Curbside Creation: When You Have A Chevy Half-Ton And A Suzuki Sidekick. And Some Time.

And clearly, someone to hold your beer.  Ah, America the Beautiful, Land of Bounteous and Unbridled Creativity and Wonder.  Or something like that.  Whenever I have occasion to head up to Wyoming (which is a state I honestly and genuinely like) chances are good I’ll see something on the more unique side of things.

And this trip a couple of months back to my closest Menard’s (kind of like a far better Home Depot / Lowe’s big box hardware store option) up in Cheyenne forty or so minutes away from home certainly did not disappoint as when I exited the store the skies brightened a bit, the heavens focused a spotlight in front of me, and I swear I heard Sweet Baby Jesus whisper a deep and breathy thought in my ear.  And what SBJ said so breathily and deeply was, and I quote here: “Jim, What The F^&%”.  Or something like that. 

So of course I knew I had to document this as none of my overseas friends on CC and beyond would believe a mere verbal recounting of this experience.  The land of the free and home of the brave (visualize some good fireworks here and someone in a densely occupied neighborhood shooting his AR-15 clone in the air while the dog is licking itself and the kids are playing with sidewalk chalk and BabyMama is watching some show about housewives on her iPhone) is all-encompassing but only in certain states; set a good man free with a Sawz-All and a welding rig and there is no telling what he may create between lunch and supper in the barn on his own land with the barbed wire gate and cattle guard and then obtain license plates by mail and be able to drive it all over, even to Menard’s.

After all, America did land a man (or a few of them) on the moon using something not entirely dissimilar to this as I recall.  Or at least drove it across a soundstage, something like that anyway according to 6% of Americans; I wasn’t quite born yet, just kicking a lot and itching to get out I am told.  Although to be honest, this creation has a few more Japanese parts on it.  But only good ones; Japanese cab corners and rear wheel wells don’t rust, apparently, at least not like those from Detroit which I believe is what I was told befell the other half of the star-spangled portion of the donor pile.

I’ll be perfectly frank and hope that nobody will accuse me of being snide when I take the position that styling isn’t really this creation’s strong suit.  If you squint a little, or a lot, or, well, just jab your fingers in your eyes repeatedly there’s a little Excalibur-esque sense of proportion going on here. But that’s about all and assumes that to be a good thing to begin with.  Cab-forward it most certainly is not.

The driver (who is inside currently) sits way back for that cruiser-like feel.  Yeeeeessss. It’s all about the long hood and…and height.  Never mind the Man-Step in the back of an F-150’s tailgate, getting into the cab here is more than just one small step for man or even a giant leap for mankind.  This calls for a ladder.  Or a two handed boost in the buttocks.  Giddy up!

The man watched me bemusedly (suspiciously?) as I tried to inconspicuously circle a time or two (with my shopping cart ahead of me, perhaps an unconscious defensive move), but eventually I abandoned the cart and contents, gestured to ask permission to shoot (uh, photograph, this is Wyoming after all…), this was granted by a sage nod of the man’s head and then he opened the window to say hello.

After polite pleasantries were exchanged it was confirmed that this started out as a Chevy half-ton (Silverado? Squarebody? I forget) chassis mated to most of a Suzuki Sidekick.  The hood is sheetmetal made with standing seams like a metal roof for strength and stiffness.  The engine I believe was the lord’s own powerplant, a small-block Chevy.  I mean, what else would it be.  We weren’t somewhere west of Laramie, in fact we were about fifty miles east thereof…

Lest one think this is an apparition created for a quick fling around town or for a parade of some sort, No Sir!, certainly not, this here ve-hic-le has been on the road for close to a decade and over 70,000 miles if I understood the man correctly which I’m quite certain I did.  And his wife hates it.  Which is apparently all the more reason to keep it in fine fettle.

I do envy the man for the ease of access to all of the mechanical componentry that this vehicle affords him, the apparently slim-of-hand Englanders at Jaguar did me no such favors in our X-type wagon, and while there are no mandatory vehicle inspections in Wyoming (a different seven letter word for Freedom re-using two of the same letters so what else could it mean), it does have lights, mirrors, tread on the tires, and a number of reflectors just as The Man in Washington D.C. decreed in some extremely lengthy numbered and well-punctuated document that only one of our contributors here knows by heart.

A Chevy V8 doesn’t often look small.  It’s right there in the center, that little bitty thing right there.  And the oil filter practically changes itself.

Finally a pod filter design that doesn’t just suck hot engine compartment air back into the engine, this baby can breathe just like man can breathe in the wide open prairies of the Cowboy State (deep and unfettered without anyone telling him how best or when to do so).  And look at the battery, thoughtfully placed low in the chassis and almost amidships.  No throwing out one’s back when it’s time to change it.

Trailer hitch, step bumper, big ol’ mud flaps and what everybody really wants but Detroit is too busy designing golden parachutes to offer in quantity instead, a low pickup bed liftover height along with lockable cabin storage.  Sort of like a Ford Maverick I suppose.  Same same but different. And this one’s built right here in the USA by Americans for Americans (well, okay, by one American for himself), not south of some border where the people can’t come over but their work product we can’t get enough of!

I’m not sure there’s room for a spare tire though but plenty for the two or three bags of mulch that everyone really needs their pickup for.  Wyomingites know their trucks, that’s for sure, and they know what they really need and want out of one.  This one’s not for sale, go find your own barn and get creative.  Or something like that.