Tim Mainieri '53 Chevy Truck
From Dakota Digital
Is it new? Is it old? Is it cool? Yes!
I think everyone has, at some point, looked at an old rusty truck and thought, “I could fix that up!” It doesn’t matter if they’re ‘car guys’ or not, the desire to thrust new life into a forlorn old truck can attach itself to anyone. Maybe their granddad had one just like it, or perhaps they learned how to drive a stick shift in a truck like that, but whatever the reason, people are drawn to rusty old trucks. But this isn’t one of them. What we have this month is a frame-off, freshly built ‘53 Chevy truck stocked with a low-mile LS engine, air suspension and a very convincing (and brand new) paint job.!
Some may balk at going through the trouble of restoring a vehicle, only to finish it to look like a weather-beaten old hulk. I can’t blame the polish and wax team for their feelings, but there is something to be said about a solid runner with a user friendly finish. This is a real-deal 1953 Chevy pickup which was blessed with new floor pans, rockers and cab corners, while the bed floor was replaced in grand style. The new maple boards were handed off to a woodworking expert who slathered the boards with varnish. Between each coat, the boards were sanded and polished, yielding a finish that a Chris-Craft can only dream of. Between each board is a polished bed strip sourced from Bedwood & Parts. The cab got new glass, seals and dash jewelry, including a set of the VHX-47C-PU analog instruments designed for these ’47-53 trucks.
Now, onto the outside. What about that paint? We’ve seen what I’d call ‘pseudo patina rods’ in the past; a fiberglass ’37 Ford coupe comes to mind, where the builder went so far as to bond a rusty piece of steel to the ‘glass door bottom. I think that’s a bit extreme, but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about the paintwork on this ’53. I will say that I appreciate the creativity and skill required to pull off the look. If you study the photos, you’ll see how realistic the surface rust is on the hood and fenders; look closely at the headlights and you can see the stains left by rusty water coming out of the headlight rings!
It was F. Scott Fitzgerald who said “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” One must be fairly intelligent when looking at this truck, as the vine-ripened exterior clashes with the modern accruements under the skin; the Chevy 5.3L engine, Accuair air suspension system, and the showroom-fresh interior do not compute. Power rack and pinion steering hanging on a No Limit Engineering Air Glide front end and a four-link rear suspension setup are not what was under your granddad’s hauler.
That being said, this truck draws some of the biggest crowds and generates substantial buzz wherever it goes. It’s the best of both worlds; on one hand, you have a show-stopping custom truck, and on the other, you have something that never needs to be buffed or polished, and can be driven long and far. It’s got the charm of an old farm truck, it’s got the moves of a modern custom truck, and it no doubt makes the owner smile every time they open the garage door.