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One Menacing '35 Chevy Pickup

By Tommy Parry
Images: Rod

Rod indulged in his fair share of auto projects in his youth, but he never really embarked on a serious build before this one. As the years ticked by, Rod found that he had the right ingredients for an ambitious rat rod: namely a big garage and a job that would provide the needed bread. 
Rod found this fair ‘35 Chevy and started tinkering with some of the lesser points. Though the frame was wonderful and the steel body was decent, the truck lacked a bed and rear cab panels, and the glasswork was less than impressive. At least it had an SB 350, a Powerglide transmission, a Posi rear end from a Chevy Nova, and hefty steel disc brakes up front. To say it was a fixer-upper would be a little too critical, since this package had plenty of potential, and a solid foundation to build upon. 
First, Rod decided to lower the stance and chuck the original leaf springs. He cut pipe with 1" ID and bought some bolts from Tractor Supply. After he cut the heads off the bolt and welded them to the axle, he then welded the pipe to the frame, and adjusted the nut on the bolt to dial in the clearance between the frame and axle. After adding a set of coilovers, he had his rolling chassis.
After pulling out the painter’s tape, Rod lined up the top for a quick snip. With his Miller 180 TIG in his hand, he took a conservative 3” off the top—wanting to make sure he didn’t end up with a mail slot for his rear window. A quick haircut later, Rod began restructuring the back of the cab with some mahogany. Other might opt for steel here, but Rod’s a trained woodworker and wanted to stick to what felt natural. He’d eventually have to swallow some of his pride, and mortis out two sides of the A pillar, and made a bracket that tied into the factory roof bracket.
Next, he gave the doors the same treatment. Rod used templates made out of pine, since he had to guess where the wood was totally rotted away. After he studied the shape of the cab, he realized the reason the doors wouldn’t close cleanly was due to a backwards slant he would then correct. 
Well, using his woodworking skills to furnish a quick bed, he brought out the pine and find an old oak palette to mock up the bed sides. Thankfully, he whipped this little ditty out in no time; his wife was starting to why they were hemorrhaging money into a pile of rusted parts sitting in the garage, and he needed something pretty for justification. 
Boxing the frame was the next order of business. After plenty of hoisting, measuring, and jacking, he lined up the motor, and attached it the Speedframe mounts, which were works of art in themselves. He then made a crossmember of of 2X2 tubing with a 3/16” wall, and placed it between the shock mounts to stabilize that section of the frame. 
Fitting the exhaust wasn’t quite as simple, as Rod had some issues running the exhaust around the steering box and steering column. After searching around, he found a tight radius doughnut on Ebay that fixed the problem. He then cut the doughnut in quarters, and offset the flange location 4" and cleared the steering box. For a little extra presence and the ability to rattle his neighbor’s windows at the drop of a hat, he bolted on a couple downpipes from Speedway.
With a pretty powerplant in place, Rod began laying the floor. With plenty of 1" x 1" x 1/8" tube steel in hand, he formed the tubing snugly around the transmission, then channeled the floor 3” for the perfect ride height. 
Now with all the underpinnings and the frame put together cleanly, he covered it all with the cab and a peaked hood which looked the business. The grille shell got a polish, an eye-catching ridge made with a beadroller, and a few drilled holes. Rod then mounted the radiator to the grille shell with a couple of homemade brackets, and stood back. What was once a rusting pile of scrap with a few pine accents was now a bonafide roller with plenty of pizazz. With a tweak to the bed sides, and the addition of a tasty spiderweb grille, he had the makings of a real head-turner. 
 With some scraps pulled from the trash bin, he beadrolled some sheetmetal into a stunning floor, stuck a Lokar shifter in the middle, and topped it all off with an understated dash. 
Painting the dash black and adding a set of black leather electric recliners would come next, and add to the entire menace of the build. 
The end was in sight, but Rod felt the Chevy deserves a little more meanness before he was ready to unleash it on the public. First, by block sanding everything and dousing the whole thing in Eastwood black primer, he set the tone. The finishing touch was not the quilted fabric laid over the pockmarked firewall, but the satin black paint, which he administered himself. Because of all the work he put into the prep, he price he paid was criminal—which would be a good way to describe this midnight menace.