At first sight, there's no denying Nick Weber's '46 Chevy was built with a different mindset than the typical classic truck project. Pro Street meets Pro Touring meets slick street styling—this Chevy is a trendsetter. Even more intriguing than the unique styling is the fact that it was built in a one-car garage at Nick's house, and Nick is the ripe old age of 25. Not a typo. Now that we have your attention, we'll keep pounding you over the head with over-the-top stats: Merlin III 540ci big-block, 862 hp at 7,000 rpm, and 20x16-inch rear wheels. Incredible—to say the least.
Absolutely nailing the stance, the beautiful fenders tuck 19-inch Billet Specialties Draft
Looking around at other classic Chevy builds, the Yardville, New Jersey native kept waiting to see other builders create what he had envisioned as the way to fabricate a sick ride, but nothing like what was in his head ever showed up at the local shows. Making the commitment in March of 2002 to create a look that was all his own, he spent the next nine years welding, wrenching, painting, and completing this '46 Chevy in his one car garage.
A solid foundation is the starting point for any good project, and rather than piece together the original frame, he scrapped it and built his own chassis out of 2x4-inch rectangular tubing. Using a Mustang II front suspension from Fatman Fabrication, Nick welded the upper and lower control mounts, installed the drop spindles, and bolted on the Ride Tech Shockwaves. Out back, a pro-style adjustable four-link with Panhard bar was fabricated in-house and serves as the mounting points for the shortened 9-inch with Moser 31-spline axles and 3.90 Detroit Locker rearend. Stopping chores are handled by Wilwood 14-inch rotors and six-piston calipers, which receive fluid from dual Wilwood master cylinders stealthily mounted under the dash. Tucked deep inside the swooping fenders of the '46 are Billet Specialties Draft billet wheels, size 19x8 up front and 20x16 in the rear. Nitto Invo tires wrap the front hoop, while the traction end received massive 29x18R20 Mickey Thompson meats. With the stance nailed, Nick looked to add an engine befitting of the custom chassis.
Much like Beethoven is to the world of classical music fanatics, Merlin engine blocks are at the top of the food chain in drag racing. Because of its value and strong iron block, Nick opted to build a big-block for his Chevy using a Merlin III block as the starting point. With a Callies 4.250 crank and forged JE pistons with four-valve reliefs, the 540ci monster has no problem combusting the 469 cfm of air from the trick Valley Head Service 32-valve Thunder Power Chevy heads. Combine the sheet aluminum intake with two ports per side that Nick fabricated with the twin 800-cfm Holley carbs sending gas pump loads of fuel to the heads and the big-block muscles out 862 hp at an amazing 7,000 rpm (take that LS lovers) with 826 lb-ft of tire-vaporizing torque on tap. Firing up the Merlin puts a huge smile on Nick's face with the sound of the 0.600 lift Bullet cam, stainless 2-inch headers tapering into one massive 2¼-inch primary tube, and custom exhaust bringing old-school drag racers to their knees. To answer your question, yes, he assembled the engine as well. Trying to tame the power is a Jet 4L80E trans built to withstand up to 1,000 hp.
Inside the stretched cab, Nick built the steel dash, console, and rollcage.
Inside Nick's garage, he had one heck of a chassis and engine sitting proudly, but the body still needed some work, and when we say some, we mean a massive amount. Chopping the top two inches, the profile was already starting to look more like what he wanted, but once he pancaked and pie-cut the top of the roof 1/12 inches, stretched the cab three inches, and converted the hood to a one-piece reverse-opening style with custom hinges, he was making huge strides. With the rear fenders handmade, a new roll pan welded in place, and LED lights hidden in the rear bed panel, he began prepping the body for paint. Again performing the work himself, he converted his garage to a makeshift paint booth and applied the BASF GM Spice Red and black pigments. Not wanting the bed floor to be too high, he modified the rear framerails to kick up inside the wheeltubs, and then installed the dark bed wood with stainless stringers. The bed floor has a trick door built into it, housing the air-ride compressors, valves, and air tank.
Keeping with the performance theme, Klassic Upholstery wrapped the Corbeau racing seats in
Finally asking for some outside assistance, the Chevy was driven to Klassic Upholstery in Columbus, New Jersey, where the talented upholsterers fabricated leather and suede door panels, headliner, and rewrapped the Corbeau bucket seats in matching beige leather and suede. Back at his house, Nick welded together the all-steel dash and stuffed it with Auto Meter carbon-fiber gauges, the Ride Tech air suspension controller, and fitted the ididit steering column with a LeCarra steering wheel. A 1 5/8-inch rollcage was also welded in place for added strength and safety, while G-Force five-point harnesses ensure no one slides around in this beast. No stereo is needed when you have a big-block resting in front of you, and Nick didn't waste his time adding one.
Giving up trying to count how many man-hours he's put into this '46, Nick has himself a custom classic truck for the ages. Debuting at Goodguys in Columbus, the crowd checking out this ride was proof positive that his own vision for a radical build was both spot-on and well executed. Now if he'll just give us a ride when he's in the West Coast.
Inside the Build
1946 Chevy Pickup
Nick Weber Yardville | New Jersey
Type: 540ci Merlin III big-block
Heads: Valley Head Service 32-valve
Cam: Bullet .600 lift at 270/280 duration 113 LSA
Induction: Fabricated intake, twin 800-cfm Holley carbs
Exhaust: 2-inch stainless headers, custom mufflers
Cooling: Aluminum radiator, electric pusher fan
Fuel System: Fuel cell
Ignition: MSD e-curve and Taylor Hemi wires
Engine Management: Right foot
Output: 862 hp at 7,000 rpm and 826 lb-ft
Built by: Nick Weber
Transmission: Jet 4L80E
Rearend: 9-inch with Detroit Locker and 3.90 gears
Front suspension: Fat Man Fab Mustang II, Ride Tech Shockwaves
Rear suspension: Pro style adjustable four-link with Panhard, Shockwaves
Brakes: Wilwood 14-inch rotors and six-piston calipters
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Billet Specialties Draft 19x8 front 20x16-inch rear
Tires: Nitto Invo 245/35R19 and M/T 29x18R20