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One of the coolest things about seeing custom vehicles, aside from the awesome engines and added horsepower, is the fact that so many hot rods are literally pieces of art. Each one represents the owner’s vision, tastes, quirks, and wants in a vehicle that’s entirely unique to them.
A perfect example of this is Warwick Andrews’ Chain Smoker – a 1947 Fargo fl1 pickup truck with a 12-valve 6BT 5.9L Cummins engine in it. We got one glimpse at it and couldn’t pass up the chance to know more about the truck, the engine and its owner.
“Chain Smoker is a 1947 Fargo reclaimed from a Canadian field with original matching patina on every panel and no body filler,” owner Warwick Andrews told us. “I sculpted its chain body panels using design cues from Art Deco-era cars mixed with modern-day rat rods, since coined into the new category of ‘art rod.’”
Since 2012, Warwick Andrews has owned Andrews Auto Gallery in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, a quality pre-owned vehicle dealership. Prior to opening his dealership 10 years ago, Warwick was a commercial helicopter pilot. When he came across the 1947 Fargo, he knew he had something special on his hands that would be perfect for a car project. The art rod took three years to get to where it is now.
“I’m essentially just a hobbyist, but I have some pretty extreme projects,” Andrews says. “Inspiration for Chain Smoker came from seeing some chains lined up and thinking about how I could weld them to create a panel out of chains, which I had never seen done before.”
While we typically drool over a vehicle’s engine, the true piece de resistance here is Chain Smoker’s exterior, and how this art rod got its name. The chain exterior was built using 300+ feet of chain from a 1940s decommissioned elevator. How cool is that!
What might be even cooler is that during a burnout, smoke plumes through the rear widebody chains while simultaneously rolling out the exhaust stack into its surrounding chains, which is when the name Chain Smoker truly comes into play.
Of course, it wasn’t just a cool exterior Warwick was after. He also wanted to crack the 1,000-horsepower mark, so he opted for a 12-valve 6BT Cummins engine, complete with a number of aftermarket upgrades and a cool, Tiffany Blue paint job to go under the hood.
“The goal is four-digit power numbers, but it hasn’t been dynoed yet,” he says. “That’s happening this summer. The 12-valve Cummins was built with only high-performance aftermarket parts and machine work. It has a compound turbo setup – a 366 74mm turbo feeding a nasty 485 96mm from Stainless Diesel.”
Those high-performance parts include a KRP Fab custom top mount turbo and complete piping setup, hardened connecting rods, marine pistons, ARP hardware, a Gorilla girdle, Haisley Machine fire rings, a CPP 188/220 camshaft, Hamilton 165-lb. springs, a Hamilton cam gear retainer, Hamilton extreme duty pushrods, a ZZ Fab intake manifold, Pacbrake 4000 rpm governor springs, a KRP Fab one-off twin-scroll exhaust horn, a Stainless Diesel polished one-piece T4 exhaust manifold, CPP billet freeze plugs and adjustable pump gear, a Keating rear billet freeze plug set, a Keating billet one-piece valve cover, a Scheid timing case and cover, a Scheid billet tappet cover, and a Fluidampr harmonic balancer.
Additional accessory components on Chain Smoker include an XDP gear reduction starter, a Pensacola vacuum pump, a BD killer dowel pin kit, a Keating lift pump block off plate, a DEI tunnel shield, Moroso vented catch cans, Mishimoto intercooler piping boots, three Spal electric fans, SWI turbo blankets, Ledaut exhaust wrap, and a Vibrant Performance bellmouth velocity stack.
For fuel, the Cummins engine gets help from a CPP Hot Street P7100 pump and DDP 5x.024˝ competition injectors. Also lending a hand are CPP Hot Street delivery valves, a FASS titanium 220 gph fuel pump, CPP .093˝ fuel lines custom bent by KRP Fab, a CPP fuel return kit, an Attitude Adjuster adjustable fuel plate, twin 64L aluminum fuel cells held down with chains, Garage Nishtyaki custom gas caps, and a steel braided line fuel system with AN fittings.
To help cool the Cummins engine, Warwick opted to use a Northern Radiator high performance intercooler, a KRP Fab custom stainless coolant line and intercooler pipes, and DEI gold heat wrapping.
The transmission is an NV4500 5-speed manual trans with a Southbend Clutch stage 6 triple-disc clutch. The transmission setup also includes a Haisley Machine bell housing spacer and input shaft, a custom driveshaft and Dana 80 rear differential.
Outside of the patina on the 1947 Fargo pickup, pretty much everything else has been given a custom touch or upgraded to more modern, aftermarket parts. The chassis of Chain Smoker is a fully custom boxed frame from a 2nd Gen Dodge Ram. The truck also features a 6 point 1.5” DOM tube roll cage and Chassis Tech custom four link rear suspension with Watts link.
To finish the art rods’ interior aesthetics, Warwick went to Auto Marine Upholstery to get the seats done in brown with double diamond pattern and subtle light blue stitching, all wrapped in real leather with design cues taken off the Bentley Continental.
The interior also features Auto Meter Chrono dash-mounted gauges for speed, oil temp, coolant temp, fuel, and oil pressure, and Auto Meter Spek Pro hood-mounted gauges for boost, EGT and tachometer.
The truck rides on a KRP Fab custom staggered wheel set starting with U.S. Wheel Rat Rod wheels – 18˝x7˝ fronts with 20˝x12˝ rears – built to emulate the look of train wheels. The truck bed has a MAR-K custom wood bed floor and the pinstriping and door lettering were done by Gamboogie.
If all of these parts weren’t impressive enough, Chain Smoker also features cool, historical pieces incorporated into it like an 1800s chest brought to Canada from Scotland with an upper section made from a vintage Canada Dry crate, a Greek Gladius damascus steel sword as a shift lever, a Spanish Toledo sword as a hydraulic drift lever, a U.S. Bowie knife as an emergency brake lever, Japanese chef knife door handles, Welding bottle lids as front wheel caps, 1947 Canadian dimes flush-mounted to fill in cab holes, and a Canadian toonie mounted below the front Fargo emblem.
In all, there is absolutely no denying Chain Smoker is a true art rod that demands your attention, and one that puts performance on display as well. Those are the best kind.
Diesel of the Week is sponsored by AMSOIL. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected]