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Restored ’48 Chevy pickup a real crowd-pleaser

Tom Greenwood Special to The Detroit News

There are two reasons why it’s easy to spot Eugene and Marilyn Mayse’s customized 1948 Chevrolet pickup: by its beautiful paint job and by all the people taking photos of it.

The best way to describe the color would be to imagine the world’s most luscious creamsicle.

“The color is tangelo pearl,” said Eugene, a resident of Ypsilanti who retired from GM in 1997.

“And I did the paint job myself. I did all the customizing myself, including dropping in a 5.7 LS fuel-injected Corvette engine, which puts out about 345 HP.”

According to Marilyn, customizing cars is her husband’s passion and she approves of it.

“It keeps him busy out there in the barn,” she said with a smile. “It’s his therapy.”

According to Eugene, he’s customized at least 25 different vehicles and models since he retired.

“And they’ve all been Chevys,” Eugene said. “I can’t remember all of them, but they’ve included a 1931 and a 1938, two 1954 pickups and a 1957. I customize them, show them off for a couple of years and then someone wants them and off they go.”

But Eugene and Marilyn have decided to hold on to the 1948 pickup.

“It’s just special,” Marilyn said.“Several people have made offers, but we decided it’s a keeper.”

Historywise, the 1948 spent most of its years in Arizona, according to Eugene.

“It never saw road salt or tough winters,” he said. “Then a fella from Redford bought it and drove it back to Michigan where he blew up the engine. That was in 1965. I found it in his barn in 2006, and it was still in very good shape except for the engine.”

After paying $4,000 for the ’48, he swapped out the engine, put on different bumpers, added a customized chrome grill, upgraded the interior and then painted it a glorious glowing orange.

“I bought it for $4,000, and today, I’d put a purchase price of about $55,000 on it,” Mayes said.

“As I said, we have no intention of selling it, but in the meantime, I’m looking around for another vehicle to work on. And I can tell you right now that it will be another Chevy.”