Truck of the Month

A '52 CHEVY THAT CAN HAUL— AND THEN HAUL ASS, TOO!

Low Rider - - CON­TENTS - STORY & PHO­TOS BY PHIL GOR­DON

John Wempe's '52 Chevy 3100

Like many, John Wempe de­vel­oped a love for clas­sic cars at a young age. He was mes­mer­ized by the style, in­trigued by the body lines, and when his fa­ther gifted him a '68 Bug to use as trans­porta­tion to and from school, his pas­sion grew even more, which led to the itch for cus­tomiza­tion. With big dreams and a small pay­check, John re­mained com­mit­ted to fix­ing up his newly ac­quired Bug, so he ap­plied what he had learned from his grand­fa­ther and be­gan teach­ing him­self and within a month the Bug had a new sus­pen­sion and an up­graded mo­tor.

Un­for­tu­nately, his older brother bor­rowed the Bug one night and to­taled it. In need of an­other ve­hi­cle, he was bor­row­ing the fam­ily wagon for quite some time when he found a Chevy truck at the deal­er­ship. At the time he had no in­ter­est in trucks but af­ter pick­ing it up, his pas­sion for clas­sic cars—and now trucks—be­gan to grow and he re­al­ized he wanted to build some­thing out of the box.

Along with his best friend, Danny Diaz, the pair set out on a mis­sion to lo­cate a clas­sic truck. They tracked down a '52 Chevy 3100 truck in Kansas City for $1,500. The truck had no mo­tor or trans­mis­sion but the body was in great con­di­tion; whereas the owner of

the truck saw trash, John saw a trea­sure. Af­ter pur­chas­ing it, the truck sat for six months while John be­gan sav­ing money to the start build. With his first lit­tle chunk, John pur­chased a Chevy S-10 frame, trans­planted it onto the '52, giv­ing him a much stronger sup­port sys­tem that was ready to be bolted up to a host of af­ter­mar­ket parts.

As for the ex­te­rior, he wanted to chop the top to give his truck a more stream­lined look. Hes­i­tant about cut­ting the truck, his faith in good friend (and shop owner) Yaril Quin­tana eased his nerves, so he dropped it off to Yaril Cus­toms where a 3-inch chop was per­formed. Af­ter surgery they de­cided to add a few more de­tails, in­clud­ing a pair of '37 Ford tail­lights out back and

'53 Buick head­lights up front. Ad­di­tional body­work in­cludes widened rear fend­ers, cus­tom skirts, and ex­tended run­ning boards. Af­ter sev­eral passes at block­ing and straight­en­ing the body, Yaril coated the en­tire truck in a clas­sic '56 Porsche Turk­ish Red, a color scheme that pops and high­lights the ex­quis­ite body­work and cus­tom mods.

Frus­trated with the bad gas mileage and fumes em­a­nat­ing from the old Chevy 350, he pulled the mo­tor and had it re­placed with an LS mo­tor sourced from a Chevy Sil­ver­ado. Since his

truck had an S-10 frame, all that was needed to drop in the mo­tor were some cus­tom mo­tor mounts, as well as a new wiring har­ness, fuel tank, and fuel pump to help sup­port the LS.

In­side, the cock­pit was in sham­bles, and since the roof was chopped it needed to be re­fined and re­done. To be­gin, Yaril built new seats and pan­els and then shipped them off to Flipps (Tampa) to be up­hol­stered in dis­tressed dark brown syn­thetic leather. To com­plete the in­te­rior, a suede head­liner was in­stalled along with a '52 Buick dash­board that had to be cut and molded for a per­fect fit. To level things out, John de­cided to go with a newer Ac­cuAir e-Level sys­tem with com­puter-con­trolled pre­set lev­els.

Not used to be­ing flashy or bold, John was left speech­less by all the at­ten­tion the truck re­ceived. De­serv­ing, to say the least, the truck is a work of art and a tes­ta­ment to his com­mit­ment to fol­low through, but he also knows that much of this would not have been pos­si­ble with­out the sup­port of friends and fam­ily, so he’d like to thank his good friends Danny Diaz and Yaril Quin­tana for ev­ery­thing they were able to help him with. In ad­di­tion, he’d also like to thank Ac­cuAir, Slam Spe­cial­ties, Mark-K, and his friends, Leo and Robert.

Chopped and dropped in Porsche Turk­ish Red.

This floored in Florida 3100 truck car­ries a 5.3 LS engine.

TRUCK MODEL 1952 3100 BY CHEVRO­LET

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