Shell Rotella Truck Of The Month! – Chain Smoker

An Owner-Built ’47 Fargo Rat-Rod Packing Cummins Power and Compound Turbos

Winner of this month’s Shell Rotella Truck Of The Month Goes to Warwick Andrews.

What are you willing to do to chase your dream? Would you sell off all your toys to pursue it? Would you spend every waking hour thinking about it or working on it? Would you be willing to sleep on the shop floor until it’s complete? Warwick Andrews did that and more to see his vision of the ultimate rat-rod—a ’47 Fargo FL1 wrapped in welded chains— come to life. After locking himself in his shop for months on end leading up to the 2019 SEMA Show, Chain Smoker 1.0 turned plenty of heads when it debuted in Vegas. But never satisfied, Warwick put the truck under the knife again soon after, effectively transforming it into the work of art it is today. “It’s an ‘art rod,’ not a rat-rod,” he tells us. “It’s a work of art at this point.” We agree, 100-percent.

Found By Chance

The -pumped 5.9L Cummins in Warwick Andrews’ ’47 Fargo proved to be the turning point in this build, as a diesel powerplant wasn’t originally in the plans. But although Warwick scored a built 12-valve (which the first owner paid more than $39,000 for), engine problems would eventually land it in the care of Cutterup Auto Machine. Now the B-series runs like a sewing machine. Its internals consist of a gorilla girdle, hardened rods, a ported and polished head, and ARP fasteners throughout.

It all started years ago when Warwick was passing through Montana and ran out of fuel. He pulled into a closed gas station and slept until they opened for business the next day. As fate would have it, the Fargo was sitting in a field across the road. Every panel had matching Patina—a perfect starting point for his personal take on what a rat-rod should be. He promptly bought it from the farmer who owned it, but had to wait more than four years before the proper funds were in place to get the project underway.

Second-Gen Parts And A Lot Of Fabricating

For a compound arrangement that offers the best of both worlds (proper spool and strong top-end power), Warwick turned to the pros at Stainless Diesel. This S300 BorgWarner serves as the high-pressure unit that brings everything to life. It sports a Stainless billet, 66mm 5-blade compressor wheel, a 73mm turbine, and a .91 A/R exhaust housing. The T4 S366 bolts to one of the company’s polished 12-valve exhaust manifolds.

Thanks to securing a ’96 Dodge Ram 2500 for a donor vehicle, Warwick had a solid frame, the trusty NV4500, and the bulletproof Dana 80 to work with. After buying the only available production C-notch frame and air spring suspension kit online for a second-gen, he removed the original body mounting points from the frame and sandblasted everything. New body mounts, a floor pan, and a transmission tunnel would all have to be fabricated, and Warwick then channeled the body on the frame by way of cutting into the rear of the cab (the floor having already been redesigned to accommodate this) so that the cab could sit as low as possible.

Custom Chassis And Suspension Work

Up top on the driver’s side you’ll find the massive atmosphere charger in Warwick’s combination. Known as the Godfather, it’s arguably the biggest S400 you can get your hands on in the diesel aftermarket. The Stainless unit makes use of a billet 5-blade compressor wheel with an 85mm inducer, a 96mm turbine wheel, and a high-flow 1.32 A/R exhaust housing. In single form, the Godfather is known to support more than 1,800 hp. In front of the Cummins, major build and SEMA sponsor, Northern Radiator, kicked in a radiator and a host of custom cooling system parts to keep the 5.9L running cool.

Rearward of the cab, the frame rails were cut off and boxed sections were custom-built—and in doing this the wheel base was also shortened 41-inches. The implementation of the C-notch also dropped the frame 14-inches. To handle to Cummins’ plan for power, a four-link rear suspension was installed to quell axle wrap and keep the rear tires digging, along with a Watts link helping to keep the Dana 80 centered. The 11.25-inch rear axle would be treated to a disc brake conversion, with all-new EBC hardware present front and rear. To keep things as clean as possible, all fuel and brake lines were plumbed through the boxed sections of the frame.

Roll Cage And A Body Wrapped In Chains

During the initial build (for SEMA 2019), the compounds were mounted in the traditional locations, but recently they were moved up on top of the engine courtesy of Warwick’s lead fabricator, Kale Randall. Relocating both turbos front and center gives the truck the in-your-face look Warwick was originally after. Here, you can see the one-off hot-pipe Randall created that links the S366’s exhaust with the big S485’s turbine housing.
For SEMA 2021, the goal was to position dual side-dump hood stacks within a chained enclosure with smoke actually flowing through the links. Warwick executed this to perfection, along with his team fabbing up the new turbo locations masterfully. It should be mentioned that Recon Metal sponsored the build (and also donated much of the chain and knick knacks present within the cab). Most of the chain used on the truck is singular link, 3/8-inch chain derived from a decommissioned elevator—an elevator which is coincidentally of the same vintage as the Fargo.

With big horsepower comes higher safety requirements, and although Warwick doesn’t plan to hit the drag strip he does plan to make well north of 1,000 hp. To keep things safe, a full roll cage was fabricated by his friends, Cory and Dave. The tubes passing through the cab represent the only modifications made to the original sheet metal, and the swing out door bars allow for easy entry and exit. The chains are a story unto themselves, but after being inspired by some chain art he’d spotted in Las Vegas Warwick’s catchy “Chain Smoker” theme came to life. He has hundreds upon hundreds of hours wrapped up adding the chains to the truck. In fact, more than 5,000 group hours were poured into the original build (2019), with Warwick contributing more than 2,000 hours himself.

Beefy Hard Parts And Big Fuel

Below the S400 sits the P7100 in its factory location—although it’s no ordinary P-pump. It’s a benched 12mm unit from CPP Diesel, complete with its Hot Street delivery valves and 4,000-rpm governor springs as well as an XDP-sourced, Attitude Performance Products Adjuster for in-cab fueling control. Custom-bent stainless steel injection lines feed a set of competition injectors (also from XDP) equipped with 5x.024-inch nozzles. Low-pressure fuel supply comes in the form of a 220-gph Titanium series FASS system.
For a transmission that would hold up to the four-digit horsepower he planned to make, Warwick pulled the NV4500 out of his ’96 Ram 2500 donor, refurbished it, added a South Bend clutch, and called it a day. Integrating the five-speed into the truck was a different story, however. That task called for a fully-fabricated transmission tunnel. Warwick topped the transmission off with a Damascus Greek Gladius sword for a shifter—one of many instances of an antique blade theme surfacing with the build. The antique Spanish Toledo blade next to the shifter serves as the hydraulic shift brake handle, while the door handles are made from antique Japanese chef knives and the E-brake lever (under the seat) is actually an American Bowie knife.

Although Warwick’s second-gen donor came with a usable core 5.9L, a friend tipped him off on a built 12-valve for sale locally. The original build sheet topped $39,000 and, after some negotiating, Warwick scored the B-series Cummins for a fraction of that price. And while (for unknown reasons) this engine didn’t last, Warwick essentially had all the parts required for the rebuild that recently commenced at Cutterup Auto Machine. A gorilla girdle with ARP main studs, hardened 12-valve forged-steel rods and ARP rod bolts, and a ported head anchored via ARP head studs are all part of the long block. A healthy diet of fuel is on tap thanks to a CPP Diesel Hot Street 12mm P-pump, which feeds a set of 5×0.024 injectors. The benched P7100 receives ample low-pressure fuel supply from a 220-gph FASS system, which pulls fuel from the truck’s bed-mounted 64-liter polished fuel cells.

S300 Over S400

Continuing on with Chain Smoker’s antique sub-theme brings us to the unmistakable late 19th century treasure chest mounted in the bed. According to Warwick, the chest was brought to America from its native Scotland. Unfortunately, after being chopped down (to fit the exact profile Warwick wanted) it wasn’t tall enough to house everything he planned to put inside. Improvising, he built a false floor within it, so the base of the chest actually goes down 4-inches deeper than where it appears the floor sits. After playing an extensive game of Tetris, the antique treasure chest was able to store the air compressors for the air ride, twin Optima yellow top batteries, and the FASS lift pump assembly.
With the project based around the use of a truck that topped out at 60 mph, Warwick knew a full roll cage was mandatory—but that didn’t mean he wasn’t willing to make the cage a piece of art as well. The tubing behind the cab is as artistic as it is functional, with chains intertwined, of course. Another structural upgrade came in the form of his good friend, Carver, building a body panel support system to help everything hold up under the weight of the chains. Notice the dual polished fuel cells here, each one having a 64-liter capacity (16.9 gallons apiece).
As you can see, there is a lot happening out back. And in case you’re wondering, yes, the receiver hitch is fully functional. It’s hidden behind a repurposed grain feed door that slides upward to access it, and it’s definitely here for a reason. Warwick plans to tow with Chain Smoker in the future. Picture a Patina’d, chain-wrapped bumper tow trailer following the truck down the highway… Now picture what happens when the suspension is set to full droop and the titanium blocks, strategically positioned under the truck, periodically drag on the ground, causing an inevitable spark shower.

Big air, in the form of compound turbos, is a huge part of Chain Smoker’s appeal (other than the chains). For version 2.0 of the truck, the chargers were repositioned on top of the engine for all to see. The Stainless Diesel-sourced configuration gets started with an S366/73/.91 on a T4 exhaust manifold. Once the S366 brings things to life, a massive S485/96/1.32 (a charger Stainless Diesel calls the Godfather) joins the party. Of course, the chain theme surrounds and even runs right through the engine bay, on its way to the hood stack, which is comprised of dual side-dumps enclosed in chain.

More To Come

Full air ride, an interior with high-quality leather appointments in all the right places and antique blades throughout, and a bed boasting a 19th century treasure chest provide even more reasons for bystanders to stop dead in their tracks. Warwick’s Chain Smoker has been invited to two SEMA shows so far, and will likely make the trip back again. In fairer weather he’s also known to hit a few truck shows, where the chain-wrapped Fargo is effectively swarmed by people with curious minds and an appreciation for automotive art. With more than one Fargo now in his possession, don’t rule out the possibility of Warwick builder another one, either—or debuting the tag-along rat-trailer he told us he’d like to put together. We can already picture that one-of-a-kind combination being hauled down the highway…

To set the front valance apart from the rest of the truck’s 3/8-inch “elevator” chains, Warwick chose to use V-bar chains off of a set of snow chains for a semi-truck. The rear roll pan’s swooping design was inspired by the rear fender of the Harley Davidson Road Glide he had to sell to help finance Chain Smoker. These subtle, built-in points of interest are just two (of dozens) of design aspects that made it into the build.
Perhaps the most rewarding part of the build is that all of the original body panels have been retained. Some have been widened, gapped, or cut to accommodate the roll cage, but other than that everything is 100-percent 1947 Fargo. When the front and rear fenders were widened, Warwick filled the gaps with (you guessed it) chains. Incredible time was spent here, as well as the rear roll pan, and front valance. All told, Warwick has hundreds of hours of labor invested in wrapping chains around the truck.
Taking cues from the interior of a ’19 Bentley Continental, Auto Marine Custom Upholstery handled the interior, with high-quality leather employed on the seat, steering wheel, headliner, pillars, and sun visors. To keep the cockpit’s noise and vibrations tolerable, sound-deadening insulation was used. And thanks to the Fargo essentially being a Dodge W series pickup, parts like window regulators and locks could be sourced, brand-new, through DCM Classics. A blend of Spek Pro and Chrono series gauges from Auto Meter help keep tabs on boost, EGT, rpm, oil temp, coolant temp, fuel level, and oil pressure.
Attempting to put Warwick’s entire story into words is all but impossible. For a further glimpse into his and the truck’s story—where it’s been, what it’s done, and what’s next—check out his YouTube channel. You’d be very hard-pressed to find another diesel enthusiast that’s this passionate about what he’s created.
Chain Smoker rides on a ’96 second-gen Dodge 2500 frame (the donor that also gave him the NV4500), although the frame was stretched 6-inches up front in order to accommodate the Cummins and all of its cooling and accessory drive needs. The air ride system provides roughly 6-inches of travel and incorporates an air valve for four-corner height adjustment. To keep the Cummins’ oil pan off the ground while laying frame, a shorter yet wider oil pan was fabricated, which retains the same oil capacity as the factory version.

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