01 The stock truck chassis is seen here with the bed removed
The stock truck chassis is seen here with the bed removed. These chassis were state of the art in 1955, but an Art Morrison chassis will bring your truck’s performance into the modern era.

Modern Performance and Handling For Your 1955-1959 Chevy Truck

 By Chadly Johnson – Photography by the Author

Many classic truck enthusiasts have very fond memories of driving a truck with a parent or grandparent when they were a child, or perhaps driving themselves to high school. Most of those trucks were likely less than a decade old at the time, so they drove and handled quite well.

02 The aftermarket chassis is used for metalwork and mock-up to ensure the body stays true
Still in bare metal, the aftermarket chassis is used for metalwork and mock-up to ensure the body stays true and everything is lined up for post paint assembly.

Flash-forward several decades and those same trucks are now classics. Being reunited with the same-era truck that is linked to your memories is a beautiful thing. The problem is you are now accustomed to driving your modern car or truck, so when you get behind the wheel of a stock classic truck … it doesn’t drive so great in comparison. For this reason, MetalWorks Speed Shop gets approached on a nearly daily basis with the question of “can you make my classic truck driver closer to my modern truck without ruining its look?” The answer to that question is a resounding “Yes,” and the simplest way to achieve it is with an Art Morrison Enterprises chassis.

Read More: Metalworks Art Morrison C10 Chassis

03 The truck chassis arrives partially assembled from Art Morrison and requires teardown before the coating process.
The truck chassis arrives partially assembled from Art Morrison and requires teardown before the coating process. Detailed bagging and tagging of bolts, shims, and so on will save a hassle during assembly. MetalWorks has the main chassis and rear end housing media blasted before being painted or powdercoated, while smaller components are painted to avoid removing bushings, ball joints, and so on.

Yes, you can upgrade your truck’s stock chassis with aftermarket suspension and other various components and gain some driveability. In the end, the cost will often approach a full aftermarket chassis, and mismatched components added to a stock chassis will never perform as well as a fully engineered chassis. We feel AME chassis are the best on the market for performance and handling as well as increasing your classic’s resale value.

04 MetalWorks has the main chassis and rear end housing media blasted before being painted or powdercoated
Great care is taken in masking up components for paint or powdercoat. Then, tread holes are cleaned out to ensure ease of fitment from any paint buildup. After coating the chassis is set up on jackstands for the assembly to begin.

AME offers a wide range of true “bolt-on” chassis for classic trucks and cars. MetalWorks offers packages based on AME chassis from basic bare metal versions to fully coated, assembled, and powered chassis that are ready to accept your truck’s body. These packages save you a ton of time, hassle, and guesswork when it comes to upgrading or restoring your classic, and you can rest assured that all of the components work properly with each other. It’s very exciting when an enthusiast has saved up enough money to make a major investment in their classic truck, and it’s very frustrating when those components simply don’t fit or mesh well with each other, causing poor performance and wasted money.

Read More: Art Morrison Enterprise Subframe Clip – Bikini Season

05 After coating the chassis is set up on jackstands for the assembly to beginMetalWorks strives to provide people the most value for their money and since the chassis is the backbone of any truck, it’s the best place to start. Chances are you are not wanting your classic truck to haul more lumber than it did when it was stock, but instead you want it to perform more like a car, essentially. The main frame rails are a rigid 2×6 inches and provide much less flex than the factory rails. The old I-beam and stamped suspensions are replaced with tubular A-arm independent front suspension, and parallel leaf and trailing arms out back are replaced with modern four-bar suspension systems. Four-wheel disc brakes and rack and pinion steering give you the confidence to corner harder and stop on a dime, whether playing at the track or hard braking on a Sunday cruise. The list of upgrades is long but the end result is a truck you can drive all day long in comfort so you can enjoy the journey—not wish it was over.

06 Freshly coated components are laid out for ease of locating
Freshly coated components are laid out for ease of locating. The assembly process will include the suspension, steering, brakes, and rear axle. The Wilwood brake kits will require assembly as well as the rear axle, which includes pressing the bearings onto the axles and mounting the Strange Engineering centersection.
07 Art Morrison supplies detailed assembly instructions, including torque specs and which lubricates are essential
Art Morrison supplies detailed assembly instructions, including torque specs and which lubricates are essential, such as Loctite and anti-seize.
08 The front suspension consists of Strange Engineering adjustable coilovers and tubular A-arms
The front suspension consists of Strange Engineering adjustable coilovers and tubular A-arms. There are several coilover options available depending on what best fits your driving needs.
09 The Wilwood brake kit is fully assembled on the Wilwood spindle
Here we can see one completed side of the front suspension. The Wilwood brake kit is fully assembled on the Wilwood spindle.
10 This modern steering upgrade is a vast improvement over the factory Chevy Truck steering box
The 20:1 rack and pinion being installed. This modern steering upgrade is a vast improvement over the factory Chevy Truck steering box.
11 Every nut and bolt is torqued to spec and then marked to indicate it’s tight on every chassis assembled
Every nut and bolt is torqued to spec and then marked to indicate it’s tight on every chassis assembled.
12 Art Morrison provides pre-bent brake lines
Art Morrison provides pre-bent brake lines that are mocked up, drilled, and mounted in place.

13 Metalworks mocks up, drills, and mounted in place

14 All the necessary hardware and flex lines are included for mounting the brake lines
All the necessary hardware and flex lines are included for mounting the brake lines.
15 The truck chassis gets the rear four-link installed
A rear four-link is installed as well as the axle housing with centersection pre-installed. Installing the axles will be next.

16 The axle housing with centersection comes pre-installed

17 Here we see the rear coilovers and brake assemblies being installed on the rear axle
Here we see the rear coilovers and brake assemblies being installed on the rear axle. Axle options include 31- or 35-spline, depending on your horsepower rating.
18 The Art Morrison truck chassis as a roller
Here the main truck chassis is seen as a roller. MetalWorks offers chassis packages as bare chassis, rolling chassis, or a fully powered roller with powertrain installed.
19 Art Morrison provides visual aids to assist with wheel sizing for proper fitment and brake clearance
Detailed photo of the fully assembled front suspension. Art Morrison provides visual aids to assist with wheel sizing for proper fitment and brake clearance.
20 The Strange Engineering centersection has an optional Detroit Truetrac upgrade
Fully assembled rear suspension. The Strange Engineering centersection has an optional Detroit Truetrac upgrade.
21 A 12.19-inch Wilwood brake was used with a mechanical parking brake
A 12.19-inch Wilwood brake was used with a mechanical parking brake, but there is an option for an electronic parking brake as well.
22 Art Morrison provides fuel tank provisions for some gas tanks like this aluminum tank
Art Morrison provides fuel tank provisions for some gas tanks. Here we can see their provisions for a Rick’s Tanks EFI gas tank.
23 Art Morrison provides a pre-engineered brake pedal assembly that incorporates the Wilwood master cylinder and proportioning valve
Art Morrison provides a pre-engineered brake pedal assembly that incorporates the Wilwood master cylinder and proportioning valve.

24 The wilwood master cylinder fits nicely

25 The chassis is now fully coated, assembled, and ready to accept the powertrain
The chassis is now fully coated, assembled, and ready to accept the powertrain.

26 The powertrain is ready to be dropped into the chassis

27 This customer chose a Chevy small block connect-and-cruise package for the powertrain
This customer chose a Chevy small block connect-and-cruise package for the powertrain. MetalWorks has options for big-block, LS, and LT engine packages in most chassis.

28 MetalWorks has options for big-block, LS, and LT engine packages in most chassis

29 This is how MetalWorks commonly sells their chassis packages
This is how MetalWorks commonly sells their chassis packages: as a fully coated, assembled, and rolling package with your choice of engine/transmission options.

30 A fully coated, assembled, and rolling package with your choice of engine_transmission options

31 Art Morrison typically specs out the parts to finish the drivetrain, including the front drive kit, driveshaft, headers
When they assemble a chassis with a powertrain, they typically spec out the parts to finish the drivetrain, including the front drive kit, driveshaft, headers, and so on.
32 The finished Art Morrison chassis is a true bolt-on
The finished chassis is a true bolt-on and ready to accept your truck body without modifications to the cab or bed.

33 The chassis fits perfectly onto the truck body without modifications to the cab or bed

34 Art Morrison also offers a low ride height version of their chassis for most applications
The finished product is shown here at standard ride height. If your preference is something a bit lower, Art Morrison also offers a low ride height version of their chassis for most applications. Be aware that the low ride height version will often result in a need to raise your bed floor.

35 Be aware that the low ride height version will often result in a need to raise your bed floor

Sources
Art Morrison Enterprises
(800) 929-7188
artmorrison.com

MetalWorks Speed Shop
(541) 341-3372
metalworksclassics.com

Strange Engineering
(800) 646-6718
strangeengineering.net

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