For the last 15 years, Chad Martin has been building award winning rides. This time, he built a Brutally Sexy Chevy for himself.
From Chevy, to Dodge, to Ford, or what ever the make, the owner of Chad’s Custom Dreams in Saluda, South Carolina has been making dreams come true for customers since 2004. With fabrication skills at every level, he didn’t need to call on professional help. His legendary talents have been producing show-wining rides since the doors opened but there was a gap in the story. He always wanted to create something genuinely unique for himself, something that no one else had. The original drawings of his cutting-edge design began back in 1999 but the build didn’t start in earnest until 2016 with the find of a ’36 Chevy Master Sedan. Held together with just good intentions, the rusty old shell would be transformed with a new look and new technology. It wasn’t long before the rendering got the nickname Brutally Sexy! .
Building a Chevy Body of Envy
While the sexy portions are obvious, the brutal elements began by creating a crew cab dually pickup based on the old Chevy sedan after it was split down the middle and widened by a foot. The rear portion was removed and replaced with the rear from a 1935 Chevy pickup, also widened to match. The huge front fenders came from a 1940 International 1-ton truck, widened and reshaped to accommodate 24-inch rims. The grille shell, made from 84 quarter-inch aluminum slats, was widened eight inches and flanked by the original headlights. The butterfly hood from the sedan was also widened about a foot and lengthened eight inches. Those swooping rear fenders began as front fenders from a 1930s Diamond-T, stretched to join the hand fabricated running boards and the all new custom bed, built from scratch using round tubing from the family’s old trampoline. The bed dimensions were designed to accommodate dual 24-inch American Force Caliber Series semi rims clad in Toyo Proxies rubber. Satin-finished Black Walnut on the bed floor and a double set of vintage taillights fit the theme perfectly. The completed body is a stout twenty feet long, 93 inches wide at the rear fenders and tapering to 71 inches across the front.
Framing the Protrait
Once the body elements were in place, the next task was creating a chassis to match those outsized numbers. Chad drew the rough dimensions on the shop floor and laid out the 2 X 6 X 1/4 inch rectangular steel tubing for the rails and cross members. He and master welder/ fabricator Volney Smith created the first of many jigs used to square the frame and provide mounts for the body, engine, transmission, and suspension. Knowing they needed strength up front for the big new power plant, they went to Fatman Fabrications in Mint Hill, NC, choosing their Extreme Cross-Member Stage 4 IFS package. Brent (the Fatman himself) came to the shop to help solve some geometry issues so that when they dropped the front end to the ground, the tires didn’t camber-in like an old farm tractor. In the rear, a RideTech 4-link with a custom Panhard bar holds a Dana 70 rear, narrowed 15 inches to accommodate the dual wheels. Firestone bags and shocks were added front and rear with an AccuAir e-Level air ride system that raises the slammed truck to ride height when the ignition is turned on.
The Power of Family
Throughout the build, the sense of family was always very important, not only from their daily support but also when it came to unusual connections like Uncle Freddie’s wrecked ‘99 Dodge pickup. It donated its 5.9L 24-valve Cummins diesel engine and 5-speed trans. Since fast-forward was always the goal, Chad had BD Diesel transform the mill into a weapons-grade bullet, complete with a compound turbo setup that included their 58MM and 71MM turbo kit, FASS system, and a combination of head work and stronger head bolts to handle the boost. The package pumps out an estimated 750 hp with 1500 lb-ft of torque. Managing temps, Bell Intercoolers fabricated a new aluminum radiator and intercooler, then BJ Broxton and crew from Richards Automotive in Columbia, SC put in some late nights to get the beast wired and running.
It’s What’s Inside That Counts
At this point, the radical body on this old Chevy and its new chassis were finally becoming a recognizable vehicle. It was time to begin work on the interior. Four bucket seats were sourced from a Toyota Camry and seven cows gave up their hides — dyed Espresso brown by Douglass Interiors — to cover the seats, door panels, and console. The head liner is a 1936 vintage ribbed broad cloth dyed a shade called Sumac and the Daytona Weave carpet was done to match. Kirks Kustom Upholstery in Corryton, TN did the work. Chad painted the dash and trim with Matrix Satin Brown adding Dakota Digital gauges for a modern touch. The Bluetooth sound system uses the music list in Chad’s iPhone, playing through a pair of Diamond Audio 8-inch subs and four 6.5-inch component sets installed by Sturgess Customs in Columbia, SC. A Billet Specialties wheel along with a tall Lokar shifter and door handles keep Chad hands on. That unique gear shift knob is a 3-D replica of Chad’s Custom Dreams logo, created by Raven’s Glide 3-D Designs. The Black Walnut in the center console matches the wood in the bed and Vintage Glass wrapped up the package, doing the smoked windows.
Insanely Beautiful Paint Perfection
The final step was paint and Chad is well known for his skills with a spray gun. He custom-mixed a Matrix Green Dream shade on top with five different pearls and an off white accent for the bottom. The multiple color coats were followed by several coats of Matrix AG-40 Clear with Chad saying “It’s some of the best stuff I’ve ever used.” The engine and chassis components were painted a combination of Devil’s Gold Candy and Midnight Black. This 1936 Chevy is now looking dream worthy.
The Results are Eye-Catching!
The road isn’t easy when the goal is to arrive at the top of the podium. But when passion and skill combine, you can expect a masterpiece. The two-year effort was finished in time for the SEMA show where it was featured in the Sherwin Williams Paint booth. The eye-catching Chevy truck was wonderfully received and the immediate invitations to multiple shows around the country as a headliner made all the hard work and long nights worth it. When Chad started the project, his goal was simple. “I wanted to go as big as I could and exaggerate every dimension. I didn’t want anyone to guess what it was.” We think his brand new 1936 Chevy crew cab dually has met that goal and then some!
THANKS . . . (A LOT!)
Award-wining vehicles aren’t created in a vacuum. Special thanks goes to Chad’s immediate family, wife Shannon, daughters Courtney, Chanda, and son Chad along with his employee, Volney Smith and versatile craftsman, George Duke. Also included on the long special appreciation list are BJ Broxton, Tom Wakeland, Keith Werts, Rob Tansey, Ansel & Creighton Price, Rodney Graham, Dave & Judy, Ricky & Dori Miracle, Freddie & Debbie Mays, Billy & Bobby Martin, and Miss Granny. Sponsors also play a vital role in making dreams come true. Thanks to Christy at Lexington Auto Paint, Toyo Tires, American Force Wheels, Dakota Digital Gauges, Lokar Performance Products, Vintage Glass, Emerald Glass, Accuair, Sturgess Customs, Bell Intercoolers, Kirks Kustom Upholstery, Fatman Fabrications, Octane Custom Trailers, Factory Customs, Douglass Interior Products, Bedwood, BD Diesel, Ravens Glide 3-D Designs, Welch’s Chop Shop, Diamond Audio Technology, Forced Injection, Truck Supply Company, and Will Forest from Cockrell Construction.
“Held together with just good intentions, the rusty old shell would be transformed with a new look and new technology.”