1957 Custom Chevy Pickup - Blu Reflections
A Son's Promise
Ed Cottrell's curiosity and infatuation with pickup trucks began when he was knee high to the bumper of his dad's '57 Chevy pickup. The two put thousands of miles on the ol' hauler with little Eddie riding shotgun during his younger years. That was some 40 years ago. During the past 35 years he has been an avid drag and road racer, and most recently, a custom truck enthusiast.
In high school Ed purchased an old '67 Corvette ex-drag car with the factory big-block. After a couple of years of prowling the boulevards, with the occasional street race, it was retired after a rod let go, punching a hole in the side of the block. It was yanked with intentions of dropping in a small-block. It was parked behind the family barn, where it sat under a tarp for 25 years.
While thumbing through a local truck trader rag, Ed discovered a rust bucket and took ownership for five Franklins. A three-year journey of building began with intentions of creating a cool daily driver, which seems to be the initial intent of many custom truck enthusiasts. After investing endless hours and money into the project, it easily snowballed into a serious show custom.
The original straight-axle leaf-spring front suspension of the rusted hunk of metal was severed from the frame with a cutting torch. A '70s Camaro front clip was then squared and grafted to the original frame rails. Ed delivered the modified frame to the sand blaster where decades of rust was removed, exposing the frame's virgin metal surface. The frame rails were then boxed using 3/16-inch steel plate to increase the frame's strength and rigidity. New engine mounts, suspension pickup points (front and rear), and brackets were welded in place. The frame then received multiple coats of PPG body-color blue.
To obtain the lowered static ride height, Ed Z-notched the front clip. Using stock Camaro spindles and Corvette disc brakes the truck now stops like it should. A pair of Gabriel front shock absorbers and Eaton coil springs control the front end's action. American Racing Torque Thrust II 17x7-inch billet aluminum wheels are wrapped in BFGoodrich 235/45R17 rubber. The rear frame rails were C-notched to allow for the negative suspension travel of the '90 Corvette C4 IRS transverse-leaf rear suspension. A pair of Gabriel shocks controls the rear end's vertical oscillation. It's spinning a pair of American Racing Torque Thrust II 17X11-inch billet aluminum wheels capped with BFGoodrich 305/45R17 tires.
After retrieving his machined 383ci block from Indy Cylinder Heads in Indianapolis, Ed borrowed his close friend Dave Fisher's immaculate garage to assemble the 383ci stroker power plant. An Eagle 3.75 stroker crankshaft is the rotating pivot point of power that is linked to the Keith Black pistons and Speed-Pro rings by reconditioned factory connecting rods. A pair of World Product 202 S/R Torker cylinder heads deliver the correct fuel/air mixture to each of the eight combustion chambers. A Comp Cams bump stick (with 260 duration at 110-degree lobe separation angle, with 0.450 lift) was inserted into the cam bearings. A set of Comp Cam lifters and push rods transfer the rotating inertia into coordinating the valve train action.
The TPI (tuned port injection) system was borrowed from an '86 Camaro to deliver the correct fuel/air mixture. A factory GM electronic ignition system produces ample spark through the MSD 9mm ignition wires carrying charged energy to the eight spark plugs and combustion chambers. A pair of DynoMax 1-5/8-inch headers with Jet Hot coating flow into 2-1/2-inch DynoMax exhaust tubing and mufflers. The GM 700-R4 automatic transmission was improved by installing a B&M shift kit with high performance bands, clutch packs, and a Corvette servo.
To achieve a pure body, Ed had the '57 cab, doors, hood, bed/tailgate all acid-dipped to remove any rust and contamination. The front and rear fenders are fiberglass. Ed shaved and smoothed the entire body, parking lights, door handles, emblems, and tailgate. The firewall was also filled and smoothed. To add some style to the cab, Ed frenched-in the electric telescoping antenna. The interior received a steel waterfall style center console, completing the body package.
Ed is multi-talented and even mixed his own PPG paint color because he wasn't satisfied what was available. After hours of welding, filling, grinding, and sanding, then applying primer followed by more block sanding, Ed filled his paint gun pot and began to spray its brilliant blue hue. After the four color coats were applied and sanded, they were enhanced by burying the blue with multiple coats of clear that were wet-sanded between each of its eight clear coats. Following ample time to cure, the flawless paint job was then cut, buffed, and polished to a mirror finish.
A simple sound system consists of a Jensen head unit and speakers. The smoothed dash received a Dakota Digital instrument cluster to relay the engine's vital signs, replacing the original V-shaped speedo and gauge cluster. Vintage Air maintains perfect ambient conditions through its custom air and defroster vents in and under the dash. A painted ididit tilt steering column was capped with a Billet Specialties 14-inch Vintec steering wheel. For easy shifting of gears, Ed installed a Lokar floor shifter. Ed's talents again are visible as he stitched the entire interior, covering the Tea's bench seat, headliner, and door panels/armrests in gray tweed and leather. After installing a layer of some well-needed insulation, the floor was then covered with low-cut pile gray carpet. A new windshield, rear window, and electric one-piece side windows were installed for style and ease of comfort.
Following the completion of Ed's '57 he and his girlfriend, Del Graves, enjoy cruisin' and showin' their pride and joy. Ed's mom, Mary, is his biggest fan. Ed built his cool '57 in memory of his dad. Every time he takes it out for a run to the hardware store or a cruise to a show, his dad's spirit is riding shotgun with a big smile on his face and twinkle in his eye.
A double thumbs up!