The Drift Truck

One of the underlying factors that shined through at Gatebil was that everything revolves around having lots of fun. Some obviously take it more seriously than others, maybe invest more time and funds into their cars, but you can bet every single car there has had a whole lot of passion poured into it. And if you ask me what the best example of a Gatebil car would have to be, you would probably consider my answer a little unexpected.

But bear with me on this. Among all the turbocharged Audis, BMWs and tons of Japanese rides, pretty much all worth a full feature, it was a rusted out, Swedish-built, 1949 Chevy truck that grabbed my, as well as most of the Speedhunter’s team, attention. You see, building fast cars is all well and good, but creating something original, something that makes you smile…

…well in my book that counts for quite a lot. Looks aside…

…it was seeing this truck out on through the corners of Rudskogen for the first time that really had my jaw drop. Talk about unexpected! Curious to find out more, we tracked the owner down and arranged to immortalize his creation.

It was when I began hearing of how this project came together that I quickly realized this may well be the epitome of a Gatebil car. It was home built in a few weeks purely to be used at the event, a quick and easy way in which to have fun in.

The ’49 Chevy was sourced in the US, in Arizona to be precise, along with a complete Corvette C5 driveline and chassis, and the two parts fused together and combined into what you see here. Out back where you would expect to find the truck’s bed, it’s all exposed chassis and various ancillaries like the custom exhaust system and locally sourced twin silencers. Holding the whole thing together is a combination of C5 chassis and custom tubular frame…

…fabricated and triangulated along multiple places to give as much stiffness as possible. Here you can see the exposed Getrag rear end attached to the 6-speed transaxle transmission.

All the suspension arms and mounting points are straight from the C5, the owner literally chopping the chassis rails where each wheel was attached to and welding the whole assembly in place in the truck. This shows one of the rear mounting points onto which the rear section of the custom roll cage was mounted onto.

Right behind the cab sits the racing fuel cell, situated inside the roll cage, exposed to the elements yes, but inside the roll cage and therefore to some extent protected.

Moving to the front, and lifting that massive heavy, roughly finished hood…

…helps reveal the heart of the build…

…the C5’s 350HP LS1.  Much like at the rear, the Chevy truck body was dropped onto the C5’s front chassis section and held in place with additional supports and piping…

…which stretch into the actual cabin.

The vast engine room had absolutely no problem accepting the LS1…

…except due to its somewhat rearward position in relation to the front suspension mounts, some modifications were needed to the firewall.

Even the Corvette branded intake was reused!

The engine has been left in its original configuration, so while the end section of the exhaust is all custom the headers are kept stock.

The truck runs on stock C5 suspension and the body has been fitted so as to make it all sit nice and low, for a pretty aggressive stance!

Not sure which is cooler, the plate or the Speedhunters frame!

The owner wasn’t too concerned with attention to detail so sourced any 17-inch old wheel he could get his hands on…

…and made sure to wrap the fronts with some sticky Toyo R888 semi-slicks in 225/45 size to get the most grip possible around the track.

The wheels also manage to clear the big Corvette stock calipers, which along with the rears have been fitted with Carbon Tech pads.

It’s hard to disagree that this isn’t a fun project, one put together for the sole purpose of hooning around out on track!

What adds to it all of course is the sort of rat rod feel…

…the original body having been left pretty much as it was found, touched up in places with a bit of silver paint.

The barn-find look is especially evident in the interior…

…exposed rust left to as is, adding a cool contrast to the steel piping of the roll cage that runs all along the roof, pillars and doors.

Randomly sourced parts spice up the cabin and are especially there to help facilitate driving this C5-powered truck on the limit.  So along with the alcantara-clad steering wheel…

…we have deeply bolstered bucket seats and safety harnesses for both driver and passenger…

…a well as a racing OBP pedal box.

It’s a cool and strange mix of old and new, an old classic truck that has somehow been given a new breath of life and turned into something so different to what it was originally conceived for.

Modern gauges help keep an eye on the LS1, from the big RPM counter…

…to the triplet of gauges fitted where the speedo used to once be.

While impressive in detail, seeing it do its thing out on track is something else all together, being used in anger with that torquey LS1 screaming away through the rear silencers.

So while it may not have been built around sheer horsepower alone, this is one Gatebil car that caught a lot of people’s attention.

Having had a chance to meet and talk to the owner and hearing how it all came together easily makes it one of the most memorable cars of this year’s event. For me at least.

Individuality and thinking outside the box always goes a long way.


Engine & driveline: C5 LS1, custom exhaust system, Bosh 044 external fuel pump, safety racing fuel cell, stock transaxle gearbox and Getrag rear end

Suspension & brakes: Stock C5 suspension all round, stock C5 front and rear brakes, Carbon Tech pads all round

Wheels & Tires: Ocean Pure 17-inch wheels, width unsure, offset (it fits!), Toyo R888 225/45R17 (front), any old tires that fit (rear)

Exterior: Mix of paint & rust

Interior & chassis: custom roll cage, racing steering wheel, racing bucket seats, Safety Racing harnesses, OBP pedal box, custom gear shifter, aftermarket gauges

-Dino Dalle Carbonare

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