The early fifties Chevy pickups have been gaining a lot of popularity lately, quickly moving into the spot of the most sought after classic truck. After all, there is no denying the timeless styling and design they exhibit. Even in stock form, they are a head turner at any show, but when you get custom versions, they can really get exciting. Like any build that we’ve seen from Hot Rod Dynamics, this custom ’53 Chevy they are working on really gets our blood pumping. We talked to Joe Lutz over at HRD and got the inside story on the work they are putting into this project.
“The truck was originally brought to us by Leslie Horne from South Carolina,” Joe said. “However, not long into the build, Leslie decided to pull the plug.” A combination of a lack of funding and other interests that came into play put an end to it for Leslie, but Joe had already seen what this truck could be and didn’t want to let it go. “I had my guys and Guy Reid working on the truck at full force.” Joe explained how the shop work was already underway, and their source for bodywork, Guy Reid, was already on the job. “I didn’t want to just have them stop in the middle of what they were doing.” Joe and Leslie struck a deal and the truck was passed into Joe’s name.
When HRD got the truck, it was basically a body on a TCI chassis with some extra parts. Although it was in good shape, a lot of the bodywork still needed to be completed, and that’s where Guy Reid came into play. Guy came in and made sure all of the remaining bodywork on the truck was finished to HRD specifications.
“Typically, a V8 in one of these trucks sits very low on the chassis, in order to get the transmission to fit under the stock, flat floor,” Joe said. “I don’t like that look, so we fabricated a transmission tunnel and installed one of our HRD smoothie-recessed firewalls.” With that trick, and a few other modifications to the setup, they were able to bring the engine and transmission up by an extra 8 inches. This also allowed them to push the engine back far enough to utilize a serpentine belt system from Concept One on the front of the engine.
One of the coolest things about this build, is that Joe and the team ended up with complete creative control over the project. Joe gave us a rundown of what the project included, and we feel inclined to share all of the best details with you. The project started with an original, rust free ’53 Chevy 3100 body, the aforementioned TCI chassis with a fully-polished stainless steel suspension, and HRD fabricated mandrel bent exhaust. It also features a small-block LS1 engine, and a custom injection system with individual throttle body stacks and GM electronics. The drivetrain is followed by a rebuilt 4L60E overdrive automatic transmission with a 2,800 rpm stall converter, and a 9-inch rearend with a 3.55 gear ratio.
The exterior presents a custom paintjob using DuPont ChromaBase paint, done buy Guy’s Customs and Restoration. The bed is fitted with custom-fabricated mini-tubs, stainless-steel bed stripping, and Red Oak bed wood finished by McCreary Modern Furniture of North Carolina. Creature comforts inside the cab include power windows, air-conditioning, tilt steering wheel, and more-comfortable-than-original interior seats. There really is way too much detail that has gone into this truck for us to list it all.
The catch here is that the truck is not quite finished yet, but for good reason. Joe plans on selling the truck, but wants to wait to complete the interior so that it can be done with the new owner’s tastes in mind. “I am envisioning a primarily red leather interior to match the red engine and transmission with some nice billet accents,” Joe told us. “The end goal for this truck is to have a very nice, show-worthy street truck with a Pro Touring vibe.” Just from the pictures and what he has said, they’ve done a great job getting it to exactly where they want it.
What do you think of this craze developing around the early-’50s Chevy trucks? Would you drive this truck around town? Tell us what you think in the comments section.