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AD Chevy Trucks

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01 June 2014
# 3067

Owned by
John Ayearst
Bolter # 34923
Ontario, Canada


1953 Chevy 3100

"La Noche"

A spirited '53 resto-mod pickup truck


More pictures of my old truck
Some really beautiful shots here

Join the discussion about this truck in the DITY Gallery form


From John :

Well, folks, here is La Noche, my 1953 Chevy 3100 resto-mod pickup truck.

This is her first full season on the road. We had our maiden run last fall from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, all the way home to the north shore of Lake Superior in Ontario -- 3,500 km (2,200 miles).

Unfortunately, that was just in time to put La Noche under wraps in the garage for our long winter.

But that hibernation gave me the time to stain, varnish and install the new oak bed boards and add some leather trim touches to the cab --the door panel inserts and a plastic drink caddy that I re-covered with the same material.

  If you like the way this story reads, there's a good reason! More than 30 years a newspaper journalist not only gave John great writing skills but the "nose" for news and imagery! A man of action, I'd say.

After his stint with the paper, John became a volunteer firefighter / fire medic in his rural community of Shuniah just northeast of Thunder Bay, Ontario, on Lake Superior’s north shore. He’s a Canadian team leader with Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village program and has taken volunteers to Chile, Kenya, Bolivia, Nepal, Costa Rica and Guatemala. He also worked with Habitat New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and with Habitat Chile after a major earthquake. With disaster relief agency GlobalMedic, he deployed to Pakistan after historic flooding and most recently to Tacloban in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

John encourages others to do what they can -- in their own way -- to help alleviate suffering at home and abroad.

And although very comfortable around a wood shop, John admits to being intimidated in the garage and wishes he had half the talent of the many Stovebolters who have built their own rides from scratch and have patiently answered his many questions.

Well, with him helping so many in need, it's the least we can do on our end to help him with his ride -- our little link in his quite lengthy chain of awesome living! ~ Editor

Now, La Noche is my summer vehicle and my 2008 Honda Ridgeline will primarily see winter duty and occasional dump runs.

The 3100’s name is Spanish for "The Night." She’s painted as dark as a moonless midnight, with a bit of chrome bling. A spirited Latina.

La Noche’s story started more than a year ago, when I finally decided to buy a truck the same age as me -- a 60th birthday present to myself. (She now has a whole lot more new parts than I do, though!)

I actually found the truck on this site and contacted the owner in the Vancouver, BC area who said he was ready to sell and finish work on a new project. I paid a private company to inspect it before the purchase but they missed a ton of stuff including some serious safety issues.

The previous owner had done his share of modifications and kept her going for a number of years. He seemed rightfully proud of his old truck, but I wanted a fresh and reliable ride that I could confidently take across the country. She looked like she had been rode hard and put away wet and really needed to be checked into a rod shop for a complete examination and freshening up.

Enter Scott Booth and Keith Hall, the talented co-owners of Wicked Customs in Langley, BC. (If you would like to know, their phone number is 604-250-5343.)

Two guys of great integrity, who worked closely with me, as we brainstormed and made a wish list -- a wish list that grew into a must-do list the more they took her apart. It turned into a full frame-off restoration.

We rebuilt the transmission and put in a limited slip differential, re-did the front end and straightened out the alignment of the drive shaft and rear axle to the frame. We put in new spindles and fixed the brakes and shocks, too. We cut, welded and repositioned frame cross members etc. and cleaned and coated everything with POR-15 paint.

The TCI Mustang II front end had been poorly installed by a previous owner and that was corrected with repositioning, welding and new pieces. One of the control arms had nearly been severed by a brake disc…

It proved cheaper and better to replace some of the sheet metal with new parts than to labour over the old ones -- the rear fenders had been sawed off shorter because of rust, and the running boards had been cut off and flipped backwards.

We added some chrome to the engine compartment and put a proper shroud on the cooling fan and installed a thermostatic switch to keep it from running all of the time. We added ceramic-coated headers to replace the old ones that had been hammered and bent to fit. New custom-cut spark plug wires and chromed wire holders were put in.

We installed new windshield glass and rubber gaskets all around.

New chrome bumpers and proper 1953 “3100” hood insignia were installed. Exhaust is through twin Flowmaster mufflers.

We had the interior gutted and it’s hard to believe that this great result started with an $85 junkyard purchase of a Dodge Dakota bench seat. West Coast upholstery guru Arne Schwab, recently inducted into the Greater Vancouver Motorsports Pioneers Society, did a great job on the interior and Scott arranged to have the name La Noche embroidered into the seat back as a surprise.

Some specs:

  • 1999 Chevy Vortec 5.7 litre (350 ci) with 4-bolt main (came from a Chevy 2500 truck). Previous owner had installed a Volvo-Penta marine intake manifold and there were no leaks, so we left it alone. Was told there is slightly more HP with that higher manifold. Engine compression and bleed-down tests were impressive. A quality rebuild by a previous owner.
  • The cool fiberglass tonneau cover I sourced from Gaylord’s Lids in California and it shipped in primer. Wicked Customs painted it satin at my request, along with the word Chevrolet on the tail gate. At Scott’s suggestion, we coordinated the dash by also going satin black.
  • The Wicked Customs boys installed a kick-**** sound system underneath the front seat (Scosche amplifiers and subs; Pioneer speakers all linked to a Retrosound dash radio with blue tooth that links hands-free to my iPhone etc.).
  • Transmission is a rebuilt TR350 mated to a Lokar floor-mounted shifter. Eaton limited slip posi-track. The 10-bolt rear end is 2.73:1 ratio from a 1980 Camaro.
  • Chip Foose Legend wheels -- 18” on rear and 17” front.
  • On Scott’s advice, I took La Noche on a shake-down run to Vancouver Island before turning east for the long drive home. That would give him and Keith a chance to fine-tune anything they may have missed, when I passed by back on the way home.

That advice was prophetic:

  1. The previous owner’s windshield wiper motor fell on to my foot in torrential rain. It turned out to have been mounted up under the dash with one small machine screw and square nut without any lock washers. Thank goodness for Rain-X found at a nearby garage.
  2. A bad ignition switch in the steering column failed, resulting in a long tow across the island. (Thank goodness for my purchase of coverage by CAA, the Canadian equivalent of AAA.)
  3. Because all of the electrical system worked when I bought the truck, we had decided not to mess with it. That decision almost proved fatal for La Noche. Smoke billowed from under the dash as I drove on a 4-lane expressway in Vancouver. I pulled over and got out the fire extinguisher but the smoke had lessened with the truck shut off, and things put themselves out.

In the photo gallery you will see pics of the melted $150 wiring harness kit that a previous owner had used. We then ripped everything out and replaced it with a high quality $550 kit.

The rest of the long trip home was uneventful mechanical-wise and I got some great photos through the Rockies and across the big-sky Canadian Prairies where my great grandparents had homesteaded.

This coming August, La Noche and I are driving the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit on our way to completing my cross-Canada goal to Newfoundland. (The 2015 summer adventure may be the West Coast Vancouver to San Diego. So many roads and so little time!)

Was all of the time, money and aggravation worth it? You bet! Any Stovebolter will tell you the satisfaction can be measured in the number of smiles per mile.

A special thanks to forum members for their great advice and encouragement on issues ranging from importing a foreign vehicle and getting build insurance to the best way to install the oak bed boards.



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Previous owner:

16 September 2007
# 2053


1953 Chevrolet SSR 5-Window

Owned by

Dennis Adams
Bolter # 4290
Vancouver, British Columbia



From Dennis :

           Here is a picture of my 1953 SSR 5-window sitting beside an 2003 model. I talked the owner into letting me take a picture because the old Chevy was the basis for the SSR's style. I have 1953 SSR badging on the rearand. The truck is done up in a Harley theme.

         My truck is powered by a 350 auto with power steering and disc brakes. It still has the straight axle in it but I'm planning to go to an independent set up as my 61 year old bones are too brittle for the rough ride. The women tell me they have to wear a Ukrainian bra when riding in the truck. For those of you that don't know what a "Uke" bra is, it arms folded across the chest.

         Love this site. Keep up the good work.







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