November Feature TRUCK!
1957 Chevy Pickup
Johnny & Jackie Gentry
Royse City, Texas
The story of this project, a blue 1957 Chevrolet, is like most everyoneís project. It started as someone elseís and a daily driver. A tree had fallen on it in Plano. A friend of mine bought it and never did anything with it. It set in the back of his salvage yard for months. I looked at it a lot every time I went to visit. One day he and I were talking about old trucks and I told him I was interested in the red truck. I got no reply. A few days later he called me and said he would take $1,000.00 so I bought it. He had a wrecker bring it to me at my shop, the Sachse Service Center. After a few days went by and needing to know if it would run, I put exhaust manifolds and a battery on it and hit the key. It ran great!
My youngest son would come to the shop on Saturdays and mess around with it. He was only thirteen years old. He would start it up and since the shop is in a business area, he would drive it up and down the street with no exhaust except for those manifolds, crushed cab, crushed hood, and a broken windshield. It was ugly. He was at the end of the street turning around when a policeman turned onto the street. He didnít turn the key off. He jumped out of the truck and ran behind a building and hid. The policeman heard the truck still running but turned around and left. We got lucky!
An hour later my son came walking back to the shop. The truck had run out of gas. We towed it back and started disassembly. When we removed the cab we found the frame was bent. I found another cab and frame in Ennis. When we started working on it again we found a lot of rust. Everything is fixable. The cab corners, running boards, steps, and door hinge pockets were all rough. We would fix one thing and more kept popping up. It was time to find another cab.
I found a 1958 cab in Oklahoma and brought it back. We decided to adapt everything and make it look like a Ď57. It was left outside the shop one weekend and someone came and stole the doors and hinges, and destroyed the cab pockets. Enough was enough. We quit!
Several months later a friend directed me to a man in Big Sandy with Ď55-Ď57 chevy trucks. We went to see what he had. He had what I wanted, a Ď57 with the big back window, good cab fenders, hood, doors, and bed. I didnít want the frame, but $1,500.00 bought it so we had two frames. I sandblasted what looked to be the best frame and put a Ď79 Camaro front clip on it. It took us a while but worked out great. We got an 85 Camaro rear end with 343 gears, added disc brakes, and a CPP rear spring kit. After installation and fine tuning we got the stance we wanted.
As the boys grew they developed their own interest in cars and started racing dirt track cars. Their interest became my interest and the truck was put on hold. They became real competitive and we had a lot of fun. At least I knew where they were on the weekends. A couple of years later they went off to college. I can only watch so much television so I started working on the truck again.
It has a Ď72 Chevrolet 350 motor, í91 Chevrolet 700 4 R transmission, í93 S10 Blazer steering column and gas tank mounted in the rear between the frame rails, vintage air, Panasonic radio and amp, and an í88 Chevrolet seat. Everything under the hood is bright and shiny. Itís hard to keep clean but it looks good.
This truck got help from a lot of people including my two sons and my best friend and brother Darrell. He came from Sulphur Springs almost every weekend to help me. It took fourteen years before we could drive it but it has been worth the wait. Itís a lot of fun to drive and we can go anywhere we want to go in it. My wife Jackie lived through all the long hours and often bought parts for it not even knowing what she was buying. She is the best! We enjoy going to car shows supporting good causes and drove it to Bowling Green this past August for the Tri-Fives. Our seven grandkids love it. Itís called Bop-Oís truck!
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