R 56 Rod Restoration Project – Dave Nobale
I’ve always had an interest in old vehicles and especially liked the Second series Chevy trucks. When I found this 1956 Big Back Window pickup my dream project got off and running. My original plan was to do a quick refurbishing job and hit the road but these plans changed when I decided to address handling, structural, design, and comfort issues. I always figured Chevy got it right with the original exterior design so my primary objective was to maintain the basic lines yet tweak the body to smooth out the flow. I had bigger plans for interior redesign. Thus began a six year restoration project/rebuild that became my obsession consuming literally 1000’s of hours of my time.
I stripped the truck to the frame removing all components and hardware. Then smoothed the frame by welding all holes shut, boxing the front half for strength and replacing the stock front cross member with a Mustang II . The frame was then powder coated and assembly began. Independent front suspension with disk brakes and power rack and pinion were installed and connected to a polished aluminum IDIDIT steering column with a Billet Specialties Sniper steering wheel. A frame mounted POL chrome power brake booster and master cylinder were placed under the cab. Out back a TCI four link with coil-
The power train consisted of building a 4-
A 700R4 overdrive transmission was freshened up including an upgraded stall converter and shift kit. A rebuilt 1979 TA 10-
The box was pretty rough so new bed sides, front panel, and end gate were acquired from MarK. The bedrails were closed, panels welded together, and mini tubs fabricated from 1967 Chevy box inner fenders. Oak wood was fitted, stained, and finished to match the color scheme. All stainless hardware including bed strips with hidden fasteners and hidden box mounts were installed. The original front and rear bumpers were smoothed and tucked and a rear filler plate fabricated. The tonneau lid was fabricated by Pro’s Pick and aluminum rail and hardware were modified and hand polished. Electric actuators controlled by remotes handle the opening and closing.
The interior was redesigned with a smooth flowing style that sported all the creature comforts. Inner cab seams were smoothed as was the dash. The original dash and heater controls, ashtray, and glove box were removed. To make the dash symmetrical a donor truck’s driver’s gauge bezel was installed in place of the passenger glove box and I worked with Dakota Digital to design instrument clusters for both bezels. The dash was extended down 4 inches to accommodate air conditioning vents. A flow through style metal centre console was fabricated with a hinged door compartment that accommodates the ignition, light, and intermittent windshield wiper and washer switches, as well as, Vintage Air conditioner controls. The Secret Audio stereo system, Lokar gear shifter, storage compartment, as well as, concealed Audison amplifier are all built into the console. Lokar throttle and brake pedals, dimmer switch cover, cable shifter, and emergency brake were utilized.
Seat mounts were fabricated for a modified set of Jeep Cherokee power bucket seats. Speaker housings were fabricated in the inner rear cab corners and front kick panels. Hushmat premium sound dampening was used throughout for quieting and for enhanced stereo sound. The upholstery scheme was designed and assembled by myself and Dean Pederson. With Dean stitching up the custom seats, panels, headliner, and inside tonneau panel in camel Nudo leather and sandstone Endurasoft vinyl trim. Rugs were custom formed from ACC Essex beige carpet.
I struggled with the paint scheme wanting to have a non-
What you see six years later from 1000’s of hours of research, design, and building, not to mention a bit of cash, is this refurbished 1956 Chevy truck in which I was personally involved in the design, fabrication and assembly of all aspects of the build. I appreciated the help of MAX Machine with the long block; Barry Winters with transmission refreshing; and especially Dean Pederson with the stitching and assembling of the interior and Garry Redekop and Shaun Ring at Herbert Auto Collision & Painting for guidance, final body preparation, and painting, including the airbrush end gate insignia. I’d also like to acknowledge Glenn Marshall, Dennis Ghiglione, and my wife Penny for their support throughout the project.
Dream it. Build it. Hope you enjoy R56ROD.
Dave Noble, Kyle Sk.