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1955 Chevy Truck - Hand Crafted

Angel Miranda's Double-Nickel Fleetside

Calin Head
Apr 1, 2009
Photographers: Kevin Aguilar
Photo 2/13   |   1955 Chevy Truck front Left View
Angel Miranda * Fremont, California
'55 Chevy Truck

Every truck guy we come in contact with was inspired by someone. Usually it's a father or big brother who gets the gearhead fires burning when they were young. This holds true for Angel Miranda, but his inspiration didn't come from a family member. Oh no, his inspiration came from one of the most famous car builders of all time: George Barris. The same guy who built the original Bat Mobile and the Munster's coach also built a highly modified '56 Chevy truck called the Kopper Kart. The Kopper Kart was built sometime around '58 when Angel was just a young boy, but it left a lasting impression. Once Angel got a little older, he started working in a body shop learning everything he could. He was schooled on the normal stuff like block-sanding and dent removal, until his skills were ready for chopping, sectioning, and channeling jobs.
Photo 3/13   |   1955 Chevy Truck rear View
Obviously Angel mastered these techniques because his first truck is this '55, and every panel has been manipulated in one way, shape, or form. The top has been chopped, the sides have been sectioned, the hood has been pie cut, and the bed used to be a complete panel truck. That's right, Angel took a '58 panel truck and carefully cut the back section off to create his bed. Instead of going old-school and channeling the floor over the frame, Angel decided to go the modern route and body-drop the truck to get that extra bit of lowness. There are a bunch of little details that round out the bodywork on the truck, like the raised cowl to hide the wipers, the shaved and tucked bumpers, and the molded grille opening with tubes lifted from a big-rig truck.
Photo 4/13   |   1955 Chevy Truck steering Wheel
The truck rolls on stock framerails with a Heidts Mustang II conversion up front and the stock leaf spring setup in the rear with a 9-inch differential. The front conversion not only includes disc brakes and rack-and-pinion steering, it also features a 2-inch drop spindle. The chopped-down 9-inch rearend is filled with a Detroit Locker so two big fat black marks can be laid down with a side-step of the clutch. Providing the muscle is a 345hp small-block crate motor backed by an M22 four-speed manual transmission. Hedman headers let the motor breath, but they hung a little low, so Angel cut and sectioned the pipes to move the collector up before having them recoated to get back some much needed ground clearance.
Photo 5/13   |   1955 Chevy Truck hood
The inside of the truck is just as sweet as the exterior, with a smoothed-out dash and thinned-out bench seat. Everything inside is covered in a tan vinyl with perforated inserts for a little contrast. Angel used a '79 Chevy van tilt steering column and topped it off with a billet steering wheel. He shaved the shift arm from the side of the column and hooked up a Hurst shifter to the M22 transmission. Everything but the factory "V" was shaved from the dashboard for a smooth area to house the VDO antique gauges. A cool lower dash section was fabricated to house the head unit and to give Angel a small area to hold some stuff. There is a handmade box sitting behind the seat that houses an 8-inch subwoofer and a set of coaxials for the highs. The factory crank window regulators were replaced with a power kit, and a set of hand-built door panels cover it all up.
The buildup of this truck took Angel more that two decades to get it just the way he wanted it. While Angel's truck isn't quite as wild as the Kopper Kart, it is just as cool. Hopefully his truck will inspire a new generation of enthusiasts to cut and weld their way to a one-off ride.
The 411
GM Performance 350ci HO crate motor / GM Performance aluminum manifold / Edelbrock carb / HEI distributer / Hedman Hedders with raised collectors / Flowmaster mufflers / Muncie four-speed transmission / Ford 9-inch with Detroit Locker
By: Owner
Front: 15x7 American Racing Torq Thrust
Rear: 15x12 American Racing Torq Thrust
Front: 265/50R15 Goodyear Eagle GT
Rear: 29x12.50-15LT Mickey Thompson Sportsman Pro
Front: Heidts Mustang II front conversion / 2-inch drop spindles
Rear: Factory
Accessories: '57 panel truck gas tank
Chassis: 8-inch C-notch
By: Owner
Photo 12/13   |   1955 Chevy Truck roof
Body Mods:
3-inch chopped top / windshield sunk down into cowl / 6-inch sectioned body / 12-inch body drop / front of hood lowered 2 inches / cowl area raised to hide wipers / Fleetside bed made from a panel truck rear section / '94 Impala side mirrors with custom-made brackets / Kenworth big-rig grille tubes reshaped to fit / smoothed grille opening / '64 Chevy taillights / shaved and tucked bumpers
By: Owner
Custom Paint:
Glasurit yellow basecoat/clearcoat
By: Owner
Photo 13/13   |   1955 Chevy Truck dashboard
Bench seat built from scratch / Classic Two Tone Split steering wheel from Colorado Customs / '79 Chevy van tilt steering column / custom armrests and door panels / tan Mercedes vinyl / smoothed dash / VDO Antique gauges / Hurst shifter / floor and bed area covered in Mercedes carpet / Spal power window conversion
By: Owner (armrests) / Byron Robeck
Alpine head unit / Alpine 6x9-inch speakers, 6-inch components / Alpine 500-watt amplifier and 8-inch subwoofer
By: Owner / William
Special Thanks:
Dave Ruiz for the wiring, William for the stereo work, Byron for the interior and the rest of his friends who offered a helping hand.



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