Everyone has a dream vehicle they want to see completed, and for Dan Smalley of Pure Metalworks, he wanted to see a ’55 Chevy crew cab come to life. As the tale of Moby Dick goes, the quest for a rare sighting has sailors searching the seas. For Dan, this truck was his white whale, and he could never convince anyone to make it happen. Then, he decided to take things into his own hands.
The story of the crew cab began in 2017 when he had collected cabs, doors and other parts to build his dream truck. Then, life took over and Dan sold off all the parts as he figured the truck would never happen at that point. Two weeks later, he found himself browsing online ads for ’55-’59 Chevy trucks and found a front-end photo of a 6500 Series pickup. The 2-ton truck caught his attention with its’ grille, but the four doors really sold him on it. Once he got the truck back to his shop, Pure Metalworks, he talked to his family and they agreed that he should build it and debut the truck at the SEMA Show.
Officially, Chevrolet never built a four-door version of these trucks and other companies to modified them for government and state departments that required extra room. Dan’s cab didn’t have any markings to tell where it came from, but it did have an “X” stamped in front of the VIN. The past might have been a mystery, but it was on to Metalworks Paint & Rust Removal in Eugene, OR for sheet metal work and to get stripped for the build.
With the body in bare form, it was time to mock everything up including the ’58-’59 Apache Fleetside bed. Once all together, Dan was able to send the wheelbase specs to GSI Machine & Fabrication to extend their already produced ’55-’59 chassis. The Ridetech airbags on the chassis are supplied with compressed air via two AccuAir 3-gallon ENDO CVT tanks and e-Level system. It was then powder coated by Applied Coatings in Lodi, California, and finished off with a set of Wilwood 14-inch disc brakes powered by an ABS Power Brake system.
Once the chassis was completed, it was time to figure out the powertrain. With LS engines being hyped up and this truck starting as a big hauler, Dan decided to go with an LBZ Duramax diesel engine and topped it off with an HSP Diesel billet intake. On the inside is a set of CP-Carrillo hybrid pistons and rods, a Callies DuraStar crankshaft, SoCal Diesel billet main caps and alternating firing cam, DMAX Store main girdle and Max Flow exhaust manifolds, and Manton valvetrain all held together with ARP main bolts. Upping the boost game is a set of Garrett Motion GTX3076R turbos with Turbo-Guard inlet covers and blankets. Supplying fuel is the S&S Diesel 14-mm reverse rotation CP3 and 200% injectors. Feeding this is an Aeromotive Stealth in-tank dual Phantom fuel pump system. Keeping the engine temps down is a set of coolers from CR&R.
Helping to put the power to the ground is an Allison transmission built by Mike Creech Automotive of Oakdale, CA. From there, a driveshaft from Performance Driveline of Bakersfield, California, delivers force to the Currie Enterprises Turn 9 full floater setup. The 3rd member consists of a Strange Engineering Nodular Case with 35-spline Wavetrac diff. This was all put in to spin the 22×10 and 24×15 Raceline C10 billet wheels with Pirelli tires.
Moving on to the sheet metal work, the firewall was recessed to fit the powertrain and then smoothed. Dan also found an 8,000 Series truck lower valance, which was incorporated along with a set of custom inner fender wells, radiator cover and All American Billet hood hinges. As you may notice, the front fenders were flared from the factory and the bed was widened to match the boldness of them. Then, billet pieces made by Aloha Products like the exhaust tips and side trim were added for extra detail. With all the fabrication work done, the PPG paint was laid down by Keith’s Paint Shop of Jackson, California. Then, it was on to power everything up with two Odyssey batteries and a wire harness from American Autowire.
Next up was the interior, which started with laying down Vibro Solutions’ sound and vibration dampening material. Taking care of a big portion of the work, The Recovery Shop carpeted the cab, made a headliner and covered the custom door panels before a set of Snowden seats were installed. On the dash is a Dakota Digital RTX gauge cluster and Restomod Air Haymaker II AC with six custom vents. Finishing it all off was miscellaneous pieces from Brothers Trucks, Rigid Industries lighting and bed flooring from Gatorstep.
Creating this truck was no easy task and in the midst of it were missing packages, parts and even power outages. The final weeks of completion were done with a minimum number of tools and lighting powered from generators. It was a daunting task for sure and after a 72-hour final stretch, the truck was loaded on a trailer and headed to Las Vegas for its’ debut. A few months later it was taken to Lone Star Throwdown where it was a big hit as well. We shot these photos right after the show, which was the first test run of the truck.
Dan would like to thank his sponsors and everyone who lent a hand on the build. A big thank you also goes out to his mom and dad for helping out every night for a year to finish the truck. Lastly, Dan would like to thank his wife and kids for letting him build his dream truck as it took lots of late nights away from them. These builds don’t happen without a team and big thanks goes to all that helped.
Dan Smalley • ‘55 Crew Cab
- LBZ Duramax diesel engine
- Red Line Oil
- HSP Diesel billet intake
- CP-Carrillo hybrid pistons and rods
- Callies DuraStar crankshaft
- SoCal Diesel billet main caps & alternating firing cam
- DMAX Store main girdle & Max Flow exhaust manifolds
- Manton valvetrain
- ARP main bolts
- Garrett Motion GTX3076R turbos
- Turbo-Guard inlet covers and blankets
- S&S Diesel 14mm rev. rotation CP3 & 200% injectors
- Aeromotive Stealth in-tank dual Phantom fuel pump
- CR&R coolers
- Odyssey batteries
- American Autowire wire harness
- Allison transmission built by Mike Creech Automotive
- Custom driveshaft from Performance Driveline
- Currie Enterprises Turn 9 full floater setup
- Strange Engineering Nodular 3rd member case with 35-spline Wavetrac diff
- GSI Machine & Fabrication chassis
- Ridetech air bags
- AccuAir 3-gallon ENDO CVT tanks and e-Level
- Wilwood 14” brakes & remote mount master cylinder
- Custom Brakequip lines
- Powder coating by Applied Coatings
- ’55 Chevy Crew Cab (not originally built by GM)
- 6500 Series pickup front end
- 8,000 Series truck lower valance
- Custom radiator cover
- Mr. Mud Guard Wheel Tubs
- All American Billet hood hinges
- Custom exterior billet pieces by Aloha Products
- Widened ’58-’59 Apache Fleetside bed
- Gatorstep bed flooring
- Restoration pieces from Brothers Trucks
- Rigid Industries lighting
- 22×10 and 24×15 Raceline C10 billet wheels
- Pirelli tires
- Snowden seats
- Restomod Air Haymaker II AC with six custom vents
- Dakota Digital RTX gauge cluster
- Upholstery work by The Recovery Shop
- Vibro Solutions’ sound and vibration dampening
- PPG paint by Keith’s Paint Shop