Feature Article, Street Rods, Washington — August 25, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Dave and Larry Keller (issue 98)



By Steve Heeb

When brothers Dave and Larry Keller showed up for the Goodguys Pacific Northwest Nationals, their vehicles looked to about as far apart as their two houses.

Larry only had to drive his red ’34 Ford Tudor sedan across town to get to the Puyallup Fairgrounds.

Dave brought his ’50 Chev pickup 120 miles over the mountains from Ellensburg.

Larry’s car had the classic look one would expect to see at the annual street rod show.

Dave’s pickup looked a little rough around the edges.

But looks can deceive.

“It’s a farm truck with a hard-running motor,” Dave says of the pickup he bought 25 years ago. “The idea was to build a hot rod, but I had a five-year-old daughter so that would have to wait.”

A shattered elbow also would test Dave’s mettle.

“I started one handed and took it apart,” Dave explains. “Then I slowly started to put it back together again.”

“Instead of sitting around doing nothing he put that truck back together,” Larry says.

“It has been my therapy to get my arm back,” Dave says. “This truck gave me my arm back.”

Under a seemingly rough exterior beats a built Chevy 350 smallblock with a Turbo 400 transmission. Dave also installed a 2500 stall shift kit and a 10-bolt posi rear end. A 125-shot NOS system gives the truck a little extra boost as well.

“Everything is changed underneath,” Dave says. Power steering and a Chev pickup front end. It’s all bits and pieces down to the Cadillac steering wheel.”

Larry’s ’34 Ford gets its power from a 350 Chev and Turbo 350 combination.

“It has basically stock lines, but not bone stock,” Larry says. “It’s somewhere in between.”

The car was modernized with power windows and other creature comforts.

“Some cush for the tush,” he laughs.

He says the car that had originally been brought up from Oregon was one of the few turn-key cars he’s bought in a long list of vehicles that started with his first car, a 396-powered ’58 Impala.

“Most of my cars are projects that I am working on,” Larry says.

He says he appreciates the flowing body styling of the ’33-’34 Fords.

“I have a ’33 Chrysler CD8 coupe that has that same look,” he says of the curvy street rod. “It has suicide doors too.”

Another project from that era is his ’31 Model A coupe.

“That’s what I am working on right now,” he says. “It has a slight chop and is channeled. It also has a blower.”

Also in the works is a ’46 half-ton pickup that he plans to bulk up a six-cylinder motor with the turbocharger off a Firebird Trans Am.

He also has a ’51 Dodge 3-window business coupe and a different ’58 Impala.

“I’d say the Impala was a 20-footer,” he jokes of the distance one has to be from the car for it to look good. “When it rains it looks better.”

His Ford doesn’t have that problem.

“It’s been a good old car,’” Larry smiles. “It’s a cruiser. I’ve taken it to Long Beach and all over Washington.”

When Larry first bought his Ford he brought it to the 2003 Goodguys show. Brother Dave came with him to look at the cars.

“We both love the go-fast vehicles and the cruisers too,” Larry says. “We love them all. They are neat in their own ways.”

Seven years later at the 2011 Goodguys show Dave’s pickup was finally ready.

“This is my first time making it to the Goodguys with my own car,” Dave says.

Safe bet to say that it won’t be his last.

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