The Way We Were
You may wonder why we chose to get into automobile manufacturing. After all, history hasn't exactly been kind to automotive start-ups.
If you can remember when cars and trucks had brawn ... not just heft from steel, but style ... they bulged in the right places. Big fenders, bright bumpers, bold hoods with a growling power-plant underneath.
Well, take a look around at today's vehicles and it is painfully obvious that style and craftsmanship have all but disappeared. Remember when we used to look forward to the new model year? There is no longer any anticipation when new models are unveiled. Because you know just what you are going to see; mass marketed vehicles with no style but lots of creature comforts and safety features. Not that those things are bad, but something is missing for the person who longs for a beautiful vehicle that will turn heads, is affordable and is exclusive.
You know, memories kind of erase the bad stuff, and although the cars of old, especially the pick-up trucks, were brawny and beautiful, they were uncomfortable and didn't ride all too well. So, we decided there was a clear need for beautiful classic vehicles. As good as we remembered, only better. A vehicle that has that unique, classic styling plus modern features, the ride we're accustom too, with all of the safety components. Yet produced in such limited quantities so that there isn't one in every town. And, assembled totally by hand, like the finest luxury vehicles. Finally, we wanted it to be serviceable so you didn't have to drive 100 miles to get it fixed after setting you back a few grand.
Welcome to Southern Motor Company, the modern classic street rod.
Our first vehicle, the Southern 358 was based on the classic pick up trucks of the late 40's and early 50s. We loved the large fenders, massive hood, running boards, wooden bed and lots of chrome. But we didn't like the tiny cab space, poor handling, terrible suspension, uncomfortable seats, wind noise, and lack of safety features.
How We Started
We chose a truck that was perceived in our research to have the best style and it happened to be a five window Chevy, although the five window Dodge would have also been a good choice. However, those were less known and more rare. Admittedly, most trucks of this era looked similar but they all had style.
The problem with these old trucks was that the cabs were tiny; the steering wheel was right in your chest and there was hardly any room to move. Good luck fitting in one if you are over six feet tall and weigh close to 200 pounds. The truck beds were also much lower than today's. Together, their proportions were so different than modern trucks, that they just looked "old".
What We Changed
To eliminate that old look we changed virtually every part of the truck. The cab was stretched six inches, the top dropped one inch, the windshield was tilted back (less road noise and a more aerodynamic look), the bed was raised two inches, the hood was dropped and narrowed and the entire grill was scrapped and given a new face. The interior was re-done but the classic instrument gauges and simple looking dash were only modestly changed. Of course, the whole frame has changed. It now has the front end of a sports car, a stiff tubular steel frame with trailing arms and struts to replace the old leaf springs. It might look like a truck but it will handle like a sports car. At first glance it looks very similar to an old Chevy, but get them side-by-side and they are worlds apart.
What We Ended Up With
Imagine a limited production street rod with the safety and serviceability of a standard vehicle and at half the cost of a typical restoration, not to mention the blood, sweat and tears. That is the Southern 358.
As you can see from our web site, the 358 will be the most beautiful production truck in the world. And you can be sure that when you get a Southern, your neighbor probably won't have one; oh ... but he'll want one.
The modern classic automobile.