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Cheek's '57 International RD205A

 
Words: Tommy Parry
Images: Cheek
 
Cheek had an a few motors taking up too much space in his garage, and knew he could trade one for something more interesting. He needed a classic rat truck his his life. After a little asking around, he found a friend who knew someone trying to get rid of their International truck, and soon after, a deal was struck. Within weeks, Cheek had traded his Cummins for this ‘57 International RD205A, and after trading the rear end and a set of disc brakes from a One-Ton Ford Dually, he picked up an Eaton Fuller five-speed from a delivery truck. 
 
 
He then mated another Cummins engine to the Eaton transmission. 
 
 
With a platform and the drivetrain assembled, Cheek confidently started picking up new parts: a Ford solid front axle—which he would later drop for a Chevy piece—and an MFG Power Rack with a quickener. After building the frame rails and the crossmembers, Cheek had developed some momentum and was riding high on his accomplishments—though getting bitten by a rabid fox slowed his progress and dimmed his spirits slightly. 
 
Next, Cheek picked up some oak slats for the bed, then had his brass/copper radiator cleaned. At that point, Cheek was frustrated and waiting on his airbags, but the combination of new parts made the rabies vaccine a little easier to take. Riding on that shot of enthusiasm, he went ahead and fabbed a pretty nifty sun visor from 14-gauge mild steel from an oil drum:
 
 
Since the truck would eventually weight 4,300 pounds, Cheek had the need for a hefty set of axles. He grabbed them from 2006 Dodge 2500, as well as a set of disc brakes to arrest the speed brought on by the addition of an intimidatingly-large Industrial Injection Silver Bullet 64 turbo.
 
 
With the rear end in place, Cheek began putting the frame together. After carefully gusseting the frame, he then bolted the arms in place, mounted the shocks, and assembled the airbags. in true rat rod fashion, the panhard bar was made out of a Winters quickchange from a late model. No shortage of style here. 
 
With a shipment of 10-gauge steel, Cheek began modding the bed. The bed would be immobile, but thick enough to provide the support needed. After laying down the oak slats and fabbing some octagonal smoke stacks and adding a home-built diesel tank, it was all a mighty fine sight to see:
 
 
After realizing the hood wouldn’t fit with the new motor, Cheek made his own in two hours and cut a hole for the intake and gave the turbocharger and all the associated plumbing plenty of space to roam. After installing the pricey steering rack, and with the front mounts and shocks attached, he then machined the front bags and plates, which were octagonal to keep with the theme inspired by those menacing smokestacks. The end was in sight.
 
 
With a pair of stunning seats from East Coast Metalworks, the steering wheel in place, and a set of green gauges to make anyone envious, the interior was looking even more stylish than the exterior.
 
Building this International was no mean feat. Cheek nearly lost his hand, was bitten by a rabid animal, and tested his wife’s patience. They say the best pieces of art are suffered for, and this would fit that description; this masterpiece was a labor of love. With a creative vision and a fleet of machining tools at his disposal, Cheek built one of the coolest truck’s we’ve seen in a long time—and that’s saying something.