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1948 Chevy Thriftmaster Truck - One Man's Junk

Is Michael Bloomer's Treasured Thriftmaster
March, 2006
By Rob Fortier

Here's an awkward scenario to consider. Say you have a guy who spends more than some new houses go for building-or having built-a full custom truck. When he goes to a show, he's going to expect a majority of attention, for obvious reasons. At the same time, this other guy on the other side of town wins a few hundred bucks in a poker game and on the way home, sees an old truck for sale on the side of the road. The following weekend, he and a few buddies grab some cold ones and embark on a wrenchin' session. This other fellow takes his weathered truck to the same show with no other intention than just having a good time. The question is, which of the two pickups garners the most attention? Well, sometimes, the big spenders go home a little unhappy.

It's easy to see why anyone who puts a lot of time and hard-earned money into a truck would get a little miffed over a situation like this, but it's not an uncommon situation. Michael Bloomer can attest to that, but he can also attest to the other types of reactions his patina'd pickup gets, as well. Along with all the usual tire-kickers at various shows, Bloomer has also done a fair share of frightening little kids with his asphalt-carving running boards as he pulls into parking lots. For the most part, though, he's accustomed to the smiles on faces of admirers who are just happy to see an old "rust heap" still on the road.

Neil Perkins was the one responsible for bringing the '48 Thriftmaster back to life. Previously rescued from resting in a Kansas field. Neil went through and modernized pretty much everything you couldn't see from the exterior. That included adapting a stock Mustang II frontend, building a custom four-link, and equipping the chassis with an airbag system from MIC. The old Stovebolt bay was filled with a newer Chevy 400 small-block, and the six-lug 16-inchers ditched in favor of a set of smoothies from Pete Paulson with BFGoodrich blackwall radials. Perkins also enlisted the talents of Josh Shaw to properly christen the truck with its Rusty's Chevrolet Service logo. But, underneath the "dated" brushwork is all Mother Nature's doing-no "fauxtina" here. When Michael finally stepped into the picture, becoming Rusty's third owner since its field rescue (which took a little more than poker winnings), all he had to do was come up with an appropriate interior and clean a few things up here and there. With the help of Danny Wilson, the interior was transformed into a comfortable setting with a little satin red paint and some black vinyl. A '61 Biscayne steering wheel atop an early Nova column, a Buick bench seat, a pair of Stewart Warner gauges, and a Lokar Nostalgia shifter were also used to not only retain a vintage feel, but add the right amount of modern convenience as well.

Sure, Bloomer's '48 may not be a finalist for "Truck of the Year" honors, but no matter what new trend the big-dollar boys may be following, it will continue to attract more than its share of attention regardless of venue. If it happens to rain at one of these said venues, the only thing Michael will be running to cover is himself!

Facts & Figures
Michael Bloomer
New Palestine, Indiana
1948 Chevy Thriftmaster
Frame: modified-stock
Modifications new crossmembers, notched rear
Rearend / Ratio: Chevy / 3.73:1
Rear suspensioN: four-link, MIC airbags, KYB shocks
Rear brakes: Chevy drum
Front suspension: Mustang II, MIC airbags, KYB shocks
Front brakes: Ford disc
Steering box: rack-and-pinion
Front and rear wheels: Pete Paulson smoothie, 15x7
Front tires: BFGoodrich, 215/70R15
Rear tires: BFGoodrich, 225/75R15
Gas tank: Tanks, Inc. under bed.
Year and make: '77 Chevy 400
Heads: stock
Valve covers: Goodwrench
Manifold/Induction: GM / Holley 650
Ignition: HEI
Exhaust / Mufflers: stock
transmission: Turbo 350
Modifications: stock
Shifter: Lokar Nostalgia
Style: Thriftmaster 3W
Fenders, Front/Rear: stock
Hood: stock
Grille: stock
Bed: stock, pine floor raised
Bodywork and paint by: Mother Nature
Lettering: Josh Shaw, Cincinnati, OH
Headlights / Taillights: stock
Bumpers, Front/rear: stock
Dashboard: stock
Gauges: Stewart Warner
Steering wheel: '61 Biscayne
Steering column: Nova
Seats: Buick bench


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