Courtney Halowell's 1953 Chevy
From Dakota Digital
Courtney Halowell worked in the automotive journalism industry for 20 years, along the way making friends literally everywhere he went. An extremely friendly, down-to-earth guy, “Tito” was one of the founding members of Negative Camber (you’ve undoubtedly seen the NC stickers), a custom truck club that reaches nationwide. While I never had the chance to meet Tito, his reputation certainly precedes him. Unfortunately, in July 2011, Courtney passed away due to complications after suffering a stroke. He left behind countless friends, family and two dogs, along with a partially completed 1953 Chevy pickup project.
Begun as fodder for Street Trucks Magazine to show readers what can be done at home, Tito planned to take a well-worn ’53 Chevy cab, surround it with shiny new sheetmetal from LMC Trucks, and place the whole works on a Chevy S10 chassis that he’d been saving for many years. With a good start to the truck, Tito’s NC pals decided to team up and finish the truck in his honor; Jeff Davy lent his shop, Devious Customs, to be the command central for getting the ’53 right. The debut was slated to be SEMA 2011; we applaud the guys for pulling together and building this truck in the name of their friend, and we love the style and grace the truck exudes.
Starting with the cab, the doors were reskinned, and 58 years of abuse was massaged out of the sheetmetal. The driprails, gas filler, door handles and the wing windows were all deleted, giving the truck a simple, elegant look. Moving to the inside and continuing on with Tito’s original scheme, the crew completed narrowing the ’55 Chevy car dash and finished the ends to flow into the doors. LMC came through with new front sheetmetal, as well as a fresh box and bedwood that was stained to complement the paint. Instead of a garish notch cover usually seen with ‘bagged trucks, the entire floor was raised, keeping the polished strips intact.
While the donor S10 for this project was put on air long ago, times have changed, and a new setup was in order for Tito’s hauler. A Currie 9-inch rearend was selected as the basis for a wishbone 4-link with cantilever bars, all suspended by Firestone airbags. Up front the team installed custom control arms with Brake Performance brakes and RideTech VariShocks on all four corners. The frame was shortened to close the gap between the bed and cab; one of those subtle tweaks many people overlook. Accuair was chosen to supply the suspension controls, and the system was finished off with a pair of Viair compressors. Putting the rubber to the road (I’ve always wanted to say that) is a set of Colorado Custom Sugar City wheels in a blissful 15-inch size.
Turning to the inside, an often neglected aspect of a custom truck, Patti Jo and Gary Bell at The Interior Shop fashioned an office more inviting than a La-Z-Boy. Supple brown leather was stitched over a Glide Engineering seat, and Gary whipped up some stylish door panels. A one-off, flip-down console was built to house the Accu-Air controls. The dash was finished off with Danchuck brightwork, a Kenwood head unit, Flaming River column, and a set of VHX analog instruments. Bumps are courtesy of Kenwood subwoofers and amps, and the whole works is lit off with dual Kinetik powercells and a Painless harness.
A 350 Chevy backed by a 4L60E transmission were selected for reliability and style; Tito was always there to help someone out, and his truck had better be ready as well. March pulleys set off an Edelbrock intake and carburetor, while Tuff Stuff components keep things running smoothly. Perhaps the most interesting part of the engine is the one-off valve covers; Colorado Custom stepped up in a big way and custom-milled Courtney’s name in the same style as early Corvette covers.
Tito usually had too much fun building and driving his projects to fully complete them, or concern himself with final fit and finish, but the NC crew thought this ’53 ought to reflect his undying spirit. Having seen the truck in person, I can attest to the quality of the build, no doubt fueled by their respect for the man, Courtney “Tito” Halowell.
All images courtesy of Jason Mulligan / Street Trucks Magazine http://www.streettrucksmag.com/