This article originally appeared in the June 2017 issue.
Faith Sampe has always been crazy about square-body Chevys but never could find one that would be an easy fix in her home state of Wisconsin.
Then she got one look at the 1991 crew cab pickup for sale down the road. It had a 6-inch lift and all-new sheet metal. She was sold.
“Once I saw it, I knew I wanted it,” Faith says with a grin.
Her goal firmly in mind, Faith worked in high school so she could afford the asking price. It took a year of saving, but in the end she finally had enough to claim her truck, and had plenty of time to dream up the perfect build plan to boot. Faith was more than ready to put her own stamp on this Chevy—with the right partner, of course.
“I decided I wanted to do a project build with my dad to have a special bond between us,” she shares. “My dad always had a diesel pickup while I was growing up.”
Faith’s father Abe worked in construction, so she was raised around heavy machinery and trucks.
“As I grew older I took more and more interest in diesels and equipment. My brother and I used to help my grandpa fix things on his dump truck that he had,” Faith shares.
So you could say this build was a long time in coming for the Sampes.
First, Faith and her father painted her truck a metallic grey with purple accent parts and blackened the frame. They also did all the fabrication work to the frame to prepare for a motor swap from the 350 Chevy to a 12-valve Cummins.
“I chose the 12-valve Cummins because I prefer a Cummins but wasn’t a fan of the Dodge body style, so I wanted to make a 12-valve square-body ‘Chummins,’” she explains.
Next came the installation of the 47RH transmission, and Faith followed up by adding 75hp over injectors. The duo then cut the fuel plate and turned up the screw on the fuel pump before putting the truck back together and casting an eye over the exterior. Faith decided to replace the vent window so she could put 2000-07 Chevy tow mirrors on the truck. Some 20-by-12 Anthem Aviators wrapped in 35-inch Kumhos followed up with a little interior work rounded out Faith’s upgrades—so far.
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“With any of the exterior mods, I wanted the truck to be simple but still be an eye-catcher while going down the road,” she explains. “So far nothing has caused any problems, but I do have plans to add many more things.”
Over the summer, for example, Faith wants to finish the interior and then look into getting air ride suspension and possibly doing another paint job.
“There’s always room to make some upgrades on the motor as well,” she adds. This “Chummins” is designed to be her daily driver with some towing on the side, after all. But for what she has under her belt so far, she couldn’t be happier.
“I had my dad to help with the things that I just simply didn’t know how to do or couldn’t do. He was the best encouragement because even though it took almost three years to build, he knew it would be well worth it whenever I felt like just selling it and buying a different truck,” Faith praises. “My mom Donna and my brother Jacob also encouraged and helped throughout the build, as well as my boyfriend Zach Miller who put time into helping me get it on the road.”
Along with all of the positive role models and support, Faith had to weather her fair share of trouble as well. But she chooses not to take any of it personally.
“To any girl out there who loves trucks and/or has one of her own, it’s not always easy because some people still believe girls couldn’t possibly know how to work on trucks or even own one without being told that they had help or just got it handed to them,” she says. “Well, just like men, sometimes they have people help them with certain things on their truck—so do we girls. I’ll admit that I don’t know everything but I’m willing to learn it along to way. Just don’t give up on your dreams.”
Because your dreams, like a 1991 square-body Chevy, are worth putting your faith into.