The Blue­print

Big Horse­power for a Lim­ited Time

Truckin - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - BY PHIL GORDON PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: PHIL GORDON

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.

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