When I introduced myself to Rodger Lee, the owner of Ironworks Speed & Kustom in Bakersfield, California, I was impressed. He was an unknown, 26-year-old visionary builder with ambition, drive, and knowledge of design, style, and function. He stands 6-feet 6 inches, wears a size 15 Red Wing boot, and his shop dog's name is Jake. I sensed his abilities and self-made customizing business would develop into a key component in the major leagues. Fast forward four years later, the past 18 months I have been making frequent trips to Bakersfield, following along as Rodger, Brycen Smith, and Sean McDougall designed, fabricated, and assembled this one-of-a-kind all-tubular frame and chassis that will be the foundation of the wild custom '57 Chevy pickup, project Black Gold. As I became involved in such an in-depth project, I became more connected and committed to its journey. I have seen it develop from the tubing rack to an incredible masterpiece. Its progression has been documented on the glossy pages of Truckin' in nine tech articles.
Black Gold's frame started out on the massive ISK chassis table. Rodger started with custom fabricated wheel/tire fixtures that determined the trucks wheel/tire axis, ride height, wheelbase, and track width. The enhanced '06 Corvette C6 LS2 404ci engine and torque tube style Tremec six-speed manual transaxle werecentered, aligned, and squared on the chassis table. The front suspension hubs, spindles, ball joints, and upper and lower control arms were mounted to the wheel hub fixtures. A CAD system was used to help design the upper and lower main tubular frames. The tubular frames were then measured, and bent to conform to the suspension components. The two, 1-1/2-inch 0.120 wall tubular frames were seperated by 1-1/2-inch x 4-inch support tubes, and 4-inch dimple-holed support plates.