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15-Year Effort – Carl & Michelle Shyiak’s 1955 Chevy Pickup

When you buy a truck on eBay that’s in Yuca Valley, California, when you’re in Singapore on business, that’s the definition of a massive automotive leap of faith. But for Carl Shyiak of Calgary, Canada, it was worth it. “It was in pieces,” Carl said of the 1955 Chevy pickup. “I planned to use it to tow my boat, but it turned into what it is today.”

That was in 2004. Move ahead to 2015 and the build began in earnest. Working with an Eric Brockmeyer rendering, this slick big-window pickup evolved into the stunning ride that’s as comfortable cruising down the highway as it is drawing crowds at car shows. “Working from the rendering was great,” Carl said. “Now that it’s done it looks just like the rendering.”

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Randy Borcherding and his team at Painthouse in Cypress, Texas, deserve a lot of the credit for the results, Carl said. The shop handled the bulk of the build: bodywork, paint, assembly, wiring, plumbing, and more.


Starting with a modified TCI frame as well as suspension components from both TCI and RideTech, the 1955 Chevy pickup rolls on 18- and 20-inch Billet Specialties wheels and Continental tires. Wilwood discs handle the stopping chores.

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The highly tweaked body is covered in PPG Deltron custom colors mixed by Painthouse. “Almost every panel on the truck is modified in some way,” Carl said. Consider, in addition to the exterior panel mods and smoothing, these sheet-metal features: custom engine bay panels, custom air intakes that pull through the front grille, a power tilt bed, custom-built bumpers, and a 120-year-old teak wood bed floor courtesy of Mitch “The Woodsman” Hatcher.

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Power comes from a Chevrolet Performance LSX454 V8 that produces 720 horsepower. A Performance Design carbon fiber cross-ram intake feeds into Trick Flow heads that are topped by Billet Specialties valve covers. Stainless Works headers feed waste gases through a Magnaflow exhaust system. A Legend five-speed transmission transfers the power to a Currie 9-inch rearend.

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Following the Brockmeyer interior rendering, the crew at Stitch by Stitch Custom Designs in Cookeville, Tennessee, handled the interior. Custom-built seats and console are covered in two-tone leather. Custom gauges by Classic Instruments, a custom steering wheel from Evod, and a Hurst shifter add to the results. An American Autowire Highway 22 wiring system sends power to all electrical functions, which can be activated by the interior control panel as well as an iPad, iPhone or iWatch.

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So, what was the hardest part of completing what essentially turned into a 15-year-effort? “Just getting it done,” Carl said.

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Photos by Steven Bunker

Dave Doucette is a long-time Goodguys member with a career in newspaper, magazine and website journalism. He was one of the founding editors of USA TODAY, editor of two daily newspapers and co-owner of a magazine publishing and trade show company. He owns and operates Real Auto Media. His first car was a 1947 Ford; he has owned Camaros, Firebirds, El Caminos and a 1956 Chevy that was entered in shows from California to Florida before being sold last year. He was one of the original Goodguys Rodders Reps and served as president of two classic Chevy clubs. Doucette grew up in South Florida, avidly following the racing exploits of local hero Ollie Olsen and, of course, Don Garlits. He remembers riding his bicycle to Briggs Cunningham’s West Palm Beach factory to peak through the fence at his Sebring and LeMans racers.

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