As we hit Virginia during what we like to call our 2014 RPM Magazine Search For Horsepower Tour, we kept hearing about this jet black, Shafiroff big block powered, nitroused ’57 Chevy pickup. Apparently this thing was feared on the streets, on the track and even on the Christmas parade route, (we’ll get to that later).
Rumors met reality when we casually wandered over to check out a sinister looking black truck that we noticed at the recent Southern Fried Festival and Car Show in Hampton, VA. It, too, had a Shafiroff big Chevy under the hood, was sipping a hit of nitrous via an NOS Fogger system, and seemed to have all the makings of more than just a street machine. Not being able to locate the owner at first, we did a little digging with the locals.
“Y’all wanna know more about that truck?” said a voice from behind as we looked over the incredible straight lines of the full bodied hauler. “That’s one fast machine and the guy who owns it is pretty well known in these parts,” the stranger continued.
With our curiosity piqued even more, the deal was done and we tracked down the owner for a one-on-one chat and photoshoot of this legendary heavyweight.
Ricky Ashworth, a shipbuilder by trade, is as straightup a motorhead as they come. This guy lives and breathes horsepower…which is a perfect fit with RPM! As we’ve said many times before, every car has a story, and here’s the story of Ricky Ashworth’s $200 Chevrolet pickup.
“My father and I purchased this truck for $200 in 1978 from out front of an old gas station in Norfolk, VA.” Ricky explained. “I always wanted a 1969 Z/28 in high school, but I ended up with the truck my senior year. It started out with black Imron paint, baby moon hubcaps, and an electric bench seat out of a Cadillac. You know, it had one of those nice wooden beds and even a spare tire rack on the side…after a while that had to go!”
Ricky’s dad, being handy with cars, built a 327 with a 650 Holley double pumper and backed it up with a 4-speed stick.
“Pops didn’t know it at the time, but after watching my brother street race his ’66 GTO back then, I got the itch to do some racing of my own. I eventually put nitrous on the 327 after getting suckered into a race with a big block thinking he had a small block. The system I used back then was called a Marvin Miller plate system and man was it fun—especially when I went back and spanked that big block with it!”
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