Almost every project vehicle comes with the understanding of long nights, hard work, and constant battles and for Monty Rubart the moment he opened the door of his soon-to-be project 1938 Chevy Truck, it fell off and with a big smile on his face he instantly knew it was the right truck for him. A deal was struck and the hunt for parts was on. You see, the 1938 Chevy truck is a one year grille, hood, and hood ornament, which in turn makes these parts quite hard to track down in any sort of condition. So tackling a custom build of one of these trucks, while still keeping to the factory appearances is definitely a challenge all in itself.
Photos: Nico Jarrett | Words: Nico Jarrett and Mike Alexander
The hunt for parts began about four years ago right after he dragged the shell home to his garage. Going from craigslist ads to old junkyards, Monty said one of his favorite parts of the build was the fact that he really enjoyed all of the different types of people he came in contact with during the part hunt, and they all had a unique story to tell. These stories were the fuel that inspired him to continue his build and not give up even when the nights got longer and the build became more difficult than originally anticipated. Monty knew how special this truck was and he knew he had to see the build through to the end. Tracking down parts for a 76 year old truck is no easy task, and with the grille being a one-year only grille that was the last piece piece of the puzzle. In fact, Monty just recently scored this pristine condition piece to cap off the finishing touches for the stock/resto look he was after.
We first met Monty through our friend Danny at Status Motorsports in Lancaster, CA who had recently done some work on the ’38 pickup and as soon as we saw it we knew we had to get it in front of our cameras. One of the first modifications that demands attention and catches everyone’s eye is the rear wheel camber when the truck is Slam’d to the ground. The camber of the rear wheel really throws everyone off and we just love that – it’s definitely one of the things that helps to set Monty’s truck apart from the rest. Thanks to Monty’s friend “Easy Lou” they were able to score a front and rear independent Jaguar suspension as the heart of the chassis and suspension for this build, paired with a custom-built air suspension setup, the overall stance of the ’38 is spot on. Most people told Monty that he wouldn’t be able to install air ride on the Jaguar suspension, but as we know all too well here at Slam’d Mag, anything is possible. With the help of Easy Lou and Robert Smith, Monty soon had the truck sitting just right.
Next up was massaging the exterior with a few subtle mods. Monty’s trade is metal fabrication, so naturally he had to do get his hands dirty and add a few custom touches although he was mostly looking to keep the outer appearance fairly original. Monty decided to build custom brackets for the front and rear bumpers to help move them in and flow better with the lines of the body. He also shaved the gas filler neck and relocated it to the bed with a new fuel cell. A new floor pedestal was created to clearance the chassis and flush the battery behind the seat allowing a set of custom mounted Mustang bucket seats to fill the interior space.
Powered by a simple and reliable crate 350 and painted a satin “Hot Rod Black” by Hellbound Hot Rods and Status Motorsports, the final look and sound is subtle yet menacing, which is exactly what Monty was after all along. Keeping the original look, while adding his own personality and custom touches has definitely made the long journey worth it Monty shared with us, and now that it’s “completed” he cruises all over the southwest for both shows and personal enjoyment with an ear-to-ear smile that can’t be wiped from his face. Job well done Monty, we can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next! For more detailed info, check out the build specs below.
Owner: Monty Rubart
Vehicle: 1938 Chevy Pickup
Hometown: Lancaster, California
Front: 1986 Jaguar IFS with power rack and pinion custom modified and ‘bagged
Rear: 1986 Jaguar posi IRS ‘bagged with Shockwaves
Two Viair 480c compressors
Single bellow Air Lift ‘bags up front
Two chrome air tanks custom mounted in the bed
Frame rebuilt and boxed
Jaguar hydroboost brakes
Performed By: Easy Lou, Robert Smith, and owner
Gas filler neck was shaved
Fuel cell installed in the rear
Hand-fabricated bumper brackets to move the bumpers in three inches
New floor and seat pedestal that folds forward to access the battery box frenched in the cab floor
Custom made bed cover and bed floor
Performed By: Owner
Painted Satin Black by Hellbound Hot Rods and Status Motorsports
Special Thanks from Owner:
“A huge thanks to my wife Hazel for her support through this build. Also a big shout out to Easy Lou and Robert Smith for all of their hard work and being there for the build to see it through to the finish.”