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This 1952 Chevy Five-Window Got Our Attention Quick

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 2017-11-13 Hot Rod Network Staff
1952-chevy-3100-three-quarter-view This 1952 Chevy Five-Window Got Our Attention Quick

What is your idea of a sleeper vehicle? For most people, it's something with impressive performance behind a lowkey faade. Something that might fool people with a mild-manner first impression followed up by a surprise punch. Scott McClain told us that one of his reasons for building this beautiful red and gray 1952 Chevy 3100 was that he had always wanted to own a sleeper.

Research

Like probably most gearheads, Scott's involvement with cars and trucks began back in his teenage years. And like many, his involvement was encouraged by helping with somebody else. In Scott's case, that person was his older brother and the first project he helped with was removing and building the engine from a 1940 DeSoto his brother found in a South Dakota junkyard back in the '70s. It was an unusual introduction to a hobby that Scott has been part of ever since.

Scott learned to drive behind the wheel of an old pickup on his uncle's ranch, and has been driving trucks ever since. This one, the nicest of them all, started a few years ago when Scott got the itch to drive a custom-built hot rod. He started his search at an auction, but his attempt at buying a GMC there wasn't successful. From there, he went to the Internet, where this 1952 3100 was listed on eBay. It was located in Kentucky, several hundred miles from Scott's home in Crystal Lake, Illinois. That provided the opportunity for a road trip with—appropriately—his brother.

Scott's word for the condition of the truck as found is "refreshed." It had been treated to some bodywork and paint, and still ran the factory 216-inch inline-six engine. Scott's ideas for the truck called for a lot more than "refreshed." He started talking about his ideas with builder Jeff Schwartz from Schwartz Performance in Woodstock, Illinois. The shop is known for high-level rods—and is also located about 10 miles from where Scott lives.

Now the truck rides on a Schwartz Performance G-Machine full-length chassis. Framerails are 2x6-inch mild steel. The G-Machine package is designed for various suspension goals, from street cruising to autocross competition. The combination on this 1952 includes unequal-length control arms in front with custom spindles, coilovers using RideTech shocks and Hyperco springs, a 1.25-inch splined antiroll bar, and power rack-and-pinion steering for up-to-date handling and ride. In the rear a Moser 9-inch full-floater with 3.70:1 gears and Detroit TrueTrac differential is suspended with the same coilover setup, triangulated four-bars, and a 3/4-inch antiroll bar. Wilwood 13-inch disc brakes were added all around with six- and four-piston calipers fore and aft.

1952-chevy-3100-three-quarter-rear-end.jpg© Robert McGaffin 1952-chevy-3100-three-quarter-rear-end.jpg

The contemporary 18-inch wheels are Grip Equipped Schism five-spokes from Forgeline. Low-profile rubber is from the Michelin Pilot Super Sport series and measures 255/35R18 in front and a fat 335/30R18 in back for an unmissable footprint.

Underhood, a firewall and inner fenders were fabricated to surround the engine. After a lifetime of faithful service, the original Stovebolt was retired. In its place is a fresh 6.2L Chevrolet LS3 crate engine. The engine was mildly modified at Schwartz Performance with the addition of a custom camshaft and Lunati valvesprings. A Wegner billet serpentine drive system dresses up the front of the LS3, and a Be Cool aluminum radiator and Spal fan ensure that things are kept cool. Schwartz Performance built a pair of custom stainless steel headers routing gases to custom 3-inch exhaust pipes. Past the firewall, a TREMEC T56 Magnum six-speed transmission backs up the engine.

First impressions are important for a classic hot rod truck, and that's where exterior mods take over. Modifications to the 3100 five-window body and shortbed were kept mild but the attention to making the sheetmetal perfect and the whole truck beautiful was extensive. The headlights were replaced with Hella lamps and LED bulbs are used to enhance the taillights. The stock gas filler was filled and relocated to the bed floor, which is finished in high-quality oak. The original bumpers have been replaced with stock-style reproductions.

Steve Nick's Customs in Woodstock does a lot of the painting for Schwartz Performance and handled the finish on Scott's 3100 as well. Steve used PPG products to paint the two-tone pickup. The primary color is GM Siren Red contrasted by Gray Anthracite on the fenders and running boards. As far as making a successful first impression, you can judge for yourself.

Cassis Customizing in Woodstock gets well-deserved credit for finishing the interior. The bench seat with bucket backs came from TEA's Design and was upholstered with black and red leather to following the paint scheme on the truck. The style carries over to the door panels and headliner as well. Black German velour carpet covers the floor. Dakota Digital VHX gauges were installed in the original dash and a Custom Autosound audio system provides great sound without detracting from the look of the dash. A Vintage Air Mini A/C system cools the cab. The banjo steering wheel from Grant is mounted on a Flaming River column.

From learning to drive in an old ranch truck to cruising in a pro-built magazine-quality custom truck, Scott's lifetime as a classic truck fan has definitely evolved. He says that waiting for it to be finished was a challenge, but driving it for the first time was an unforgettable experience, especially "harnessing all the power and that big smile when the tires broke loose going into Second gear."

Only one question remains. Did he accomplish his goal of owning a sleeper? There is definitely more to his 1952 Chevy than you can see at first, but even what you can see is enough to wake you up.

1952-chevy-3100-right-ptofile.jpg© Robert McGaffin 1952-chevy-3100-right-ptofile.jpg

Tech Notes

1952 Chevy 3100

Scott McClain

CHASSIS

Frame: Schwartz Performance G-Machine, 2x6-inch mild steel

Rearend / Ratio: Moser 9-inch, full-floater, Truetrac differential / 3.70:1

Rear Suspension: RideTech shocks with Hyperco springs, 3/4-inch splined antiroll bar, triangulated four-link

Rear Brakes: Wilwood disc brakes, 13-inch rotors, four-piston calipers

Front Suspension: Schwartz Performance unequal length control arms, Schwartz spindles, RideTech shocks with Hyperco springs, 1.25-inch splined antiroll bar

Front Brakes: Wilwood disc brakes, 13-inch rotors, six-piston calipers, proportioning valve

Steering: Power rack-and-pinion

Front Wheels: Forgeline Grip Equipped Schism 18x9

Rear Wheels: Forgeline Grip Equipped Schism 18x12

Front Tires: Michelin Pilot Super Sport 255/35R18

Rear Tires: Michelin Pilot Super Sport 335/30R18

DRIVETRAIN

Engine: 2014 Chevrolet LS3 crate engine, Lunati valvesprings

Camshaft: Schwartz Performance custom cam

Heads: OE aluminum

Intake: OE

Alternator: Powermaster

Ignition: HEI

Headers: Schwartz Performance

Exhaust: Schwartz Performance

Horsepower: 530

Transmission: Tremec T56 Magnum six-speed

BODY

Style: 1952 Chevy 3100 five-window shortbed

Hood: Stock

Grille: Stock

Headlights / Taillights: Hella / LED lenses

Front Bumper: Stock-style replacement

Rear Bumper: Stock-style replacement

Door Handles: Stock

Bed Floor: Oak with stainless runners

General Bodywork: Schwartz Performance

Prep Bodywork: Steve Nick's Customs

Paint / Color: PPG / GM Siren Red and Gray Anthracite

Painter: Steve Nick's Customs

INTERIOR

Dashboard: Stock

Gauges: Dakota Digital VHX

Door Handles: Stock

Steering Wheel: Grant

Steering Column: Flaming River tilt column

Seats: TEA's Design split bucket bench

Upholstery: Cassin Customizing

Material / Color: Leather / Black and red

Sound System: Custom Autosound

Air Conditioning: Vintage Air

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