As Joe worked to revitalize the truck, the years passed and he became more comfortable working on it. Soon, he was ready to reconstruct the body, and although it may not look it at first glance, this Chevy's panels have been modified extensively. To start, the top was chopped 3 inches, and the entire body was smoothed and shaved, including the bumpers, doors, vents, and tailgate. The bed was moved up 2 inches and forward 2 inches, and then the bed's edge was contoured to the cab. To fit the colossal 18-inch-wide rear tires, Joe cut and widened the rear fenders by 3 inches. The new grille, one of Joe's favorite pieces, was carefully fashioned out of hand-cut aluminum. Other subtle touches include 1939 Lincoln Zephyr taillights, suicide doors, and a flipped tailgate that provides access to the rear-mounted fuel filler cap. After completing the bodywork, Joe intended to learn how to paint the truck himself, but his friend Kirby saved him some time by spraying the truck in a vivid PPG Blue Ribbon Metallic.

In order to match the truck's smooth and subtle exterior, its interior was also customized. Comfort and livability were key, as Joe wanted to be able to drive the truck for hours without fatigue. With this in mind, he installed a pair of Pontiac GTO seats upholstered in black Ultraleather. Joe also installed a new Ultraleather headliner, black carpet, and smoothed and painted dash. Interior electronics consist of a Pioneer head unit, four Pioneer two-way speakers, and two RE Audio amps and subwoofers. Autometer and Cobalt gauges convey vital information, and Vintage Air air conditioning keeps the cab cool.

When we first met Joe at Scrapin the Coast in Biloxi, Mississippi, we were captivated–not only by the truck itself, but also by its story. With no prior experience, Joe dedicated five years of his life to transforming this truck from hurricane wreckage into a flawless custom. Upon seeing our reaction, Joe smiled and said, “It just needed a good home.” Joe would like to thank his friends Dave, Kirby, and Buddy, and most of all, his wife Ruth for her patience during his many late nights in the shop.

Inside the Build

Year Make Model: 1948 Chevrolet Pickup
Owner and City/State: Joe Damare • Mandeville, Louisiana

Type: 350ci V-8
Heads: Edelbrock RPM heads, ported and polished
Cam: Edelbrock Performer .488/.510 lift
Induction: Edelbrock intake manifold, Edelbrock air cleaner
Exhaust: Sanderson headers, custom side-exit exhaust with Cherry Bomb mufflers and electronic cutouts
Fuel System: Edelbrock four-barrel carburetor
Ignition: MSD distributor, Taylor plug wires
Output: 410 hp and 408 lb-ft

Transmission: Gearstar 700-R4 automatic
Rearend: Ford 9-inch with Richmond 4.11 gears

Front suspension: Boxed frame with 3/16-inch steel, Mustang II steering rack and control arms, 2-inch drop spindles, Slam Specialties airbags, SMC valves
Rear suspension: Boxed frame with 3/16-inch steel, C-notch, Slam Specialties airbags, SMC valves, triangulated four-link
Brakes: Ford Mustang slotted and vented four-wheel disc

Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: American Racing Torq Thrust II, 15x8-inch front and 15x14-inch rear
Tires: Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/R, 26x10R15LT front and 31x18R15LT rear