1955 Chevy Stepside Pickup Truck- One Kool Dream
Life's Too Short to Drive an Ugly Truck
We all grow up with heroes; some may be jocks, rock stars, movie stars, but it's special when your hero is your dad. A father-son relationship lasts a lifetime. Just ask 24-year-old David Coomer from Palmyra, Indiana, about his childhood. One of his most exciting memories was when he would ride shotgun in his dad's '54 Chevy pickup, traveling hundreds of miles to attend custom car and truck shows. Over the years, he had acquired a favorite model and year of truck: a '55 Chevy Stepside. As he grew older, he got involved with dirt bikes then began drag racing crotch-rockets.
His first attempt at building a custom truck would be the '55 Chevy Stepside that had been impregnated in his mind since childhood. After viewing these photos of David's pride and joy, it's obvious that he came out of his garage with a winner. While attending the 24th Annual Ford F-100 Supernationals at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, with Truckin' editor Steve Warner, we noticed this awesome '55 Chevy cruising the Grand Hotel grounds during the F-100 show on Saturday. After we observed the truck pull out onto the boulevard, we chased it down and captured his '55 Bow Tie on film the same evening. When he wasn't swinging a hammer working for his dad's construction company, he was wrenching on his childhood dream, which took seven years to complete. After purchasing the old pile for $250, he took it home, where he began tearing it down. During his seven-year journey, it seemed the only substantial progress was made after he had broken up with his girlfriend, which meant more time and money to spend on his custom truck creation.
A '79 Camaro front clip, spindles, and disc brakes were installed by Buddy McAfee in Floyd Knobs, Indiana. To achieve the slammed look, McAfee also welded up the new brackets to receive the Shock Wave front airbags. David C-notched the rear framerails to accommodate the lowered suspension travel. To create more rigidity in the rear, David boxed in the framerails. Buddy McAfee custom-built an aluminum 12-gallon fuel tank that was located between the rear framerails. The rear leaf springs were swapped out for a triangular four-link rear suspension with Panhard bar. To control and slam the rear suspension, Air Ride Technologies brackets were welded in and Air Ride airbags were installed. The '55 rolls around on Billet Specialties SLX01 polished billet aluminum 18x7-inch wheels, with 5-inch backspacing up front and 20x10-inch wheels with 3-1/2-inch backspacing out back, wrapped in BFGoodrich P225/40R18 front and meaty BFGoodrich P295/40R20 rear.
A '79 355ci Chevy cast-iron small-block with World Product heads produces plenty of grunt for David's yellow machine. The team at OID Capital Machine Shop performed the machine work and balancing. David and his older brother Jerry assembled the engine using stock pistons, rods, a Crane cam, an Edelbock air-gap intake manifold with an Edlebrock Q-Jet carburetor, a K&N air cleaner, a Griffin aluminum radiator, and a SPAL electric fan. Billy Myers is responsible for the trick custom radiator cover. Ceramic-coated Hedman headers flow into the 2-1/2-inch-diameter exhaust and Flowmaster mufflers. David converted over to an electronic Mallory ignition system distributor and coil. A reworked '79 Chevy Turbo 350 automatic transmission with a 2,500-stall converter transmits the horsepower to the modified Ford 9-inch rearend.
After the body was scuffed down to bare metal, the appropriate body repairs and modifications were made by David and his buddy Rick Sieboldt. They also smoothed the bed sides, the custom roll pan, third brake light, rear wheeltubs, mirror in the head panel, and hidden latches in the tailgate. The front and rear stock bumpers and grille were freshly chromed. After hours and hours of block-sanding and getting the entire metal surface smooth and straight, it was trailered over to UHL Truck Sales, where Mike "Magic" Lowhorn sprayed the PPG Chrome Yellow. Then they color-sanded every inch of painted surface, producing an ultra-smooth surface. The Chrome Yellow was buried with endless coats of clear then polished to obtain its endless depth.
The interior is simple and clean with a smoothed dash highlighted with billet aluminum knobs and a tilt column with a Billet Specialties leather-covered steering wheel. A Dakota Digital gauge cluster is neatly installed replacing the original gauges. The door panels and handles were left stock. Lonny Creech from Jeffersonville, Indiana, tossed the stock bench seat and replaced it with a Cadillac bench with an armrest. He covered it in tan leather and tweed, maintaining that mellow, soft look and feel. Creech installed some high-quality Mercedes tan wool carpet. A Lokar floor-mounted shifter adds a sporty feel to the interior's decor. A Vintage Air system is mounted up under the dash, and the control panel is accessible by opening the glovebox. Simple slide knobs adjust the system to a comfortable temperature.
For some of today's custom truck enthusiasts, it's just as important to possess a powerful audio system as it is to possess a high-horsepower engine. David grafted an Alpine head unit into the dash in the original stock location. Rockford Fosgate amps drive the midrange speakers and subwoofers, which are concealed inside a chamber mounted behind the bench seat.
For his first time building an early model custom truck, he has created a winner. His next venture is going to be a '55 COE diesel that is sitting on farm waiting for a custom makeover. David's not sure if he will make it a wedged hauler or build an oversize boxed bed, but whatever he does with it, we are sure it will be another awesome custom ride. We just hope he doesn't have to break up with his girlfriend again to make progress on that next project. Good luck with both.