It's amazing the lengths some guys will go to get the street rod of their dreams. Robert Morris lives in New Jersey. Guess where he found this '48 Chevy sedan delivery. That's right, in the swap meet at the Goodguys event in Scottsdale, Arizona. The project was already in progress; a small-block Chevy and Nova rear were in place when Robert made the deal and shipped the car back to the Northeast. His plan was to just "do a couple of things" to the car and stop there. You know that story. Shortly after tearing into the car, Robert, a sheetmetal fabricator by trade, opted for a full inside and out re-do. And it's a knockout inside and out--but the metalwork on the big Chevy is where Robert's talent got put to good use. Virtually every inch of steel got touched, from the shaved side panels to the hidden hinges and Honda door handle in the rear door. What we like best is that every modification improves the overall lines of the truck.
It took the bottom half of a '48 Buick door to create the full fadeaway fender look, completed by hammer welding the rear fenders to the body. In front, a dechromed '46 Olds grille replaces the stock Chevy piece. Robert says it took a lot of metalwork to make the grille fit, but it works perfectly with every other low horizontal line on the body. He added slots to the front bumpers for the hand fabricated parking lights, and used a similar treatment in the rear bumper for the taillights. When the metalwork was done, Bob Beatty got busy spraying the Beige Pearl and Silver Metallic two-tone paint, completing the outstanding job in a single-bay garage.
In the 4 years that the delivery has been finished, Robert has driven it every chance he gets, shows it at local events as well as national shows in the East, and thinks about small mods to continue improving the overall appearance. In fact, the white walls, Buick trim pieces, and some of the gold leaf lettering and pinstriping were some of the more recent changes made before we saw the truck at the Street Rod Nats in Louisville, where we got these shots.
Wall, New Jersey
'48 Chevy Sedan Delivery
Drivetrain: The delivery was already packed with a 305 engine when Robert bought it, which was yanked out during the complete rebuild. In its place he installed a TRACO-built, blueprinted, and balanced 0.030-over Chevy 350 with cc'd cylinder heads and Hedman Tight Tube headers. The Billet Specialties valve covers and one-off air cleaner (built by Reed Ellard) were painted to match the lower body. Induction comes from a single Quadrajet atop an Edelbrock aluminum manifold. Manasquan Transmission built the shift kit for the column shifted Turbo 350 automatic.
Chassis: The stock rails were retained, with a few modifications. The front end is a Fat Man Fabrications Mustang II with ECI 11-inch disc brakes, and a one-inch anti-sway bar. The rear is from a '67 Nova, including the 3.00:1 differential and brakes. The delivery rides on Air Ride Suspension bags at every wheel, which required modificatins to the upper and lower control arms in the front.
Wheels & Tires: The delivery needed rolling stock that is stylish but doesn't draw attention from the rest of the ride. Fifteen-inch chrome steelies with bullet caps do the trick, along with P215/75R15 and P185/75R15 wide white radials from BFGoodrich.
Body & Paint: "Lots of credit should go to my Sheetmetal Workers Union #27, Central Jersey," Robert said, "as this is where I honed my metal skills and welding." He got a big headstart on the metal by beginning with fairly rust-free raw material from Arizona. The appeal of the truck is in its lines, so the trim was shaved, and stock handles and hinges were replaced with Honda handles and hidden hinges. Oval Buick port holes add a design element to the hood sides. The windshield was V-butted to complement the custom hood peak. The grille is taken from a '46 Olds and the handmade side scoops on the lower front fenders were inspired by the Pontiac Firebird. Painter Bob Beatty from Neptune, New Jersey, used '95 Lincoln Beige Pearl three-stage paint from DuPont on the lower half and two-stage Cashmere Metallic on the upper portion, plus three or four coats of clear followed by lots of wet sanding to make it shine. Notice how the color follows the curves of the Delivery without actually meeting the seams. That's a nice job.
Interior: The interior combines function and luxury. A pair of '70s-era Honda Civic buckets were rebuilt and covered in beige vinyl by Master Upholstery of Booten, New Jersey, with taupe vinyl saved for the door panels and kick panels. The padded Bitchin Products dash was modified to fit, and a five-gauge cluster from Classic Instruments' Vintage Series was installed. A LeCarra Mark 10 steering wheel was the perfect choice to cap the ididit tilt shifter column. The custom center console holds the Air Ride system controls and a 6-inch LED screen connected to a VCR hidden under the passenger seat, and camera mounted behind the rear plate. Juliano's came through with seat belts, and the A/C is from Southern Air.