I was a car-crazy grade-school kid in the '60s and lived vicariously through the teenagers around me. Because of them, I was keenly aware of the music and the famous customs and rods they found so awesome. I loved Roth's Tweedy Pie and Beatnik Bandit. George Barris had his hand in the fabulous Little Deuce Coupe and, of course, the granddaddy of them all-the Ala Kart. Well, I finally decided to throw my hat into the ring and design a totally new, "doesn't share sheetmetal with anything" custom T-bucket-style truck, keeping the flavor of the early '60s customs.
One thing I knew for sure, it had to have that forward-leaning grille shell. I am a big fan of the '57 Chrysler 300, so I patterned the trapezoidal grille shape after that milestone car. I like single headlights better than duals, but they had to be molded into the body the way the big customizers did back then. I even used the headlight faring to hide the springs. What's a '60s custom without a hood scoop and separate fenders? The body is of my own design-very smooth with a character line that starts at the headlight, sweeps upward, and cradles the seat area. The truck bed is also a custom-fab job, simple with no visible structure. The taillights are '55 Imperial and the license plate is an era-correct California gold and black, and it's recessed, of course.
Simply insert your favorite mill under the hood. The Chevy 409 might be a good place to start; it has the right shaped valve covers and exhaust manifolds for the '60s genre. Inside, it's pure and simple: two-tone tuck 'n' roll '60s Detroit-made buckets. One of my favorite steering wheels is the '59-60 Oldsmobile deep-spoke wheel, painted red.
I have two different ways of finishing my truck, but I can't decide. One is the tried-and-true white pearl with wind pinstriping on the fenders. The other is the "grunge truck" look-you know, rusty and dinged up, but detailed underneath. Which way should I go? I guess I'll toss a coin.