with somewhere to go. The warmed-up Chevrolet Performance small-block has been fitted with a Vintage Air Frontrunner, Morrison’s own headers and Atomic EFI topped with a Technostalgia air cleaner.

5. Although it comes with flat tappets, the Chevy block has the required threaded bosses to accept roller-lifter components.

6. To accommodate the roller lifters, guides held in place by a sheetmetal “spider” are required (the Comp kit is part number 09-200). ARP head studs, washers, and nuts were substituted for the stock cap screws.

7. With the heads modified and reinstalled, and the cam and lifters swapped, Matt Jones drops the Edelbrock Air Gap manifold in place, part number 7516. Note the Comp Cams roller rockers—part number 1318-16 is for the full complement.

8. The trick finned Corvette scrip rocker covers came from PML. Minor clearancing of the internal webs were necessary to clear the roller rockers, stock rockers clear without modifications.

9. MSD supplied the Atomic EFI and the distributor; the same computer controls both. With the engine buttoned up, the Hughes 4L60E was put in place.

10. With more rubber than room, mini-tubs were required. Jacob Lust figured out where they had to perform surgery on the bedsides.

11. Looking for the perfect beginnings of a mini-tub? Take a peek at a trailer fender. Jacob cut off both sides to make two tubs out of one fender.

12. The open sides of the former fenders were closed with sheetmetal and TIG welded in place. A trial fit was made to determine the necessary modifications to the bed’s planks.

13. To fit around the tubs, the boards on both edges of the bed were notched with a saber saw.

14. A test fit was made to make sure all the planks and the stainless rub strips fit as they should; they did.

15. Satisfied with the fit, Craig Morrison stained the bed planks with a concoction scientifically and painstakingly researched to replicate aged wood, which is another way of saying you try some different stuff and see what happens.

16. To give the stainless rub strips an aged look they were scuffed with abrasive pads.

17. Sprayed with paint matching the bed, the tubs look like they belong and the bed wood and rub strips have the commensurate character.

18. A custom fuel tank under the bed replaces the original that was inside the cab. The new tank offers increased capacity and accommodates a fuel-injection return line.

19. Art Morrison measures for the installation of the fuel filler in the bed floor. The tank is vented and the cap is sealed with an O-ring to keep out contaminants.

20. The new mini-tubs allow the fitting of fat tires with the cool, low stance Morrison chassis are known for.

Chevrolet Performance
Comp Cams
3406 Democrat Rd
TN  38118
Vintage Air
18865 Goll Street
San Antonio
TX  78266
1863 Eastman Avenue
CA  93003
201 West Beach Avenue
CA  90302
Art Morrison