Just the Facts
Model: 1500 Series Pickup
Owner: Tim Gunsalus
A visionary is someone who can see what other people can't—and who helps other people see something they might otherwise miss. So does that make Tim Gunsalus a visionary, or just an exceptionally talented hot rod enthusiast and builder?
LED front turn signal assembles from Watson’s StreetWorks are mounted inside the framehorn
Tim, who lives in West Alexandria, Ohio, made an impressive showing at the 2011 Detroit Autorama, where his majorly modified 1947 Chevy open-cab pickup qualified as one of the Pirelli Great 8 finalists for the Ridler Award.
That truck was the second of three trucks bought at the same time and built one at a time. The first one, built in 2005, was sold so that Tim would have the funds to build the second one. This wildly redone 1946 is number three. He began planning it in the final months of 2010 as he was finishing up the previous pickup for the trip to Detroit. In reality, all that was left of the 1946 by that time was the cab and any pieces that hadn't been poached for use on the Ridler competitor 1947. It wasn't a lot but it was enough to start designing a new project in his imagination.
"I see what I want to build in my head," Tim explains. "There are no renderings. It's just in my mind. So when it's finished, everyone asks, 'Is this what you saw?'"
Tim gives due credit to all the friends and contributors who had a hand in turning the truck he envisioned into a truck he can drive (including his wife, Marianna, whom he calls "my best critic"). He also clearly takes pride in the fact that—with the exception of the upholstery work—the projects that start in his imagination are finished in the 5,000-square-foot shop behind his house. "There isn't a professional builder in the equation," he insists. "The result of this is that each product is handbuilt by guys who want it done right."
Some extraordinary bodywork, almost all of it done by Tim, went into transforming the pickup from classic truck to hot rod. Steve Roberts got involved with the 4-inch top chop, which is just one of an uncountable number of modifications made to the body. The driprails were saved but the door handles and hinges were shaved, the cowl vent was filled and the doors were suicided. A new bed was fabricated and a narrow custom hood and side curtains were handbuilt to fit with a track nose and custom grille. The body was channeled over the frame as an ultralow lowboy. Tim chose to cover the truck in Audi Daytona Gray amplified with pearl, and sprayed DuPont base and clear to get an incredible finish. DuPont Flame Red was shot on the rims of the 16x5 and 18x5 Dayton lace wire wheels, riding on Excelsior Stahl Sport Radial rubber measuring 5.50R16 and 7.00R18.
As if all that wasn't enough to draw attention to his truck, Tim took it a giant step further with the transparent acrylic hood. "I had seen flat acrylic panels in hoods, but I wanted to create the entire hood from acrylic." Airplane Plastics in Tipp City, Ohio, builds canopies for planes and worked with Tim to apply that procedure here.
The GM drum brakes with chrome backing plates stop the rear wheels, while 11-inch GM discs
The hood was just part one of the vision. If you're going to go see-through, there'd better be something worth seeing on the other side. No problem there. On the other side of the acrylic is a dressed-up, beefed-up 383 stroker Chevy topped with a trio of Rochester 2G carbs. Bill Moore Motors in Eaton, Ohio, performed the machining and assembly on the bored, stroked, balanced, and blueprinted small-block. Keith Black 10:1 pistons and stock rod keep the Scat 3.75 crank spinning. The whole combination produces more than 435 hp. Bob Davis Transmission assembled a TH350 trans (equipped with a Turbo Action shift kit and CVC converter) capable of keeping up with the engine.
Creating a chassis for the radically re-visioned truck started with fresh framerails, custom formed from 2x4 tubing at Gonzo Kustoms in West Alexandria, Ohio. The undercarriage is the one area that's hard to see, but it's worth the effort. The 'rails were painted with the same red as the wheels; everything underneath that wasn't painted was chromed or polished. That includes the dropped tubular front axle suspended by Posies Super Slide front springs from Pete & Jake's and Bilstein shocks. A 1969 Chevy rearend, with 3.73 gears and a limited-slip differential was installed, with a 22-1/2-inch four-bar system and AFCO coilovers on each side.
Flame Red spreads throughout almost the entirety of the interior, from the Corvette short-loop carpet to the vinyl interior, as well as the dash—which has been scrubbed of all gauges, knobs, vents, everything. Rob Landers at Cars Plus in Xenia, Ohio, installed the upholstery using smooth and ostrich skin–textured vinyl.
It was the beginning of 2013 when Chevy truck number three was finished and ready to roll out of Tim's backyard shop. The world got its first look at the 1946 hot rod at the Detroit Autorama, where Tim's previous creation had made its debut two years earlier. The 1946, nicknamed "Klear Vision", got a lot of attention on the floor of Cobo Hall and Tim got a lot of questions about the truck. One of the most often-asked questions came from the people who know where his projects start. "They ask me, 'Is this what you saw?' The answer is always 'yes' because my mind as well as my hands are part of every piece of everything I build."
Three Rochester 2G carbs with 4-inch Edmunds air cleaners deliver fuel and air to an Edelb
The clear acrylic hood is the most novel element on the truck, but was the biggest challen
The chassis, including the ’69 Chevy rearend, is as finished as the rest of the truck. Eve
An ididit column supports the Billet Specialties steering wheel. The floor shifter and ped
We like the way all that red is relieved by the polished finish of the bomber seats and th
A speedometer and quad system gauges from Auto Meter’s Antique Beige series are mounted in
Pennsylvania cherry bedwood was prepared by Jim Cail of Lewisburg, OH, and installed with
A pair of custom lake-style header pipes expand from 1-5/8-inch tubes to 3-1/2-inch cones.
A chrome electric fan from Speedway Motors draws air through a custom radiator