Blown Holden V8-powered 1956 Chevrolet pick-up

Scott Barter's '56 Chevy pick-up is an air-riding, supercharged cruiser wrapped in an all-powdercoat finish


WHEN it comes to project cars, some of us are flat-out getting one done, while others, like Scott Barter, don’t mind juggling multiple builds at once. The bossman at Oxytech Powder Coatings had this supercharged, airbagged ’56 Chev pick-up built while he was also putting together a pro touring LSA-powered HJ Sandman, not to mention swapping an LS1 and T56 into his dad Richard’s HJ One Tonner.

This article was first published in Street Machine’s 2020 Yearbook. Photos: Matthew Everingham

“When I got it, the truck was just a body on a chassis,” Scotty says. “Ryan Carter from United Speed Shop in Newcastle is a good mate of mine, and he’d bought this bargain ’56 Chevy cab out of South Australia, put it on an HQ chassis and was going to sell it off. Even though I wasn’t looking for a project, we worked out a good deal, as it is just one of those things when a mate has a good project he wants to offload.”

Fans of 50s pick-ups will know that Scotty’s truck is a long way from stock. While the cab is an original Aussie right-hook ’56, it uses a ’57 bonnet and a ’58 Fleetside long-bed tub that’s had 6in cut out of it. The tailgate was customised by Sam Rayner of Bombwerks to include the Oxytech script

Ryan and the United Speed Shop crew then took on the three-year build of the truck as a way to promote Scotty’s business, which supplies powder and other accessories to coaters. This means the only pieces of the truck covered in traditional wet paint are the transmission and the engine; everything else is powdercoat!

“I was sitting around with Ryan partaking in some sugarcane champagne, and talk turned to painting the truck,” explains Scott. “I realised that if it was going to be a bare shell to repair it, we may as well powdercoat the whole thing! What better way is there for us to showcase the versatility of powdercoatings than to have a rolling billboard?”

The base of the build is an HQ panel van chassis, which lends more car-like handling and a cooler stance among other benefits, as Scott explains: “The HQ van and ute chassis works better than the Tonner chassis; the Tonner chassis has extra framework for the cab to bolt to the frame itself. We didn’t need that, as the Chev cab is fastened to the tub.”

After Ryan and the United crew set up the frame and chopped all the rot out of the body, Scotty and Peter Snell coated everything down at Peter Snell’s Protective Coatings. While Ryan does powdercoating in-house, Snelly has an oven big enough to bake the whole 1958 Fleetside tub, full-length chassis and the cab itself.

Ryan and the guys at United added their own tube-style HQ front control arms, rear four-links and Panhard bars, along with a set of beefy four-pot Baer disc brakes up front and Air Ride ShockWave air struts all ’round. The airbags are controlled by AccuAir e-Level electronic height management

“Everything was sandblasted, sprayed down with Oxytech Easy Phos, then zinc-primed, coated with four different colours and finished with a Clear Sand Texture powdercoat at Snelly’s,” Scotty says. “We went from bare metal to coated in three days.”

The body was also rubbed back in places, including the powdercoated signwriting by Ryan, to age the look of the truck and to tie in with the farm truck vibe, before the whole thing was clear-coated.

Andrew from Smith’s Kustoms put the finishing touches on POPS56 when he pinstriped it at the Oxytech Open Day. “I wanted it to look like a farm truck, but I got Ryan to do the Shadow Chrome grey when he was designing it to differentiate it from the classic look of white bumpers and details,” Scott explains

“I wanted to see where repairs were done so the truck has a bit of a story to tell – and I wanted to be able to wash it with a broom!” laughs Scotty. “We didn’t want it too nice in case we were scared to use it, because it is a work truck at the end of the day.”

Under the bonnet – just – is a mild red 308 Holden that Scotty had sitting around in the shed and had been rebuilt 20 years ago. To suit the 6/71 blower perched up top, the bumpstick was swapped for a Camtech item and the heads freshened up by Troy at Warspeed Industries. “He threw stainless valves and seats for unleaded fuel and added Yella Terra roller rockers, too,” Scotty says.

The 308 Iron Lion in the pick-up has a long history. It was originally in Dennis Anderson’s panel van (SM, Sep ’03), and then saw duty in Scott’s HJ Sandman. Scott pulled it out to fit to his dad’s One Tonner before it finally found a home in the Chev. “I found the blower for $600 on Facebook, straight off the side of the truck, still covered in diesel,” laughs Scotty.

A Turbo 700 overdrive auto was gone through by Steve at Shift Right Transmissions, while United set up the nine-inch diff, Falcon discs and four-link, before Matty at Geelong Diffs supplied the Truetrac centre. Simple and functional, and great to drive on the open highway.

And Scotty has been doing plenty of that, having racked up bulk kilometres cruising the Chev from Sydney to Newcastle, to Summernats, and even down to Queenscliff Rod Run on an epic 1500km road trip through 45-degree heat (see more below). Unfortunately, the searing temps played havoc with the twin Holley XP four-barrel carburettors and were replaced with a Holley Sniper EFI set-up once the Chev was back in the Harbour City.

“We had some problems on that run, but it was an amazing weekend,” Scott says. “The guys at Air Ride Suspension Supplies helped us massively by staying open to fix some issues with the airbags; they got us back on the road.”

So how did the Oxytech shop truck end up tagged POPS56? Scotty runs the business with his dad Richard, and sold the idea of another project car to Barter Sr by implying that Richard would carry the keys to it.

Behind the bench seat is an original Chevy truck fuel tank fitted with a VT Commodore fuel pump assembly to provide the high-pressure go-juice the injected mill now requires. A collapsible Ididit steering column replaces the 50s chest harpoon, while Scotty picks ratios with a B&M ratchet shifter

“I’m yet to have a go,” laughs Richard. “I think he’s still ‘shaking it down’ for me!” We can’t blame Scotty for not wanting to give up the keys to this one.


WHILE you can rack up bulk kilometres driving around town, nothing tests a fresh build like a 1500km interstate road trip through the hottest part of an Aussie summer. Scotty and I hit the road in late January this year, along with Aaron Gregory and his fiancée Mia in Aaron’s ’51 Chev pick-up, to attend the 2020 Queenscliff Rod Run.

Leaving Sydney before dawn, we made great time through a cool morning, but less than 30 minutes after leaving Gundagai – and with the mercury already well into the 30s – Scotty’s truck started having fuel pressure issues. We soldiered on, but the problem got worse until just north of Holbrook, when one of the rear air struts let go in sympathy – thankfully just after Scotty had rolled out from under the truck.

We limped into Holbrook with the Chev on its bump stops as the temperature soared into the mid-40s, and Scotty took on the thankless job of changing the fuel pump in the dirt of a mechanic’s forecourt.

Still, we decided to push on and head for our night’s accommodation in Geelong, driving through nearly 50-degree heat with no rear suspension. We battled through the day, fighting disappearing fuel pressure and a transmission puking fluid and slipping badly due to the driveline angle from running on bump stops.

Around 3:30pm, during a quick lunch at Euroa, we made the decision to make for Air Ride Suspension Supplies in Bayswater, 380km away, despite exhaustion setting in and our calculators saying we’d get there after they’d close for the day.

We blasted to Bayswater the back way down a twisting, single-lane highway, trying to keep pace with Aaron while our transmission attempted to quit life by overheating, losing gears and spewing out fluid.

Thankfully, Dave Rulach and the legends at Air Ride stayed back past their closing time and gave us cold water and icy poles while they fixed the airbags in Scotty’s truck to get us back on the road.

Sixteen hours after leaving Sydney, we made it to Geelong and had one of the best car weekends ever, filled with epic street machines, good times and great people. Scotty came away with a list of things to fix on the Chev, which he has steadily been working through, and has now refined it to a point of brilliance.


Powdercoat: Oxytech Cove Beige & Shadow Chrome

Brand: Holden 308ci
Induction: Newby
ECU: Holley Sniper
Blower: GM 6/71, modified by JRE
Camshaft: Camtech 228/235-114 blower cam
Fuel system: EFI Hardware VT Commodore MRA
Cooling: Fenix alloy HQ radiator, twin thermo fans
Exhaust: Pacemaker 15/8in headers, custom United Speed Shop dual 2.5in exhaust
Ignition: ICE dizzy & control box

Gearbox: TH700 four-speed auto
Converter: Shift Right-modified stock
Diff: 9in, Truetrac centre, 3.53:1 ratio

Front: Air Ride ShockWave air struts, United Speed Shop control arms, Ididit column
Rear: Air Ride ShockWave air struts, United Speed Shop four-link & Panhard bar, AccuAir e-Level height management
Brakes: Baer four-piston discs (f), Falcon discs (r)
Master cylinder: VT Commodore

Rims: American Legend; 17×7(f), 18×8 (r)
Rubber: Toyo; 215/60 (f), 265/60(r)

Ryan Carter at United Speed Shop for taking the truck from concept to completion; Snelly at Peter Snell’s Protective Coatings; Greg Sheedy at United for all the after-hours help; Sam Rayner at Bombwerks; Trav McCleverty; Daniel Kelly; Ricky’s Drive Shafts; Jeff Ramsay Engineering; Troy Worsley at Warspeed Industries; Troy Brodie at Fink Engineering; Daz at Stitched Up Custom Trim; Brendan Carroll at Car Builders Australia; All Muscle Car Parts; my dad Richie for being the best old man and mate a bloke could have; most of all, my girls Soph and Loz and my wife Christie for lots of weekends in Newcastle