55 Crew Dan Smalley’s Extended-Cab Chevy
Truck guys know the struggle of wanting to build a cool classic but not being able to accommodate a family of four or more. Dan Smalley’s dream was to build a four-door classic truck for his growing family. After years of collecting parts and pieces, he just couldn’t put the entire puzzle together. Just a few months after Dan sold everything he had gathered, he stumbled across what he had always been searching for.
“One day I was searching Craiglist and stumbled upon a 1955 Chevy 6400+ Series front end photo. I clicked on the ad because I particularly love those front ends, and while scrolling through the photos I noticed that it had four doors. I could not believe what I was seeing, so I called the owner immediately,” Dan recalls.
He continues, “I was out of town and didn’t think the owner would hold on to the truck for me – I thought it would be gone in a heartbeat due to the rarity. But thankfully the owner stuck to his word and I ended up getting the truck. It was rough, but it was complete. As with any commercial-use vehicle, they were built for use and not necessary fit and finish. We knew we had a lot of work on our hands, but it gave me a huge head start for my dream truck.”
Dan wasn’t afraid of the task ahead of him. He grew up with a passion for working with his hands and tearing apart power equipment at his family’s business. In his early teens, Dan landed a job at a local hot rod shop refining his skills before opening his own shop, Pure Metal Works, in 2015 at the age of 26. He knew the best way to showcase his talents and what his business can produce was a head-turning debut vehicle. The 55 Crew Cab pickup became the shop’s focus of attention with a goal of debuting at the 2019 SEMA Show.
Dan and his Pure Metal Works crew started from the ground up with a custom GSI chassis fitted with GSI’s air bags and AccuAir management. A four-linked Currie full floater rearend is stuffed with a Wavetrac 3.89:1-geared differential and uses a Watt’s link to keep everything centered. Wilwood 14-inch six-piston front and four-piston rear disc brakes are fitted behind the 22×10- and 24×15-inch Raceline C10 wheels that are wrapped with Pirelli tires – 265/35/22 up front and massive 405/25/24 in the rear.
The coach-built four-door body features a 6400+ series Chevy front clip with an 8500+ series front lower valance. The custom-built bed was widened and fitted with Mr. Mudguard wheel tubs. A custom floor, firewall, and bed floor was crafted as well as front inner fenders. Keith’s Paint Shop in Jackson, California, tidied up the bodywork before spraying the PPG Polar White paint. GSI door handles, All American Billet hood hinges, Eddie Marine bed floor hinges, and Gatorstep bed floor covering finish things off.
If a coach-built 55 crew cab Chevy pickup wasn’t head turning enough, the engine that powers “55 Crew” adds another level of cool. A pair of Garrett mirror-image 58mm turbochargers force feed a 6.6-liter Duramax engine that’s stuffed with plenty of high-power goodies. HSP Diesel built the engine and ported the stock heads, using heavy-duty internals like ARP hardware, CP-Carrillo rods and pistons, a Callies crankshaft, and Manton pushrods. A custom billet fuel cell uses an Aeromotive fuel pump and S&S Diesel high-pressure injection pump to feed the 200-percent injectors in an HSP Diesel intake manifold. HSP also supplied the billet front cover and valve covers. Dmax Store Max Flow headers direct fumes into a Vibrant Performance exhaust system, and a C&R Racing system keeps the engine running cool. CTT Tuning was able to get over 1,000 horsepower from the combination, which is delivered by a Mike Creech Diesel-built Alison six-speed transmission and controlled by a Lokar tap shifter.
The interior received the same level of treatment, beginning with Vibro Solution sound and vibration deadening materials. A custom-built center console houses a Pioneer audio system, Ringbrothers switches, Restomod Air controls and vents, and more. The stock dash was modified and fitted with Dakota Digital RTX gauges and an IDIDIT column. An American Autowire harness ties everything together. The Snowden custom seats, center console, and door panels were wrapped in distressed vinyl. Square-weave carpet covers the floor. Pure Metal Works handled most of the interior work in-house but received some help from the Recovery Shop in Pioneer, California.
Looking back, Dan reflects on the experience. “The most challenging part of this build was time,” he says. “With a growing family, time was difficult. But having the full support of my wife, we agreed that we needed to dedicate time to get the project finished, which was easier said than done.
“We had a great group of dedicated people who wanted to be a part of the “55 Crew” build,” Dan says, “and I want to thank everyone who lent a helping hand.”
Photos by Steven Bunker