It's one of the more curious obsessions: hot rodding. What's more, have you ever known a hot rodder to be content in having just one vehicle? Neither have we. Never satisfied with having just one, most rodders either (A), have a sizeable collection of cars in various levels of completion or (B), want a sizeable collection of vehicles in various stages of completion.
Some rodders like a particular type of vehicle, such as the '34 Ford, while others are a bit more eclectic, like Carl Olsson. Carl, who lives in the tiny California town of Copperopolis (sounds like a town you'd find on the way to the Emerald City, doesn't it?), happens to like pickup trucks.
Not content with one or two, Carl currently owns several pickups, including a '29 Ford, a '55 Chevy (with a '91 bed), a '38 Ford, a '63 Ranchero, a '35 GMC rat rod truck, a '36 Dodge, plus a '34 Dodge. That's in addition to a pair of '34 Plymouth coupes, a '50 Stude, a '26 Buick sedan (with a 425 Nailhead with six twos), and a '56 Ford sedan. Did we mention "eclectic"?
A hot rodder for many years, Carl spent his spare time building cars and, when his son, Travis, was old enough, he worked alongside his dad out in the garage. A few years ago the pair began looking for an old Dodge truck to work on when Carl happened across a great looking '34 Dodge at a Goodguys event in Pleasanton. Upon closer inspection Carl believed it was one of the best looking trucks he'd ever seen, and ended up talking with the owner, Bill Osiakowski, for some time, gathering as many mental notes as he could.
A couple of years later Carl was again at the Pleasanton event, and just before he left for the day he thought he'd swing through the "cars for sale" area before he took off. When he rounded the corner of a building he came face-to-face with that same red Dodge truck that he'd seen a few years back. Astonished to see it with a "for sale" sign in the window, Carl again talked with Bill and told him he'd stop by the shop to check the truck out further if it didn't sell that weekend. The next Monday Carl hooked up his trailer and went to see Bill and, as the truck hadn't sold, quickly cut a check and brought the pickup home (Carl comments it was like "it was meant to be" that he own the truck).
The engine in the Dodge is a '68 Chevy 350, fitted with a RV-grind camshaft from Comp Cams
Osiakowski, who owns Kingpin Hot Rods in San Jose, California, had built the Dodge from the ground up. The chassis is a stock Dodge frame, though it's now been boxed. A Maverick 8-inch (2.79:1) with parallel leaf springs went in out back along with a set of Gabriel shocks. Up front a Fatman Fabrications Mustang II IFS went in that featured dropped spindles, 11-inch disc brakes, and narrowed control arms from Heidts
The truck rolls on Ford-style Wheel Vintiques wires (15x7 and 8) wrapped in BFGoodrich Silvertown radials (185/70 and 205/70). An 18-gallon Rock Valley stainless steel gas tank also found its way into the truck, as did a Corvette dual-circuit master cylinder with an 8-inch power booster.
For power a '68 Chevy V-8, outfitted with an RV grind camshaft from Comp Cams, was topped with a polished aluminum Weiand manifold and an Edelbrock 650 carb that feeds a pair of fuelie 2.02/1.60 camel-hump heads. A Cooling Components electric fan and Griffin aluminum radiator supplies the engine with cooled water, and a ceramic-coated header system with a pair of Borla mufflers pulls the exhaust out of the motor. The whole shebang is backed to a TH350 trans.
The body was really worked over by Osiakowski, as the top was filled. The crank hole was also shaved and a new polished aluminum insert was installed. Bill also fab'd a new bed, going as far as creating new bed posts, too. Another trick addition was a hide-away license plate, which retracts into the side of the custom rolled rear pan (fab'd by Scott Cowan), only to reappear when the key is turned on. Other mods include inverting the door handles and widening the rear fenders.
Kingpin Hot Rods in San Jose, CA, did the upholstery work, covering the custom bench seat
The dash is stock in shape, but the stock gauge cluster was updated by United Speedometer
Bill, along with Alex Gambino, was responsible for doing the body work on the pickup before Alex covered it with a custom-mix red using RM paints. The world-travelling pinstriper Herb Martinez then came along and stripped the truck in a classic Tommy "The Greek" style line job.
Inside the cab a custom bench seat was made before everything was covered in Lexus Beige leather and vinyl. A Camaro steering column (topped with a Lecarra wheel) was attached to the stock dash, which features a stock gauge cluster that had been reworked by United Speedometer. After a Painless Wiring system was used the truck was ready for the road, though it did not have very many miles on it before Bill decided to sell it.
Upon acquisition, the truck immediately became a center-piece to the collection Carl was in the midst of putting together. He and Travis, who in time had become quite a good welder, again started looking for a project the two of them could work on, but an accident took the 23-year-old's life and, understandably, the wind out of Carl's sails.
Though losing a child is something that any parent will never get over, Carl, over time, slowly began to refocus his thoughts and energies into his garage (a rather large barn outfitted with everything a builder might want, including a couple of lifts) and his cars. He is currently looking for a truck project that he'd like to build in honor of his son and, knowing something of Carl's style and attention to detail, it will undoubtedly be a keeper and something we'd all like to own.