Customizing a 1948 Chevy Truck
It’s probably safe to say that the 1948 Chevy truck that Paul Voorhees customized is unlike any other. The owner of Andy’s Auto Body Shop in Flagstaff, Ariz., built the truck—which weighs 10,000 pounds—by taking parts from two other ’48 Chevy trucks and a motor home to fabricate the pieces needed to design the vehicle. “From the front end forward, it’s a ’48 cab truck. Everything else is all us,” Voorhees says of the truck, which sits on a P chassis motor home frame with independent front-end suspension.
The idea for the unique truck developed when Voorhees began planning a special project for his father. “We have quite a few street rods between my dad and me,” says Voorhees, who took over Andy’s when his father retired. “He was going to all these street rod shows, but he always wanted to take more than one car, so we thought of a hauler.”
After Voorhees’s father spotted the original ’48 truck in a California used car lot, the two transported the vehicle to Arizona. Plans to build a hauler truck were quickly underway. Fourteen months, 2,000 hours and $170,000 later, Voorhees—with the help of his shop staff—finished the vehicle. Now the one-of-a-kind truck draws accolades and takes center stage at car shows.
GETTING IT JUST RIGHT
Building the hauler was a tedious process of trial and error. While taking parts and pieces from the three other vehicles, Voorhees and his team worked to custom fabricate the middle and end of the truck. Sometimes things would fit, sometimes they wouldn’t. “You keep trying and trying and trying,” he says. “You think you’re done, and you’re really not.” For nearly six months, he struggled to make everything meld together just right.
Emotions were touch and go. “There were times when we wished there were time-outs for a long time,” Voorhees says. “It wasn’t ‘I want to quit,’ but ‘I don’t want to see it right now.’” The group stuck with it, though, and slowly the hauler began to take shape.
TRUCK OF MANY COLORS
When it came time for the paint job, several colors were used. “We wanted the hauler to match every vehicle that sits on the bed,” Voorhees says. Splashes of blue, silver, white, green and orange decorate the hauler.
Aside from a colorful paint job, the truck also has some serious speed. “The engine is a 502 ram jet,” Voorhees says. “This thing really moves.” The engine is the only part of the truck not designed in-house.
The truck earns top honors at car shows, even winning “Best Custom Work” at the annual “Run to the Sun” show in Lake Havasu, Ariz. “The show draws nearly 1,000 cars,” says Voorhees’ father, Court. “Most of the competition comes out of California, so the competition is quite tough,” he says of the state’s notoriously expensive customized cars.
Despite the accolades and awards, though, Paul Voorhees says the best part of the entire process was presenting the vehicle to his dad. “I made it for him, [and] he loves it. He’s had it for almost a year now, and he’s probably put 8,000 miles on it already. He drives it all the time.”