Courtesy of Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. LLC
This highly customized ’56 Chevy truck has undergone a meticulous, frame-off restoration by the team at Velocity Restorations. The chassis was outfitted with Mustang II IFS, stainless 4-link, Ridetech’s complete Shockwave air-ride system, custom fabricated 20-gallon fuel cell, narrowed rear end with Strange axles and 3.73 Positraction unit, and more. Under the hood is an LS1 engine upgraded with LS2 fuel injectors, intake and 96-mm throttle body. Engine was hooked to a 4L60E automatic transmission to obtain optimal cruising RPMs. Hundreds of hours were spent on bodywork and panel alignment to achieve perfection. Custom fabrication on the body includes Cadillac lights, shaved firewall, tubbed bed, shaved bed panels and rails, hidden tailgate latches, center console and a ’59 Impala dash. The interior of this truck is what really sets it apart from the rest. The focus point is the ’59 Impala dash installed with custom center console and Lokar shifter. The dash was outfitted with Dakota Digital speedometer cluster, air conditioning controller and air ride controller. Restoration completed in February 2014.  

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1956 Chevrolet 3100 Custom
Years Produced:1957 / 2014
Number Produced:359,098 (all 1957 Chevrolet trucks)
SCM Valuation:$50,000–$80,000 (high-end customs)
Tune Up Cost:$200
Distributor Caps:N/A
Chassis Number Location:Plate in door jamb
Engine Number Location:On block pad, just behind driver’s side cylinder head
Club Info:Goodguys
Alternatives:1953–56 Ford F100 custom, 1947–55 Chevrolet Advance Design custom, 1967–72 Chevrolet C10 custom
Investment Grade:C

This pickup, Lot 396, sold for $77,000, including buyer’s premium, at Barrett-Jackson’s Palm Beach sale on April 11–13, 2014.

The first hot rod ever subjected to my torments while on the clock was a 1965 Chevrolet step-side pickup. I was handed a few obscure interior bits and told to get with it. Eager as the proverbial beaver, I promptly sanded the tarnation out of everything within arm’s reach. I was so busy inappropriately eyeballing the 502 Ram Jet being fitted into the old truck’s cavernous maw that I managed to set the interior prep back half a day in all of about 15 minutes.

This was almost 20 years ago, and not everyone around that shop was a fan of that pickup, my old boss included. For a businessman who thrived on early ’30s Fords, fat-fendered cruisers, Tri-Five Chevys, and a select few muscle cars, nothing could have been less motivating than that frumpy old pickup. Admittedly, the ’65 Chevrolet is frumpier than most, but back then a clear line seemed to differentiate the truck guys from everyone else. Today, not so much.

Picking up value

Perhaps the meteoric rise in the interest in pickups is due to the simple fact that the salvageable old-car inventory is drying up, or maybe it’s a result of the cultural shift that led to high-performance, high-luxury haulers designed to fill mall parking lots rather than cattle troughs. Either way, ACC has been reporting on the steady ascent of trucks for the past several years.

The black beauty featured here is a model that has managed an almost universal hot rod/street rod appeal. I don’t want to paint with too broad a brush here, but if you just so happen to have access to stacks of car magazines two to three decades old, carefully arranged in date-stamped boxes, you’ll probably note that many of the old fairground photos typically feature pickups of two distinct models: mid-’50s F100s and late 1955 through ’57 Chevys. Trucks like this one have been on the custom scene for years, and they — for good reason — tend to pull some of the bigger money in the truck market.

Fresh or sorted

In general, the custom world works like this: Every year, top-quality cars are commissioned by private owners for the simple joy of having a professionally built custom done their way. These patrons of the automotive arts then often sell their cars when their moods shift or a new opportunity presents itself, and many times, they’re willing to accept losses in the tens of thousands of dollars in the process.

Then, new buyers score great deals on those cars, trading the satisfaction of having it new for, presumably, having it sorted. Paint jobs have had time to shift and settle, tire-to-bodywork scrub-lines are undeniable, and leaks and seeps have made their presence known. At that point, you have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting, and what needs attention.

But with a freshly finished custom, like our subject truck, that’s not always the case.

A new build

There is no question that our ’56 has massive curb appeal. Sitting in the weeds with the right stance, right colors, large rear window, and perfect blend of modern componentry and restrained styling, this pickup checks all the right boxes and surely turns plenty of heads. This old truck is probably quite reliable and comfortable, too, with the now-ubiquitous LS under the hood and Shockwaves at all four corners supervising the massive rollers. The recipe followed here is a simple one that is time tested and cruise-in approved, and, more importantly, one that rodders, show-goers and collectors can all comfortably sink their teeth into.

However, although truck prices are climbing, $77,000 is a dollar amount I would expect to see attached to a proven winner with a trophy or two thrown in the bed. Solid examples are currently changing hands somewhere in the $30k to $50k range, with those special examples that flaunt excellent engineering, paint, and detail sliding right on up the scale into the $60k to $80k range.

Does this truck meet those criteria? It’s hard to say. I’ve seen open-air, backyard paint jobs flow out smooth as glass and last for decades, but I’ve also watched freshly prepped and eagerly applied down-draft jobs bubble and shrink in a matter of weeks. That’s not to say that either of those situations are applicable here — the point is sometimes custom work can take on a mind of its own, and time is the only way to tell. As a custom, this one’s still pretty young.

So, was this a deal at $77,000? It depends. The money spent here was likely under the actual build cost, like we see so often with high-dollar customs at auction, so that’s certainly a plus for the new owner.

If the obviously high-dollar work completed doesn’t need any tinkering down the road, either to the mechanical components or to the paint and body after things settle and start to wear in a little, then I’d say this was a market price, if not a little high. The truck is the right year, has all the right parts, and was done in the right colors, and that means it has a lot of appeal to a lot of people. That’s all good news for resale value, but there’s not much margin between the market and what was paid here to cover any issues that pop up. Here’s hoping none do.

(Introductory description courtesy of Barrett-Jackson.

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