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The Spice Of Life
I’ve always marveled at people who change things up in their life just because. They’re ready for what’s next and jump with both feet; they’ve done this, now they want to try that. I’m the type to stick with what I know, while a good friend of mine isn’t afraid to branch out and own a ’63 Nova wagon, ’68 GMC, MKI VW Golf, C3 Vette, ’02 Lincoln or a ’82 C10. The guy is open to explore, to tinker, and to move on; something we should all consider.
Lance Nguyen is of a similar vein, having worked over a few Hondas, a ’37 Chevy, a Model A, a ’96 Silverado and a Ford F1, and his latest masterpiece is this 1959 Chevy pickup. While some won’t be able to find a method to the madness and may conclude Lance can’t make up his mind, I think a benefit to owning a wide variety of vehicles is the education these guys are getting. They’re versed on the finer points of design from a variety of manufacturing, and undoubtedly have a wider set of problem solving skills than folks who remain allegiant to one brand. Those who dare to venture can take inspiration from all over the world, and their project vehicles reflect it.
After cruising his ’59 daily for a few years, Lance gave in to temptation and decided to lay his hauler on the ground. To get the truck down, a righteous notch was installed in the rear frame rails, giving the narrowed 12-bolt somewhere to go when the SS7 bags were deflated while a four link locates the rear axle throughout its range of motion. At the other end, the front clip from an ‘80s El Camino was welded in place of the stock leaves and straight axle. The Elco clip afforded an IFS system able to accept more SS7 bags; the balance of the air system consists of twin Viar 480 compressors plumbed to a five-gallon tank. For rolling stock, Lance avoided the typical and rolls on a quartet of 15x8 chrome reverses housed in wide whites.
Up top, the body remains pretty stock, and who could blame him? The antenna was shaved before getting hosed in Victory Red with matte clear. The roof is the icing on the cake..er..cab. Getting motivation from the lowrider scene, the roof was panel painted with candies, heavy flake, lace and fades; just about every trick in the book is on this truck, but most casual observers will totally miss it. Take a look at the G-body El Camino rear bumper under the tailgate; it looks right at home back there! Between the inner fenders is a tried and true 350 Chevy adorned with a Lunati cam tickling roller rockers which open 2.02” valves. A set of block hugger headers link up with a pair of lake pipes. Out of sight is a 700R4 which tames the 3.55s on the highway. I’d say this all adds up to a heavenly highway cruiser.
Leopard print material is stretched around a bench seat, which was pirated from the middle of a square Suburban, and the dash was shaved before Vintage Air A/C vents were cut into place. The steel wears the same matte Victory Red, while a full digital VFD3 instrument system was set into the stock opening. The Lokar shifter stands proudly in front of the Alpine head unit, which, in cahoots with the Alpine amps, give the Kicker speakers and subs the business.
Lance is thrilled with the finished product, nicknamed “Wild Thang” but is perhaps more thankful for the friendships made and bonds strengthened during the build process. His family and close-knit circle of car crafting buddies get immediate thanks, for Lance knows the truck would be nothing without their support. Able to cruise the ’59 at his leisure, I have a feeling Lance will soon have a wandering eye, to backyards, for-sale ads and swap meet car corrals, looking for his next adventure; don’t be surprised if it’s the complete opposite of this truck, for variety is the spice of life.