Jeff Allison

I am a car guy, but more than that I love just about anythhing mechanical. I want to know how things work and generally how to make them faster!

What is your Project for?

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Sep 062011

What is your project for?

This week as I was thinking about a subject for the Blog, my mind kept focusing on my GMC truck.   So, I thought it might be interesting to discuss the truck both as THE PROJECT and what I really wanted out of it.

To start with, in 1999 my wife Lori and I went on a portion of the Hot Rod Power Tour (back when they came out West).  We had a blast.  You run down the highway with a bunch of other idiots driving some version of their dream car that may or may not be completely ready for a trip to the local parts store, let alone highway speeds and long distances.  Such is the way a great adventure starts.

This is where my adventure started.  When we got home, I had decided that the only way this could get better was if I could include my whole family.  I have three children and my wife, so I decided that we would need a big truck with plenty of room for the famdamily and all our gear, oh and maybe even an entertainment system for the kids.  Suburban is what came to mind – Dropped into the weeds  –  late 60’s  – maybe a 68’ since that was the year I was born – Big Block – Plush!  I found a 1972 Chevy Suburban within a couple of weeks of starting my search, it was rough and not entirely complete (like mostly missing) but the price was right ($200) and what the heck;  I wanted to customize everything anyway.

Best Laid Plans – Oh sure I figured out that if I had started with a plan things probably would have gone much smoother, cheaper (VERY relative term) and quicker.  So, I got the truck home and began a complete frame off build.  First problem – Suburbans are UGLY  and I was seeing them everywhere I looked   –  Solution #1, CrewCab Pickup, stills seats 5 and has plenty of storage.  Oh, GM never made a CrewCab in the 67-72 body style * –  No problem, I’ll just make my own.  Second problem – I don’t like the Chevy front clip and I only really like the 1967 GMC  Hood and fenders – Solution #2 ,  A Long Call to LMC Trucks and lots of sheet metal later I have all my patch panels for the rough areas and a new clip for my taste buds.  So I start off by cutting the Suburban in half, and I find a 67 small window cab to take the rear panel from and with the magic of a tape measure, a welder and lots of grinding pads I have a CrewCab.  Third problem – 2 wheel drive trucks are everywhere! – Solution #3, That’s Right – Lifted 4×4, this only required a custom frame and body/bed mounts – No problem (Can you hear the money falling out of my pockets?)  Before long I had a bunch of parts that were starting to resemble a truck and, although I had come a long way the end was not in sight yet.  Next we need a little motivation – Can you say 502? Well, say it fast cause it COST – Fourth problem, maybe my budget is more like a small block, but it just has to have Fuel Injection though, cause I hate to tinker with Carbs – Solution # 4, this is when I came across a nearly new (3 miles) 6.0L and 4L80e transmission – Sure I can wire that up (only added a few months).  This was probably my best decision though, because this engine & trans have worked without trouble since I started them the first time.  (you can hear a sound bite on the gallery page for the truck).  Finally a little paint, (like three gallons worth) some interior and we are on the road.  —  Not so fast!

Now everyone knows I have skipped hundreds of steps and thousands of dollars just for the sake of making this readable, but you get the idea I think.  Start with a plan and a budget and things will go smoother.  Do it my way and you have a great truck AFTER 12 YEARS and a budget that would have bought my first house TWICE.  Not that I could have done it much cheaper, but it would have been done way sooner.  I LOVE my truck; it sits on 35” tires, is very drivable, has won awards, always gets a crowd to gather when I drive it and it is just plain COOL.  But you know what we still haven’t done – another Power Tour and now my oldest lives 500+ miles away, the middle kid just started college and the youngest is a junior in high school.

So, did I Fail?

Maybe with the idea of getting the whole family to go with me on the Power Tour, but not when I look at what I really wanted – a Truck that I am proud to own and that, at different times, my family and I have taken for a drive to town, and most importantly, a truck my sons helped me build!  So, I say Mission Accomplished!

* Yes I know, GM did make some for the railroad, not many – and they were not available to the general public.  Also, they used front doors for all 4 – too ugly for me.

This is my story!

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Jul 252011


Jeffery Allison/ Allison Customs

I’M A CAR GUY!  Probably not a shock to anyone reading this, as it’s a blog written for an audience of car lovers posted on a website for men and women with a passion for the automobile.  I’m new to this whole blogging idea; so I thought it should begin as any polite meeting would; with an introduction.  And those four words say a lot about me.

My love of cars began, typically, in my adolescence as I approached the age when I would be allowed a driver’s license.  When I was 14 and a half, I made a deal with my dad that whatever I could manage to save towards a car, he would match.  I worked every odd job I could find and saved up $300.00 which my father, true to his word, matched penny for penny.  I took that $600.00 and bought myself a Canary Yellow 1974 Toyota Corona.  On my 15th birthday, my dad drove me to the DMV in that yellow Corona to get my driver’s license.  I had a license and a car! What could be better!

Actually … there were things that could be better, so I saved again and bought a set of chrome and black modular wheels and the widest rear tires I could find.  My mistake was in not consulting my father first.  He wasn’t pleased with my modifications, reminding me that he owned half the car, and he threatened to make me put the original tires and wheels back on his half.  According to him, I was free to do whatever I liked with my half.  Thankfully, he never carried out his threat and I soon decided I was much too cool to drive a yellow car.  Having learned my lesson, I asked my dad if I could have the car painted.  “Sure” he said, as long as I paid for it.  I’m sure he thought it was safe to give me permission because I would never be able to afford it.  However, I found a guy who agreed to paint it with Jet Black lacquer paint for $300.00.  After that, my dad realized he couldn’t win; that I would never be happy with simply having a functional car to drive.  I needed to make that car mine!

In the years since, I’ve owned dozens of cars and trucks.  I’ve never been able to resist making changes to them whether it meant adding, removing, modifying or upgrading; I have to put my personal stamp on each one.  The only exception is whatever car my wife drives.  She will not allow me to touch hers.

I now operate my own car customizing shop, Allison Customs @  and my current project is a ground up rebuild of Robert Kibbe’s 1964 Chevelle.  In future blog posts I will update you on this and other projects that I have going.

My First Car.

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Jul 252011

So this is NOT a picture of my actual first car, but it is a picture of the same make, model and color of my first car.

Yes it was an import and no it wasn’t fast or quick, but I thought it was.  My friends and I had such a great time with this car – best 300 dollars I ever spent.

Want to read the whole story?  Check out my introduction blog, “This is My Story“.

Thanks for visiting.