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Projects my '53 Chevy truck project

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 65standard, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. here is my story:
    i've had this 392 fuel hemi now for over 20 years. for the last three months now, i have been looking for a hotrod to put this motor in. i also wanted to do a salvage yard rescue, so i went to different junk yards looking for a hotrod to build. i came across a 1952 chevy 3800 and a 1951 GMC 150. i closely examined these trucks to access what i needed to save them.

    i talked to the owner of the junk yard about maybe buying one of these truck for a project. i told me he knows of a 1953 3100 truck for $1500. i asked to see it. he took me to Braceville, Illinios where the truck was. the guy there had a bunch of old hotrods he offered me. i asked about the truck because i didn't see it anywhere. we walked about 100 yards to an old horse barn in his back property. in one of the stalled was the 1953 chevy 3100 series pickup truck. i liked it and bought it.

    now for my plans:
    i plan to do a high end restore/custom out of this truck. the mods will be

    Mechanical Fuel injected 392 hemi, 727 reverse manual, 3800 stall, 4.56 detroit locker 9" ford
    Cab channeled 1 1/4" over frame
    hood sectioned and raked
    Shaved handles, emblems, and drip rails
    custom made boxed truss frame narrowed 14" and shortened 7"
    Heidts front suspension with coilovers
    Chris Alston 32" ladder bars with coilovers out back
    bed shortened 7"
    15x4 skinnies in front, 15x14 in rear w/31x18.5-15
    1949 Ford coupe front bumper and valance
    1979 Ford E-150 front bumper on rear with four 1950 Pontiac tail lights
    1949 Ford grill surround w/custom center bar

    here is what i am starting with
    it sat in the barn since 1979. the owner tried to fix ti up himself. notice the side mounted spare tire. the bed is 6' 6" on the inside. is this a long or short bed???

    notice the large turn signals. are these original? check out the headlamps. the are bugging out of the trim ring. is that normal?

    nice pin striping???

    anyone know if this rear is original? it has spring pirches top and bottom. is this a small dana rear?

    great body work. some people just dont have a clue.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
    dustydog likes this.
  2. whid
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 452


    suscribed....gonna be cool........whid
  3. lukey
    Joined: May 27, 2009
    Posts: 668


    Thats a cool project, gonna be a blast with that hemi in it!

  4. Grommet
    Joined: Oct 24, 2008
    Posts: 532

    from South GA

    Cool looking project.....subscribed

  5. henry29
    Joined: Sep 5, 2007
    Posts: 2,835


    Yes it's a short bed, no it's not the original rear end.
  6. motion guru
    Joined: Oct 18, 2009
    Posts: 155

    motion guru
    from yacolt, wa

    Those cowls are pretty easy to replace and patch panels are available from the usual suspects - looks like a frankentruck built from a bunch of parts from different trucks.

    Sheet metal looks decent other than the cowls - hopefully no other surprises.

    Your second photo shows the grille pretty well - I bet you a cold beer that it is a repop based on the lack of definition of the waterfall shape on the ends - hard to find a nice stock chrome grille these days and getting a straight stock one chromed will cost you a fortune.
  7. 48 Chubby
    Joined: Apr 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,014

    48 Chubby
    Member Emeritus

    From the top:
    Short bed

    I see no turn signals, 2 head lights, one fog light, and the two parking lights are gone. This trucks did not come with turn signals as original equipment, adding them is easy.

    The bulging head lights are because of some missing isolators and gaskets. Fairly common.

    The rear seems to be a GM 10 bolt 4 wheel drive unit likely '73 to '87. The front spring hangers back here are questionable at best, the U-bolts look like front axle pieces and should be changed to wrap around the axle as soon as possible.

    I strongly urge you to reconsider that laundry list of extensive modifications. Though they would lead to a good looking truck if properly done, they could quickly lead you into very deep water where it is easy to drown.
    Get the mechanicals figured out first. Drive it a while. Tackle those body mods a step at a time. Biting off too much on the first bite leads to most "never finished" projects.
  8. Thanks for the info guys. I don't think the rear is a 10 bolt. It looks more like a dana 44 or 50.

    Were turn signals optional?

    If my bed s a short bed, then there must be a shorter bed. Someone on here has a green AD truck and their bed appears to be 5" or 6" shorter than mine. Different year AD truck or custom, I don't know.
  9. Yes, I joined the AD truck forum.

    My ideas for the truck are still in the planning stages. I know the body mods planned are subtle and may go unnoticed by most. Yet the work involved is major surgery. I am a fabricator during the day and a Chrysler prototype engineer on the side.

    I am also open to ideas for this truck. I figure this as a four year project so bear with me here. I am not looking for a driver, but a very high end custom hotrod that I will cruise around town on perfect days only.
  10. I started the teardown and discovered that someone welded both front fenders to the cab's cowl panel. I cut the cowl panels to save the rust free fenders. The cowl area was rusted anyways and didn't want to mess up the fenders separating the two.

    The only rust on the truck is the cab. Both cowls are rusted completely through. I need inner and outer patch panels and probably more. Anyone know a company the make high quality patch panels. I only know of LMC truck. Any other option out there?
  11. henry29
    Joined: Sep 5, 2007
    Posts: 2,835


  12. Thanks, I just ordered their catalog.
  13. okay, i am just about finished with the teardown. the cab is about as rusty as it gets.


    now the rebuild begins. i ordered all of the sheetmetal to repair the cab. i will show my step by step process of rust repair for a worse case. once the cab is rebuit, i will begin the custom metal work.
  14. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 28,552


    That cab is a lot better than I have seen a lot of guys back east start with. And at least it looks pretty straight.

    These trucks had 'park lights in the grill but usually the turn signals were an add on with lights bolted on top of the fenders.
    This one has a few changes such as the bumper and being nosed along with the halogen headlights but it does have the park lights in the stock position.
    A lot of guys (me included) swap the sockets and bulbs in the park lights to add turn signals without extra lights.

    On your truck those headlight cover can be removed easily enough and stuck in the swapmeet box as some guys seem to love them.

    I can't help you on the rear end but it looks like a six lug Dana (adapters?) that may or may not be off a Chev or GM rig.
    The side mount spare was an option starting about 53 that some guys like and a lot don't. Again if you don't use it and the fender add them to the swap meet collection as there are plenty of guys hunting for them especially the restorers and lowrider brigades. You can probably find someone who will offer a primo regular rear fender in trade for those pieces.

    The foglight on the bumper apron is just that, a fog light that someone added. Again good swap meet bait for a few bucks if you don't use it.

    One word of advice from the guy who didn't do it right the first time. Before you start measuring or bracing for the chop get the door gaps and fit perfect. I'd go as far as buying and installing new cab mount bushings and pads before I started chopping it to make sure that the cab is as square as you can get it. And brace the hell out of it so things don't move. It saves that "what the hell do I do now" feeling from happening. I didn't do either on mine in 1980 when I chopped it and the doors never did fit the way I wanted them to.
  15. I agree on getting the doors mounted and perfectly adjusted before starting a chop. That was in my plans. I am also going to be using brand new doors. And I want to use earlier style doors without vent windows and the single hole for the door handles. I am going or a smoother look without door handles or vent windows.

    Thanks for all of the info and tips.
  16. The rear end is a Dana44 with 3.55 posi. I am not going to use it. Going with a narrowed 9" with 4.11 Detroit locker setup. I will need the lower gears for the 31" tall tires. I was going to toss the spare tire mount and left rear fender, but if people like these, I will save it until someone wants it.
  17. 50F3PU
    Joined: Nov 9, 2008
    Posts: 34

    from nc

    Judging from what looks like the original spring pads on top of the rear end and assuming that it is truely a 6 lug (no adapters), Id guess that rear end is a D44 from a mid seventies Chevy/GMC 4x4. They used them until around 76-77 I think.
  18. billys54
    Joined: Apr 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,295


  19. Yes, the dana44 is a true 6 lug without any adapters. Thanks for the info on it. I had no idea what it was from.
  20. Just Gadget
    Joined: Aug 7, 2011
    Posts: 1,130

    Just Gadget

    nice truck Mr48
  21. Chevy54
    Joined: Sep 27, 2009
    Posts: 1,413

    from Orange, CA

    Looking forward to following this...just finished mine! I x2 Classicparts...if you buy enough ask for there discounts!
  22. okay, i got a large package today from LMC Truck.


    and here is everything i need to repair the rusted out cowl areas.


    this is what you get for $800. i will start the rebuild this weekend. i think i can get the cab all finished in three weeks. that is including the filled louvers, raised front fender mounts on the cowls, left rear cab corner, and filled in and repaired firewall. i will post detailed pictures of the mods and panel replacement in case anyone else is starting with a truck from the land of lincoln or land of rust.
  23. i am doing the left side first. once complete, i will do the right side. well, i removed all of the bad metal at the factory seams. lots of spot welds to drill out, clean all the surfaces where the new panels will be spot welded back in. i will spot weld where the factory did it and mig weld where the factory gas welded. when done correctly, it will look like an unmolested original cab.

    here is where i am at so far.


    the only weld that will not be like the factory is the outer cab corner. this will be butt welded and ground smooth to make it appear as it was all one piece. next i will start to spot weld in the replacement panels. i will spot weld where the factory did and mig weld where the factory gas welded. when done correctly, it will appear as an unmolsted original cab.

    stay tuned...
  24. shadams
    Joined: Mar 16, 2011
    Posts: 1,491


    Sweet, with the exception of the rockers, that is the exact same thing I am going to have to do. Thanks for scaring the shit out of me, I never imagined it to look like that all cut up....good luck and dont forget to update, i need a step by step....
  25. Before you get the cab all done, test fit that hemi, I had to notch the fire wall a bit, but I wanted to run a mech fan, and the water pump had to be in the center of the radiator. PS I used a kids wagon from harbor freight.:cool:

    Attached Files:

  26. farmer12
    Joined: Aug 28, 2006
    Posts: 7,717


    Looks like you're making all the right moves to make this one killer truck! But I do agree on the hemi test fit though. Would be a shame to have to cut the firewall again later on. Keep up the good work.
  27. Grommet
    Joined: Oct 24, 2008
    Posts: 532

    from South GA

    Looking good....dig the little red wagon idea
  28. When cutting out the cowl panel and inner cowl and cowl brace like that... how are you going to make sure panel alignment is ok? What do you have to go off of? You obviously know what your doing so im sure youve got a plan!

    I am really looking forward to watching this one!
  29. I have the other door jamb to measure from and the factory assembly manual. I basically cut out the floor the exact size of the replacement floor. Same with the hinge pillar, I cut off the exact amount of the repair pillar. Once I get the rocker, floor and hinge pillar back in, then I will tack the inner cowl (kick panel) in. That will be as far as I can go, then comes the modified cowl brace and outer cowl panel where I raise the fender mount 1 1/2".

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