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REDefined: A ’56 Chevy Pickup That's Been Sold and Re-Bought Multiple Times

We’ve heard of rebuilding a single truck multiple times throughout the years, but never have we encountered a story of a pickup being bought three times by the same folks, and sold twice, all while enduring three separate rebuild phases. Ken and Susan Fontes of Arroyo Grande, California shared the tale of this recently completed ’56 Chevy, and the latest version has been catching plenty of attention these days.

Front of Ken and Susan Fontes '56 Chevy Truck

Past and Present Journey

The couple had purchased the truck back in 1982 for a mere $1,500, and since then, it had been a constant presence in their lives, accompanying them on various adventures across California. However, financial difficulties forced them to sell the truck twice, only to buy it back later. Each time they regained possession, Ken and his brother Richard would customize and restore it further, turning it into somewhat of a tradition.

Rear of Ken and Susan Fontes '56 Chevy Truck

After owning the truck for so long, Ken met Scott Laitinen of SIC Chops in Cave Creek, Arizona, a renowned custom car and hot rod builder and entrusted his '56 Chevy to him. Scott wasted no time and tirelessly worked on the truck for an entire year. Starting with the foundation, the latest rebuild has a Roadster Shop Slammed SPEC IFS chassis, which came with a power rack and pinion steering, rear 4-link suspension, coil-overs, and upgraded Baer brakes, ensuring unmatched handling.

Whipple Supercharged Chevy LSA V8 Engine of Ken and Susan Fontes '56 Chevy Truck

New Lifeforce

The next piece of the truck’s performance puzzle would come together under the hood with a Don Hardy Racing LSA V8 engine, a 2.9L Whipple supercharger and all the go-fast fixins to produce an impressive 850HP with 752 ft-lbs of torque. Yeah, it might be a tad bit more power than Ken and Susan actually need, but if you’re going to go all the way on a truck that means the world to you this is how you do it. Of course, Scott completely reworked the engine compartment with custom sheet metal and paintwork to properly showcase the highly detailed power plant.

One-Off Custom Bed of Ken and Susan Fontes '56 Chevy Truck

Making it REDefined

During the process, Susan had a solitary request to run with the color red that was met with the concoction of a special shade aptly called REDefined, which eventually became the name of this truck. A combination of gloss and matte finishes were used in order to add some extra depth into the overall appearance of the finish. Before any paint was sprayed, Scott and his SIC Chops crew redesigned the entire surface of the ’56 to give it that well-appointed street rod sophistication. A combination of shaved features, reworked parts and panels (including a chop top and full custom bed), and many other details to make it an undisputed leader in its class.

One-Off Colorado Custom Wheels and Nitto INVO Tires with Custom Redlines on Ken and Susan Fontes '56 Chevy Truck

Leading Roll

To further accent the look of this unique classic pickup, one-off Colorado Customs wheels with 3-piece hubcaps were custom made. They were then wrapped in 265/35R18 & 345/30ZR19 Nitto INVO tires that were customized with a custom red line on the sidewalls by Diamond Back Classic Tires. These tires were the perfect choice in providing a stylish tread design with staggered sizing and a tread compound that is silica reinforced for superior performance.

Ron Mangus Interior of Ken and Susan Fontes '56 Chevy Truck

Cohesive Style

Carrying the same level of styling into the interior, Scott was able to successfully integrate a ’56 Bel Air dash that houses a custom set of Dakota Digital gauges and Colorado Customs one-off steering wheel. Ron Mangus Interiors was sourced to whip up modified Glide Engineering seat and add ultra-plush red and black leather upholstery along with cloth accents and chrome trim where needed. Of course, Vintage Air climate control and an audio system featuring Kicker components were also provide comfortable cruising.

Front of Ken and Susan Fontes '56 Chevy Truck

The Threepeat

A lot has happened for Ken and Susan’s ’56 Chevy truck throughout their 40 years of ownership. While it has changed hands twice for brief periods of time, it has always made its way back home to them. Ken has always celebrated its return with a round of upgrades that helped it gain more attention at shows. While this truck is exponentially cooler than it was back then, Ken and Susan will never forget its very humble beginnings.

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