Straight Talk From Art -
Over the years, listening to our customers has been a big part of our business. They give us ideas on how we can do things better, and what products we should bring to market. Recently, the majority of chassis suggestions have been for trucks. All kinds, too. Early, late, Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge. Far and away the most were requests for the C-10, 1947-53 and 1955-57 Chevy trucks. So, thanks to our customers, 2012 has been the year of the truck for Art Morrison Enterprises. New chassis and suspension designs just for pickup trucks were created, and more designs are on the way. To showcase these new products, our staff started with the disassembly of our "Farm Truck" project and began the long process of reverse engineering a new chassis for the popular '47-'53 Chevrolet trucks. The result is a complete line of truck components that will fit nearly every build style and budget. From complete frames to suspension kits, we have you covered. We are going to continue this work into 2013 to address even more makes and models, so keep watching our website.
|Street Rodder magazine editor Brian Brennan interviews Art and Craig Morrison for the Street Rodder Radio broadcast that was recorded at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The nationally syndicated program is also available free of charge on iTunes. It's the December 4, 2012 release. Photo by Bill Holland|
Our own project truck, the 1950 Chevy "Farm Truck", was featured in Custom Classic Trucks magazine. We took a "barn find" Chevrolet 3100 and built it from the ground up. As opposed to previous "show quality" company projects, we wanted to make this one as utilitarian as possible and to prevent it from being "too nice" to drive on long trips or in inclement weather. Not only that, we liked the idea of having the truck remain "as is" with its old paint and rusty chrome. The patina definitely gives the truck some character which would be lost as soon as we stripped the paint. Keeping the chrome, paint and interior as we had found it also let us build this truck in a very short period of time and keep the project build on a conservative budget. As soon as we were finished, we began racking up some serious miles on the odometer. In one big loop, Craig and I drove from Tacoma, Washington to Las Vegas, Nevada for the 2012 SEMA show. After SEMA, Craig then drove to Scottsdale, Arizona so the truck could be part of our display for the Goodguys Southwest Nationals.
Participating in the autocross, Craig was able to demonstrate the abilities of this great handling chassis. From there the truck was driven out to Los Angeles, CA so that Custom Classic Trucks could do their studio photo shoot and testing at the defunct El Toro airbase in Irvine. Before heading north, we teamed up with Mike Musto and the guys from the Drive channel on YouTube and shot a great video up in the canyons around Malibu. From there it was "only" about 20 hours of driving back home with a quick detour to visit Roy Brizio's shop in South San Francisco, CA. In just over 50 days, Craig put nearly 4,400 miles on the truck without any major mechanical issues.
The most amazing thing about our Farm Truck project is just how comfortable it is to drive. With its Johnny Joint 4-bar and longer travel shocks, it soaks up the bumps out on the highway like nothing we have ever built. It is an absolute dream to drive out on the open highway. Even in rush hour traffic and on the bad roads around Los Angeles and San Francisco, the truck performed flawlessly. Combine the chassis dynamics with a great running GM Performance Parts crate engine, MSD's Atomic EFI and the Hughes Performance 4L60E transmission and it's a combination that just can't be beat! In addition to the 1st Series Chevrolet truck, we are also working on a bolt-on chassis for the 2nd series Chevrolet truck. Like the '47-'53, there will be many options available; so stay tuned. With as straight forward as this frame is, it should be available sometime soon. We also plan on having an IFS kit as well as rear 4-bar kit to graft into the stock chassis, enabling you to achieve a great ride without breaking the bank.
Although we have been focusing a lot of our efforts on trucks lately, rest assured that we have been developing platforms for other applications as well. Later this year we will be debuting a GT Sport chassis for the '59-'64 Chevys. There have been literally hundreds of requests for a chassis like this but we felt that a decent x-frame replacement with minimal floor modifications wasn't a viable option. After several years of design work and collaboration with a few local builders, we have developed a solution that will greatly minimize the amount of fabrication required. Complete with all the necessary body mounts, bumper mounts, core support, engine and trans mounts. this "hourglass" frame will be a dramatic departure from the original design. By eliminating the factory X-frame as well as the two-piece driveshaft, we've opened the driveshaft tunnel to route exhaust— always a difficult task with these vehicles.
|You'll find an Art Morrison chassis underneath the custom Aston Martin DB4 LeMans coachwork from Spada Design in Italy. Jonathan Ward of ICON is the builder of this unique GT machine.|
While there is going to be a little bit of trimming to the floor pan needed here and there, the new GT Sport chassis will eliminate about 90-95% of the floor modifications that have been required with previous Max-G chassis solutions. As we move forward with our bolt-on offerings, our team will continue to design and manufacture custom chassis projects. Bryan Fuller's "Thundertaker" 1960 Cadillac hearse debuted at SEMA this past November to rave reviews. Measuring in at 22 feet, it was the longest chassis that we have ever built. Also this past November, the Aston Martin chassis belonging to builder Jonathan Ward was shipped to Italy where it is getting it's DB4 LeMans body coach built by the noted Italian firm Spada Design. When finished, this car will definitely turn some heads. There are numerous projects happening in shops here in the States and overseas that utilize Art Morrison Enterprises custom chassis and we are looking forward to sharing those projects with you once they are finished.
Even though there are a lot of exciting projects and new product designs happening at Art Morrison Enterprises, there are many things going on in the world that can temper that excitement. The past few years have been filled with a tremendous amount of economic uncertainty and in times like this it's easy to hold off on a fun project like building a classic car or truck. To help you out and to support everyone that has supported us during these difficult times, I have made the decision to hold our prices for 2013. While a couple of things here and there have had to go up, the majority of our items will remain at 2012 pricing. I sincerely hope that this decision will help you afford that project that you've always wanted to do.
In addition to holding our prices, our team of engineers are constantly working on new products and suspension designs to make our products the best that they can be. Now in our 42nd year of business, we take pride in providing you with the greatest chassis components and custom engineering available. Your business is valued and our entire staff welcomes your comments as to how we can provide you with better parts and service. Whether it is an idea for a new product or thoughts on improving what we have, please let us know. Your support is appreciated and please keep us in mind for your next project. Thank you!