What is a hardcore top-notch street rod? Let's face it: overpriced, bone stock, numbers matching builds may be rare, but they are most certainly missing some cool factors. Anyone can unbolt some crusty old parts, clean and paint them, then bolt them back together. What you end up with is something the industry determines has a given value. What seems to be overseen is the vision, craftsmanship, and zeal that commands respect without the need to meet "classic" standards.
None of those three traits can be hidden in Randy Martson's '57 Chevy Cameo pickup. As is the case with most builds of this stature, Randy started with a dream. As resident of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, Randy made many boarder crossings searching for his Cameo. He was finally directed to Stan Halford, who owned many vehicles of that era, but hadn't been able to let one go for the last 25 years. Randy found his trophy in Stan's collection of Detroit muscle.
Through a bit of persistence, Randy convinced Stan to let the '57 Chevy Cameo go. Randy quickly got the truck home where he made room in his garage and pocketbook to commence the build of his life. After a couple more years of sitting, the truck was taken to Russ Schoenfelder in Merville, British Columbia. Randy was very familiar with Russ's work, and knew Russ would see his vision and run with it. Plus, Russ's craftsmanship was on par with Randy's visions.
After stripping the truck, the framerails were fully boxed and fitted with new tubular crossmembers to mount the truck's new suspension and drivetrain. Every unused hole was filled to form a completely smooth frame. The frame was notched for a T-bird rack and equipped with late-model 'Vette tie rods. Front and rear independent suspension systems were procured from the lifeless '96 Corvette carcass that lay in the corner of Russ's shop.
The revamped '57 frame was tabbed to accept the eight A-arms from the 'vette suspension. The dangling arms were brought to life with Air Ride Technologies Shockwave 'bag over a billet damper setup. The Corvette's aluminum arms were smoothed and polished, along with its knuckles, to fit the extreme clean build vision. Billet Specialties all-polished Rebel wheels were fitted with BFGoodrich g-Force hides and fitted to form the rolling chassis.
The '57 truck cab and bed were shaved, cleaned, and painted with DuPont's Chroma Premier. For those of you who are unfamiliar, this is a single-stage paint. That's right, no clearcoat! They must have burnt up three or four polishers to get the paint to refract like it does. Few body mods were needed to make the truck clean-looking. The hood emblem was shaved, a bug-catcher hole was carved, an electronic flip-up passenger taillight for fuel filler are the only real body mods. But, it was enough to set this truck's attitude.
GM rushed these vehicles to production, so certain things about their construction left much to be desired. Fiberglass bed sides were one of the quick fixes GM concluded would suffice the supply and demand. If any of you have worked glass, you know the amount of work it takes to get these panels straight. There's no doubt many of the bodywork man-hours were spent making these bedsides smooth.
Peering through the hood is Hilborn's Shotgun bug-catcher, which is all you'd need to know this custom may be beautiful, but under the hood; it's all business. The predator's powerplant consists of a ZL1 427ci Stingray-inspired fire-breathin' mongrel. The aluminum block was fitted with open-chamber Brodix heads that develop no more than 8.5:1 compression. Eagle's 4340 forged crank and rods topped with JE Pistons provide the strength for high cylinder pressure. To ensure the high-dollar rotating assembly is up to standards, the engine was fitted with a fully-polished 8-71 roots blower that provides increased cylinder pressure on demand. Fuel is delivered to the rat through Hilborn's new electronic injection. The engine's heartbeat is dictated by a Schneider .600 (lift in inches, as if you didn't know) hydraulic roller cam.
It took more than 5,000 man hours to complete this sick creation. If you ever stop to see it, you'll know custom trucks at this level far exceed the value of any same make and model "stock" build.