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1955 Chevy 3100- Big Red

The Trilogy Reels In the Long Lasting Winner

Phil Gordon
Nov 19, 2015
Photographers: Phil Gordon
It took three trucks and a lot of time and energy to find the perfect recipe for greatness. Grady Shipp of Joliet, Illinois is no stranger to custom builds. He’s owned two different Chevy C-10s so perfectly crafted that they both graced the fine pages of Truckin’ Magazine. Although he usually stuck with Chevy trucks born in the sixties, his new passion was for something much older. Grady had quietly been searching for a Chevy project in the fifties, but without a prospect in sight he set his focus on the trucks he already owned.
Photo 2/8   |   03 1955 Chevrolet 3100 Rear Right Three Quarter View
Shipp’s fifties yearning finally came to fruition when a friend located a 1955 Chevy 3100 pickup in Wausau, Wisconsin. Without any of his Relaxed Atmosphere crew or friends knowing it, Grady travelled there to inspect, and eventually, purchase the restored truck. Although the owner had already restored the classic, Shipp had much bigger plans for his new Chevy. He quietly trailered the car in his garage and ready for its brand new makeover.
Photo 3/8   |   07 1955 Chevrolet 3100 Bed
Appearance was Shipp’s first concern, as it’s the first thing most people notice. He was unsatisfied with the paintwork on the truck and got right to it, wet sanding and buffing the clear coat to perfection. The Dupont Radiant Red looked like the red crystals in Big Red gum. Once he had the outside to his liking, he contacted Porterbuilt Fabrication out of Arizona and asked for a custom-build front and rear-drop members for his ’55 Chevy. That is pretty much everything necessary for a perfect drop. With his ever-growing knowledge, Shipp installed the entire air ride himself in his garage.
Photo 4/8   |   04 1955 Chevrolet 3100 Engine
Photo 5/8   |   05 1955 Chevrolet 3100 Interior
Shipp removed the body off the frame and sandblasted the entire frame and powdercoated it, so the underneath would look just as perfect as the outside. The next step was putting Big Red on the road by jumpstarting the motor work. The motor needed TLC, having never been touched by the previous owner. Shipp got his hands dirty by taking it apart, dressing it up, and adding better working parts. The interior came with only a black rubber mat and black cloth seat, Shipp had to update it. He enlisted his friend at Ringo’s Auto Upholstery to take care of all the custom additions in the cabin.
Photo 6/8   |   08 1955 Chevrolet 3100 Steering Wheel
Photo 7/8   |   06 1955 Chevrolet 3100 Front Left Quarter Panel
Shipp’s friend Gus Rigas was called in to add a front-to-back wiring harness to allow the addition of a full stereo system inside. Picking wheels can be a crucial element for classic trucks. Shipp consulted with Adam and Pam at Mobsteel on his plan to keep an original look with a custom flare. They agreed on 20-inch wheels on white walls. Once the build was complete and Shipp drove the Chevy out of the garage, people were shocked and amazed at his build. Owning C-10s gave him the knowledge to build his dream truck and it’s one he certainly won’t let get away.
Inside the Build
Owner and City/State: Grady Shipp, Jr; Joliet, Illinois
Year/Make/Model: 1955 Chevy 3100 pickup
Club Affiliation: Relaxed Atmosphere
Chassis
Front Suspension: Porterbuilt suspension, front drop member, Slam Specialties 2500 lb air bags, tubular control arms, sway bar, CPP front brakes, Unisteer Mustang 2 rack-and-pinion
Rear Suspension: Porterbuilt rear drop member 4-link, Adjustable pan hard bar, Firestone F9000 airbags, two Viair 480 compressors, Accuair E-level kit, 5-gallon EXO mount tank, 373 gears
Drivetrain
Engine: 327 small block, Edelbrock performer intake and carburetor, MSD HEI distributer, Hedman headers, Comp Cams mild cam, Cadillac batwing air cleaner, PRC radiator and condenser, Billet Specialties Vtrac system
Transmission: 700r4 with shift kit
Rearend: ’69 C-10 373 gears
Body: shaved firewall bead rolled, Dupont Vibrant Red paint, raised bed stock wood bed floor, front and back bumpers chrome plated, sun visor painted from Brothers Trucks
Interior: Dakota Digital gauges, Vintage Air, dark and light saddle leather upholstery done by Ringo’s Auto Upholstery
Stereo: Rockford-Fosgate components, Rockford-Fosgate 4-channel amplifier, cassette player with iPhone connect
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 20x8; Mobsteel
Tires: 245/35R20 diamond back Toyo Proxies white walls
Special Thanks: “Ringo’s Auto Upholstery, Gus Rigas for wiring the stereo, Brett Eriksen for help with the suspension and engine work, and my lovely wife for watching the kids while I worked long nights in the garage.”
Photo 8/8   |   01 1955 Chevrolet 3100 Rolling

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