BACK IN TIME Edition 52

1954 Chevy 3100

Photo and Article by: Chad Lückhoff

Never before has the custom truck scene been as popular in South Africa as it is at the moment. While man is still hunting down and searching for American pony cars and boulevard cruisers, ‘50s and ‘60s era trucks are in high demand by clientele looking for a left-field approach to the scene. 

This is clearly evident by the dedicated cluster of custom pickup trucks lining the one side of Creative Rides’s showroom in Bryanston. “The market has exploded, and we get so many requests for custom trucks these days” explains Bryce Roberts. 

Immediately the ’54 jumps out at you – it is difficult to ignore. As with any true custom, there is always more than meets the eye and you are soon lost in the fine detail. Privately built there is not a single part on this truck that has been left untouched. It took the better part of five years to build but the end result is well worth all of the effort.

Underneath the cab and bin lies a full Jag suspension with disc brakes fitted to all four corners with the rear mounted inboard alongside the diff and framed by the twin TNT Performance Exhaust Germiston pipes that run straight down the centre and exit at the rear in four tips through an opening in the lower section of the customized tailgate. Flanked by the circular tail lights, these tips emit a beautiful bark, thankds to the 50 cubic inch crate motor up front. A few Edelbrock additions liven up the V8 that replaced the 235 cubic inch straight six that this 3100 Advance was originally fitted with. 

The closer you look the more you see. Around the front end the bull nose grilled has been chromed and the mighty hood is now devoid of its centre trim line. The fender vents have been removed and smoothed over and the same treatment has been given to the doors – now actuated by remote with a set of poppers. 

The keen amongst you will note that there is now an angled bin whereas the original ’54 had flat 90-degree sides. This wears a slightly older 45-degree flare, combined with the more robust arches of the late ‘40s models.in the bine rests a custom fuel tank and slatted decking.

There is further ‘40s feel with the front windscreen and letterbox rear window. Gone is the wraparound glass and split-screen glass now fills the gap up front, making it tricky to ID the model by looking at the front end alone. In keeping with the clean and uncluttered look, the doors have been relieved of their quarter windows and the drip rails removed, mixing in modern touches with classic split-window touches. 

Climb on board and there will be no sliding across a bench seat, as two individual bucket seats adorn the interior. Trimmed in beige leather, the bolstered seats provide a modern look and feel to a 60-year -old interior, even if the gauges and dashboard scream otherwise. 

A set of curved glass Classic instruments have replaced the original speed and auxiliary gauges, their ivory faces tying in with the beige interior whilst still remaining period-true. They are offset by the three-spoke Billet Specialities Banjo steering wheel that wears a shade of red to carry the exterior and interior metalwork colour. The steering column is adorned with some chrome Billet Specialities switchgear and the rear-view mirrors and door trim are from the same aforementioned stable. 

With the 18-inch American Racing Torq Thrust II wheels, near-perfect stance and gleaming candy paintwork, this ’54 looks as good as it goes and sounds. The drive is sublime thanks to the underpinnings, disc brakes and power steering. It is a classic combination of practicality and head-turn factor.