At the time, Allan Simpson was in the middle of a move away from all that. He’d just bought a stock ’57 Chevy Cameo and used it to relocate his family from California to Alamosa, Colorado.
The truck served dual purposes as a farm and work vehicle up until 1976 when Allan gave it to his son Cleave (no relation to the Beav). Cleave, 16 at the time, commuted to and from school for a while until the high-test started flowing through his veins as it does many of us when we reach that age. He and his dad put a 396 and a turbo into the old farm truck and slapped on a coat of white Imron paint. Mullets and Sho-Los more than likely grew in unison as Bob Seger resonated through the Kracos while Cleave and his high-school sweetheart (now his wife, of course) cruised Main Street on Saturday nights. Cleave took the truck to college at the School of Mines before moving to Texas. The truck sat there for a few years before it eventually found its way home like one of those cats you hear about.
Enter Johnny Martin of Johnny’s Auto Trim and Rod shop, also in Alamosa and also a childhood friend of Kevin Simpson, Cleave’s younger brother.“I remember this truck from a very young age,” said Martin. “Cleave was the older brother with the bitchin’ ride. When he asked if I would bring the car back to life, I was honored.”
This isn’t Martin’s first rodeo. Around the same time Cleave approached him to do the build he happened to be in the middle of one of the biggest projects of his career, a Corvette he called Elegance. This tour de force received accolades from the Detroit Autorama when they named it one of the Great 8 builds of 2011. Martin eventually took Elegance to Barret-Jackson with no reserve and pulled down a whopping $412,000 for his pristine creation.
The same type of effort and then some has gone into Cleave’s project, being so close to the family and all. Only this time, of course, the vehicle’s not for sale.
“This tour de force received accolades from the Detroit Autorama when they named it one of the Great 8 builds of 2011.”
“I intend to one day hand the truck over to my son Jared,” said Cleave. “But only after I have driven the hell out of it can he pry my hands from the steering wheel.”