Speedway Motors and Their Week to Wicked 1952 Chevy Pickup

Driver side view of the Speedway Motors '52 Pickup before work began.

A peek at the 1952 Chevy Pickup from Speedway Motors before the marathon makeover

The gang from Week to Wicked over at TEN, The Enthusiast Network, were back at it with a little project from the folks at Speedway Motors. Speedway Motors touts the title as America’s oldest speed shop. In 1952, “Speedy” Bill Smith, having developed an early passion for performance, opted to forego teaching and pursue his love of cars and driving, even after receiving his degree in education from Nebraska Wesleyan University. The company opened in a tiny building in Lincoln and within 2 years expanded into a 5,000 square foot shop. Fast forward to 2017 and Speedway Motors has enjoyed more than six decades of success in the automotive industry and they continue to grow. The company’s countless achievements are also the culminations of “Speedy” Bill Smith’s tireless work ethic.

The beautifully restored, stock 1952 Chevy pickup truck rolled into the shop at TEN where Jason Scudalleri and his team would take this beautiful little pushover and make it a downright beast to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Speedway Motors. Off with the front end, off with the bed, and then off with the cab!

View of the '52 Pickup with cab and chassis on lift with bed, front end and hood removed

The team at W2W took care to ensure that the beautiful paint on the 1952 would stay pristene

To bring this beauty to life they would start with a Speedway Motors Chassis specifically for the vintage ½-ton Chevy pickup. This innovative line of chassis components from Speedway Motors allows the do-it-yourself rodder to assemble a complete 1947-1954 Chevy pickup frame using only basic hand tools and a drill. The bolt-in triangulated four bar rear suspension got a super strong Currie 31 spline rear axle that together will greatly improve both the ride quality and handling.

This 60-inch wide chassis boasts a 9-inch rearend housing with welded suspension brackets, chromoly four bars with urethane bushings, bolt-on frame brackets and shock crossmember, and 11-inch steel-bodied coil-over shocks. The 7-gauge steel plate laser cut frame rails replicate the shape and dimensions of the original frame. Meticulously welded on rail fixtures ensure proper shape and is prepped for finish. To this configuration they’ve added a standard Mustang 2 front crossmember that is a complete bolt in - no welding required! The design is specifically for the 1947 to 1954 vintage Chevy pickup and based on proven Mustang II geometry that features interlocking design for ultimate strength. They’ve added standard Mustang II control arms along with a rack and pinion power steering unit. Then to stop all this rolling thunder, they’ve added the Speedway Motors 9” Cast Iron Rotors with GM bolt-on disc brake kit complete with e-brake.

Shot of Speedway Tech installing the brake package of the updated chassis

One of the Speedway Motors' techs installing the brake system on the newly upgraded chassis

They replaced the sweet unassuming straight six with one badass motor; a GM Performance LS3 6.2-liter engine with 430 hp and added a 101-401 AIRAID U-Build-It air intake system to improve performance and efficiency. The team at W2W also installed a Vintage Air front runner kit that locates the A/C compressor, high amp alternator, and the Holley Performance power steering reservoir, and it’s all connected with a single serpentine belt that cleans up the front end and keeps everything looking slick. Speedway Motors wanted a tough, reliable transmission that would stand up to a few impromptu burnouts now and again so they opted for the Performance Automatic 4L70E transmission. Designed for LS engine retrofit installations in GM muscle/classic car and truck chassis, Performance Automatic has customized overdrive transmission packages to make it easy to pick a combination for virtually any car.

On day four of the Week to Wicked 5 day build, commemorating the 65th Anniversary of Speedway Motors, the guys from Speedway mounted the fuse panel and got the Week to Wicked team off to a really good start while Jason’s co-host, Ryan Manson, worked on getting the Omega Kustom gauges, switches, and Vintage Air A/C wired up with the Painless Wiring 21 circuit harness that was mounted on the firewall. They put the front clip back onto the chassis and were able to finish wiring up the computer and fuse panel. The AFCO aluminum radiator, designed for the 1947 to 1955 Chevy truck, went in and the W2W team got the bed back on the chassis. The addition of the Rocket Booster 18-inch wheel added to the retro aesthetic and will allow for more rubber to meet the pavement.

Photo of tech's finishing up the fuel tank installation and fuel lines

Finishing up the fuel lines for the fuel tank install on the 1952 pickup chassis

With the project’s end in sight the truck was really coming together. What started as a restored near stock 1952 Chevy Pickup now had the makings of a pickup that could handle the road and certainly had enough power and performance to more than keep up. After the Five Day Marathon Makeover this truck was ready to roll out and put the build to the test. Up with the sun the gang from Speedway Motors along with Jason and Ryan headed out to test their handy work. Needless to say things went as planned.

From here the truck will go to Detroit for the Autorama and then to the Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky. After the show circuit the truck will be placed in Speedway’s museum.

Shot of the LS3 on the cherry picker ready for fitment and transmission.

The GM Performance LS3 slated for install on the Speedway Motors 1952 pickup

Photo of the reliable and powerful GM Performance LS3 with the Performance Automatic 4L70E Trans

The GM Performance LS3 and the Performance Automatic 4L70E make for a headache free combo

Photo of Jason installing the AIRAID U-Build-It Universal Air Intake System

The AIRAID 101-401 U-Built-It air intake system, for improved performance and efficiency

View of finished install of the AIRAID U-Build-It Air Intake System

Improved performance and incredible style, the AIRAID U-Build-It air intake system

Picture of the Painless 21 Circuit wiring harness after install on the passenger side firewall

Painless 21 circuit wiring harness keeping things sharp in this 1952 Chevy

View of Omega Kustom Gauges during install

Omega Kustom Gauges spruce up the cab quite nicely in the Speedway Motors 1952 Chevy

Photo of radiator during installation

No worries about overheating with this AFCO aluminum radiator

Photo of the 1952 Chevy Pickup after the 5 day Marathon Makeover.

The end result of what was a most impressive marathon makeover for W2W and Speedway Motors


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