- An Amazing One-Off Custom Build Completed By Dale Gerry Street Rods
- Over 10,000 Hours And 12 Years Invested In The Process
- 2 Time Good-Guys "Builders Choice" Award Winner
- Powered By A 502 RAM Jet Engine
- Finished In Pewter Metallic And Black With A Custom Red Italian Leather Interior
- Sale Includes Build Sheet, Available Receipts, And Detailed Build Photos
Although customizing cars has been a practice from the inception of the automobile, recent years have seen a spike in both the number and complexity of builds being completed around the world. This is undoubtedly perpetuated by the numerous TV shows that have sprung up, putting the world of custom car building right into the homes of people worldwide. The truth is, though, that modern manufacturing techniques and computer-aided design have allowed builders to push their creations to heights never imagined possible. In the end, though, most of these builds are truly a labor of love, a test to see to what extent people can push both their creativity as well as their engineering skills. And despite the insights they may be able to provide, no amount of computer software will ever be able to make up for the genuine ingenuity of a skilled craftsman on a quest to build the vehicle of their dreams.
On offer here is a stunning example of what can be accomplished in the world of custom vehicle builds when time and expert craftsmanship come together. Chassis # AZ381478 is a 1948 Chevrolet Crew Cab Custom Decoliner. It is the result of over 10,000 man hours, spread out over 12 years of love and labor, with every part of this vehicle being unique and custom in some way. When taking into account a general shop rate of $125 an hour, just this labor alone would be valued at around $1,250,000.The shop behind this creation was Dale Gerry Street Rods of Kelowna, British Columbia. Gerry has made a name for himself by constructing elaborate and gorgeous custom aluminum frames for builds of all kinds. When looking at the photos of this build, you can tell he poured his numerous years of experience into the final product of this Decoliner. This vehicle was built as a “shop project” to test Dale’s skills and to produce something truly unique and iconic. Dale’s fascination with the art deco styling of the late 1930s is clearly present in not only the name but also the unique and swooping design of the vehicle, as well as the individual parts he chose to incorporate into the vehicle.
This amazing machine began life as a humble 3-Ton delivery truck living in a field, which donated its cab to be the foundation of this rolling piece of artwork.
Work began on the custom aluminum frame, and what emerged from Gerry’s shop was nothing short of a masterpiece. The 23-foot long, tandem rear axle frame was constructed entirely of aluminum. It included 13” corvette C5 disc brakes on all six wheels, four custom-built aluminum fuel tanks, and a fifth-wheel hookup to tow, among countless other custom-fabricated items.
To power this beast, Dale turned to a 502 cubic inch RAM Jet crate motor, producing 502 horsepower, purchased from Jacobson Buick G.M.C. of Kelowna at a price of $11,877. This was then mated to a Gearstar Performance 4L80E overdrive automatic transmission and placed in the middle of the beautiful one-off frame, perched behind the cab of the vehicle. At the truck’s rear sits a rebuilt Ford 9” Detroit Locker rear differential with Dutchman axles. The entire truck rides on a custom, computer-controlled Slammit Air Bag system with Alden Shocks. The height is adjustable from inside the cab with just the push of a button. To finish out the ride aspect, 6 American Racing Torque Thrust wheels wrapped in Toyo tires were installed.
The fantastic, sweeping, art deco lines of the body of this vehicle easily took the most time and effort to craft, with over 1,000 hours spent on the fenders alone (equating to roughly around $125,000 in shop time!). In fact, every panel, with the exception of the hood and cowl, was custom-fabricated out of either aluminum or composite materials. The factory cab from the 3-ton delivery truck was stretched to accommodate another set of doors, built and installed by hand, with all four now being mounted in “suicide” style. All of the glass on the vehicle was custom ordered to fit. The body was then finished in a sleek Pewter Metallic and Black paint finish, expertly laid down. The slanted rear of the truck houses the unique fifth-wheel hookup and numerous custom-crafted storage compartments and doors to access critical components like airline hookups and battery cut-off switches. All the doors, from the cab back, have been shaved off their handles for a smooth, clean look and are operated by remote-controlled solenoids. Even the forward tilting hood is operated by a switch located in the cab, swinging forward to reveal the custom and very nicely completed electronic and circuit board.
The vehicle’s interior follows the “over-the-top custom” nature and beautiful art deco styling of the rest of the vehicle. Climbing aboard, you are greeted by a stunning 1961 Chrysler Windsor “AstroDome” dash, with a tachometer cleanly mounted where the original steering column used to exist. The seats and center console are all custom fabricated, and the truck’s cab was finished with a custom Italian Red leather interior by Lee Baxter, which ran an astounding $15,000. The interior of the cab is cooled by a Vintage Air climate control system, and there is also a custom stereo system completed by Andres Car Audio. In short, the interior is a beautiful and highly comfortable area to pilot this one-off rolling piece of artwork down the road.
With its unique shape and amazing attention to detail, it is no wonder that this Decoliner is the ultimate head turner, drawing crowds anywhere it goes. Shortly after completion, it was driven on a road trip from its place of birth in Canada down the West Coast, stopping at meets and shows along the way. It racked up some impressive rewards, including 2 Builders Choices awards at two different iconic Good-Guys Meets. When speaking with the previous owners, they mentioned that the rules were changed after the Decoliner rolled through, and no one car can win the Builders Choice award twice anymore!
In its current condition, the Decoliner remains relatively in show shape. The paint still presents wonderfully, although it has been sitting for a bit, and the black portions of the paint do show some light swirling that could be rectified with a good wax and buff. The interior is in fantastic order, showing no needs whatsoever. Mechanically the truck is in excellent shape as well. The big 502 fires to life with ease, and although we only briefly tested the driving nature of the truck, it appears to be all in good order. The air suspension works flawlessly, and all the door solenoids work as they should. Overall, with thorough detail, this truck would be show-ready and would undoubtedly add plenty more awards to its already impressive resume.
The amount of time and effort that has gone into this build can truly not be understated. One must factor in not only the work completed but the necessary years of experience required to bring a project together such as this. If one were to go out on their own and attempt to have someone build something similar for them, the costs would no doubt pile up to the 7 figure range very quickly. Most recently, the Decoliner sold for $511,500 at Barret Jackson, which might seem like a large sum, but when you factor in just the 10,000 hours of labor, which would equate to roughly $1,250,000, its sale price seems like a steal. In addition, there is roughly $321,000 accounted for in parts, listed out on the build sheet.
This Decoliner is truly a unique experience with nothing similar existing in the world. Not only is this truck a rolling piece of art, but it is also reliable to drive, having recently completed a drive from British Columbia down to California. As it sits today, this retro-futuristic beauty shows no needs and is ready to be shown and enjoyed. It will undoubtedly be the most head-turning vehicle wherever it goes, with a constant crowd of people surrounding it, wanting to know more.
Included with the sale of the vehicle are detailed build photos, build receipts, thorough starting and care instructions and the peace of mind of knowing you own one of the most unique vehicles on the road in the world!
Note – Although we covered as much of the details behind this build as possible in the description, the best way to truly understand the absolutely over-the-top complexities that went into producing this vehicle is to read through the build sheet in the documents section and browse through the build photos located in the photo gallery.
body and paint
Both the body and paint remain in fantastic condition. Having only been finished a few years ago, there is minimal wear and tear to the vehicle. Some very small stone chips in the front section are present from its road tripping, and the black paint on the upper section of the vehicle is a bit swirled from sitting but nothing that a good buff and wax couldn't rectify.
glass and trim
The glass and trim throughout the vehicle are in as new condition. All the glass was custom cut for this vehicle and remains in excellent condition. The Trim retains excellent color and shine, showing no issues.
All 6 American Racing Torque Thrust wheels remain in excellent shape, with fantastic shine and no issues.
The only real area to note is the black paint has some swirling in it from sitting and the perpetual task of wiping dust off. The swirling is not bad and could easily be rectified with a good wax and buff, however, with the size of the vehicle, you better bring a lot of wax!
seats and surfaces
The interior of the Decoliner remains in outstanding condition, looking good as new. The Italian red leather is spotless and was completed to a very high standard. Everything on the dashboard shows excellent fit and finish with no issues to note. Carpets, headliners, and door cards likewise are in excellent, show-worthy condition.
functionality and accessories
Although we only tested the vehicle briefly, we are happy to report that it appears everything is working as it should.
engine bay and trunk
We have not inspected the engine bay of the vehicle as accessing it does require a bit of disassembly of the interior, but given the overall condition of the rest of the vehicle, we feel confident saying that it is likely in excellent order.
The slanted rear of the truck remains in excellent condition with well-fitting panels and carpeting. The painted surfaces look new, and all the components housed in the closed-off bin areas, such as the battery disconnect and air hookups look to be in good order.
Due to the ride height and lack of a suitable lift, we could not inspect the vehicle's underside. We received some photos of the vehicle's underside from the previous owner, and it is truly a jewelry-like finish. You can likely expect some minor road dirt accumulation from the vehicle's recent road trips, but other than that, it is undoubtedly in excellent shape.
The big 502 cubic-inch engine fires to life with ease and sounds absolutely wicked! We, unfortunately, were not able to do excessive driving with the truck but it appears to make good power, and no issues were noted. In a testament to the powerplant, it was driven on a road trip from Canada down to California shortly before we acquired it.
Although we did not perform extensive testing, the transmission appears to function as it should. It seems to engage gears as it should and moves the Decoliner around with ease showing no real issues.
brakes and suspension
The C5 Corvette brakes on all 6 axles are an excellent addition and they seem to work as one would expect. The air suspension shows no issues either, raising and lowering the vehicle as it should and providing a plush and comfortable ride.
The tires have plenty of tread left to them, and show no issues.
Climbing aboard the Decoliner is undoubtedly like anything you have experienced before. Its presence from the outside is absolutely bewildering from the standpoint of its size, lines, and impeccable craftsmanship. Once inside, you are greeted with a lush and retro-futuristic interior that is incredibly pleasing to all your senses. Firing the big 502 cubic inches V8 to life sends a shiver down your spine with the intoxicating rumble that emits from the truck's rear. Driving the Decoliner is surprisingly easy thanks to the trick air suspension, providing a soft and supple ride. The hardest part about piloting this rolling sculpture on wheels is avoiding everyone staring with their eyes and mouths wide open as you pass!
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