It's cool to hear of a marriage that has been fused with love, devotion, and the passion for custom trucks. John and Chris Oliver from Leetonia, Ohio, have shared a common bond of custom cars and trucks during their 16 years of marriage. John is a successful contractor who has found time over the years to build a multitude of gorgeous street rods, muscle cars, and recently, trucks.
You know a couple's love for one another is sincere when a husband goes as far as building this rare and cherry classic '55 GMC NAPCO 4x4 pickup for his wife. Most will express their love with a bouquet of flowers or an exotic vacation getaway. While attending a custom car/truck show in Florida, Chris discovered this rare ride in a local (Florida) truck trader publication. There was one hitch: the truck was located in Boise, Idaho. Following the show in Florida, John and Chris drove all the way from the show to Boise, Idaho, (2,406.4 miles) with trailer in-tow. After arriving and examining the 4x4 NAPCO, a deal was made and John stuffed the pink slip into his wallet. The GMC was loaded onto the trailer and the journey home to Leetonia, Ohio, (2,091.2 miles) was begun. A total of 4,497.6 miles was made to retrieve their unique treasure.
After the GMC was rolled off the trailer, it was disassembled all the way down to the frame; it too was stripped down to bare metal. The frame was then powdercoated satin black by the team at A Plus Coatings in Columbiana, Ohio. The NAPCO 4x4 "Shift On The Fly" Powr-Pak suspension was refurbished stock with both front and rear axle differentials, drivelines, universal joints, drum brakes, backing plates, and shift linkage. Leaf springs (both front and rear) are dampened by Rancho shock absorbers. A set of 16x12.50-inch Eagle polished aluminum wheels are wrapped with 33/12.50-16 General Grabber ST rubber.
A '78 Chevrolet 400ci engine was disassembled; the block was magnafluxed and machined by Tub Tushine in Leetonia, Ohio. Tub installed a set of J&E flat-top pistons and Crower I-beam connecting rods and Crower crankshaft. The Vortec cylinder heads are complete with stainless valves, roller rockers, and heavy duty springs. A pair of Sanderson ceramic-coated headers were bolted up to the Vortec cylinder heads; 2-1/2-inch diameter exhausts flow into a pair of Flowmaster mufflers. Following the engine dyno break-in period, a couple of power pulls were made, producing 426 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque! After the crew at Rossler's transmission modified the valve body, dropped in some beefed up clutches and other performance internal components, the 700-R4 transmission was bolted up behind the healthy 400ci block. The rearend was refurbished with new axle and pinion bearings, then stuffed with a set of Richmond 3.73 gears.
The all-steel GMC NAPCO cab, fenders, hood, and bed were fairly straight. It was delivered to Joe, an ol' schoolmate of John's, who is a full-time painter for a Dodge dealership in Leetonia, Ohio. He occasionally takes on custom body and paint side jobs. Joe straightened, then filled and sanded until every wrinkle and imperfection was removed. It was then colored with PPG Viper Red and color sanded between coats before the final multiple clear coats were applied. It was then cut, buffed, and polished until the deep mirror finish appeared. A beautifully crafted Pros-Pick cedar wood bed floor is separated with stainless steel stringers.