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Built With Speedway Motors: Dennis' 1940 Chevy Truck

7/9/2021
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For those of us afflicted with the car bug, one of the greatest things we can hope for is a spouse or significant other that gets it and supports our obsession. Even better if that partner is so proud of us that they go the extra mile to give us the recognition that we may be reluctant to seek out for ourselves.

Such is the case with Dennis and Diane Cramer. Without Dennis knowing about it, Diane sent us a note telling us how proud she was of him and his cars. She said, “40 years I've watched him painstakingly build the most beautiful, unique, and fast cars. However, Dennis is EXTREMELY modest, humble, and unassuming. Please message me and I will secretly send you a few.”

How great is that?

Well, Diane, we agree. Here are a few of Dennis’ cars, starting with his most recent project, a ’40 Chevy pickup that has been extensively modified (or “Cramerized”). Dennis started with a truck that he found in a neighbor’s garage way back in 1984, using only the clean original cab and guided by a vision in his head.

Doing all the work himself, Dennis fabricated his own chassis from scratch. “I built the entire frame by myself; inch by inch was designed, cut, and welded by me.” A straight axle was fitted to the front and a Ford 9” was used out back with disc brakes all around. The bed was shortened a couple feet and the tailgate was custom fabricated. Modern motivation for the otherwise old-school truck comes from an LS engine backed up by a T-56 transmission. We especially dig the side pipes and hot rod perfect rolling stock. Inside the truck, Dennis built a custom floor and installed electric windows and door poppers. There’s even a motor on the windshield that allows it to roll in and out automatically.

Diane also shared some photos of a few of Dennis’ other creations. The immaculate T-bucket is no longer in the stable, but shows off Dennis’ ability to build a flawless show car. The ’60 Willys “farm truck” is still in the family and shares garage space with the ’40 Chevy.

Finally, we asked how Dennis got started with cars, and it’s a story that many of us can relate to, but we never get tired of hearing. “I have had a fascination and extreme passion for cars since I was a little, little boy. My very first memory is when I was six years old or so, I would sit on the fender of my dad’s 1953 Dodge and watch him customize and work on it. My dad, way back in the early '50's, installed popper solenoids where the door handles used to be. Nobody could figure out how he could open the car's doors! He also built and installed a Hemi engine. That car was fast! At 10 years old, I tragically lost my dad to a debilitating illness. Every time I started on a vehicle, to modify, customize, or build, I felt my dad was with me. I still talk to him, asking his opinion.

A note about the quotes above. Diane responded to the questionnaire that we sent, but was sure to include a note: “Diane is completing this form by asking nonchalant questions. Dennis NEVER has bragged or shown-off his talent. We have been married 40 years and he deserves some kind of recognition. Dennis even "Cramerized" our riding lawnmower for goodness sake!!”

So there you have it. Direct from Dennis, as told by a proud and loving wife, the story of a long history of a humble and extremely talented guy building cool cars. And, somewhere in there is also a story about what love is really all about. Thank you Diane and Dennis for sharing your story with us.

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