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1953 Chevy Truck - Satin Slipper

Juan Avalos' '53 Chevy
January, 2007
By Rob Fortier
Photography by Rick Amado

Select to EnlargeBack in the 1940s, when Detroit minds penned the first Advance Design pickup, do you think there was even a remote possibility they imagined some would eventually end up looking like this '53 three-window? Not too likely, but it'd be real interesting to hear what they'd have to say given the opportunity to comment. Heck, back in the 1980s, who would have thought we'd have production cars like Chrysler Crossfires or the new Beetles?

Regardless of what anybody did or didn't think would happen, some people just aren't content with certain things "as is," and in this instance, Salinas, California's Juan Avalos had a different vision in mind for his truck, a little something we like to call a custom makeover. Visually, his '53 is slippery smooth, something the satin silver finish greatly emphasizes. Thanks to Kustom Fabrication's Max Farrell, not only the exterior was reworked, but the chassis as well, giving the truck a low and sleek profile.

For starters, the top was dropped 3 inches, which required quartering the roof and using a donor skin. Avoiding the "mail slot" look, the rear window was only chopped an inch, but it was lowered proportionately. Rather than shaving it off completely, the driprails were removed, and in their place 3/16 cold-roll was welded and blended to the cab, which makes for a cleaner look. Beyond that, the bed was given a once- or twice-over for aesthetics' sake as well as functionality-the rear stake pockets now flow into a molded splash pan which, in turn, flows into the bumper. The rear fenders were moved up just a tad, requiring the side aprons to be modified accordingly. And among other things, the hood was nosed and the stock headlights frenched.

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Below the silvery satin exterior lies a fully customized foundation. Up front, Farrell installed a Mustang II unit, then added 2-inch dropped spindles, modified the tubular control arms, and relocated the shock mounts-all in an effort to allow the airbags to do their work to the fullest, which they do. Out back, a Camaro 10-bolt was set up to ride within a heavy C-notch via a four-link and airbags mounting from a tube crossmember. The Air Ride system operates quick-like thanks to a 7-gallon air tank, two big compressors, and 1/2-inch valves. A set of ruby red smoothies adorned with Shannon cone caps and wrapped in Coker wide whites roll the chassis in true classic style.

Drivetrain-wise, Juan went the reliable route with a GM Goodwrench crate 350 and a Turbo 350 automatic. The engine was dressed up with ball-milled valve covers, a Chevy aluminum air cleaner, and CoolFlex hoses. And beneath all that, trusty items like an Edelbrock intake and carb, HEI ignition, and cast-iron exhaust manifolds serve their purpose. The trans is told what to do by means of a nostalgia-style Gennie shifter.

Last, but by no means least, a white and burgundy tuck 'n' roll interior paired with a painted black dash perfectly complement the monotone body. And while a stock steering wheel is used, the inside is just as far from "stock option" as the outside-and that's a good thing.

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Facts & Figures
Juan Avalos
Salinas, California
1953 Chevy 3100
Frame: Modified-Stock
Rearend / Ratio: Camaro 10-Bolt
Rear Suspension: 4-Link, Air Ride Technologies 'Bags
Rear Brakes: Drum
Front Suspension: Mustang II, Air Ride Technologies 'Bags
Front Brakes: GM Disc
Steering Box: Rack-And-Pinion
Wheels: Smoothies W/Shannon Cones
Tires: Coker Classic, G78-15
Gas Tank: Handmade 20-Gal. Aluminum, Under Bed
Engine: Goodwrench 350
Heads: Stock, Iron
Valve Covers: Ball-Milled Aluminum
Manifold / Induction: Edelbrock Air Gap / Edelbrock 600
Ignition: HEI
Exhaust / Mufflers: Cast-Iron Manifolds / Glasspacks
Transmission: TH350
Shifter: Gennie
Style: 3100 3W
Modifications: Chopped 3", Rear Window Relocated, Trim Shaved
Fenders Front / Rear: Stock / Stock, Raised
Hood: Nosed, Shaved Emblems
Grille: Stock
Bed: Stake Pockets Filled, Bedrails Capped, Molded Rear Splash Pan
Bodywork And Paint By: Max Farrell, Kustom Fabrication, Anderson, CA
Paint Type / Color: Acrylic-Enamel / Satin Silver
Headlights / Taillights: Stock, Frenched / Motorcycle Type
Outside Mirrors: Peep
Bumpers: Modified-Stock
Dashboard: Stock, Smoothed
Gauges: TPI Tech
Steering Wheel: Stock
Steering Column: Handmade
Seat: Stock-Type Bench
Upholstery: Burgundy & White Tuck 'N' Roll

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