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'57 Chevy

Posted in Project Vehicles on August 1, 2000
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Photographers: Ken Brubaker
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The unmistakable lines and classic curves of the ’57 Chevy pickup truck make it a highly sought-after collector’s item. It is our opinion that this stock truck can be compared to the unique flavor of a vintage wine or the beauty of a priceless gem. Kendall Blanton of Springfield, Missouri, decided to modify his prized ’57 and in the process has built a masterpiece.

The truck started out as a V-8 Deluxe Cab longbed and became the perfect inspiration to fuel Kendall’s creativity. At 6 feet 4 inches, Kendall decided he could use a little extra legroom, so he sculpted the cab of his vintage rig until he had a space that was twelve inches longer than the stock dimensions. In turn, this shortens the bed by the same length and gives the truck a very well-balanced look.

The folks at Orielly’s Automotive transformed the Chevy 350-cid V-8 engine into a 300 plus horsepower powerplant. It was bored over 0.060 inch and has a compression ratio of 10:1. Fuel and air are mixed through an Edelbrock 750-cfm carburetor, which sits on top of a Wien intake manifold. Underhood electrical mods consist of an HEI distributor, Accel Super coil, Champion spark plugs, and ACDelco wires.

The mill sends power through a 700-R4 tranny with Corvette clutches and servos into an ’84 Chevy NP208 transfer case. Here, it splits off to GM Corporate 10-bolt axles equipped with 4.56:1 gears that were also scavenged from the ’84 truck.

The suspension is composed of the original leaf springs with 2-inch add-a-leaves and Rancho 9000s on the four-corners to dampen the shock. A 2-inch body lift was incorporated to provide additional clearance for a set of 35-inch BFG Mud Terrain tires wrapped around polished Center Line H/T wheels. To control the BFGs, Kendall swapped in a power steering unit from the ’84 Chevy and bolted on dual Rancho stabilizers for a smoother ride. Power brakes are also part of the buildup and help tremendously to halt forward momentum. A 30-gallon fuel tank increases the range of this daily driver on extended road trips as well as lengthy 4x4 excursions.

The custom bodywork was crafted by Kendall and buddy Mark Wolanski. Together they spent hours stretching and modifying the cab into a one-of-a-kind creation. Fire Engine Red base paint was used as the finishing touch and applied by artists at Ozark Body Works. Even from a mile away, it’s hard to miss this hard-core cruiser. Although the ’57 Chevy pickup is an excellent example of true classic styling in its stock form, its nice to see how Kendall’s creativity and vision have transformed this vintage rig into a unique four-wheeler.

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