1953 Dodge Truck: A Lesson In Kustom.

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of hanging out with an absolutely fantastic group of car and motorcycle enthusiasts. It was known as the “Return To The Milltown Hot Rod N’ Kustom Rock N Roll Weekend” in Sturbridge Massachusetts.  If I may be so bold, I’d say it was the most amazingly creative / awesome selection of old rolling metal that I have ever seen in one place.  Not only were the cars great, but the people were too.  Throughout this week, I’m going to be posting up pictures of some automotive eye candy that I spotted while I was there.

To start off the week, I’ll post up one of my favorites. It’s a 1953 Dodge B Series Truck that I had originally spotted (pre-roof chop) over on killbillet.com several months ago.  Back then I was thoroughly impressed at how little money he spent building it.  His truck’s ratio of greatness to dollars spent was completely off the charts.  Sure enough, he had made the trek all the way from New York to the depths of Massachusetts to be part of this amazing event.  Simply fantastic.

 

21 comments to 1953 Dodge Truck: A Lesson In Kustom.

  • Randy Robertson

    Hey look I’m a Car and Pickup Lover…I realize that Rat Rods have their place in the Custom world…But me I cannot see any beauty in that Dodge Truck…I’ve seen “50s” Dodge Trucks nice, but that one ….WOW….I saw one in Pomona California …I was out of someones Backyard, the Guy Painted it Stove Pipe Black, Painted the Rims Maroon put Wide White Walls on it, with Baby moons, and Beauty rings..It was a nice Truck..

  • JohnEd

    Kinda funny how folks seem to spend the mega-bucks on rims/meats first…like the ’64 Impala. :-)

  • Matt

    That Pilot House Dodge Truck has possibly one of the worst and most awkward chops I’ve seen on a 50′s truck. Yikes.

  • joseph king

    my name is joe king and i am in afghanistan right now trying to find ways to customize my 1953 dodge job rated, fluid drive pickup. i just bought it before coming out here, your truck is awesome and i have already saved the image to send it to my body man so he may start the chopping process. i would like to talk more about your truck and maybe be able to get mine running when i get home.

  • joseph king

    hey jeff i am extremly new to this hot rod stuff, my wifes uncle passed away and he had a 53 dodge, so i figured what better truck to get. some questions i have are what type of frame, motor and transmission can i use? i figured from asking other people that i should use an S-10 extended cab frame and a crate motor. can you or anyone out there help me out?

    • JohnEd

      HEY Joe you’ve got a great project…before you chop, do a lotta research, SOMETIMES one can swap whacha got for an almost complete project of another year or model straight over. MOST of all, work with somebody who’s interested in the project and has worked with ‘OLD IRON’ not just porking your wallet by the hour. Think of this truck as art! Keep the frame, it fits! There are SO many after market and late model front clips that’ll work…and that vintage mill and drive line may be worth a lot to a collector. Use the web, find auto clubs, and above all keep yer head down and eyes open…we need you back home!

      • joseph king

        thanks JohnEd, just by chance would you know of some places off hand that might help out with searching and would you know if the s-10 extended cab would work minus a little fabricating. oh and as for the work me and my best friend are going to work on it, he owns a body shop, which i worked at before the military so that end is handled but thanks for the heads up. also i am more of a fabricator not much of a motor junky but what would you recommend as far as motor and transmission setup, if that is not a huge question?

        • Hi Joseph,
          I think determining what you want the end result to be will guide your build. Do you want a hotrod or more of an original truck? Will you want the resale value to be highest? Do you want to drag race it? Do you want to autocross it? Do you want to daily drive it? Once you decide what your final vision of the truck is, you can start figuring out what to do about the chassis, engine, suspension. The chassis under a 53 Dodge would probably be the easiest to use if it is in good shape, and the engines in those trucks are nearly indestructible. They also are incredible smooth running. With a modern transmission, the factory 53 Dodge 6-cylinder engine would be a terrific choice for a daily driver. The 53 Dodge chassis has leaf springs in the back, just like an S10, so you won’t gain much by swapping to the S10 frame back there. In the front, the S10 has independent front suspension and disc brakes, which would obviously be a big improvement over the 53 Dodge. However, if you want better handling front suspension, you could always graft on a Camaro front clip, or one of the universal control arm setups that you can buy in HotRod Magazine. Both would be easier than swapping the entire chassis I would think.

          So I guess the question is: what would your dream 53 Dodge look & perform like? What will you do with it when you are done?

  • joseph king

    i am thinking of putting a crate motor in it chopping the top kinda like your just not so far down and bagging it. i know alot about customizing just not what motors to use or what trans match up.

    • The truck pictured isn’t mine, I just saw it at a car show. Click the “killbillet” website link in the blog post, and you can get to the guys build thread that actually owns it.

      As for your truck, you can really put any engine and transmission that you want in it. It just depends on how much you want to spend. 18′s and 20′s should be easy to do too. Then you can get it low with a simple C-notch and air ride.

  • joseph king

    i heard a 350 with some stuff done to it is kinda the norm but i had a ford lightning and i want to put a blower back on what ever motor i put in it, and a bigger cam on that shakes the truck, if you dont mind what have you done to yours. i am going to paint mine red with house of colors red glass flake i had that paint on the lightning before i sold it and i want to put at least 18 if not 20 under it.

  • joseph king

    i would like to daily drive it however i have a completly tricked out scion xb i built in 6 years so i dont know which one would take the cake. also the truck i have is emaculate frame and all, the suspension is way outdated but i was going to use the rear axel if i could i was told it is a 9″ rear end and they are good to have. interior is already done however i am great with fabricating so i am going to change it around a bit not much though upgrade the gauges and new electrical all the way through and a small system, clean but turns heads.

  • joseph king

    thanks jeremy do you know of any good air ride systems, since there are tons of them on the market.

    • Well, if money isn’t a factor, AirRide Technologies makes absolutely great stuff. It is well engineered and really works, which is why it is the price that it is. If you are building on a budget, you may want to make a list of the parts that you will need for the air ride, and shop around for the best prices in magazines / ebay / google / amazon. I have used Firestone bags in the past, but that is before Air Ride was really popular. Now there are a million different brands out there. Your may want to join a minitruckin / streettruck forum. They could be a great resource.

  • joseph king

    jeremy thanks again, any good leads on motor and transmission set up or is a crate 350 a good starter.

    • A carbureted crate 350 is about as cheap and basic as you can get. It will be reliable as heck, and cheap to fix when things break. Unfortunately, it’s also the most boring engine in the world because everybody uses them. For automatics, you could go with a TH350 or TH400 because they are as cheap and reliable too. If you prefer a manual transmission, the options depend on what you want to spend. A nice used Saginaw 4 speed will cost you a few hundred bucks, a Muncie will cost 500-1000, and if you decide to go with a 5 or 6 speed, you will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 500-2500. It all depends on what your end goals are really. Summit Racing and Jegs both have some awesome crate engines available, you may want to check them out.

  • Robert

    That is the ugliest hack job I have ever seen.

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