Duane Gann

1931 Chevrolet pickup

Prescott, Arizona

Duane Gann, a 71-year-old hot rodder living in Prescott, Arizona, spotted this ’31 Chevy truck for sale in a gas station in the small town of Hope. If you try and find Hope on a map, you’ll see it is conveniently placed in the middle of nowhere in the Arizona desert, about halfway between Phoenix and the California border.

There’s an RV park, one antique store, and only one gas station (Shell) and not much else, unless you count the “You’re Now Beyond Hope” sign when you’re leaving the tiny town.

Doing some research, Duane was able to find the truck had been built in Ohio several years ago, but he had decided to update the front suspension with a Mustang II setup with QA1 coilover shocks, a power rack-and-pinion, and disc brakes.

New upholstery was also in order, and Duane had champagne-colored leather installed on the bench seat as well as the door panels. A wooden gauge panel with five gold-ringed VDO gauges is centered on the dash, and a three-spoke, wood-ringed steering wheel is bolted to a tilt column. Tan square-weave carpet is used and complements the leather used on the center console.

You don’t see a lot of ’30s-era Chevy pickups running around, but you probably won’t see another one powered by what Duane chose for his ride: a 3.6L, direct-injection V-6 out of an ’09 Cadillac STS. He found the engine, which had only 15 miles on it, at Spaulding Motors in Spokane, Washington, and installed it himself in his backyard garage.

He also installed the transmission that came with the engine (a 6L80 six-speed overdrive) as well as the computer-controlled drive-by-wire system and the tap-down/tap-up shifter that allows Duane to switch between automatic and manual shifting when desired. Other goodies include a custom aluminum radiator from Mattsons and chrome wheels shod in Coker wide whites.

Duane calls his truck “Penny” due to the color, which has a definite copper hue. Over the back fender Duane had the “Coolville Speed Shop” lettered on the bed, and he plans to take it to the Goodguys show in Del Mar and on the STREET RODDER Road Tour when it goes from Vintage Air to Bowling Green in 2012.