When it comes to Chevy’s pickup truck, 1953 is a significant year for collectors and builders alike. The very recognizable Chevrolet Advance Design era trucks with their rounded features have been popular for decades. Of these post-war trucks, the 1953 model year captured the best of the early Advanced Design truck features along with the subtle changes leading toward the next era of Chevy trucks. If a split front flat glass windshield, deep rich colors, and shaved door handles on 1950s trucks excite you, this featured truck will really fire your rockets.
Adam Simms explained that he and his family had always wanted “to build a five-window truck and do things that had not been done before”, so he sought out the perfect blank slate to begin his dream project. In early August of 2005, Simms found exactly what he was looking for by way of an all-original five-window farm truck that he immediately purchased.
After the truck was stripped, Simms began building the vision that he had carried in his head for several years. Simms is no stranger to project car builds with a stable of 22 cars that he owns. His oldest is a 1921 Marmon, and the newest collector car is a 1977 four-door Ford F250 with a King Ranch interior. This truck build drew motivation from all the previous cars and builds. “I wanted to take a truck to a level not done before,” said Simms, “and introduce elements from several of my cars into this truck.”
Painted in a vivid Burgundy by Darryl Hollenbeck of the prominent Vintage Color Studio, the reddish-brown truck accents the rich exterior color with cream colored wheels and underhood area. A 500 horsepower fuel injected big-block Chevy rests in the creamy engine bay that features a custom radiator cover and fan shroud. With the hood open, custom built front inner fenders with hidden hardware is exposed to those that pay close attention to details.
The cab is stuffed with a lot of custom work that simply can’t be overlooked. From the plush bucket seats, to the tilt steering column and custom Studebaker steering wheel, there are a host of eye-pleasing creature comforts. While a lot of the interior work was done by Chris Plante of Aces High Interior, Simms did much of the work himself.
A custom dash panel with A/C vents is fitted with custom gauges to highlight the inside. A custom-built center console supports a a stereo with back up camera and Ride Tech controls for modern conveniences. Speaking of creature comforts, Simms truck integrates power steering, power brakes, and power windows for driver comfort.
From August of 2005 through January of 2017, Simms designed the truck, completed all of the work on the frame and chassis, but admits he did farm out some of the sheet metal work to Phil Ferrari of Ferrari’s Hot Rods. Ferrari added a custom-built sheet metal firewall, transmission tunnel and seat bases, as well as custom panels under the running board brackets for the Ride Tech components and some of the fuel injection plumbing.
A Unique Bed
A pickup is nothing without a bed, and the bed in this Chevy is as unique and one-of-a-kind as they come. The bed itself is raised, along with the running boards. Obviously the bed floor is raised in tandem with the bed sides. Simms extended the front of the top bed rails, extending the front stake pockets to the running boards and connected the stake pockets to the top bed rail. The bed features wood bed boards that articulate by electric control. A function that is probably pretty handy when servicing the A/C condenser and fan that is mounted under the bed floor.
The truck has a highly-modified mug with frenched headlights, and the lower grille bar is removed. Simms added a custom front bumper, shortened the rear of the front fenders, and added custom built, smooth running boards. The cowl vent has been filled and exclusive side mirrors were added to the door frame, adding to the fluid theme. Neatly tucked away in the back is a hidden trailer hitch and a hand-built custom rear roll pan.
Simms took great care to keep the truck’s body sleek, and the timeless original rounded design of the truck assisted in the overall vision that Simms had for the pickup when he started. Adding the extra gentle and smooth custom features has greatly enhanced what Chevrolet designers produced from the factory.
The truck has already won “Best of Show” at the Grand National Roadster show and the Autorama in Sacramento this year. The next stop will be at the Goodguys Rod & Custom show in Del Mar, California, where Simms expects to do well again.
He finished the build in January 2017, and considers it complete. He loves the entire build and doesn’t have plans to change anything except for the addition of a paddle shifter. “The thing I like the least about this build is keeping it off the road for the shows,” Simms said. He plans on making the truck a driver after the show season this year. We can’t wait to see him behind the wheel.
- Owner: Adam Simms
- Hometown: Napa, California
- Vehicle: 1953 Chevrolet five-window pickup
- Color: Burgundy and Cream
- Engine: 502 big-block Chevy with fuel injection
- Horsepower: 500
- Transmission: six-speed automatic push button electronic shifter
- Brakes: Wilwood four-wheel disc with electronic E-brake
- Wheels: Foose 18X10 front, 20X13 rear
- Suspension: Heidts Mustang II front, Ride Tech 4-bar rear
- Rearend: Currie 9-inch with custom aluminum center section