- Documented $269k build
- Over 5,700 hours invested
- 20+ body modifications
- GM 305ci V8 (est. 300hp)
- TH350 3-speed automatic
- 10-bolt Posi rear / 3.25 gears
- Mustang II front suspension
- Full Jensen stereo system
“Clean” is one of those words used so often in automotive culture that it's almost lost all meaning. Everything from Ridler cars down to primered Hondas are subjected to a once over and an approving nod before that dreaded descriptor rears its ugly head again. Unfortunately, dropping the word all together poses some problems. What else could we call a creation like this incredible 1948 Chevrolet pickup? Sanitary? Tidy? Nah…this thing is clean - Probably even clean enough to reinvigorate the word and remind others exactly how it should be applied. The beneficiary of an 8-year frame off restoration, receipts total up to the tune of $269,969 with nearly $65k in paint and body alone. Driven just 384 miles since completion, the pickup has already claimed a Classic Custom Trucks feature and numerous accolades including Best Interior, Best Engine Compartment, Best in Class, and Best of Show. Ready to fill that empty space in your trophy case? Read on!
The project began with a standard 1948 5-window Chevrolet pickup that had seen very little aside from hard work during the course of its life. Like a lot of restorations, it started out as a simple OEM build but turned into something MUCH bigger along the way. Looking over the truck today, there are some modifications that quickly jump out and others that some time to fully reveal themselves. As the first thing most will notice, the paint is probably a good place to get the conversation started. If “clean” is the goal, what better color than white? It's a GM variant, traditionally found on Monte Carlo sheet metal. The paintwork shows well from every imaginable angle and gives the truck a level of class most ex-work trucks can only dream of.
Of course, the majority of that $64,449 was spent on work that hides underneath the top coat. The most obvious modification is the roofline, which sits roughly 5 inches lower thanks to a chop. The windshield has been V-butted while all the other glass (and there's a lot of it in these 5-windows) has been custom cut to fit inside of the new proportions. Around the cab, the windshield vent and side cowl vents have been smoothed while the two-piece factory hood was scrapped in favor of a sleek one-piece unit. The front end is capped off by a show-ready chrome grille, frenched headlights, and a deleted front bumper. The side profile benefits equally from the smoothing process. All badges are gone, the door handles are shaved, and the heavily modified running boards are now neatly molded into place. Behind the cab, a bed borrowed from a 1989 GM pickup serves as the foundation for more wild custom work. The bed itself was narrowed 30 inches before the tailgate was welded shut and a new rollpan was burned in. The rear end is rounded out by a pair of classic Cadillac taillights. Inside the bed, a removable panel shows some American pride while protecting the crisp white paint on the bed floor.
Under the white one-piece hood, the engine compartment strikes the perfect balance between show quality cleanliness and cross country reliability. The core is a GM 305ci V8 producing an estimated 300hp thanks to the addition of some high quality pieces. Under the polished finned scoop, a 600 CFM Edelbrock carburetor bolts up to a polished Edelbrock intake manifold. At either side, factory cast iron heads are dressed with ball-milled aluminum valve covers that provide a nice contrast to the black engine block. The front of the engine hosts a sturdy billet accessory drive which spins hardware like a polished alternator, power steering pump, and a polished Vintage Air compressor while a Walker radiator keeps the small block running cool. A Pertronix Flame Thrower ignition system fires the engine to life while spent exhaust gases are shown out through coated headers that connect to a polished stainless dual exhaust system with Edelbrock mufflers. Visuals remain equally nice around the engine thanks to the shaved firewall and custom inner fender wells that bring this bay to the next level. Details like the billet thermostat housing, machined aluminum timing pointer, and polished hardware ensure that there are no disappointments on any level.
Put this pickup on a lift to discover a detailed undercarriage fully prepared for battle on the show field. During the restoration, the original 1948 frame was updated with a Mustang II front clip then sandblasted, primed, and shot with a sleek coat of dark blue Durabak to protect against rust and chips. Aside from the added durability, it looks great and serves as a nice break from the sea of white above, Behind the small block, a GM TH350 3-speed automatic handles shifting duties, dressed with a Lokar dipstick and polished aluminum pan. Power is fed down the custom driveshaft to a 10-bolt 8.5-inch GM differential borrowed from a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am. The rear features posi-traction and 3.25 gears to keep the 305 happy on the highway. The truck's aggressive stance comes courtesy of Heidts tubular arms and drop spindles under the front end while the rear utilizes leaf springs with shackles. Sway bars can be found at both ends while new shocks round out all four corners. The updated suspension further benefits from a power rack-and-pinion that keeps steering light. Braking is equally competent thanks to a power front disc conversion from Heidts. Those classic fenders are filled by a set of polished 17x8-inch American Racing Torque Thrust wheels wrapped in new Falken rubber.
The smooth theme continues into the interior where a sleek dashboard is devoid of anything other than a hybrid speedometer/tachometer. More instrumentation can be found both overhead and below, where a neatly placed set of Classic Instruments gauges keep tabs on voltage, fuel, time, oil pressure, and temperature – one even shows which gear the automatic transmission is currently in. A chrome T-handle shifter offers authority over said transmission while, further back in the console, controls for both the stereo and HVAC system remain under a lid and out of side. At either side of the console, Recaro buckets form a 3rd-generation Trans Am have been rewrapped in white and bolted in over attractive blue carpeting. Behind the seats, a Jensen marine AM/FM/CD stereo offers a direct connection for iPods and Sirus radio. At either side, custom door panels incorporate sculpted arm rests over traditional tuck and roll while a taut white headliner caps of the cabin in style. Driver input is offered through a polished Flaming River title column topped by a Billet Specialties steering wheel while billet gas and brake pedals reside below. While a chopped-top pickup may not sound like an ideal place to spend time, there is a plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy the modern conveniences hidden away in this sleek space.
While many custom builds scrape by with little to no documentation, this pickup is an example of exactly how it should be done. The first piece is a large 3-ring binder with a 44-item table of contents and a 3-page prologue about the build. From there, everything is neatly marked and divided with nearly every component manual, part number, and handwritten note on readily available for review. A 3-inch stack of receipts not only shows every cost associated with the build but is even subdivided for easier viewing. A second 3-ring notebook follows the build from beginning to end through pictures and contains a second full spec sheet. Finally, a copy of the trucks feature in Classic Custom Trucks is included for bragging rights. With this kind of documentation, you'll know nearly everything the builder knows. In the world of custom cars, that's about as close to total peace of mind as money can buy.
There's an interesting “Cost of Build” page in one of the notebooks that breaks the build down in very direct terms. Of the 8 years it took to create this custom, an average of 144 days per year were spent on this pickup. That breaks down to roughly 1152 days, 5,760 hours, and nearly $172k in labor. Where that time could have resulted in some untamable 1,500hp show beast, it instead produced an amazing custom pickup that can be shown just about anywhere and reliably driven on nice weekends in between. You don't get much more “total package” than that. If you're ready to help redefine “clean” in one meticulously built bowtie, don't miss the chance to call this 1948 Chevrolet your own!
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What Customers Are Saying
Some large branded car dealers could learn a lot from you guys on how to treat a customer and close the deal without the painful game that follows when you are just trying to buy a vehicle. Finally, a special thanks to you for priority you placed on closing this deal in record time. also a thanks out to Greg Smith for taking the lead on getting the truck to my location. he also is very good a making it happen versus just talking about what could happen.
Most of my car friends know about RK Motors and the high level of vehicles you offer at much less than anyone could build the same vehicle. going forward I will promote that the people & process are at the same level as the vehicles that RK Motors offers.