Welcome back to the sensational SEMA Super Stars. Up next the truest wolf in patina’d sheep’s clothing you’ve ever seen. A truckin’ triple threat that’s gonna B L O W your mind. It’s “Old Smokey” the ’49 Ford F1 from Chuckles Garage. On top well, you can see that coat for yourself but don’t let it fool you. Underneath that crust of rust is a whole different story. It’s full on high tech, a tire burning drifter, a track eating, corner crushing road racer and a record attempting land speed racer. It’s all things racing. “Jewelry” with a topcoat of corrosion. This is a purpose built super car in truck togs, built to really take on anything. This boggling build is the brainchild of Scott Birdsall out of Chuckles Garage.
What you are looking at is the manifestation of what the inner 10 year old Scott told his adult self to build. Take note; listen to your inner child. When you do you get a no limits build and if you’re lucky something in the league of “Old Smokey”! Believe it or not this marvel came out of a 2 man shop. The dynamic duo that is Chuckles Garage believes in high quality low volume. Again, take a look at that truck and you’ll see their definition of high quality is more like shooting for the stratosphere. This down to earth builder arrived at SEMA to “show” his truck and talents, not to compete. Scott doesn’t believe anyone really wins in that “compete” scenario. Let’s just say Scott “shows” well, very well.
The evolution of this build is fantastic. “Old Smokey” believe it or not was a Craig’s List find. Yep, the seller was asking a whopping $300 for the F1 but Scott was able to talk him down to $225. Way to go buddy! At first Scott saw the Ford as a flip project. But the “monkey face” Ford started to grow on him. He then thought shop truck and there you go, Scott had new project on his hands. What does a good shop truck need? A solid reliable Cummins to get the truck around town. But hey 164hp was kinda lame so, a bigger turbo was needed. With that “old” Cummins upgraded to 500hp a new front end and bigger brakes had to follow. Which of course meant the truck needed a suspension upgrade. But if that old monkey face was cruising with 500hp wouldn’t 800hp be better. A bigger turbo would do the trick. “Old Smokey” was really starting to cook, putting out 800hp. But that much horsepower necessitated bigger brakes and a tube frame really augmented the truck. Shortly there after, the word was getting out about this wild ride and hip hip hooray, the parts started coming in. I have to add here, nearly the first words out of Scott’s mouth were how grateful he was to his sponsors and how much he wanted to express his thanks to them. He had 20 at the time of our talk and definitely wanted to sing their praises. All ya’all out there, a huge thank you from Scott and Chuckles Garage. If someone important wasn’t mentioned point the finger at yours truly, ok.
Just to give you a bit of perspective there are over 3,000 hours of labor in this ride. To put a price tag on a build of this caliber the figures would be staggering so donor parts heck ya. Ok then, back to the evolution. What do you do with a “shop truck” that puts out 800hp and has no usable bed because it’s filled with nitrous bottles? You start drifting with it and take it to the track of course. Currently, what Scott has on his hands is the third and possibly the last incarnation of “Old Smokey”. ALC Racing Engines engineered the twin turbo, 1200+hp Cummins sourced from a Freightliner. The truck rides on a tube frame back half, NASCAR inspired chassis, with Wildwood brakes and a full custom race interior. Toyo tires, Auto Meter gauges, a 4 speed sequentially shifted transmission built by Total Performance Diesel, a Winters quick change rear axel start to round out the build. And all of this high tech wonder and more is housed in a well seasoned 1949 Ford F1 1/2 ton pick up.
“Old Smokey” debuted at SEMA and almost instantly went viral. This old “monkey face” is a true social media darling. The truck’s popularity is almost as mind blowing as the truck itself. Heavily featured is putting it lightly. Print, online, television you name it, “Old Smokey” has been there. Oh and a fun fact, it’s street legal. Do you know what a feat that is in a state that has such strict laws as California. Scott’s a self proclaimed CDOT ninja. If he can work his way around that bureaucracy can you imagine what he can do around a track.
Incredibly successful debut at SEMA, check. Overnight social media sensation, check. Publication in multiple print and television spots, check. What’s next? Why the land speed record for the mile in a diesel truck of course. If you are going to do it, do it and crush it with an exclamation point on it. The current record is 178 mph. Scott and “Old Smokey” are gunning for 200 mph. The power to weight ratio is in the bag with the engine set back 100% behind the front axle, and in my humble opinion I’d have to say shooting for an extra 28 mph is an exclamation point and then some. He has several upcoming events to realize his goal. And heck yah, I’m on team Chuckles. Scott has, and this is a direct quote “a serious problem with knowing when to stop”. Scott please don’t ever get over that problem. I for one am a huge fan of your no limits approach to a build. More please.
Now let your peepers roam and check out this purpose built, race everything, twin turbo, 1200+hp Cummins powered, super truck!
Now for our third installment of Builders Showroom TV starring the no limits build “Old Smokey”.
If you were wondering and I know I was, just where Scott came up with that fantastic name for his shop, it’s a really cool story. He named it for his Dad, a proud police officer who would spend his spare time in the garage with his son. Scotts Dad Chuck, “Chuckles” taught his son through example the pleasure and pride you get from working with your hands. From a very young age he would watch his Dad work on his car and lucky for us Scott was a quick study. Fast forward a few decades and faced with naming his business Scott didn’t hesitate to name it as a tribute to the inspiration behind his passion, his Dad. A fantastic name for a equally fantastic shop. Thanks Scott! We’ll be pulling for you and “Old Smokey”. You’ve got it in the bag!
More SEMA Super Stars on the horizon. Does a Nomad custom wet your whistle – it should!
Till the next time – Keep on Kruzin!