Bill Maule's 1956 Chevy Pickup
(from Volume 29, Issue 355)

story by owner Bill Maule, photos by Michael B. Kelly


My name is Bill Maule, and I’m originally from Michigan. I started out working at a gas station (actually pumping gas for people). It had a 3-bay garage as well, and we were very busy fixing the cool cars of the 1964-79 era for customers, and my hot rod Vietnam buddies. This was 5 miles from the famous “Woodward Ave”, so of course I spent many nights cruising in hot muscle cars, looking for girls and fast cars (or vice versa, haha). My peers also built show cars that we took to “Autorama” in Detroit for that big event.

With me happily raising our family of 3 daughters I never had the money to build the high quality car that I wanted at that time. After moving to Florida in 1989, and three weddings and colleges later, things settled down enough that I found a bare shell of a 1970 Chevelle SS and with the help of a neighbor and good buddy, Billy D’Arton, I have been having fun since finishing it in 2011. It is powered by a 468 cubic inch motor with a 5-speed manual transmission. My wife Mary doesn’t drive stick cars, so of course I had to build a cool classic vehicle for her, which is how the next project came about.

We always loved trucks and found this 1956 Chevy that was a failed/abandoned body shop project which was in pieces, and was actually given to me by an uncle of my son in law’s. He was very frustrated with it and just wanted me to build it and paint it “Marina Blue”. I went to St. Petersburg, Florida with a car trailer towed behind a pickup truck and pulled the pieces of the ‘56 out of the weeds behind the shop. Some of it looked good in primer, but since it hadn’t been prepped it required complete stripping. My goal was a great driving truck for my wife, Mary, that we can drive long distances and enjoy touring the USA.

I found a C4 Corvette that was in poor condition and robbed the front and rear suspension systems, then parted out the rest. I then found a totaled Chevy Silverado 5.3 with under 70,000 miles on it and stripped the frame, engine, transmission, electronic control unit (ECU), and wiring from it. I sent the body to the paint shop and the frame to a race/custom fabrication shop. Then I modified and fully rebuilt the suspensions, adding coilovers, heavy duty bushings, and Corvette Z06 brakes. I also modified the engine with some cam, valvetrain and injector work. Next I installed hydroboost for the master cylinder, power windows, air conditioning, cruise control, hidden wipers, and an alarm. Once I installed a Haywire wiring kit, on the interior I customized the seats, used Dakota Digital gauges, an Ididit column, three-point seat belts, and a custom console. I hid the ECU under the dash and had to solder at least 90 of the factory computer wires to get the proper length.

After a mad 3-day thrash to finish the upholstery we went on our first outing, a 5,000 mile road trip through 13 states and part of Canada. In the 6 months since the truck’s completion we have put 10,000 miles on it! My wife, Mary, is very happy with her truck and all the great car cruising friends we have met along the way. CN