We at MSCC have often mentioned the unfortunate fate of most old pickup trucks when they are pulled out of active duty.
‘The usual fate is a date with a crusher or rusting in pieces on the most forgotten part of the north forty on the farm.’
Larry Keim found his 1956 Chevy truck in a state of complete disrepair on a farm.
The truck had been severely beaten up by hard work and even had bolts through the doors to hold them shut, so Larry has his work cut out for him on the old truck.
The process started about 35 years ago when Larry decided to breathe life back into the Chevy pickup. His wife gave him his first advice when she told him “you can’t spend money on it”, so he needed to extend the timeline on his project.
Larry is a practical guy who “spent money when I could” on the truck in his words. The project was completed after many years in 2008 and now Larry can enjoy the rewards of his long resto mod process on the truck.
The truck now sits on a shortened 1973 Chevy truck frame which Larry cut to configure with the 1956 Chevy’s cab and bed. It also sports a significant upgrade from its original engine with a 375 horsepower 350 small block couple to a 700 R-4 transmission.
The result is a smooth-running truck that will take Larry anywhere he wants, including an annual 400-mile trip from his home to a car show in the Rocky Mountains. The bonus is the truck can hit over 20 mpg along the way, “depending upon how many idiots I have to pass”, in Larry’s words.
The Chevy now has a power tilt front end that Larry can move up and down from inside the cab of the truck and it is one of the many upgrades to the truck.
Larry told us he “did everything but the paint” on the truck and he is clearly a talented guy with a skill set developed from his life on the farm where you have to be able to fix things and improvise when the situation arises in the daily job routine.
One of the cooler features of the truck is its rear bumper because Larry was able to use a bumper donated by a 1980 Malibu. The bumper has rear taillights built right into it and looks like it was made for the 60- year- old truck.
Larry said the Malibu rear bumper upgrade was actually an easy fit on the truck. It is a good example of a guy who was able to give his truck a solid custom upgrade with a minimal financial and time investment.
Larry did splurge on his instrument cluster and used an aftermarket custom gauge package in place of the factory version. The upgrade gives Larry an accurate read on his engine functions.
He also added very comfortable seats from an unnamed donor car because Larry is a true-blue Chevy guy and the seats are not from the General’s lineup.
The final result is a beautiful 1956 Chevy resto-mod that was saved from certain destruction by a car guy with a lot of talent.
‘The perfect happy ending for car guys.’
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