Custom 1956 Chevrolet Truck - Under Pressure
Perry Petersen's Bad Blown '56 Chevy
We caught Perry Petersen of Glendale, Arizona, just before he headed into the show area of Firebird Raceway for the Truckin' & 4x4 Nationals this past year. The truck had some unique features and just plain looked so good on the tarmac that we had to show it off.
When we asked him what made him build it, he replied, "I rode in one when I was 16 years old and wanted one ever since." And about seven years ago, he started building his truck to make that childhood dream a reality. He says it took about five years to get it on the road and he's been refining it ever since, and plans to continue making it better.
We think the truck looks great the way it sits, especially with 468 inches of 6-71 blown Chevy big-block backed by a 700R4 trans sitting between the framerails. And his choice of feeding the motor with dual quads topped with a classic intake from The Blower Shop is hot-rod perfection.
We were also impressed with his choice of suspension. He wanted his truck to handle and harness the power of the blown big-block, so he built the suspension accordingly. He used a '75 Camaro front clip to get lighter suspension components and better suspension geometry as well as disc brakes up front. To get discs on the rear, he kept the leaf-spring suspension and installed a narrowed disc brake rearend. He also installed antisway bars front and back, "so it," says Petersen with a knowing grin, "handles real good." We believe him.
A major part of the look of any truck is the choice of rolling stock. In Petersen's case, he went with 16-inch-wide Mickey Ts wrapped around modified late-'70s IROK wheels on the rear to make his statement. "I took these wheels," said Petersen, "split 'em and widened them. They're 12 inches deep, all to the inside, so they match the front." The front tires are 205/75-15s.
After he was done with the performance parts, he got in deep with the custom styling. It has a '96 bed on it. He shortened it and narrowed it 13 inches, and then refit the original fenders before making his own steps. He built the tonneau cover, added a Pontiac Trans Am wing, shaved the driprail and door handles, and put the gauges in the dash. The interior is styled with mid-'90s pickup seats and console, and he did the door panels to match. He sourced most of these components from a recycling yard. The dash, tach, boost gauge, and clock, are housed in welded exhaust tubes of different sizes. He smoothed the dash, got rid of the heater controls, and made his own steering column and bracket to complete the interior.
Which brings us to date - except that we just heard he's taken it apart again. This time, he's going to put a narrowed rearend in it and use a set of polished-aluminum wheels with lots of negative offset for the rear this time, er, next time around. That's just the way it is. These projects are never finished.