Last May, while we were cruising Pinterest for some cool looking builds, we discovered a neat work truck that had been customized into a modern-looking slammed truck, fashioned in the rat rod style. We posted a picture of it on our Facebook fanpage and got a lot of responses. One of the people that responded to the post was the builder of the truck. Trent Meng simply said; “Thanks for featuring my truck.”
Thanks for featuring my truck. – Trent Meng
In this business, whenever you get to meet the builder of a sweet vehicle, you really have to follow up and get more details. We did just that. Trent was a pleasure to work with, and he sent us a ton of information and more photos of the truck. He was very grateful and expressed his thanks. That’s when we dropped the ball.
It doesn’t happen often, but on ocassion, a project or story slips between the cracks and gets overlooked. That’s what happened with Trent’s truck story. There was always something more pressing or time sensitive to be worked on, and the truck story kept getting pushed back until it was out of sight.
Trent, being the ever-humble, hard working man from one of the flyover states, took it all in stride and let it go. Most people would be firing off emails, calling, and sending messages and leaving comments in social media. Trust us, we ocassionally hear from folks that don’t let us forget that we told them that we would see what we could do. Not Trent. He just kept working and driving his truck.
We were clearing out old email messages as part of a new year’s resolution, and there it was. Trent’s email with the tech data on his build. Without a second thought, we knew that we had to do the right thing and present this feature. So Trent… thank you for being patient. Here is the story of your build.
“My great-grandpa, Otto, purchased this truck brand new in 1951 for use on the family farm,” said Trent. “It has worn Meng Farms, Ingalls, Kansas, on the door ever since.” The two-ton hauler was used as a grain truck by great-grandpa Otto and the family “all the way up ’till 1992.” The truck spent several years sitting in a pasture on the farm, and the young Trent kept eyeballing it, wishing that he could get it back on the road for his great-grandpa, his grandpa, and the rest of the family.
One day, Trent found a chassis that would be perfect to serve as the foundation for the rebuild. It was a 1982 Chevy P30 that used to be a Frito Lay delivery van. The dimensions were very close to the original 1950 Chevy 6400 that great-grandpa Otto bought. Trent prepped the Frito van’s chassis to use as a donor truck to supply parts for the project.
From A Frito Van
The beast has a 4BT Cummins engine, which is basically an inline four cylinder diesel engine that was common in commercial van applications like bread trucks, or in this case, a Frito van. These are torquey little engines that have become popular in small truck and Jeep swaps. Their popularity stems from the resources that are widely available to support the swap.
Meng mounted a dependable Turbo-Hydramatic 400 transmission behind the turbo diesel, knowing that it could handle the torque. He went with a slammed rat rod look that favors the worn original paint of the old work-truck body. Utilizing an Air Ride suspension system, Trent drives the truck often. During the spring and summer, you can find him at one of the area’s local car shows.
- Name: Trent Meng
- Location: Lives in Wichita, Kansas, but grew up in Ingalls, Kansas
- Year: 1950
- Make: Chevy
- Model: Truck 6400
- Paint: Red/Rust
- Body Mods: custom made visor. Custom made front bumper. Custom fuel tanks
- Engine: 4BT Cummins Turbo Diesel
- Future engine plans: Compounds. Intercooler. P-pump injection
- Transmission: Turbo 400
- Interior parts: Battery display center console, flour sifter cup holders, wrench/gear door handles/window cranks,bucket seats
- Brakes: OEM
- Wheels: 22-inch Alcoa
- Suspension parts: Air Ride
- Driveline parts: 14-bolt rearend
- How long did it take to build it: 2 1/2 years so far (in May, 2016)
- How long has the truck been in its current state? six months (in May, 2016)
- How often do you drive it: On weekends
- How often do you show it: Try to show it every weekend at car shows
- How much of the work did you perform yourself on the build: Did everything myself with a few friends’ help
- How many awards have you won: Six so far. 1st in rat rod category’s
- What was your original motivation to build this truck: Did it in memory of Great Grandpa Otto Meng and Grandpa Ellis Meng, and all family members
- What do you like most about the truck? The 4BT Cummins and Air Ride
- Would you consider the truck finished, or do you have more plans for it: Not finished. I still have a lot of plans: add a bed, four-link, etc.