1952 Chevrolet Five-Window Stepside
- Driving Snow Storm
Neal & Roxie Munn's '52 Chevy Five-Window Stepside
From the January, 2011 issue of Custom Classic Trucks
By Tim Bernsau, Neal Munn
Photography by Ryan Manson
1952 Chevrolet Five Window Stepside Side
What is the secret to building an attention getting truck? Actually, the answer to that question depends on the kind of attention you want. Dress up that truck with a million mismatched modifications and paint it some crazy color and we guarantee you'll have people talking about it-but you might not like what they're saying. Try this instead. Build something that combines a high level of workmanship, a high level of taste, and departures from the ordinary to separate your pickup from the pack. Something as simple as painting your Coca-Cola trailer milk white instead of Coke can red might be all it takes to get people walking over for a closer look or a couple of photos.
Neal Munn had this figured out a long time ago. He's been building hot rod cars and trucks for a while now-close to 50 years if you count the models he was gluing together before he was old enough to drive.
From there, it was a slippery uphill slope, leading to modifying his parents' cars. During his high school years, the Munn garage housed some cool muscle cars including a '65 Mustang fastback and a '66 Olds 4-4-2. Since then, he says he has always owned some sort of hot rod or participated in some form of organized drag racing.
The Munns currently own a highboy roadster, but Neal's wife Roxie started expressing interest in an early '50s pickup so she could haul stuff home from the hardware store (try that in a roadster). "She wanted a truck with those cute corner windows," Neal told us, and so the search for a five-window began.
The '52 Chevy Stepside, now known as Snow Storm, was located 2,000 miles away in Tucson, Arizona, sitting in the original owner's front yard with a "for sale" sign stuck in the window. That's where it was when it was spotted by Neals's friend Mike Fleury, a hot air balloon pilot. Mike had seen the truck on the streets around town, and spotted it again as he sailed over it one morning during a sunrise flight.
"Mike marked the GPS coordinates and returned later to check it out," Neal reported. The five-window was going to be auctioned off, so Mike went to the auction to bid on it for Neal. After he bought it, Neal arranged for a contract hauler to transport the truck from Arizona to Piedmont, South Carolina. "A week later it showed up, we unloaded it, and it sat in the backyard for a year."
Eventually plans evolved into action and work began on the truck. While Neal waited for a frame to arrive from RB's Obsolete in Washington State (now closed unfortunately), he started work on the body. It was media blasted and examined for rust-and only a little was found at the bottom of the A-pillars.
As you can see, the intact stock sheetmetal was kept that way. Neal didn't make any dimensional modifications-just cleaned up the original lines with a peaked hood, smoothed tailgate, filled stake holes, smoothed bedsides, and a rear roll pan. The driprails were smoothed and gaps tightened and aligned. Neal wanted a "super slick fit and finish" and Robin Retallack at Retallack Rod Shop in Bloomington Springs, Tennessee, delivered the good with the monochrome white paintjob, using Snow Storm White from Dupont Hot Hues. Door handles were remounted, along with a fresh chrome front grille, billet swan neck side mirrors, '37 Ford taillights with LED lights and LED bed rail lights. Noone Customs installed the tinted windshield from Vintage Glass. The tailgate lettering was brushed by Geet, who also lettered the Coke box trailer. The bed floor was finished with dark oak and stainless strips.
A Bitchin Products firewall and inner fenders smooths out the underhood area, where an LS1 small-block has been installed. Edelbrock provided the polished aluminum valve covers. Street & Performance programmed the electronics and built the harness. S&P also modified the program for the 4L60E transmission. The trans is operated by a Lokar shifter and connected to a driveshaft from Carolina Rod Shop.
Underneath the truck, the RB's Obsolete frame features custom crossmembers and a Mustang II-style tubular front end with 2-inch dropped spindles, coil springs, Bilstein shocks, and 11-inch GM disc brakes. The Currie 9-inch rearend runs 3.54:1 gears and a Richmond Gear Powertrax locker, hanging on leaf springs, and Bilsteins, with CalTracs traction bars, and Ford drums.
The rolling stock is wide but retro. Painted 17-inch Wheel Vintique Billet Solid rims with 41/2 inches of backspacing are dressed up with polished rings and caps and wrapped with 225/50 and 255/55 Diamond Back wide white radials.
The white exterior is contrasted on the inside by dark blue synthetic leather and suede covering the Roddoors bench seat and door panels. Chuck Packard and Neal did the upholstery work. The wool carpet was installed at Carolina Rod Shop. The stock dash was modified with a billet center panel and glovebox door, and holds 5-inch SpeedTachular and quad gauges from Classic Instruments. The Billet Specialties wheel tops a Flaming River tilt column. The Kenwood navigation system and stereo, and a Vintage Air A/C setup complete the interior.
The final touch, of course, was the matching Coke box trailer, complete with a stainless toolbox. Those two components, along with the 14 thousand-mile tally on the odometer, indicate that the Munns' '52 stepside is no pampered pickup. Neal and Roxie are having a blast driving Snow Storm. One recent trip was to the Street Rod Nationals where the new rule changes made it possible for them to participate in the previously pre-'49 only show, and where we spotted the Chevy and shot these photos.