What do you get when you add a person with their own garage, tools and
talents, truck parts in the back yard just waiting for something to happen, a model, chop
ped up and built and an imagination?
Well, keep reading and find out!
Jimmy Johnson lives in North Central Iowa and has been doing these builds since 1965. You can see his work via his
Facebook page. He has quite a collection of builds, which hopefully, we will be able to showcase here in the future.
Let’s just jump right in and see what you get when you mix it all together.
Let’s just start simple. What is the Make, Model and Year of your truck?
This is two vehicles put together. The body is a 1956 Chevy Pickup 3200 and the chassis is a 1987 Corvette frame.
So, with that information, it makes one wonder, what engine/transmission are you running in it?
It has a small block Chevy Engine, 383 CI, High Compression, Roller cam with a 850cfm Holley carburetor.
It was dyno tested to 649 HP.
It also has a Borg Warner Super T10 transmission with a 410 posi. rear-end.
How is your running gear/ suspension/steering and brakes set up?
I converted it to Coil overs on all for corners, with heavier sway bars front and rear, I put on 14 in. 6 piston Baer Brakes, This all sits on a 1987 C4 Corvette chassis, with Billet Specialties Rims 12 X 18 in. on all four corners.
So, you put your truck on a better frame? Or just made the better chassis for the truck frame?
I used a complete C4 chassis and made the truck parts fit on it.
So, what did you have to do to make them fit?
I cut and rearranged every piece, Chopped the top 6in, sectioned 12 in. channeled over the Corvette rails, shortened the box 2 feet and lengthened the front fenders 6in.
Also, I flipped and reversed the stock windshield , molded the rear fenders to the cab for a Uni-body structure.
You have done a lot of work, a lot of custom fabrication, so, I have to ask, why this truck, why this build?
This is my favorite 50’s pickup body style.
Also, I had the parts just sitting in my back yard for years.
We had a brainstorm one day and got a tape measure out and started measuring things, did up some sketches and cut up a scale model to see if I liked it. Showed it to a client and he liked the idea.
You said you chopped and built a scale model? Who did the model and do you still have it?
I did the model and yes, I still have it.
The model has a longer box is the only difference.
When did you start this build and how long did it take?
I started November 2015 and am just now finishing it for it first show this weekend. (July 1st, 2017)
It took 18 months start to finish.
I did all the modifications, assembly and paint. Had a mechanic friend help with the mechanical assembly.
18 months is a new record for me building a ground up project. next closest is 4 years.
Any specific help, i.e., Parts stores, friends,shops, etc, that helped the build, so we can link to them in the article?
Auto Parts Plus, Hampton Ia.
Ron Lukes Engines, Mason City Ia.
Randy Boelman, Mechanic
Don Warneke, owner.
We intend to enter in the Good Guys Auto Cross Event this weekend. I will be getting some outdoor pics this weekend and maybe some video on and off the track.
Now, the rest of the story
Jimmy and the owner, Don Warneke, took the truck to the Good Guys Auto Cross Event over the weekend. (June 30 – July 2, 2017). Below is his account of what happened.
We arrived on Friday morning and went straight to the Autocross track.
Don spun the car at the finish line on his 3rd run. We went and had the car scaled and saw we needed to make a few adjustments. The car handled better after that. His fastest lap was 52 seconds.
On Saturday Al Unser Jr. went for a ride in the 56 for a lap and gave us some more tips on things we could work on to go faster.
For the last time out, Robin Hetchler did an in car video for Rat Rod Magazine.
He didn’t quite qualify for the final 16 car shoot out, of 12 Pro cars and only 4 others. However, as we were getting ready to pack up and leave, a GOODGUYS judge showed up and gave the car a Wild Card Award, “JUST BECAUSE IT’S NEAT”.
We cleaned the 56 up a little and moved it to The Winner’s Circle parking lot and came again on Sunday to join the Winners Parade to pick up the Award. Everyone loved the little truck and tons of photos were taken and many interviews were given.
Big shout-out to Ed Siems of Ed’s Photography for the photos he took at the Goodguys event.
Take some time to browse through the entire photo collection to see the parts fabricated, how the brakes look, how the engine looks, what took place behind the scenes and how it looks now. Photos of the Goodguys event are also included, as well as photos by Ed’s Photography! Make sure to leave a comment telling us what you think.
My name is Dennis. First, let me just say, I am a Christian, a husband, a father to 1 beautiful step-daughter and 3 strapping young boys and a step-grandfather (She calls me “Grumpy”) to a gorgeous step-granddaughter. These will always be my priorities, no matter what my interests are. That said, I strive to keep and maintain a family friendly atmosphere, so my boys and their friends can enjoy the site as much as I do. (Granddaughter isn’t old enough and daughter has other interests.)
See my home page for more about me.