Although most of us like to think of ourselves as great individualists, when you come right down to it, most of us follow a formula in building a classy kit or a classic truck. With kit trucks, the pattern goes something like this: Find an old truck with a decent body and bed; update the chassis with modern brakes, suspension, and steering; buy or build a modern engine and transmission; and update the interior with new seats, upholstery, instruments, stereo, and so forth. If you're doing all the work yourself on a budget, not ordering up all-new aftermarket components, you might pick up a late-model donor car or truck and swap all the above-mentioned parts from it.
Norm Bobrowski, being a good old traditional rodder, built '34, '35, and '48 Chevy street rods "by the book," but during each process, he was thinking, "There must be a better way." With his latest project he turned the process around, and he is sold on the result-a really trick truck.
What you see pictured here is not a '48 Chevy pickup modernized with late-model components. Instead, it's a '92 Chevy S-10 extended cab transformed into a customized '47-53 Chevy. The original $4,000 S-10 was equipped with a good-running 160hp 4.3L V-6, automatic overdrive transmission, and up-to-date suspension, steering, and brakes. All that was needed was to add dropped spindles on the front and lowering blocks on the rear to drop the stance a bit. The rods, crankshaft, pistons, valves, heads, exhaust, radiator, throttle-body-injection induction system, and shifter are all stock, and a 700-R4 automatic overdrive was installed. The charcoal cloth buckets seats, center console, dash, instruments, and all the other interior appointments are original S-10 items he harvested from the donor.
Bobrowski, who owns Red River Rod & Custom up north in Morris, Manitoba, Canada, then put his effort and resources into creating the envelope to give a late S-10 the cool vintage look. Aided by Wes Penner, Bobrowski designed and built all the molds and formed the fiberglass panels which, when attached to the S-10 shell, turn it into a customized classic Chevy. While it resembles a '47-53 Chevy, the top appears chopped and the cab looks extended; the hood is sectioned 4 inches compared with a '48 Chevy. The duo stretched the front fenders 10 inches and extended them into the wider doors. They narrowed the rear fenders by 6 inches.
The grille has one less bar than the original, and the molded fiberglass grille bars are progressively wider from top to bottom. Hagan headlights are frenched into the fenders. The front roll pan resembles an original bumper tucked in and reformed to the shape of the front end. The bed is a custom, smooth design with a roll rear pan, classic oval openings for the '92 S-10 taillight lenses to peek through, and a built-in license housing.
Greg and Jim Friesen at Rosenort Auto Body finished off Bobrowksi's bodywork with a very un-'48 pickup-like PPG Atlas Orange, an '01 Lamborghini color. The new/old package rolls on 15x7 and 15x8 Eagle alloy wheels and Stinger rubber.
The chassis is all S-10, with a rearend ratio of 3.08:1, S-10 leaf spring suspension with lowering blocks, and Chevy drums, shocks, independent front suspension, steering box, and column.
The interior was finished off with stock S-10 instrument panels, gauges, buckets and console, steering wheel, pedals, and electrical system, though charcoal cloth upholstery and black carpet were added, as were fiberglass trim moldings around the windows.
If that Bow Tie pickup from the late '40s to mid-'50s sets your kit truck juices flowing, with modern mechanicals to top off the package, all you need is an S-10 extended cab truck donor, and in two months, Bobrowski can fix you up.
This trick pickup is a real pickup trick...and it's a testament to the donor concept.