Project vehicles can be full of surprises both good and bad. You can have all the pictures from every angle, and look the vehicle over with a magnifying glass, but there are still going to be things that pop up when you start the build that you weren’t expecting. Tim Stengel’s “Rage51” is a 1951 3100 Chevy Truck that was transformed by Miller & Son Collision into a radical Pro Street ride that was full of surprises.
Rage51’s story began with a simple Facebook Marketplace find that turned into a road trip just south of Columbus, Ohio for Tim. When Tim purchased the truck, it already had a rat rod look to it, the top had been chopped, the stock front end was replaced with fiberglass parts, and it was a real Frankenstein monster.
Tim had started to find a lot of hidden issues when the sandblasting process started and Rage51 was a lot rougher than he anticipated. This wasn’t Tim’s first build, so he knew a fresh plan would be needed to complete the project.
“After we found all the metal issues, we changed directions and started collecting new body panels. We connected with Jim and Jim at Miller & Son Collision to work on a new plan. They took care of the body restoration and all of the unique modifications to the truck. The final product is a real testament to their talent, vision, and abilities,” Tim says.
The plan Tim had in mind for Rage51 was to build a Pro Street-style vehicle, since his roots are in the Pro Street world. That meant the truck would need big tires, but Tim also wanted it to be powered by a small-block Chevy. Then, the idea of adding a pair of turbos entered the equation. The body modifications that were performed by Miller & Son Collision were a nice surprise and helped take Rage51 to another level.
“The stance is everything with this truck. I love how the big tires are tucked up under it and then the truck is just slammed to the ground. It really has an aggressive, almost bulldog look to it. These trucks tend to look really tall, so the way Jim chopped the top and lowered everything really makes it look like it’s going fast sitting still,” he says.
This truck isn’t just a piece of art 00 Tim had it built to be a driver for his wife. Rage51 has all the comforts of a modern build, including power seats, power steering, and a turbocharged engine package that makes plenty of power when it needs to.
Rage51 is powered by a traditional small-block Chevy. The 388 cubic-inch mill was built by BRK Racing Engines and is based around a Dart block that’s filled with great parts. A set of AFR heads and Edelbrock intake top off the engine. Douglas Vanstrom from Vanstrom Performance built the custom turbo system that’s tucked away under the bed of the truck. Vanstrom also plumbed the truck and took care of all the electrical work. Behind the engine is a 4L60E transmission and Circle D torque converter. A Holley Terminator ECU controls the engine and transmission.
The inside of Rage51 is full of chrome, new upholstery, and fresh gauges. The custom New Vintage USA gauges were designed to compliment the truck’s paint perfectly. The rest of the interior was created around the idea of modernizing what was there with new technology and materials. All of this was crafted by Jeremy Kemler from Country Seats.
Miller & Son Collision attacked every inch of Rage51 with the intent of streamlining and smoothing the truck out. They wanted to create a sleek and sexy 1951 Chevy truck that was different, but still felt like a truck when you looked at it. There are so many big and small changes that have been made to Rage51 that can be easily missed if you don’t know what you’re looking for, but they still manage to look totally natural.
Jim and his son really worked hard on the roof and cab of Rage51. To the untrained eye, it looks like a standard 1951 Chevy truck roofline, but that’s just not the case.
“We actually took three inches out of the roof of the truck. The rear window was relocated, too. This was done so when we chopped the corner windows everything could be kept symmetrical. The only window that’s still stock is the rear window — everything else was modified so it would all match,” Jim says.
The bed of the truck is all removeable so Tim can service the truck as needed. Each of the rear fenders were chopped and stretched down to really make it look like the tires are tucked under the rear of the truck. The wheel arches were brought down to the running boards, which have also been widened, as well. All of the seams have been removed from the fenders, and any bolt that could be shaved off on the outside of the truck was removed to add to the sleek look.
There are countless other body modifications that have been made to Rage51 by Miller & Son Collision. All of these changes were perfectly blended together and massaged before the custom Lesonal paint was applied.
You could spend hours looking at Tim Stengel’s ride and you still might miss some of the custom touches Miller & Son Collision added to the truck. The meticulous attention to detail is what sets this Pro Street build apart from most. Rage51 is a functional piece of art that Tim and his wife will enjoy driving for years to come.