1949 Chevy Stepside – Rick Jones’ Hot Hauler
When Rick Jones isn’t busy building and tuning Championship-winning NHRA Pro Stock race cars he’s out enjoying his 1949 Chevy Stepside farm truck. He also runs QUARTER-MAX Chassis and Racing Components as well as RJ Race Cars in Galesburg, IL with his son Rickie. He’s a busy man! Jones has lived a full life at speed and it shows in everything he touches.
Race fans know him as car builder and crew chief along with his son Rickie for Elite Motorsports – a World Champion NHRA Pro Stock team with drivers Erica Enders and Jeg Coughlin Jr. under Jones’ watchful eye and tuning prowess, the team has won multiple NHRA Pro Stock World Championships. But that’s just half the story.
Long before Rick Jones was putting the tuning touches on Pro Stockers, he was building and tuning his own race cars. He was one of the top dogs in IHRA Pro Stock during the 90s then transitioned to the now-defunct NHRA Pro Stock Truck division. When that class went south, he continued building race cars and went on to found both of his wildly successful businesses along with landing on America’s best Pro Stock teams.
When it came time for a fun truck project, RJ Race Cars and QUARTER-MAX turned out a winner – the green patina 1949 Chevy Stepside you see before you. We caught up with Rick at the Goodguys PPG Nationals in Columbus where he entered the truck to enjoy a relaxing weekend away from the dragstrip and show it off to the masses. But he did a lot more than just sit around and admire his hot hauler.
Rick isn’t like a lot of car show types. He had a difficult time just sitting still and watching people walk by and admire his pickup. He wanted action and together, we had some serious fun out in the back of the Ohio Expo Center. He wouldn’t stop asking our Fuel Curve team “Can we do a burnout?” So naturally, we obliged. A 300-foot fog bank ensued and as you can see, our man Ryan Brown of Gears Wheels and Motors got it all on video tape. It was one of the gnarliest burnouts in car show history – that much we can guarantee.
What makes all that power? A healthy 6.2 liter blown LSA V8 out of a 2014 CTS-V. But don’t think for a minute a drag racer like Rick Jones just did a straight swap. Nope. This mill was sent to his friend JD Campbell of Pro 1 Autosports who turned the screws. A Cam Motion bumpstick, titanium retainers and locks, hardened steel pushrods and billet aluminum supercharger pulleys allow for an easy 625 rwhp. It’s spent gasses spill out of custom stainless side exit exhaust poking through the running boards. A 6L90E automatic is linked to the vintage 3-speed column shifter.
A guy who builds race car chassis for a living surely whipped up a frame over a long weekend right? Wrong! Rick knows what’s up in the aftermarket hot rod game and placed a call to long time friend Art Morrison. He soon took delivery of their flawless GT Sport chassis. Why mess with perfection right? Strange Engineering 31-spline street axles, and 13-inch Wilwood drilled disc brakes are affixed to all four corners and can be found inside 19×9- and 20×10-inch Billet Specialties Bonneville Wheels. Getting all that equipment in forward motion is a Strange modular Ford 9” rear end with Truetrac Posi and 3.50 gears. The BFGoodrich G-Force Sport Comp tires smoke nicely!
Cab comfort is equal to the performance and rides quietly thanks to Dynamat sound damping . Ceja’s Upholstery in Kewanee, Illinois did all of the leather work while the steering wheel was made from billet stock and cut down to 15-inches but appears OEM. Rick keeps tabs on the vitals through the Dakota Digital VHX gauges.
Finish wise, the decades old green patina fit the bill perfectly. Again – no need to mess with mother nature’s perfection! The white Quarter-Max shop logo was freshly applied by Jim Hetzler but was washed and worn just like the rest of the exterior.
With Rick’s busy schedule as a professional drag racing crew chief and business owner, it’s not easy to find time to take out the truck and abuse it but that’s what makes weekend’s like the Goodguys Columbus show all that more enjoyable. Judging by the mile wide grin on his face after we finished up our photo feature, he will be back to the show scene as quick as possible. This was a fun feature. That was only enhanced by Rick’s willingness to thoroughly test the truck’s limits. Good times for sure!