The Thriftmaster

Owners Name: Nevlyn Chetty

Shop name:  Isidingo Auto CC

Briardene, Durban North

1948 Chevy Thrift-master

At the age of 9, Nevlyn used to tinker around his father’s panel shop and this is what started his passion for building cars and racing them. He had always had a fascination for modified vehicles and went through a series of different cars – from a modified station wagon to a 325is, BMW M3 and now this 1948 Chevy Pick -up. For now, this car is his dream car and has been his longest project built thus far. He is hoping to hire it out for weddings, proms and it will also be used to take the odd Sunday afternoon drives. 

Nevlyn stumbled across an abandoned project whilst searching the internet. It was based in Bloemfontein. The owner had gone through some financial difficulties and had to stop the project and leave it at the workshop. The workshop sold it on as is, all stripped down. 

The original plan for the build was to move away from the traditional shiny paintwork and big wheels and make it bad ass, so Nevlyn spent a lot of time researching by going through magazines, attending cars shows and searching the internet. He also joined a few vintage/classic car sites in order to get ideas as to what would suit this truck. 

When the truck arrived, the body was already stripped and there was minimal surface rust. The body had already been sandblasted by the previous owner. Nevlyn spent approximately 4 years, on and off, on the bodywork. The bodywork was unusually straight for an old truck and it looked like it had been well cared for in its previous life. MacRite Panel Beaters, owned by Nevlyn’s brother, did all the exterior prepping of the body. 

The colour chosen was a custom mix – between olive and army green. He mixed the paint until he had the exact shade that he liked. Coming from a family of car nuts, Nevlyn shared the paintwork duties between his father’s panel shop, Selven’s Panel Beaters who did the interior of the cab and engine bay and then as previously mentioned, his brother’s shop, who painted the exterior.

The truck has a Jag front suspension and a Camaro Limited slip set-up on the rear. He chose the Jag suspension as he had a spare in the workshop. The chassis was modified by Greg and Brad from Speedway Auto to accommodate the air ride which gives the vehicle its stance. The brakes were upgraded to discs both front and rear with Willwood Racing master cylinder and brake pedal. These parts were imported from the USA.

Nevlyn bought a donor engine locally and then fitted a 383 stroker set-up with aluminum heads, modified cams and custom-made exhaust. The gearbox was sourced locally, stripped and a quick shift set-up was fitted. The car pushes out approximately 400 HP. The exhaust was custom made. He opted for an air-cool intake and 4-barrel Holley carb. Nevlyn says that the motor feels and sounds very strong even though he has yet to give it full throttle. 

Seelen from Custom Auto Care did a great job with the interior. Nevlyn needed the interior to stand out on its own but also to blend in with the exterior colour. He did not want to go with a dark colour as this, in turn, would make the inside very dark. The dash was painted in ivory and he already knew that he wanted the bench seat in ox blood red. Seelen gave him a few shades to choose from which would enable the colours to blend well together. 

A customer came into his shop one day and was very impressed with the build. He remembered he had a bench seat at home and gifted it to the project. Nevlyn had it upholstered in the red. The steering is a custom stainless column and wheel which were imported from the USA. Digital gauges were fitted, and all the electrical components were imported, once again, from the USA.

The wheels are Hurst Racing Wheels (from the US) with 17 inch tyres. The truck spares and components were not available locally therefore most had to be imported from USA. This list included the grille and mirrors, window glass, windscreen and rear cab glass, Xenon kit and lastly, the taillights. The fuel tank is situated underneath the rear body which was custom made to suit the available space. Nevlyn opted for the full windscreen as opposed to 2 flat glasses separated by a center rubber. The full windscreen has changed the overall look of the truck. The end result of this build is far better than he could have ever imagined. 

The rebuild time was just on 5 years and Nevlyn had known that it would be a time-consuming exercise from the start. This venture was worked on after hours, weekends and whenever there was any additional spare time. 

We asked him what he plans on tackling next and he said that he wants time to enjoy this truck first before the next project sparks his enthusiasm. He would like to thank his staff at Isidingo Auto and all the those who were involved in the build. His wife, Lynette and son, Treshen, his biggest fans, supporters and motivators especially when he wanted to throw in the towel. They always challenge him to do his best whatever the venture.