Old trucks are known for their simple, no-frills sensibilities. They served one purpose, did it well, and that was all that was to be expected. Things have changed in 50 years, however, and some of the pickups rolling off the assembly line today can give most luxury cars a run for their money. Power seats, electric everything, hands-free cell phone features, iPod docks, backup cameras; things have definitely changed since the time of your grandfather's hauler. But why not have the best of both worlds? Building a classic truck with all the modern conveyances available in the latest Detroit has to offer is possible thanks to a massive aftermarket industry catering to anything you can shake a stick at when it comes to classic trucks.

While we're definitely not pushing the envelope when it comes to modern amenities for our Project Shop Truck '47 Chevy, there are a number of items that it will receive that weren't available when the truck was, er, new. I say that tongue in cheek of course for if you've been following the build over the last couple of issues, you'll remember that we're using a brand-new body from Chevs of the 40's. But insignificant details aside, we're still building a classic truck and we want all the soul and personality that comes with it.

One of the things that we did opt for was independent front suspension, thanks to a Fatman Fabrications chassis. Included in the setup was a power rack-and-pinion, another upgrade we decided to go with over a manual rack-and-pinion or steering box. This will make the truck much easier to drive and give it more of a contemporary feel. Another creature comfort we opted for was a tilt steering column from Flaming River, which will ensure that whoever gets driving duties will be able to do so in comfort.

Of course, we'll need to mate the column to the rack-and-pinion, which will be accomplished using a trio of universal joints and a section of 3/4-inch DD shaft, also courtesy of Flaming River. We went with a three U-joint system to better route the steering linkage around the headers and framerail, but a three U-joint system also benefits from the U-joints being at a less drastic angle than a two U-joint setup; resulting in a smoother feel at the steering wheel.

We began by installing the rack-and-pinion to the chassis cradle and bolted the tilt column in place using an OEM factory-style column mount in the stock location. The U-joints were then installed at either end, a few quick measurements were made, a little trial and error to get the correct geometry, and pretty soon we've got a truck that is much easier to push around the shop. But as convenient as that is, our aspirations are slightly higher than just having a truck that's easier to move from one corner of the shop to the other. No, we're hoping that the crew at Hot Rods by Dean cranks this puppy out quick so we can put some serious miles on it this spring. See you on the road!

SOURCE
Flaming River
800 Poertner Dr.
Berea
OH  44017
800-648-8022
www.flamingriver.com
Fatman Fabrications
8621-C Fairview Road, Highway 218
Charlotte
NC  28227
704-545-0369
www.fatmanfab.com
Chevs of the 40s
1605 NE 112th Street
Vancouver
WA  98686
877-735-0587
www.chevsofthe40s.com
Hot Rods By Dean
1 West Lone Cactus Drive
Phoenix
AZ  85027
623-581-1932
www.hotrodsbydean.com