Once Worn Out—But Not Forgotten
IF YOU’VE EVER HAD TO HAVE THE WORN-OUT CARPET REPLACED IN YOUR HOUSE OR APARTMENT, YOU PROBABLY WOULDN’T EXPECT THE INSTALLER TO PULL UP IN A SUPER TRICKED OUT 1949 CHEVY THAT LOOKS CLEANER THAN IT DID WHEN IT CAME OFF GM’S ASSEMBLY LINE. Well, Craig Speir is that dude. All right, so maybe he doesn’t go to every job in his super sick Chevy, but he could if he wanted. Craig and his wife Cindy own CNC Carpet in Hemet, California, where it’s hot and dusty most of the time and keeping a fine ride like this is almost a full-time job itself.
It all started when one of Craig’s employees drove a 1949 Chevy truck to work every day. Craig would look at the truck and dream about buying one himself. One day the employee told Craig that he was selling the truck and asked Craig if he wanted to buy it. Within minutes Craig was forking over the cash. Now the proud owner of a classic Chevy, his dream was fulfilled, but not for long. The custom bug bit— it bit hard.
Craig had some ideas, but he wanted an expert opinion of how the truck should be built. He contacted Bruce Stedman of Street Machines by Stedman in Hemet. Bruce is a veteran of the custom world and has built countless custom cars and trucks. His shop is basically a one-stop shop for all custom needs except paint and interior.
First on the list was a new motor—not just any motor, but a new ZZ4 Chevy crate motor that Stedman massaged to perfection. Pumping out over 355 hp with 405 ft-lbs of torque, this old classic can definitely hold its own on the freeway. That power is transferred to a new 700R-4 tranny with an 1800 stall converter courtesy of Bowtie Overdrive of Hesperia. It was hooked up to a custom 9-inch Ford rear end fitted with 3:70 gears.
Craig wanted all of this power to ride low when he wanted, so Bruce C-notched the frame, installed Firestone airbags, added a 4-link to the Ford rear end, and gave the front end a Mustang II subframe. Sounds like a lot of Ford stuff happening underneath, but it’s still a slammin’ Chevy.
A cool mod that might be overlooked by the untrained eye is the mini turn signal lights located inside the headlight housing. Bruce drilled small holes inside the housing and installed an amber mini bulb in each headlight. Very cool. The other nice touch that may be overlooked is the straight bed rails, which didn’t come on a ’49 Chevy truck; they weren’t seen until 1954.
With this diamond in the rough, there was only one thing to do, and that was to take the truck to Señor Ricky’s Autobody in Hemet, where the body was smoothed to perfection. The dash, firewall and the inside of the bed got the same royal treatment. Once the body was primed and ready for paint, Craig had Señor Ricky prepare a special mix of Burnt Orange that was applied with generous coats of clear for that beautiful shine we all dig.
Once the paint was dry, Craig took his precious ride to stitch master Armando of Armando’s Upholstery in San Jacinto. Armando and his brother Jorge stitched some awesome two-tone brown and tan leather throughout the truck’s cab. The door panels and headliner were done to perfection, as was the custom console that holds the Pioneer DVD head unit and air gauges.
Armando was also responsible for the audio installation. First was the Pioneer head unit we already mentioned. Armando then installed a combination of Infinity and JL Audio speakers powered by a multi-watt JL Audio amp. Dakota Digital gauges keep tabs on all of the Chevy’s vitals, giving Craig piece of mind on those long cruises to car shows.
As we said before, Craig loves the look of the old truck, but he also loves the latest in aftermarket mods and his selection of wheels and tires proves that. Craig chose Billet Specialties Rat Tail wheels. A set of 18 x 9-inchers up front shod with BFG 255/45R/18 G-Force TA tires do the navigating, while 20 x 10-inch Rat Tails on BFG 265/30R/20s help fill out the rear. Well there you have it folks, the next time you see a badass 1949 Chevy rolling down your street, it might very well be Craig Speir going to a car show, or maybe coming to give you an estimate for new carpet. ST