Southeastern Truck Nationals is a Chevy truck lover's paradise
I don’t really enter many formal car shows, but every once in a while there’s one I can’t pass up. The Southeastern Truck Nationals in White House, Tenn., is one of them. This year, around 250 Chevrolet and GMC trucks crammed into the community park. That was a particularly strong showing because it rained for a good part of the morning, making the park a muddy mess. That wasn’t a problem here, though. These are trucks—they can handle a little mud! Try something like this with Prius enthusiasts (is there such a thing?), and they’d be buried to their battery packs. There were some very exceptional trucks at this event, so let’s check out a few of them.
This ’54 Chevrolet 3100 was absolutely stunning. Finished in Ocean Green with a Pure White roof, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would have been able to take one of these when they were new and mess it up. You should have to wear white gloves to touch this baby. Chevrolet hadn’t yet introduced the luxurious Cameo in 1954, but the interior in this was Cameo-fancy. This style of truck is known as the “Advance Design” series, and it was produced between late-1947 and early-1955. 1954 was the only year that they made a significant change to the styling, adding a fancy chrome grille and one-piece windshield, among other things. The judges thought this truck was pretty nice as well, because it took home the “best of show” trophy.
With all the nice trucks at this show, it might be easy to miss this ’79 Silverado short bed with its Strato White paint and blue vinyl interior. That would be a mistake, because this was a serious contender. Not only was it an extraordinarily nice original truck, but it was equipped right with its desirable short bed, rally wheels, and best of all, a 454-c.i. big block under the hood. As far as I’m concerned, this truck right here sets the standard for this “Square Body” style of truck. It’s perfectly equipped. It’s in virtually new condition. It’s almost hard to imagine that something like this can still exist. Yet, here it is in all its glory. This was an impressive truck to say the least.
If you want to see something really special, check out this 1958 Cameo built by Bay One Customs. There is a lot of high-end custom work on this bad boy, including a handcrafted console and South African wood throughout. The rear view is the most radical, as it is built around a set of completely custom-formed taillights that mimic the stock ’58 Chevy truck headlights. It’s powered by a chromed-out 383-stroker, but this truck is so nice that I doubt I gets driven much. The whole thing is covered with Vino Rojo Candeez paint. It was originally built for the 2013 SEMA show in Vegas, but now here it is at the Chevy truck show in White House. Luckily, they were able to park on the concrete and avoided the muddy field.
Here’s something you don’t see every day. It’s a ’66 Chevy long bed crew cab stepside. But they didn’t make a crew cab in 1966, you say. That’s true—sort of. Unlike today, when virtually all trucks are crew cabs, back then Chevy did not even offer one. Some commercial accounts wanted them to haul their “crews” to jobsites, however, so a few companies converted these trucks in the aftermarket. This one is obviously a work in progress, but it’ll be pretty cool when it gets all put back together. It sure is a rare old beast. I can’t imagine trying to crank it around in a parking lot, and it definitely wouldn’t fit in my garage, but that’s a small price to pay to have something as unique as this.
’67-’72 Chevy trucks seem to be the most popular among collectors, and there were quite a few of them at this show. I thought this red ’67 Suburban was awfully pretty out there shining in the sun. That’s a lot of quarter panel to get that smooth. This one had a Tuned Port Injected 350 sort of like an ’87 Corvette. There were all sorts of modern conveniences inside, like later-model Suburban seats, tilt steering, and air conditioning. When you look at this picture, it might seem like it would be hard to climb in the back. It’s not really a problem, though. While there’s only one door on the left, there were two doors on the right. Chevy didn’t forget the rear seat passengers.