This fall, one lucky auto repair or parts professional will be walking away from the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) with the keys to a newly restored ’53 Chevy pickup. The giveaway is part of a sweepstakes from Brake Part Inc’s (BPI) Raybestos brand.
The ’53 Chevy pickup is the sixth custom build by Raybestos and the first truck rebuild the company has taken on.
“We have rebuilt some really cool vehicles in the past, including two Mustangs, a Camaro, a Tundra, a roadster and a GTO, but we have never rebuilt a classic pickup. The ’53 Chevy pickup is iconic and we thought our customers would love the chance to win such a unique, upgraded vehicle,” shares Paul Ferrandino, chief commercial officer at Brake Parts Inc.
To tackle the Chevy rebuild, Raybestos partnered with Jeff Schwartz and his team at Schwartz Performance. This is the third build collaboration between Schwartz and Raybestos. Schwartz Performance also completed the company’s ‘69 Mustang build in 2016 and RS ’71 Camaro restoration in 2014.
“We knew about Jeff and the team at Schwartz Performance because they are world-renowned for their first-class work restoring and upgrading classic cars. Jeff has such a wide range of expertise, and because of the great relationship we’ve developed, these vehicles have turned out exactly the way that we had planned,” says Ferrandino.
Breaking Down the Rebuild
Restoring a classic vehicle can be time consuming. The Raybestos ’53 Chevy pickup rebuild took more than 2,000 man-hours to complete, says Jeff Schwartz, president of Schwartz Performance. The majority of it spent on bodywork and paint.
“The most challenging aspect of the Raybestos ’53 Chevy pickup was the fact this is a truck and trucks are very time consuming when it comes to body work and paint, mainly due to the fact there are so many pieces. Every part must be carefully prepped and worked on individually, as you can’t access some areas when it’s assembled. This same process carries over to the wet sanding and buffing. It must all be done separately and very carefully assembled,” Schwartz shares.
“Since we’ve built and track-tested many trucks and cars, we are very aware that a truck chassis must be much stronger than a car chassis, mainly due to the numerous body parts that are bolted together. For example, the bed has many pieces of stainless and oak wood bolted together to make the floor, and all this flexes, especially on a stock chassis,” he continues. “When you bolt a car body onto a chassis, the body adds strength and stiffness, but with the truck’s separate cab, bolting it to a chassis doesn’t really stiffen it. So from the beginning, our truck chassis uses a much larger six-inch-tall chassis rail and has two-inch-round tubular braces welded between the rails to minimize torsional flex.”
Schwartz’s team tried to reuse as much of the original pickup as possible. Any parts that weren’t reused were sold off.
“We used all of the front body sheet metal parts: hood, fenders, cab and doors. It was a 50,000-mile original truck that looked like it hadn’t been driven in salt even though it was an Illinois/Wisconsin vehicle. The bed parts, rear fenders and running boards are reproductions. The truck had a stake bed on it, which appeared to be how it was built, as evidenced by it having short factory running boards,” Schwartz shares.
The ’53 Chevy features a GM LT series V8 engine. Schwartz and his team tuned the engine, fabricating a free flowing exhaust and cold air intake to allow the engine to pump out 420 horsepower.
“The engine is the latest GM LT series engine. It’s based off the Corvette LT1 engine, but the slightly smaller 5.3 liter truck version, which ties in nicely with the ’53 truck,” he shares. “The engine is all-aluminum construction, meaning block and heads. It has direct injection. It’s an old GM truck with all-new chassis, brakes and suspension parts, so it made sense to use a modern GM truck engine.”
The ’53 Chevy also features an off-the-shelf performance disc brake upgrade package, featuring Raybestos Truck & Medium Duty specialty disc brake pads and Raybestos RPT (rust prevention technology) calipers and rotors. Additionally, the pickup has a Remy alternator and starter as well as a Maval steering rack.
“Restoring a pickup gave us the opportunity to showcase our line of Raybestos Truck & Medium Duty specialty brake pads as well as the Schwartz Performance G-Machine Chassis and all of the premium-quality performance products from our build partners,” says BPI’s Ferrandino.
Schwartz says the truck is a very balanced vehicle with respect to ride quality, handling, acceleration and braking.
“These days it’s easy to make 800-plus streetable horsepower – we do it every day. But frankly, it’s more fun having a package that you can really drive and enjoy without the worry of it getting away from you. We’ll do some quarter-mile testing with it, and have already explored its crazy handling capabilities before it is awarded to one lucky automotive professional at the BPI/Raybestos booth during the APPEX show,” Schwartz says.
The Raybestos ’53 Chevy pickup will be touring the U.S. and Canada on its way to Las Vegas in late-October. The truck will also be on display inside the BPI and Raybestos booth at AAPEX.
“It’s always exciting to see the transformation of a vehicle made possible by the Schwartz Performance team and all the supplier partners. It’s also rewarding to take each vehicle out into the world, hear the stories and memories of customers, and connect with people who share our passion,” says Ferrandino. “We are looking forward to giving away the one-of-a-kind Raybestos ’53 Chevy pickup at AAPEX. We know the lucky automotive professional will be excited to become the proud owner of what may be our best build yet.”
The deadline to enter for a chance to win this restored ’53 Chevy pick up is Sept. 8 at midnight. Visit raybestos.com/winme to enter and to learn more about the sweepstakes. To see a complete chronicle of the pickup rebuild, visit www.raybestosbuild.com.