1953 Chevrolet Pickup – Fast Freddie’s Rod Shop was called to step up and participate in the Pro Builder’s Shootout as part of the Car Craft Summer Nationals held in Milwaukee last summer. The shop had a large collection of street rods that they could’ve chosen as their contender but Fred Kappus, the owner of the shop, wanted to make things interesting and went with Otis.
Otis is the matte 2-tone 1953 Chevy Pickup that is owned by Don Boxx. But it was nowhere near as awesome as this before Fast Freddie’s did their magic. Don together with this wife Julie are from Kenosha, Wisconsin but regularly goes to their Cabin near Eagle River. They had a neighbor in Eagle River, retired couple Bob and Pat, who owned this five-window 1953 Chevrolet 1300 pickup. The Chevrolet 1300 is the Canadian counterpart of the American Chevy 3100. This pickup was mainly stock with some minor changes. It still had its 327 engine but was not in good shape. During that time, it was just your typical classic pickup that the old couple used to drive around Eagle River. But still, the couple enjoyed it and named it Tootsie.
In 2013, Bod died which was quite unfortunate. Don was interested in the truck and during the same year, Don offered Pat to buy the 1953 Chevy and the deal was made.
Don said the 327 engine was leaking so he got rid of it. He replaced it with a rebuilt 383 which produced too much power and the factory suspension was not enough. When Don was searching for a hot rod shop to build a better rear and front suspension to support all that power, Don got word about Fred Kappus. Don delivered the pickup to Fast Freddie’s Rod Shop located in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Before the build, the pickup had a maroon finish that had black fenders and wooden bedside rails, some aftermarket upgrades inside the cab, and the 383 topped with a carburetor. The plan was to make the pickup into something with more attitude and make it into a completely different ride.
The original frame rails were retained and all other parts were either modified or replaced to create the suspension Don wanted. The suspension featured a Mustang II style for the front is composed of tubular A-arms, custom cross members, power steering rack, and QA1 coilovers that were supplied by Spartan Rod Works. For the rear, FFRS put together a coilover rear end and Speedway Motors bolt-in triangulated four-link setup. All the power is directed to the Ford 9-inch rear axle that has 3.73:1 gears with Positraction.
The beefed up suspension is now ready to take on the 383 engine’s power but this truck no longer has the 383 under the hood. When Don checked the progress of his pickup at Fast Freddie’s, he saw another project that he instantly envied. He saw the 1955 Pontiac Star Chief that Fast Freddie’s was working on. When the Star Chief’s GM Performance LS3 crate engine was fired up and breathed through the electric exhaust cut-outs supplied by Doug’s Headers, Don instantly fell in love. “We’ve got to do that!” he said. So the 383 was replaced by a 6.2L LS376/480 Connect & Cruise Hot Cam crate engine that has a custom cold air intake system made by Fast Freddie’s. To match the LS3s power, A Tremec T56 Magnum 6-speed transmission was mounted between the custom driveshaft and the LS3. It is connected to an LS7 clutch.
The 2014 SRT Viper Anodized Carbon Special Edition was the inspiration for the satin gray finish although it was not the original plan. The original plan was a faux-burned-through-patina finish but was no longer possible due to the amount of rust. So FFRS stripped everything to bare metal and applied the low-gloss 2-tone Titanium and Charcoal finish. All chrome parts were done in Charcoal. The door handles smoothed, a new tailgate was mounted to modified hidden hinges. Rollpans replaced the bumpers, Redline LumTronix Halo Headlights that has 7 colors of perimeter LEDS.
The interior design was still done by Fast Freddie’s. A 1953 Chevy dashboard was smoothed and fitted with speedo/tach quad and combo gauges supplied by Classic Instruments’ AutoCross series. The Procar Rally bucket seats are covered with Alcantara-Relicate manmade leather. For the smooth steering, a Flaming River tilt column with a Grant steering wheel was mounted. A custom console features the Vintage Air A/C system’s vents and controls, a screen for the rear camera, Hurst shifter, an Alpine sound system, and a special custom made holster to place Don’s Kimber 1911 pistol.
The all-new 1953 Chevy 1300 was now called Otis and made its debut at the Milwaukee World of Wheels last February 2016. During the show, Pat admired of what has become of their old Tootsie and reminisced the times she spent with her late husband, Bob. And now, it’s time for Don and Julie to make their own memorable moments with Otis.
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