“REDefined” – Ken & Susan Fontes’ Custom ’56 Chevy Pickup
It’s not unusual to have a four-decade love affair with an old truck. But what if the relationship includes selling it three times – and buying it back each time? That’s the story of Ken and Susan Fontes’ on-again, off-again, on-again journey with their ’56 Chevy pickup.
There were good reasons to sell the pickup each time, but the couple’s chronic case of seller’s remorse kept bringing it back home. Seller’s remorse is a common illness among collector car owners, but Ken and Susan may hold the record with their bright red hauler they call “REDefined”.
The ’56 spent time as a daily driver as well as a nicely built show vehicle. But once it returned to the couple’s garage for the final time, it was turned over to Scott Laitinen and the crew at SIC Chops in Cave Creek, Arizona, for an all-out, ground-up makeover that took less than 12 months.
The truck’s underpinnings are impressive, but the body modifications set it apart from most of its contemporaries. Some changes – deleted handles, trim, emblems, etc. – are obvious, but others are not. The roof is chopped 1.5-inches. The hood is pancaked, the headlights are frenched, and the grille is custom. Changes to the rear half include stylized bed sides, narrowed fenders with Cameo taillights, a scratch-built and stylized tailgate and hinge assembly, plus hidden latches and fuel filler. The custom bed floor is marbled acrylic, while exhaust cutouts were molded into the bed side steps. All these metal modifications are covered in BASF Glasurit custom red paint.
The Roadster Shop Slammed SPEC chassis hosts front and rear coil-over suspensions, Baer disc brakes, and a Ford 9-inch rear with 3.73 gears. One-off Colorado Custom wheels (18×9 in front, 19×12 in back) with custom three-piece chrome hubcaps are wrapped in Diamondback redline tires.
Power comes from a Don Hardy LSA engine that produces 850 horsepower and 752 lb. ft. of torque. A Holley EFI system and Whipple supercharger manage the induction work while Ultimate Headers and MagnaFlow mufflers direct the exhaust gases. A 4L80 automatic transmission handles the gear changing.
The trick work continues in the Ron Mangus interior. A massaged ’56 Chevy dash contains custom Dakota Digital gauges and controls for the Vintage Air system and Kicker IQI stereo. A one-off Colorado Custom wheel sits on an Ididit column, while Lokar provided the pedals, handles, and shifter.
If there was a Fourth Time is the Charm award, the Fontes ’56 Chevy would drive home with the trophy, but it also makes an exceptional Goodguys 2022 Scott’s Hotrods Truck of the Year Early Finalist winner.
Photos by John Jackson