February 2018

In 1994 I sold my 1953 Chevy pick-up to buy a 1955 Chevy pick-up and the search was on!

It took about one year for me to find the right truck.  I was looking for one with a good body and that was not all beat up or rusted out.  After one year of looking at rusted junk, I finally found the right one.  I bought it in Weatherford, Texas on July 4,1995 for $3000.  We loaded up my new ‘old’ toy and headed back to Coppell, Texas.  

When I found the truck it was painted 1979 Ford LTD red.  The paint finish was as smooth as 180 grit sandpaper.  After driving it for three months in stock condition, I decided to update it.  I took it over to my friend Tom Spain at F&S Automotive.  Tom and Tommy installed a 1981 Camaro Z-28 clip on the front end and a 1973 Impala 10 bolt rear axle with 11 inch drum brakes, 3:42 gears and posi-traction.  I pulled a 350/350 combo out of a wrecked 1977 Chevy Monza with rear end damage.  I then found and installed a 1985 Cutlass tilt wheel with a column shift, rewired the truck and drove it home after 10 days!

I drove the truck in that condition for about five years.  I wanted to get all of the mechanical work done before I tore it down for a frame up restoration.  In that five years, I pulled the turbo 350 and out and installed a 200 4R overdrive transmission from Phoenix Transmissions in Weatherford Texas.  Being tired of driving in the slow lane at 55-60 mph I installed a 2500 stall speed converter and had the Drive shaft reworked.  Now I'm in the fast lane going 75-80 mph! Faster when my wife Pat is not with me!

Next the front springs were reworked to lower it.  The rear axle was flipped on top of the springs and the rear springs were reworked to give the truck a 1 1/2" rake.  Then I installed bigger front and rear sway bars for better handling.  To control wheel hop I installed a set of traction bars from No-Limit-Engineering. They did the trick.

I was not happy with the performance of the engine we installed so I pulled it and sold it.  I had a 350 built for me at Larry Sanders Speed and Custom Shop in Fort Worth, Texas.  He started with a 1984 suburban 350 with four bolt mains. He installed 1969 Camaro Z-28 DZ302 heads ported and polished with three angle valve job and a Crane Cam.
After five years of work I finally completed the mechanicals; 350/200 4R-Overdrive, air conditioned, power steering, and power front disc brakes.
On the inside, a 1996 Chevy pick up seat, CD stereo and three point seatbelts were installed.  In July 2003 we tore it down to a bare frame to start the body work and paint.  Let the fun begin!  What seemed like 1 million holes in the firewall were welded closed with the help of Ross Hanson from Jones, Oklahoma.  We cut out and re-welded new cab corners and replaced a few small rusted out areas in the bottom of both doors caused by the dealer not removing the factory drain plugs during make ready.  After months and months of endless bodywork, the body was finally ready for paint.  Ross and I painted the truck in his 30' x 30' shop.  We made a plastic spray booth which worked out great!   15 months later on Christmas Eve 2004, we loaded the truck on a car dolly and I headed home.  The next step was the interior.  I bought probably the last Rod Doors ABS plastic interior kit consisting of panels, rear cab and headliner panel.  I took the panels to Cash Upholstery in Carrollton, Texas for a new interior.  We used gray tweed fabric for the new panels and seat.  I installed the carpet and the interior was finished, so I thought.  This past summer, after 13 years, I decided I was ready for the tweed to go!  I went to Highland Village Upholstery and had Larry Hankins do his magic with needle and thread.  Larry removed the tweed and we covered everything and gray ultra leather.  The carpet was replaced with black square weave carpet.  Larry did an excellent job for us on the interior!  

Pat and I enjoy taking the truck on trips and to car shows.  This is the first vehicle I've built.  I think it turned out pretty good for an amateur build.  What I learned from this build I applied to my wife's truck, a 1951 Studebaker pick-up that we built.  We drive and enjoy both trucks!
Andy and Pat Kuchta
Coppell, Texas