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  • A 1939 Chevy Pickup That Mixes Themes With Great Results

A 1939 Chevy Pickup That Mixes Themes With Great Results

Mixing Themes with a Little Preparation and a Lot of Luck

Chris Shelton
May 27, 2015
Photographers: Chris Shelton
Ordinarily we discourage people from combining themes. Take wheels for example. At the end of the day a wheel is just a wheel. But there’s a secondary element, a theme, to everything, wheels included. A billet wheel’s theme is technology. By contrast a wide-white tire tells us a story about the past. Because every element in a good design points to a common story, as a rule it’s thematically inconsistent to put whitewall tires on billet wheels.
Photo 2/11   |   1939 Chevy Pickup Rear Three Quarter
But like the English language, there are more exceptions than there are rules. We associate billet with a modern theme, but whittling parts from metal is just a construction method and not an aesthetic. Likewise a wide-white tire doesn’t have to have a thick sidewall. Bringing up billet wheels to introduce a truck with steel wheels isn’t exactly fair to Dennis Bauer’s ’39 Chevy. But look at the stories the parts tell. Red-stripe tires speak of late ’60s muscle cars and the truck is a hot rod, two totally different things. But look how the tire stripes find common ground by shape and color with the scallops. Now the paint; every old hot rodder can identify with black, but their kids would call the black windows and wheels murdered out.
It took a team to find common ground among such seemingly different themes. Eddy and A.J. Whipple at Whipple Motorsports gave the old chassis a modern flair with Total Cost Involved suspension parts. The 327 that Gerry Foisy in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, built screams ’50s hot rod but the Barry Grant carburetors on its Tri-power system are re-creations with modern tuning. Likewise the transmission bolted to the engine has two more gears than any performance manual transmission from 60 years ago.
Photo 3/11   |   1939 Chevy Pickup 327 Chevy Motor
The 2½ inches that Ledgerwood took out of the posts, the black paint that Korey Huenink sprayed, and the scallops that Ledgerwood used to accent the car are actually fairly universal from the late ’50s onward. The tinted windows are a today thing, but they find common ground with the pickup’s black-on-black theme. Jayme Lyonnais at ABC Upholstery in Spokane Valley tied into the black-widow theme by trimming the lone piece of upholstery—the seat—in red vinyl.
Though the crew who built this truck found common ground in seemingly uncommon parts we still discourage mixed themes, at least encourage would-be builders to really research the meanings in the parts they can use. Because if done wrong, a unique expression can go horribly awry. But if done properly, it can create something as enviable as it is different.
Photo 4/11   |   1939 Chevy Pickup Wood Bed
Inside the Build
Vehicle/Make/Model: 1939 Chevrolet
Owner/City/State: Dennis Bauer; Spokane Valley, WA
Chassis
Front Suspension: Total Cost Involved IFS
Rear Suspension: Total Cost Involved four-bar
Drivetrain
Engine: 327 Chevrolet built by Gerry Foisy, Coeur D’Alene, Idaho; tuning by Marty Stromberger, Stromberger Performance, Spokane, WA
Transmission: Tremec TKO six-speed
Rearend: Ford 8.8, 4.11 gears, and limited-slip carrier
Body
Top chopped 2½ inches front and 2 inches back by Chris Ledgerwood, Spokane, WA; bedsides raised 3 inches; bedside stake channels rounded and capped; fabricated front-bumper splash pan by Korey Huenink, Spokane Valley, WA; black basecoat sprayed by Huenink; red-flake scallops by Ledgerwood; ’37 Ford passenger-car taillights on one-off mounting brackets and sealed-beam conversion headlights with H4 lamps; ’41 Chevrolet bumpers; plating by Triple Plate Chrome, Spokane, WA
Interior
S-10 seat, red ox-hide-pattern marine vinyl by Jayme Lyonnais, ABC Upholstery, Spokane Valley, WA; small-diameter Lime Works Speed Shop ’40 Ford steering wheel on an ididit Inc. steering column; Lucky’s Speed Shop underdash swing-pedal assembly; American Autowire Highway 22 wiring by Eddy Whipple; glass by Dick Cooper, Spokane Valley, WA
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 16x6 and 17x9 Wheel Vintiques smoothies
Tires: 225/60R16 and 255R17 Diamondback Classic red lines
Photo 5/11   |   1939 Chevy Pickup

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