Beck Racing Engines 1947 Chevy Panel Truck – Extreme Makeover
It’s tough to drive a truck down a ballroom staircase, so the Urban Suburban can’t have one of those dramatic entrances like Extreme Makeover participants do on TV. But, the before and after shots of the ’47 Chevy panel truck are as dramatic as any face-lifted, breast-augmented, tummy-tucked, teeth-capped, middle-aged homemaker from suburbia on one of those reality makeover shows.
If you parked the “before” truck next to the finished phantom Suburban, about the only obvious connection is that they’re both classic Chevy trucks. Much of the original truck is gone, including the chassis, engine, transmission, rearend, interior, rear doors, and a good chunk of the roof.
Like so many classic truck projects, this one started out simple and grew in complexity with each new modification. Ray Doe who runs RB’s Obsolete Automotive, Inc., has built several ’47-55 Chevy trucks. The last one, known as the High Tech Hauler, was the Grand Prize in a CLASSIC TRUCKS and Street Rodder subscription promotion. Ray really liked that truck, but ethics, a sense of fair play, and all the legal fine print about employees not being eligible to enter the sweepstakes prevented that beautiful truck from remaining in his garage.
So, Ray set out to build a truck for himself. He had his heart set on a classic Suburban, but ran across a super cherry ’47 Chevy Panel. The business rationale behind the project was to build a truck to showcase RB’s Serious Hardware new rolling chassis for ’47-55 (first series) trucks. Rather than passing on the panel, Ray changed his plans.
Plan A was to leave the older restoration body and interior alone and just drop it on the new chassis with modern running gear. That plan lasted as long as it took for Alan Swedberg to agree to chop the top and turn the panel into a phantom Suburban. The doors were converted to hardtop style with Nomad-style slanted B- pillars. A Trailblazer/Bravada rear hatch/tailgate replaced the old “barn doors.” Late-model Corvette taillights were added, the hood halves were welded together, the splash pans were shortened, the factory vents were filled, and custom running boards were added.
All that radical bodywork didn’t look very good in primer; so Chris Odom applied gallons of stunning House of Kolor Shimrin Tangelo Pearl and Majik Blue Pearl. Mike LaVallee helped dress it up even more with the rip flames graphics.
While the bodywork and paint were in progress, Gary, Shawn, and Terry at Kimbridge Enterprises in Snohomish, Washington, were very busy handling the design, fabrication, and assembly of the new rolling chassis. The chassis was designed expressly for modified trucks. The framerails are tucked in 2 inches (per side) behind the cab so big wheels and tires would fit easily. To prove the point, Billet Specialties 20×10-inch SLX 01 were mounted on Nitto tires out back, while 18×8.5-inchers were mounted up front.
The IFS comes with power 11-inch disc brakes, but Ray decided to upgrade to even bigger discs and had Stainless Steel Brake Corporation Force 10 Extreme Duty 13-inch rotors installed along with 14-inch discs on the rear.
Given the extreme nature of this makeover, it isn’t the least bit surprising that Ray opted for a stump-pulling 496ci Max Velocity Plus big-block from Beck Racing Engines. The engine puts out 564 hp and 563 ft-lb of torque on 91-octane gas. A heavy-duty B&M transmission sits between the engine and the 9-inch Ford rearend.
A trick exterior demands an equally slick interior. Blue leather front buckets and a split-bench rear seat from Wise Guys Seating & Accessories replaced the original metal-backed bucket seats. A custom console, door panels, and headliner were fabricated and sewn by Ray’s close friend, Jim Carr. Much of the detail assembly work was performed in Jim’s immaculate home garage. The orange tweed inserts mirror the rip graphics on the paint.
The Urban Suburban is an extreme truck that has proven to be extremely popular. It has provided Ray with not only some great transportation, but a test-bed and rolling advertisement for many of the products from the RB’s Obsolete mail-order catalog. The best part is that Ray will actually get to keep this one.
|F A C T S & F I G U R E S|
|Ray Doe, RB’s Obsolete Automotive|
|1947 Chevy Panel/Suburban|
|Frame||Serious Hardware custom chassis|
|Modifications||narrowed rear rails|
|Rearend / Ratio||Currie 9″ / 3.00:1|
|Rear suspension||parallel leaf springs|
|Rear brakes||SSBC Force 10 14″ discs|
|Front suspension||RB’s IFS with Tubular A-arms|
|Front brakes||SSBC Force 10 13″ discs|
|Front wheel make, size||Billet Specialties SLX 01, 18×8.5 (4.5″ bs)|
|Rear wheel make, size||Billet Specialties SLX 01, 20×10 (5.75″ bs)|
|Front tire make, size||Nitto Extreme ZR, 235/40ZR18|
|Rear tire make, size||Nitto Extreme ZR, 275/30ZR20|
|Gas tank||Rock Valley stainless|
|Year and make||Chevy big-block by Beck Racing Engines, Phoenix, AZ|
|Camshaft||Crane Cams hydraulic|
|Valve covers||BRE Chromed-steel|
|Manifold / Induction||Edelbrock Performer RPM / Barry Grant Demon|
|Ignition / Wires||Accel HEI / Moroso Black Max Spiral Core|
|Headers||Street & Performance block-hugger|
|Exhaust / Mufflers||Custom by Mikes Automotive|
|Make and model||GM Turbo 400|
|Modifications||B&M performance built|
|Body style / Material||panel / steel|
|Modifications||Converted to phantom Suburban|
|Fenders front / rear||stock|
|Hood||shaved, center seam filled|
|Paint by||Chris Odom, Extreme Metal & Paint, Anacortes, WA|
|Paint type / Color||House of Kolor / Shimrin Tangelo Pearl and Majik Blue Pearl|
|Graphics by||Mike LaVallee, KillerPaint.com in Snohomish, WA|
|Headlights / Taillights||tri-bar / Corvette C5|
|Bumpers||reshaped original bumpers|
|Gauges||Classic Instruments with custom face with RB’s logo|
|Air conditioning||Hot Rod Air|
|Steering wheel||Billet Specialties|
|Steering column||Flaming River aluminum tilt|
|Seats||Wise Guys buckets (front) and split bench (rear), leather|
|Console||custom-built by Jim Carr|
|Upholstery by||Jim Carr|
|Material / Color||leather and tweed / blue with orange accents|
|Carpet / Color||blue / wool|