1939 Chevy Pickup - Seven Of A Kind
Randy Benedix is a masonry contractor from Oakdale, California, and like most custom truck enthusiasts has always been a dreamer. He purchased his first truck when he was 16 years old, a 1940 Chevy pickup and always dreamt of someday building a custom show truck. Over the years, Randy has built nothing but 40s-era Chevy pickups, and still has every one of them. Randy has six Chevy pickups that are "projects in progress". Thirty years later after the purchase of his first '40 Chevy, Randy was attending the Back to Graffiti show in Modesto, California, when his mom discovered a '39 Chevy pickup that was for sale. Randy peeled off some Ben Franklins in exchange for the pink slip. Two months later while attending Hot August Nights in Reno, Randy decided the '39 needed a Mustang II front clip and a 235cu inline-six. Three years ago the '39 was completely disassembled, then reconstructed with many modifications along the way.
Oh, how things did change. The second build of the '39 Chevy was performed by Roger Cigaar at Stokers Hot Rods in Ripon, California. Roger began by boxing the framerails and installing reinforced crossmembers due to the plans of increasing the `39's horsepower. The Heidt's Mustang II front clip was maintained with its Chevy five-bolt hubs and Wilwood disc brakes. The front Heidt's Mustang II suspension with two-inch dropped spindles was equipped with Air Ride Technologies Shockwave bags. The front end rolls on a pair of polished aluminum Billet Specialties GTX-03 15x7-inch wheels consumed in 205/50R15 Falken rubber. To install the narrowed Currie Ford 9-inch rearend, a parallel four-link and Panhard bar suspension needed to be designed and fabricated. Wilwood disc brakes were also installed out back to decelerate the horsepower. Air Ride Technologies Shockwaves were installed to provide the same vertical athleticism as the front suspension. The rear end spins on a pair of polished aluminum Billet Specialties GTX-03 wheels surrounded with Falken 255/45ZR17 rubber. A 171/2-gallon fuel tank was located in the rear of the bed between the framerails. The fuel tank is accessible by lifting the center section of the bed floor.
Under the four-piece, split-V-folding hood is a Chevy 350ci V-8 engine wedged between the framerails. The engine was machined and assembled by the crew at Smeding Performance in Rancho Cordova, California. A pair of Dart Performance 2.02 intake/1.60 exhaust aluminum heads were bolted on to the Bow Tie block. A dual roller timing set, along with roller rocker arms coordinate the crankshaft and roller camshaft to the rotating valve assembly. The Pertronix ignition system and Flame Thrower coil produces the electrical juices that are pulsated through the 8mm MSD ignition wires. A pair of Edelbrock 650-cfm carburetors and a Wieand 6-71 roots-style supercharger force-feed the mighty 350 engine that produces over 600 hp. A Turbo 400 automatic transmission was opened up then stuffed with all the right clutches, bands, gears, and servo and valvebody goodies. The engine rpm is synchronized with the 400 automatic trans by a 2,500-stall converter. A 3-inch diameter driveshaft links the horsepower to the Currie rearend. A par of ceramic coated headers collect into a 2-inch diameter exhaust that flows into a pair of MagnaFlow mufflers.
The all-steel '39 cab, fenders, hood, and bed were discovered in pretty good condition. Randy had the stock grille reworked then chromed. The original headlight bullets contain new AutoNik seven-inch round classic headlights with turn indicators. The stock door handles and front bumper were sent out and re-chromed. The crank-out windshield helps vent the cab during some of the hot summer San Joaquin days. The smoothed running boards were acquired from Iron Station in North Carolina. Randy wanted a unique high-quality custom bed made and he knew the crew at Hank's in Herald, California, would not disappoint him. The entire bodywork, and paint preparation was done at Stoker's in Ripon, California. They used House of Kolors, Tangelo on the bottom portion and then used Pearl Beige on the top with a band of downdraft flames that were pinstriped by the steady hand of Denise Corbett from Modesto, California. Then the entire painted surface was buried in six coats of House of Kolors clear before it was cut, buffed, and polished to its glistening 50/50 appearance.
Opening the doors unveils the custom bench seat and armrest with cup holders that were made by Rod Doors in Chico, California. The team at Castillo's Custom Upholstery in Modesto, California, is responsible for the interior upholstery. The bench seat and door panels were covered with ultra chamois leather and ultra topaz. The center of the seat back displays an embroidery pattern called Twisted Pistons. The custom headliner was covered in Ultra Chamois suede. The Daytona Bronze pile carpet brings a subtle contrast to the overall interior dcor. A flat, steel beige dash features a billet aluminum gauge cluster, filled with custom gray face gauges with white font. An ididit tilt steering column is capped with a B.A.D. 14-inch billet aluminum inferno/skull beige leather steering wheel. A Vintage Air Gen II mini A/C unit maintains a comfortable climate for the cabin.
Randy didn't install any audio equipment, he says hearing the rumble of his 350 and the whine of his 6-71 Weiand blower is music to his ears.
Whether it's a daily driver or a full-blown show truck there are always people to thank for making it come from a dream to a reality. Randy would like to thank his buddy Tim Pace from Oakdale, California, Roger Cigaar from Stoker's Hot Rods in Ripon, California, his dad Jerry Benedix from Oakdale, California, and his wife Kim for putting up with his obsession and passion.
If this beautiful '39 Chevy is any indication of what Randy has envisioned for the remainder of his `40's Chevy stable, then he is going to have some incredible show-quality thoroughbreds.
Randy informed me, that his son Branden who is now 8 years old, would someday inherit all the trucks. With seven trucks, Branden will have a cool, custom truck to drive every day of the week.