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Max Chill

This is the third time we’ve shined the spotlight on Stoner Speed Shop, but this is far from the third custom truck they’ve built. No, this is one of many, many ratty-looking pickups the Hudson, Iowa shop lays claim to. Founder and shop namesake, Blake Stoner, is younger than many builders we’ve featured, but he understands the essence of this hobby better than most. Mr. Blake knows that this is supposed to be a fun hobby! Deadlines, internet drama and car show politics are hardly a blip on the radar here, just good vibes and low trucks.

This brown Chevy, named the Savage ’49, has hardly any paint on it, the grill is bent and the bumpers wear scars from decades of service, but that didn’t stop Blake from bringing the rusty rig to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

First things first, the truck needed a serious altitude adjustment. The stock frame was stripped, blasted, and fully boxed. In the rear, a significant notch was added to the frame rails to make way for a Quick Performance Ford 9-inch housing located by a four-link. The front was also treated to Ford parts, in the form of a Mustang-II type IFS setup complete with rack and pinion steering. Air Lift bags get a workout at each corner, setting the running boards on the ground every time the truck stops rolling. Speaking of rolling, a set of Detroit Steel Wheel smoothies was sprayed metallic brown in honor of the stock wheels, albeit much larger diameter. Diamondback tires with skinny whites wrap the big rollers.

With a solid chassis painted and assembled, motivation was next on the list. Chevy LS-power was the obvious choice, so a 495hp crate LS3 was ordered with a matching 4L70E transmission. All-American Billet ponied up a black contrast-cut front accessory drive, and a Holley Hi-Ram intake manifold was perched on top. These two changes really make an LS engine look less “equipment” and more “hot rod,” and the 495hp comes in handy more often than you might think, as Blake loves to whip donuts out in front of his shop.

Digging into the interior, the original dashboard was treated to a few choice upgrades; the radio-delete panel gave way to the Air Lift touchscreen. With the cutting out of the way, the dash and door panels were painted satin black; along with the custom smoothed firewall, they are some of the few bits of sheetmetal that got paint. The second big change in the cab was setting the stock gauges aside in favor of a Dakota Digital HDX instrument system. At the time these photos were taken, the backlighting was set to lime green with orange needles, but thanks to the built in programming switches and mobile app, a different color scheme is just a few taps away. The instruments’ black alloy faces fit in with the fresh paint and custom-stitched upholstery by Boss Custom Interiors.

There’s not much to say about the body. After 65 years of life, it was disassembled and set aside while the chassis was sorted out, then put back together. Somewhere along the way it probably got washed, but who’s to say that’s true.

The Savage ’49 is such an awesome truck because it’s FUN! You could drive the thing every day, rain or shine, and you can park it in the grocery store parking lot without hyperventilating. Washing this truck is hardly the point; a quick wipe down of the wheels and windows and it is ready for a cruise night, and, most importantly, it’s fast! Stoner Speed Shop chases the best aspects of this hobby, leaving the pretty paint, and everything that comes with it, by the wayside.


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