Orange Crate: A Family Built ’59 Chevy Pickup Truck
Building trucks is more than a hobby for some people, to those people, it's a lifestyle. For Art Ramirez, he has been working on vehicles his entire life. He and his brother, Manny took influence at a young age from their father. Doing work in the garage, cleaning their dirty nails and removing grease in their hair was a normal act while growing up. When they came of age, these boys were good to go as they had the skills to fix up something for themselves that would make an impact on the streets.
Keeping it in the Family
During the years that followed, Art owned many kickass classics including a few Impalas and even a ’51 Chevy pickup. As his son Maurice became older, Art wanted to share the knowledge and experience of working on vehicles. As a way to get him more involved, Art snagged up this ’59 Chevy that was a run-of-the-mill pickup. It was sent over to Manny’s garage where the crew would wrench during many late nights, share good food and even more great times. Art describes the experience as a learning curve for him and his son as they both enjoyed their fair share of smashed knuckles and cuss words along the way.
While striving to not only make a clean truck that can grab attention at shows, Art decided he wanted the ’59 to sit really low. To help with this and modernize the front end, an independent front clip from a ’78 Plymouth Volare was salvaged and set in place along with a set of 2-inch drop spindles. In the rear, a No Limit Engineering Fatbar 4-link with pan hard bar holds an 8-inch Ford rearend in place.
To help get the truck down, Slam Specialties RE-7 airbags were employed on all four corners. This allows it to tuck a set of 20x8.5 and 22x10 Intro Custom Radicalli billet wheels with245/35R20 and 265/40R20 Nitto NT555 tires. Those Nitto tires were the perfect choice for the truck as they provide excellent traction with a healthy extended lifespan.
Breathing New Life
Art had a vision in his head of the final product of this truck and knew the old and tired drivetrain would no longer cut it. He had a Chevy V-8 engine rebuilt to 355-cubic inches and added a host of performance goodies to make it run like a beast. Art backed up this power with a rebuilt 700R4 transmission that not only holds up to the performance but also has an overdrive gear to keep RPMs low at cruising speed. The transmission is also equipped with a 2000-stall torque converter and moves the power to the rear end with use of a custom-made drive shaft.
Getting the Smooth Look
While the truck was taking shape, the exterior styling needed a bit of an overhaul itself. First of all, the front grille was replaced with a new unit. Then, the body was massaged a bit and they shaved off the door handles and factory emblems. The bed was cleaned up, the posts were extended and tailgate was shaved, plus, a custom roll pan was attached.
As far as paint was concerned, Art had something bright in mind and settled on an orange color for several reasons. Since, he grew up and lives in Orange County, his wife grew up in the City of Orange and kids did as well, Art choose to paint it Grabber Orange. The orange appeal didn’t stop there either as his wife use to live on Orange Street and his grandchild is being raised in Orange. That’s a lot of coincidences pertaining to orange and this color only seemed fitting for the truck.
Though the outside of the truck received its fair share of metal work and paint, some upgrades transpired to the interior as well. This is apparent on the dash as it was shaved and painted like the body. The gauge panel was also recessed, and a Flaming River steering column was attached to it. Underneath the dash is a custom center console with stereo head unit, controls for Vintage Air unit and power window switches. A Glide Engineering bench seat was set inside while new carpet was laid down and everything else was covered in tan and sand-colored leather and vinyl.
The Never-ending Story
After several years of down time and many days spent with little to no sleep, Art was finally able to create a slick truck that pays homage to his roots. With the sacrifices made to get it done, we are surprised that he is still married. Art told us that he thinks it's funny that instead of his wife, Jenny asking “are we there yet” she was always asking “are you done yet.” Art simply replied by saying “honey it’s never done.”
Click here to see the Jay10: A Dazed and Confused customized '68 Chevy pickup truck.