Homebuilt Hauler – Sal Seeno’s ’53 Chevy 3100
We’ve all seen the old car or truck parked behind a shop, seemingly rusting away, so we stop and ask if it’s for sale. The answer, almost always, is no because the owner says he’s going to restore it someday.
Sometimes, though, you get the right answer and it’s yours. That’s how Sal Seeno came to possess his ’53 Chevy 3100 pickup, thanks to his wife’s eagle eye. When he arrived home from work a few years ago, his wife asked if he’d seen the old truck at a nearby tire store. He rushed to the store and bought the truck before it got away.
Once Sal got the truck home to his garage, the work began. What you see is a true do-it-yourself project. Sal did all of the work himself – bodywork, paint, even the interior upholstery. “This is what you can build at home with a grinder, welder, hand tools, body tools, and a paint gun,” Sal says. Of course, you also need the vision, the skills, and the patience!
Sal chose a TCI air spring stepped rail chassis for the foundation, which uses an independent suspension with rack-and-pinion steering in front and a four-link rear suspension featuring a Currie rear end with 3.50 gears. Air springs are found on all four corners, as are 12-inch Wilwood slotted and drilled disc brakes. U.S. Mags Rambler wheels – 20×8-inches both front and rear – are wrapped in Delinte 255/35/20 tires.
Under the smoothed hood resides a 350c.i. Chevy small-block V8 producing 370 horsepower. A Typhoon Power Plus induction system sits between Holley valve covers, while Ultimate Headers feed the exhaust gases through a Magnaflow system.
Sal handled the body modifications before applying the bright red paint, including shaving the hood, eliminating various trim pieces, hiding the fuel filler for the under-bed tank, smoothing the firewall, and deleting the wing vents in the doors. The front and rear bumpers were also smoothed before re-chroming. The pickup bed’s wood floor was raised to clear the rear suspension.
For the interior, Sal used minivan seats and a hand-built console for passenger comfort. Dakota Digital gauges now reside in the stock dashboard, Vintage Air A/C keeps the cab cool, and a Painless Performance wiring system controls the electrical components.
What was the best part of this home-built experience for Sal? He happily reports that taking the first ride in the completed truck with his wife tops the list. Remember, she’s the one who first spotted this hidden gem down the street!
Photos by Steven Bunker