Big Horsepower for a Limited Time
Big horsepower for a limited time in this ’57 Chevy 3100
The custom truck culture is diverse in nature, with people from every genre of vehicles finding their way into the industry. For Mike Sewell of Mandeville, Louisiana, it all began when he was a teen. Sixteenyear-old Mike and his 18-year-old brother decided to build a truck for mud bogging, an off-road motorsport in which you drive through a pit of mud and winners are judged by distance traveled and time taken to complete the course. Mike began learning about every inch of a motor and how to make things faster than normal.
After 10 years of competing in the mud, he landed a great job as a crane and hydraulic engineer. Working in the oil and gas industry, Mike works on lift boats and drilling rig jack systems, an occupation that takes him to many different countries. “I live out of an offshore bag,” Mike tells Truckin. “I spend 10 months of the year in different countries.” While on his downtime, Mike was searching online advertisements and came across a mint ’57 Chevrolet 3100 near Chicago. Although he was in Dubai for work, he purchased the truck sight unseen and had it shipped to his father’s garage where his brother had a shop. Mike used his one “family emergency” trip back to the States for the moment it arrived.
He drove it around town to test out the truck and immediately his racing nature came back. “I got my doors blown off by an early model Mustang,” Mike says with a laugh. “It was time to make this truck fast.” The stock 350 was swapped out for a small-block 408 with a blower from Big Al’s Toybox. With help from his brother and family friend Gasper, Mike had the motor dropped in and ready to roll. His good friend Joe Damare handled the tough job of upgrading the rear end and added tubs to the bed for the larger tires. A hydraulic bed lift was installed to make access to the rear end even easier.
Once the motor was added, the blower stuck out over the hood, which led Mike to just roll around without a hood. That lasted through a couple of warnings from the police until Mike got some help from Joe and his friend Mike. They cut the hood and modified it to clear the scoop and installed a reverse-flip setup. Now that bodywork had started, the Chevy needed to be repainted, so Toulouse Street Rods coated the entire body in Indian Turquoise and Indian Ivory White two-tone paint. Joe Vincent from Vincent Designs came in to add his pinstripe masterpiece.
Mike decided the suspension needed to be upgraded, so he replaced it all, including a full air-ride suspension that gave the 3100 a more aggressive stance once lowered. The front suspension was changed to tubular control arms. The interior was almost completely mint, so not much had to be upgraded for Mike’s liking, but small adjustments were made by re-covering the seats and adding new carpet.