Having a passion for early-model cars, trucks, trains, and planes can become a lifetime addiction. Brian Burch from Huntington Beach, California, has several professions, including being a contractor, a hardscape landscape designer, and a chemical urethane analyst. Brian also knows about old-skool lines and curves. He inherited his custom and hot-rod passion from his dad, Harold, who drove his mom to the hospital to deliver Brian in a '62 Chevy Bel Air bubble-top 409 stick car. How cool is that?
Brian's wife Michele is a successful interior decorator in SoCal, who is also into cool custom rides. It was her idea to have Brian build her this old-skool fat-fendered '54 Chevy pickup to cruise Huntington Beach's Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway with their two dogs, Spec and Kiwi. Huntington Beach is known internationally as Surf City, USA. But, H.B. is also known as a haven for early and late-model customs, hot rods, and trucks. Just a couple of shops in the zip code are Foose Design, California Street Rods, D&P Classic Customs, KA Custom, and Wheelers Speed Shop.
After checking out Brian and Michele's red and black satin-finished 'dropped '54 Chevy at a local Seal Beach car show, we definitely wanted to capture its old-skool appearance on digital imagery.
The journey began with the truck being delivered to Eight Ball Rods & Choppers in Anaheim, California, where Stefan Annan and his crew removed the cab, fenders, hood, and bed from the factory frame. The framerails were cut short up front to accept an '84 Camaro front clip that was narrowed a couple of inches to allow the front wheels and tires to tuck inside the front fenders and still turn left and right. The original frame crossmembers were removed and new ones were mounted flush with the bottom of the framerails. The remainder of the rails were boxed for added strength and rigidity. A 13-gallon fuel tank was installed under the bed between the framerails. To achieve its slammed stance, Eight Ball Rods & Choppers installed a set of Air Ride Technologies Shockwave pneumatic airbags. Stefan used the '84 Camaro spindles and front disc brakes up front. The '84 Camaro rear end and drum brakes were hung by a custom-built four-link rear suspension. To keep the old-skool appearance, a pair of 15x7-inch red steelies were placed up front, with 15x8-inch in the rear with spider hubs, and were wrapped with 195/60R15 front and 225/60R15 rear Diamondback Classic wide white tires.
The frame was then trailered over to KA Custom in Huntington Beach where Kevin Francis installed the Air Ride Technologies valves, air lines, and fittings. Kevin also bent and installed the fuel and brake lines. Then, he freshened up the '84 305ci V-8 Camaro engine with all-new internal components, including bearings, seals, pistons, rings, rods, a camshaft, lifters, push rods, rockers, valves, and springs. A rebuilt 700-R4 transmission was bolted up to the 305ci block. The engine received plenty of polished aluminum and chrome external goodies, like finned valve covers, a '40s style Caddy batwing air cleaner, a chromed alternator, and an A/C compressor. A pair of Hooker ceramic-coated headers flow into a 2-1/2-inch-diameter stainless steel exhaust and Cherry Bomb mufflers.
A timeless interior features a smoothed dash with a white face from Classic Instruments. A
The bench seat was borrowed from a Chevy S-10 pickup. It was then refurbished and covered
Under the hood, we discovered a rebuilt '84 Chevy Camaro 305ci V-8 engine, decorated with