It's not often we get to feature a first-time, high-quality accomplishment like Travis Covey's '56 Chevy named "Low Life" from Sparks, Nevada. Like many, Travis is a second-generation custom truck and car enthusiast passed on from his dad, Jim Covey.
Twenty-two-year-old Travis grew up with high octane in his veins, experiencing the hot-rod life through his dad's dedication, talents, and skills building custom cars and trucks during Travis's youth. Some fathers and sons get to experience a common bond that is shared for a lifetime and beyond, and we feel there is nothing more admired and appreciated than a father being able to pass his passion for his hobby on to his son or daughter.
The Hagen tri-bar blue-dot headlights with chrome bezel and frenched turn indicators maint
The '56 Chevy was originally purchased by a gentleman in Jackson, California, where it was used as a ranch truck. The old truck worked the ranch its entire life until a friend bought it with intentions of someday building a cool custom. The initial intent was to throw a few bucks at the '56 and build it as a daily driver. That's how they all start. And then the project escalated and after a year and a half it was completed. The very last bolt was tightened the night before the '05 Hot August Nights Show held in nearby Reno. Travis and his dad, Tom, cruised over to the show, entered it, and won "Best Truck of Show" and "Judges' Choice Runner Up" trophies. Heck, the paint wasn't even dry yet.
Before the truck won awards, however, an extensive amount of work went into the old heap, and initially the truck was put up on jack-stands and stripped down to a bare frame. The carcass sat in the garage with its small parts disassembled, bagged, labeled, and stored. The original straight-axle front suspension was substituted with a '78 Camaro front clip that was grafted to the frame rails. The frame rails were then boxed using a 1/8-inch-thick steel plate, making the inner frame rails cleaner and stronger. The nose was dropped 8 inches using the Camaro spindles and a pair of Air Ride Technologies ShockWave pneumatic bags. The '78 Camaro front drum brakes were retained, rebuilt, and reused. A pair of 18x8-inch Panther chrome wheels were bolted on and wear BFGoodrich 225/35ZR18 rubber. The rear suspension also shares Air Ride Technologies sleeved pneumatic bags, which contribute to its adjustable vertical ride height. A Chevy 10-bolt rear end stuffed with 3:23 gears was installed along with a standard four-link rear suspension with Panhard bar. The Camaro rear brakes were rebuilt and reused inside a pair of 20x9-1/2-inch Panther chrome wheels wrapped within BFGoodrich 285/30ZR20 tires.
Opening the hood exposes us to a '78 Chevy 350ci powerplant with a Weiand 1-42 supercharge
Travis and his dad, Tom, are responsible for building the healthy small-block Chevy 350ci engine that is housed comfortably under the hood. Taking a closer look at the engine, we noticed a Weiand 1-42 supercharger was bolted between the two aluminum Edelbrock cylinder heads with 2.02 intake valves. The block was machined, and the cylinders were bored and honed .030 over, then stuffed with J&E pistons. The Comp Cams bumpstick is linked to the Comp Cams 1.7 roller rocker arms by a set of Comp Cams push rods. A Billet Specialties engine accessory kit highlights the engine with billet aluminum valve covers, pulleys, and a chrome A/C compressor. A handful of AeroQuip stainless-steel fittings connect all of the engine hard lines and stainless braided hoses. A Chevrolet conventional ignition system with an Accel coil delivers its electrical charge through 7mm Taylor ignition wires. A set of Headman full-length 1-3/4-inch ce-ramic-coated headers are bolted to the Edelbrock cylinder heads and then flow into a pair of Flowmaster 2-1/2-inch muffs. The healthy powerplant produces 518 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. The engine is backed up to a '78 GM-350 automatic transmission, which received a B&M shift kit and a B&M torque converter with a 2400rpm stall. For better performance and cooling, a B&M Hi-Tech transmission cooler was installed. The driveshaft was lengthened by Precision CV & Axle in Carson, NV.