During the end of 2012 we ran a contest called “Help on the Horizon” where we asked customers that had a tough time, or a rough year to send us a story about themselves and their project car. Out of the piles of submissions we narrowed the entries down to 10 individuals/stories that touched us the most. We published them on blog.eastwood.com for everyone to nominate their choice for the winner of $2500 of Eastwood credit.
After the dust settled (it was a close one!), our winner was clear. Keith Paine is a NY State Trooper that had some bad luck when he was struck on the side of the highway while helping a disabled vehicle. You can read the full story and Keith’s entry here. We decided to get in touch with Keith and get a little more on himself, his background in classic cars, and his ’57 Chevy Truck project.
“My father is a great mechanic so we’ve always tinkered with cars. He does the mechanical side and I’ve tried to do the interior and bodywork. My first car was a 55 dodge royal 4dr when I was 15. It started as a pink and white basket case. Other than being mostly solid, it had nothing else going for it. It had the 270 red ram V8 (not the super red ram hemi) which meant I was getting 8-9 mpg and most bicycles were faster. By the time I was 16 my dad had it running nicely and we shot it with red laquer and left the white top. What more could a 16 year old kid ask for other than a cool old car that could fit you and 19 of your closest friends in?! We’ve had other projects over the years, nothing real fancy, but the time spent together is worth more than any car could bring.“
We wanted to hear more about how Keith found his Chevy truck and where he’s at with it currently. His story starts like many we’ve heard before.
“I found a great looking truck advertised (by a dealership) on eBay that was a solid CA truck with new paint. It had a “new crate engine” 350 with “all new front suspension”. Well, we found you don’t always get the truth on eBay!”
“When I got it home it was a ten footer. The paint was old laquer and had cracks in it. It looked like it was stripped to bare metal and they didn’t use the correct primer since it was peeling off with the paint. The “new crate 350″ was not new or a crate engine and didn’t start. They had a quadrajet carb on it that looked like it was fresh from the junkyard. Changing it out with a new one got it started.”
“I had registered the truck for a small local car show the day it arrived, and after a quick clean we headed to the show. We quickly found that the gauges didn’t work, the gas tank was leaking, the suspension was really loose and the steering would turn right correctly, but only half a turn left. The truck ended up taking third place (out of three trucks!) and with my fathers help, we got it back home in one piece safely.”
“Once home, we found that the truck had been thrown together and most of the suspension hardware (nuts and bolts) were loose and missing from the trip to the show. The steering column was stamped Toyota and jammed in place to fit between the headers. Turning left was locking it against the header. As funny as it sounds, we turned it upside down and it cleared the header! The “new” front suspension was the original 1957 suspension with lowering blocks on the FRONT leaf springs. The “new crate engine” turned out be a tired 350, but I drove the truck for three summers like this while I saved up to redo it correctly.”
“The winter of 2009/2010 I had had enough money to start the restoration. I ordered an IFS kit for the front and we stripped the front of the truck to bare bones. The new suspension went in next and the firewall was shaved, then the front section of the frame was boxed in and painted with Eastwood 2K Ceramic Chassis Black.”
“The engine was made into a 383 stroker and retrofitted with 92 firebird fuel injection. I used sticky mickey’s and drew out a punisher skull on the intake. ”
“The summer of 2010 barely existed with a newborn in the mix. All of the work so far (including the paint) was done in my two car garage. The 57 was getting a little further, but nothing like the year before. We then started on the interior. I welded in sheet metal to close off the cab where the gas tank used to be and welded in a console to hide the fuel injection harness. The dash needed a lot of work and was mostly filler. The wiring was trash with new bits and pieces tied in with old wires, burned wires, and a rats nest of wires that didn’t go to anything. Lastly the top corners where the sunvisors connected looked like they were hammered in and redrilled a few dozen times.”
This isn’t my first paint job, but it was my first successful paint job. We decided to add some ghost flames with the help of more Sticky Mickey’s. To apply the flames we used copper flake in a clear base.
“It was around this point that I was in the accident. Since then, the interior was put back together but unfinished and the truck is together and running. It needs the doors and fenders to be hung correctly, the paint needs to be buffed and touched up. Wiring needs to be finished. The exhaust is on but needs work. The windows are now electric, but need attention. A new windshield was put it in, but the wipers are not connected. Sound deadening (Thermo-Coustic??)will be one of my first steps.
With the motivation and dedication I have now for the 57 I know I will be driving it when the snow is gone this year. For a guy like me, that eats and breaths cars this is truly a dream come true. Again, Thank you Eastwood!”
We thank you for your service Keith and we hope you can put the Eastwood products to good use on the ’57 or your ’69 Mustang Coupe project! Congrats!