1949 Chevy Pickup - Ivory Driver
Steve & Nancy Yacyshyn's '49 Chevy
From the December, 2010 issue of Custom Classic Trucks
By Tim Bernsau
Photography by Robert McGaffin, Tim Bernsau
Don't let your eyes fool you. With its classic portly lines, true-to-tradition styling, tasteful monochromatic ivory paint, and red-leather interior, this stunning '49 Chevy pickup could trick you into categorizing it as a sweet and charming slice of nostalgia. It is that, certainly, but there's a lot more than that going on underneath the beautiful surface. Mechanical surprises. Imaginative construction details. Inspiration drawn from everything from a long-loved color to the size and shape of a paper grocery bag.
The truck belongs to Nancy Yacyshyn of Chicago, who first felt the desire to own an ivory-colored '49 in the early '80s, after seeing one driven by a store owner in her hometown. The process of planning out a project and getting it built was a joint effort between Nancy and her husband, Steve, who has built and drag raced a hot rod or two in his lifetime. The Yacyshyns spent a couple of years visiting rod and custom and classic truck shows, gathering ideas and looking for styles and details that fit their vision for the future '49.
Steve and Nancy decided to get the Roadster Shop involved with the project. Phil and Jeremy Gerber, who own the business with their father Neal, were named Goodguys Trendsetters in 2009. After numerous conversations with Phil and a trip to the Roadster Shop's new facility in Mundelein, Illinois, the Yacyshyns were confident that this was the shop to build their '49.
Swap meets, the internet, and newsstand trader magazines are brimming over with '49-53 Chevys, but Steve explained that their plan was "to build the truck from the ground up with as many new parts as possible." He counted a total of five original parts on the finished truck: the radiator support (scrounged from the Roadster Shop parts graveyard), a pair of door strikers ("the aftermarket parts we tried never worked properly"), and a couple of body mounts that could not be located in reproduction form.
The Roadster Shop specializes in complete high-performance chassis and one of their '46-59 Chevy Pickup packages built on custom 10-gauge fully-boxed 'rails is the foundation of this whole project. Standard suspension components include a Heidt's Superide independent front suspension, dropped spindles, and tubular motor mounts-plus a Ford 9-inch rearend with triangulated four-bars and coilovers. Nancy's '49 runs 3.70:1 gears and a TrueTrac posi. The power steering is handled by a Unisteer rack, and QA1 springs and double-adjustable shocks smooth out any wrinkles in the road.
Modern performance continues under the hood, where the engine bay was stuffed solid with a 5.7-liter LS1 crate engine. This 410-horspower package is one of several available from Turn Key Engine Supply in Oceanside, California. The LS1 is matched with a 4L65E automatic from Bowler Performance Transmissions in Lawrenceville, Illinois.
The 21st century engineering in the chassis and drivetrain are contrasted by the rest of the pickup, which carries things back into traditional territory-that slice of nostalgia you spotted right away. It's traditional, but it isn't old. The plan, after all, was "new parts."
The cab, fenders, and hood are Dynacorn Classic Bodies steel replica pieces. The repro bed is the "3-Inches Taller" version from Pro's Pick. The cowl vents were shaved, but practically all of the stock trim is in place, along with front and back smoothed bumpers and left and right swan neck mirrors. "We always envisioned the truck having just the right amount of chrome and stainless to set off the ivory paint and we worked hard to strike that balance," the Yacyshyns wrote.
The color choice had been part of Nancy's vision for the truck since seeing that hometown '49 Chevy more than 25 years ago. Matching the paint to her memory took a couple of tries. They'd found a pearl white they thought was just right-until seeing it on the truck. A few days later at the upholstery shop, they spotted a Ford wearing the exact shade of ivory they wanted. Phil at the Roadster Shop sourced the paint-Corinthian White, an early '60s Ford color-and resprayed the truck. "The extra work was well worth it," said Steve. "Everybody who sees it loves the color."
The 18x8 and 17x7 Billet Smoothies wheels from Wheel Vintiques provide plenty of surface for more Corinthian White, and the rings and caps add a little more shiny stuff to the profile of the truck. The blackwall tires are 235- and 225-series Bridgestone radials. Wilwood six-piston, 13-inch front discs with four-piston, 11-inchers in back provide plenty of braking power.
You could argue that the most important part of a driver is the interior. On a trailered showpiece all that really matters is looks. On a driver the insides not only have to please the eye, but numerous other bodily components as well. This '49 is a driver and the cab covers all the bases, combining classic looks with practical comfort and a few custom additions.
The truck has never been a trailer queen, Steve confirmed. The day the Yacyshyns picked up the finished pickup, they put it on its first road trip, a 600-mile haul to northern Minnesota, with Nancy driving the Chevy through relentless wind and rain for seven hours. Subsequent trips have been less dramatic and more enjoyable-almost daily around Chicago or weekly to the market. "The Chevy's already been christened with its first stone chips," they told us. "The beginnings of a wonderful patina.
The Roadster Shop website has lots of great build photos of Nancy's Chevy. Go to www.roadstershop.com/completed-projects/steve-nancy-s-1948-chevy-pick-up.