Legendary Customs’ P-57 GMC Fighter Pickup
THE PHRASE “WHERE ORDINARY BECOMES LEGENDARY” COULDN’T BE MORE FITTING FOR CHRIS MEYER AND HIS TALENTED CREW AT LEGENDARY CUSTOMS IN LA CROSSE, WISCONSIN. This simple four-word slogan serves the shop well since it does effectively get the point across. If you’re familiar with Legendary’s work, then you know what we mean. If the shop’s name doesn’t ring a bell, don’t sweat it—we’ve brought their latest exciting creation directly to you to examine. When you’re done with the story, check out their Facebook page and get caught up on their past builds. Each and every one of them, from rat rods to street rods and muscle cars, is absolutely killer.
Since we are on the topic of Legendary’s freshly completed ’57 GMC pickup, what do you think of it so far? It only takes a first glance to get sucked right into this truck’s gravitational pull. The bomber plane style is as cool and classic as, well, the American aircrafts that have defended this country from as early as the First World War. The guys in the shop had been affectionately referring to the truck as the P-57, which ended up sticking as its proper name. After just one look, it’s apparent that Chris and crew were gunning to recreate a past relic of Americana without totally going crazy with the restyling of the GMC’s natural state.
Less is usually more, and in this case, Chris was willing to give a little insight into what went into drafting the plans for this very special build.
“We tried to build this GMC using many original factory components,” he says. “The idea of keeping it as close to a stock truck with only a few subdued modifications was something we didn’t want to stray from. Many onlookers might very well take the truck for being completely stock, while some tricks might only be recognized by the purist GMC crowd.”
A couple things Chris is referring to are the customized ’55 GMC grille and the slightly tweaked ’57 bumpers.
“Looking back, I really wish I would’ve grafted the entire grille into one solid piece,” he admits. “As it sits now, there are three pieces that make up the current grille assembly.”
To the bulk of us, this is a small item, but it’s his attention to detail that has made his builds nothing short of…legendary.
Now, on to what captivates the majority of eyeballs that get glued to the P-57—that paint! OK, so it’s not all entirely paint. The majority of the surface actually features a wrap, and a damn good one at that. Dan Nava of IBOW (International Brotherhood of Wrappers) developed the concept of the GMC’s surface appeal. The high luster aluminum finish, and the heavily detailed graphics showcase an alternative to paint and airbrush work that might get a few groans from the nosebleed seats, but there’s no arguing the success of the overall execution. Nate Kraus of IVS Wraps handled the installation, and man does it ever look amazing. There really is a lot to be said about this digital take on surface treatment. The final product is just as impressive as a quality paintjob when every aspect of the details is scrutinized. The visual texturing of the metal and rivets alone translate the wrap’s abilities to be a viable finishing method as opposed to the squeeze of a paint gun trigger.
To get the P-57 really rockin’ and rollin’, Chris tracked down a 2010 Dodge Viper V-10 engine and matching six-speed Tremec transmission that would be paired together in factory Viper applications. Legendary Customs crafted their own custom motor and trans mounts necessary for installation. Aside from some tricky exhaust work (check out that side exit) and a custom drive shaft, the motor/trans combo remains largely stock. With the V-10 having the ability to blast out 650hp with ease, the GMC’s stance and agility needed to be addressed to match. Chris reached out to JW Rod Garage for a custom frame to perform better than stock while allowing the truck to effectively sit as low as possible. Ridetech components were exclusively selected to orchestrate the P-57’s fully adjustable suspension that puts the truck in a striking position at attack level and when at rest.
Inside the P-57’s cockpit resides plush one-off leather seating and door panels by Ragz, as well as a custom center console and a completely reworked dashboard. Dolphin instrumentation sits smack in the middle of the dash for a centered look at all controls and vitals located within the console.
“Everything in this truck was hand fabricated for the interior,” Chris says.
One of the most impressive highlights tucked inside of the cab has to be the full chromoly roll bar. Having trouble spotting it? That’s because it has been stealthily positioned out of sight to keep the interior looking as streamlined as possible.
“We hid the roll bar behind a leather panel in the cab and underneath a steel liner inside of the bed to conceal it,” Chris says. “We tied the entire truck body to the frame for stability but wished to keep it hidden.”
A gain, chalk another of the gang’s modifications up to rightful legendary status.
With so much to take in when giving the P-57 a much-deserved close inspection, there is a sense of simplicity to the relationship to all parts involved. The fabrication work was extensive to say the least from start to finish, as each and every panel required some sort of customization to get them to where they are now. In a matter of only four and half months, Chris and the Legendary staff completed a feat that should’ve spanned at least double that time frame. The reason? A debut at SEMA 2018, of course. The P-57 was showcased in the Amsoil booth, and was a huge hit among custom car aficionados in attendance.
This is Chris’ personal build and was truly a passion project. “I’ve always wanted to build something for myself,” he says.
“Many parts had to be fabricated on the go, and we faced more challenges than we can even remember at this point, but we ultimately stuck to our aim of keeping the truck as close to our idea of a factory concept that never made it into production.”
The fact that at least one Legendary series GMC pickup exists is enough for now. Maybe there will be more of these “almost stock” builds from them in the future, but for now, we’ll let the guys revel in the victory of a hard-fought battle.