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1950 Chevrolet Pickup - Sinister

Back in Black and Better For It
By Kevin Lee

Just because you start with something doesn't mean you'll finish with it. Jim Kipp can attest to that. Jim, who is fortunate to have the type of wife most gearheads are looking for, was searching for a truck after his wife Debra informed him that she wanted an old truck to run to the Home Depot to haul stuff back to the garden in. Jim, being the good husband that he is, began a two-year search for the right old truck that would keep Debra happy. He finally found a '50 Chevy in a friend's (Randy Haapala) garage and managed to convince him to sell it to him for the sake of his marriage.

The downside was that the pickup had been pro-streeted and was a little too wild for grocery-getting duties. After some deep thinking, Jim decided that the truck would need a new chassis. After some careful deliberation, he contacted Fred Ingle at Fred's Custom Wiring in Ontario, California, to head up the project. (Don't let the name fool you; he does quite a bit more than just wiring.) Soon after, Chubby Chassis in Fontana, California, was given the nod to take a stock frame and build a new foundation for the Chevy. Once the frame had been sufficiently reworked and new crossmembers installed, it was sent over to Fred's for the final assembly.

With a new platform to build on, Fred started to transfer the old parts over to the new chassis. Then, just as these things almost always go, as the old parts were pulled off the old truck and evaluated individually, more and more of them were deemed unsatisfactory for the direction the rebuild was going. It wasn't long before almost everything had been replaced. In fact, the only parts that Jim and Fred used from the original running-and-driving pro-street truck were the doors, hood, front bumper, grille, and airbag/shock combos.

As you can see from the photos, the finished truck is a work of art. The body consists of all original sheetmetal that has been blocked and worked to perfection in preparation for the black finish. The truck is so eye-catching that when the Kipps first took it out to the 2002 Goodguys Del Mar show, they were stopped twice before they even had a chance to park and told that they had won two awards.

With the truck done, Jim not only had one super-clean '50 Chevy but another almost-complete one that consisted of all the unused parts from the original truck. Randy told Jim that he had a friend that was interested in trading some vintage gas pumps and lights for the truck; so Jim made the deal. But since its new owner had no where to store it, the truck wound up back in Randy's garage waiting yet another restoration.

Debra might not have ended up with a truck to haul plants, but we're sure she's just as happy with the final results as Jim--and who wouldn't be? The Kipps' Chevy is just about as perfect as you can get, which just goes to show that you don't really need a flashy color to make a truck standout--black can be beautiful.

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Ron Mangus designed a traditional yet elegant interior for the Kipps' '50. The Glide Engineering bench seat has been covered in leather, as have the custom door panels. A Suburban overhead console houses the airbag controls and gauges. The factory dash has been outfitted with Beede gauges and an ididit tilt column topped with a LeCarra Banjo wheel. One of the trickiest touches has to be the BMW reciprocating A/C vent hidden behind the stock speaker grille.
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Select to Enlarge
Jim wanted something with some pulling power to motivate his pickup and chose a GM 502ci crate engine to meet the challenge. Dressed in black, the big-block might look subdued, but mash the go-pedal, and it's another story.
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Jim's original plan for the truck was to build something unique that he could take to the Home Depot and haul plants and ground cover home for the garden. One look at the exotic Bubinga wood and shinny black bedsides, and we doubt it'll be hauling feathers anywhere anytime soon.
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F A C T S & F I G U R E S

Jim and Debra Kipp

Canyon Lake, California

1950 Chevrolet


Frame / Manufacturerstock / Chevrolet
Chassis builderChubby Chassis, Fontana, CA
Rearend / RatioFord 9" / 3.50:1
Rear suspensiontriangulated four-bar with Shockwaves
Rear brakes12" drums
Front suspensionMustang II, Chubby Chassis dropped control arms, Shockwaves
Front brakes11" Granada rotors, T-Bird calipers
Master cylinderGM with booster
Steering boxlate-model Ford
Front wheel make, sizeAmerican Racing Torque Thrust IIs, 17x7 (3.5" bs)
Rear wheel make, sizeAmerican Racing Torque Thrust IIs,
17x11 (6.75" bs)
Front tire make, sizeBFGoodrich HR4, 235/45R17
Rear tire make, sizeBFGoodrich HR4, 305/45R17
Gas tankcustom stainless steel under bed


Year and make'02 Chevrolet
Displacement502 ci
HeadsGM aluminum
Valve coversGM
Manifold / InductionGM aluminum
Ignition / WiresGM HEI
Headerscustom 2.5" tubes, 3.5" collectors
Exhaust / Mufflerscustom 2.5" dual / Borla
Dress-upBitchin Products air cleaner, March Performance serpentine brackets and pulleys


Make and modelChevrolet 700-R4
Modificationscustom 2,200-rpm stall converter


Body style / Materialpickup / steel
Modificationsfirewall recessed 5"
Bedstock with custom tubs, tailgate latches and hinges
Bodywork byFred's Custom Wiring
Paint byFred's Custom Wiring
Paint type / ColorDuPont / black with clearcoat
Headlights / Taillightsstock / stock
Outside mirrorsstock


Stereo / SpeakersPioneer headunit and speakers / Eclipse amp and 8" sub
Air conditioningVintage Air with BMW reciprocating outlet behind stock speaker grille
WiringFred's Custom Wiring
Steering wheelLeCarra Banjo
Steering columnididit tilt
SeatsGlide Engineering bench
UpholstererRon Mangus, Bloomington, CA
Material / Colorleather / dark saddle and tan
Carpetwool square weave


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