Al Fleury’s Wicked, LSA-Powered 1955 Chevy Hauler

By Chuck Vranas   –   Photography by the Author

In answering an age-old question of what makes a great classic truck, it can easily be allotted to the sum of the parts fused with a defining build style to give it a memorable look that can stand the test of time. Regardless of whether you prefer a traditional or contemporary vibe, it’s the ability to blend a timeless vintage design with cutting-edge technology to create something that not only looks great, but one that will also be a blast to drive. Such is the case with the wicked ’55 Chevy laid out across our pages, owned by Al Fleury of Hampton, New Hampshire, that packs plenty of bite underhood.

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02 Matte black 1955 Chevy truck front angle headlights on at dusk

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When your earliest memories revolve around youthful rides in the back of a neighbor’s early Ford pickup, it’s easy to see a path being laid for a future in classic trucks. As the years passed, Al began collecting a combination of barn find and restored Ford and Chevy trucks ranging from the ’40s-’80s. Add in a fleet of work trucks supporting a number of his successful brew pubs and whiskey bars located throughout New Hampshire and you can definitely see a pattern. Even though he was surrounded by trucks spanning the decades, he had never ventured into the performance world. Having always had a fascination with the Chevy Task Force Series, he began a search to locate a suitable starting point. A late-night web quest turned up what appeared to be a solid, roller-less driveline, so a deal was made, swapping cash for keys, with the purchase shipped to his home shop.

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03 Side view of matte black 1955 Chevy truck with black wheels

Once received, it was obvious the Chevy had led a tortured life, but there was a glimmer of hope on the horizon with a number of ideas Al had for the transformation. A mutual friend who had seen several creative builds by Bayberry Vintage Autos (BVA) in nearby Hampton suggested he meet with shop general manager Jim Dunaway. The pair met and shared many of the same ideas for fusing modern supercharged LS performance along with upgraded suspension and brakes and a number of body modifications for a truly unique look.

04 Fully Built Rear three quarter view of matte black 1955 Chevy truck

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To start, the truck was fully disassembled to determine what was salvageable. For a base capable of handling the sizable power gain, the original frame was stripped and blasted clean, revealing a solid workable spine. The team boxed it for added strength and followed with custom crossmembers to tie it together. Out back, a Currie 9-inch rear packs 3.73:1 gears linked to matching 31-spline axles. It’s suspended in place by a combination of a Heidts four-link with matching Panhard bar and billet adjustable coilover shocks. To nail the stance up front, a Heidts Superide IFS features their exclusive tubular upper and lower control arms, spindles, billet adjustable coilover shocks, sway bar, and Detroit Speed rack-and-pinion for razor-sharp handling. When it’s time to drop anchor, a Wilwood dual power master moves fluid through stainless lines to matching 11-inch cross-drilled and slotted Dynalite Pro-Series rotors and four-piston calipers up front, with FDL Pro-Series Dynalite 12-inch cross-drilled and slotted rotors with four -piston calipers out back. Linking it to the street are as set of 19-inch front and 20-inch rear BOZE Lateral G wheels shod with Continental ExtremeContact Sport Plus rubber, sized P275/35ZR19 and P315/35ZR20, respectively.

05 Engine bay with red supercharged LSA engine tidy installation 1955 Chevy

For plenty of thunder underhood, a call was made to Chevrolet Performance for one of their tire-searing, supercharged 6.2L LSA crate V-8s. It all starts with a cast-aluminum block featuring six-bolt cross-bolted main caps packing a forged steel crank linked to forged powdered metal rods capped by hypereutectic aluminum pistons getting bumped by a hydraulic roller cam. Up top, a set of high-flow A356-T6 Rotocast aluminum, L92-style port heads generate seamless power while a 1.9L supercharger with four-lobe high-twist rotors, 87mm throttle body, and EFI deliver the dynamite. It’s all good for a stout 556 hp and 551 lb-ft of torque. Factory direct-mount ignition coils spark it to life with hot gases dumping through Chevrolet Performance cast-iron headers to a custom 3-inch stainless exhaust by BVA with Borla mufflers. Other neat bits include a CVF Racing eight-rib serpentine system and custom K&N cold air intake. To move the goods, a TREMEC T56 six-speed manual trans links to a custom driveshaft for fast getaways.

07 Interior view bench seat with black upholstery red stitching 1955 Chevy

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Once the factory sheetmetal returned from the blasters, it was easy to see that the cab had clearly seen better days, while, surprisingly, the bed was salvageable. Matt Day and the team outlined a plan of attack focusing on all the replacement sheetmetal needed to bring the cab back to life. A call was placed to LMC Truck to order a bevy of parts to begin the resurrection. Starting at the top, the roof panel was replaced followed by both A-pillars with kick panels, rear cab panel, firewall, rockers, and complete floors. From there the roof was chopped a perfectly balanced 3½ inches along with Kindig-It Design Spoon-Style door handles added. The firewall was then tunneled and shaved, a custom ’57 Chevy grille center bar was modified to float in the grille opening, exhaust cutouts to the rear fenders were fashioned, and the tailgate was modified for hidden latches. Once completed, the truck was then metal finished with all gaps set and massaged to perfection to prepare it for paint. Day then laid down the vibe with a subtle coating of RM Diamont Galaxy Gray satin metallic bringing the project to life. On reassembly, plenty of cool parts, included Eddie Motorsports hood hinges, fresh chrome bumpers and peep mirrors from LMC Truck, custom stained ash wood bed with stainless strips by BVA, and glass from American Auto Glass in Danvers, Massachusetts.

12 Custom Black Bed Wood 1955 Chevy

To bring an equal amount of allure inside, the restored factory dash was filled with Dakota Digital RTX-Series dials to monitor the vitals while Grant steering wheel carves a course through an ididit tilt column, with shifts moving though a custom stick by BVA. Cool breezes are compliments of Vintage Air, while Kenwood supplies the tunes with an American Autowire kit tying it all together. For plenty of comfort on the long haul, BVA installed a charcoal leather TMI Pro-Series Universal Sport Bench seat with complementing side panels and black loop carpeting. Since completion, Al has been laying down the miles all across New England and to us, that’s as good as it gets!

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of Whisky Runner.

ctp february 2024

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