The word “imagination” is commonly defined as “creative ability”. That definition definitely applies in the world of auto customization, as whenever a new build project is taking shape for a car/truck owner, their imagination is certainly put to use. Not only do the owners want to be creative when they are building their project, they also want the finished project to be unique. Elvin Scalise had his imagination running full blast when he started to build his 1939 GMC Truck. What you see on these pages is not only creative, but unique as well.

Elvin has been customizing his rides since he was 15 years old. In 1957, he took his mother’s 1946 Ford and installed 6″ shackles, and he has not stopped customizing since. Over the years, Elvin has built and customized just about anything that rides on two and four wheels. He has had Lowriders, hot rods, custom cruisers, and Harley Davidson motorcycles.

This GMC truck is Elvin’s first full custom. He bought the truck 5 years ago for $300 dollars. Elvin saw the potential in the ’39, even though at the purchase time, it was just a rolling chassis with the hood, fenders, the grill, and the cab attached. All of the glass had been broken out of the vehicle, and overall, the truck had certainly seen better days. Despite the work ahead of him, Elvin pressed on.

Once the truck was home with Elvin, he went right to work and started to build the truck. He installed a V6 from a Chevy Camaro, and a 7R transmission and rear end combination. After the engine and transmission were taken care of, Elvin installed a Mustang II front clip and air bags in the front and rear of the truck to allow him to lay frame or clear steep driveways when necessary.

With the engine and suspension taken care of, Elvin once again used his imagination to modify the truck cab. He took 3 inches off the top and was so satisfied with this modification, he also switched the doors to open suicide-style. Since he had modified the cab, there was no way a stock bed was going to do. Elvin found a Chevy S10 truck bed, and installed and reworked it by narrowing it down 14 inches. The tailgate was formed from a Chevy Nova hood, which was also chopped 12 inches. Elvin finished off the bed with a custom tonneau cover and tail lights from a Harley Davidson Tombstone design.

Next up were the fenders. After scouring the Internet, Elvin located two 1946 Ford Truck fenders and ordered them. Once they arrived, they were installed on the truck. Elvin was still not happy with the body panels, and felt something was missing. A friend happened to show him a pair of fender skirts that he had found, and Elvin liked the look of them. He knew they were perfect for his project, so he took off the rear fenders and reworked them to fit the fender skirts.

After Elvin was done with the rear fenders, he handmade a pair of fender skirts for the front fenders, talk about being creative! The running boards on the truck were fabricated by Elvin as well, which gave them a wide, low look to compliment the fender skirts on the front and rear of the truck. The finishing touch on the exterior of the truck was the Ford grill, which Elvin also modified. After all the body mods were complete, Elvin prepped the body for paint and then had the truck towed to Maaco Auto Body and Paint. Yes, you read that right, Maaco shot the flawless deep black paint job on the truck!

With the exterior now flawless, the next step on the truck project was to rework the interior. Elvin installed a third row seat from a Chevy Suburban in the truck, and then covered it in black and grey tuck and roll material. The door panels were wrapped in the same black and grey tuck and roll material to match the seat. The headliner is gray diamond plate, which Elvin fabricated out of rubber. He installed a Kenwood deck and Apple IPOD dock in the truck, and added 10″ speakers to each door for just the right amount of sound. The dash and gauge cluster were custom fabricated as well. The interior of the truck was completed with power windows and keyless entry, which Elvin also installed himself.

After all the work Elvin had put into the truck he ultimately decided that the V6 had to go. He installed a Chevy Small Block with a 23″ shifter. While he had the motor out, brushed stainless panels to the engine bay were added, and some chrome accents to the Small Block too. After 5 long years, This home built frame-off build was complete. Even more amazing than the amount of time that went into the build, is the fact that all of the work, with the exception of the paintjob, was completed by “you know who” in his garage!

Elvin’s first show was in June 2009, after the 5-year build. In the first couple of months of attending shows, He has collected 14 awards, including best of show and best custom. Elvin and his wife Bernie drive the truck to the shows they attend, and plan on enjoying the truck as much as possible. Now that the truck is complete, Elvin already has his eye on his next project. We are sure he will put just as much imagination into the build of the next project as he did with this one. Great work!


Owner: Elvin & Bernie Scalise

Vehicle: 1939 GMC Truck

CityState: Los Angeles, CA

EngineDrivetrain: 350 Small Block with RV Cam and 7R Transmission. Custom chrome accessories and stainless steel firewall.

BodyPaint: Body prep by owner. Deep Black by Maaco Auto Body & Paint. 1939 GMC Cab, fenders, hood and grill. 3″ chop and suicide doors. Chevy S10 truck bed narrowed 14″ and chopped 12″. Tailgate is a custom fitted Chevy Nova hood. 1946 Ford Pick Up rear fenders. Custom-made rear skirts, tonneau, front skirts and running boards by the owner. The rear window insert is from a Ford Pick Up grill. Harley Davidson Tombstone taillights.

Interior: Black & Grey Tuck & Roll Seat and Door Panels. Seat is a third row seat from a Chevy Suburban. Custom Diamond Plate Headliner made out of Rubber. Custom Dash and Gauges. Power windows and keyless entry. All work performed by owner.

Sound System: Kenwood head unit and Apple IPOD with 10″ speakers in each door installed by owner.

Suspension: Mustang II front end and front and rear air bag set up installed by owner.