Over the last decade, Raybestos, has built a number of cool project cars that they’ve given away. That’s right, as in for free. Gratis. We’re not talking about stock late-model rides. We’re talking hot rods. Fun to drive, wicked builds.
It started back in 2010, with a ’32 pickup parts hauler, followed by a serious Pro Touring ’64 GTO. This time, Raybestos has teamed up with Schwartz Performance. Schwartz is known for two things: its G-Machine chassis and builds designed to be driven hard and fast.
In 2014, Schwartz built their first Raybestos giveaway vehicle, a ’71 Camaro. That car featured a G-Machine chassis, a supercharged LS-engine, huge Raybestos brakes, a custom interior, slick two-tone paint, and modern amenities expected in today’s Pro Touring builds.
That car went to a new owner that was named during the SEMA/AAPEX event held in Las Vegas in the fall. For 2018, the formula is similar to the Camaro, but on completely different application – a ’53 Chevy pickup. We were able to see the finished ’53 at the Keystone Big Show in Dallas, where the truck made its debut.
The Schwartz team started with a 3600-series pickup – an old farm truck found not too far from their Woodstock, Illinois, location. Surprisingly, the truck was very solid, providing a great starting point. The base of the project was of course a Schwartz G-Machine chassis, which features 6-inch rails, tied together with extra bracing, and a triangulated four-link on the rear. Up front, Schwartz incorporates beefy spindles held between custom A-arms with needle bearing supports for bind-free, smooth movement.
Schwartz incorporates a Moser 9-inch rearend as standard equipment, as well as splined sway bars and billet arms at the front and back. A major consideration is the use of very long coilovers to afford more travel and a much more comfortable ride. The coilovers, from RideTech, are also adjustable, so the driver can tune to their specific driving needs.
While the chassis was being prepped, body work, and interior fitments were taking place. The body was left unmodified – except for filling the stake-pocket holes in the bed, cleaning up the tailgate, and the minor tub work in the bed. Any panels that required replacement were provided by Dynacorn along with the trim work. The crew spent many hours perfecting the metal before shooting the PPG paint over the truck.
For a smooth and trouble-free driveline, Schwartz opted for a Gen-V LT-series 5.3-liter engine backed by a T56 Magnum transmission with an American Powertrain hydraulic clutch. The exhaust note is quiet, yet serious thanks to the stainless 2 ½-inch exhaust flowing through a set of Magnaflow mufflers and SLP resonators.
The cabin features a bench seat, door panels, carpet, and headliner from TMI Products. The Flaming River column and steering wheel are positioned for long cruises, as well as blasts around an autocross track. It’s easy to hear the tunes thanks to Crunch components and the Hushmat found throughout the cab.
There’s a lot more to the Raybestos ’53, but we’ll let more of the build photos tell the story. You can check out more at Schwartz Performance as well as at RaybestosBuild.com. Watch for the truck at shows throughout the summer and you can ask how to enter. This year, the giveaway will be open to auto parts and service professionals, so tell all your friends who spin a wrench for a living. Who knows, maybe you’ll be cruising this truck next season.