1948 Chev Pickup - Hazard Yellow
Warning: It's Bad!
By Phil Schwartze
Photography by John Gilbert
People often associate color with emotion. Blue for sadness, green for envy, red for anger, yadda yadda yadda. In a Kentucky town appropriately named Hazard, you'll find this Lemon Ice Yellow '48 Chevy belonging to Burnice Napier. This southern gentleman gladly broke the mold of the reliable, but overly repetitious 350 when deciding on the mill for this project truck. For a die-hard NSRA member, who gladly says "You can't sacrifice speed in a street rod," it's clear Burnice puts his money (and horsepower) where his mouth is.
In the fall of 2002, while attending an event in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Burnice spotted a deal he knew he couldn't pass up. The main drag of the town was lined with cars for miles and he'd been jonesing for a '48-54 Chevy pickup for quite some time. Having owned a matching-number '69 Camaro pace car, '69 SC Rambler, and '40 Chevy coupe, he knows a good thing when he sees it. Although the truck's engine and trans were shot, there was rust in the cowl of the floorboards, and essentially needed the whole nine yards to be resurrected, $2,300 later, it was his.
After teaming up with his friend Dewayne Combs, the first order of business after taking the body off was to trick out the suspension. This '48 rides on a Scott's HotRods tubular IFS coilover kit with a Mustang rack, and four-bar rear with Wilwood brakes at all corners. The beefy 502 (which puts out about 502 hp and 567 lb-ft of torque) gets power from a Holley 800-cfm carb and a Davis DUI distributor and is mated to a Hughes Turbo 400 with a 2,200-rpm converter. Differential duties went to a Winters quick-change rearend. Burnice says the logic behind this choice of rearend is in case he decides to drag race it. (We wouldn't put it past him, either.)
In addition to fixing the rusted areas, Dewayne and Burnice decided to take a little off the top with about 2 1/2 inches in the back section and about 2 7/8 in the front due to the angle. This was the first time Burnice and Dewayne had attempted a chop and got so wrapped up in the formalities of pushing the sides in, flaring out the top, and getting the pillars to match that they didn't anticipate how much shift would occur as a result of the chop. With only a support brace between the door openings, the body was off kilter a little. When all was said and done, Burnice and Dewayne got everything square again. To look at it now, you'd never think it shifted a millimeter. Although Dewayne has said he'll never attempt a chop again, after seeing this truck's clean lines, we hope he'll reconsider.
In addition to those mods, the doors were shaved, hood seam removed, and smooth aftermarket running boards were added. To accommodate the massive powerplant, the firewall had to be pushed back 6 inches. Although not currently present, plans call for the radiator to be moved forward about 1 1/2 inches for a fan shroud to be added to keep this fire breather cool in the ever-popular stop-and-go traffic of car shows and cruises. The bed features white oak with stainless strips, all done courtesy of Dewayne and Burnice.
The interior features a custom dash and shark fin armrest fabbed by Dewayne. The console sports Auto Meter gauges, Mooneyes push-button shifter, and wiring from Painless. Stitch work was headed up by local shop Dixon's Custom Upholstery. The sand Ultraleather accents and buckets from Tea's Designs are the perfect complement to Dewayne's unique metalwork.
When asked about a sound system, you've got to love a guy like Burnice who fills in the blank with two words: exhaust music. The power, sound, streetability, craftsmanship of this truck is certainly unmistakable. It may be yellow, but the only things this truck and its owner need to be afraid of are the price of gas and possible citations for exhibition of speed.