Silver Ghost – Tim Hampel’s 1953 Chevy Pickup
Tim Hampel’s 1953 Chevy pickup has been part of his life for nearly 40 years, since he was 18 years old. What began as a father/son project went into hibernation for nearly two decades but was resurrected a few years ago and turned into a Ridler Award Great 8 finalist at this year’s Detroit Autorama before becoming a Scott’s Hotrods Truck of the Year Early finalist in Fort Worth and also earning a Chevrolet Performance GM Iron Builder of the Year finalist nod for Killer Hot Rods.
Working with the crew at Killer Hot Rods, Tim says the latest version of the truck is the one he’s always wanted. Examine it closely and you’ll see why.
Start with a custom-built chassis featuring a Mustang II-style front suspension and a pro-street-style four link rear suspension locating a narrowed 9-inch housing. Wilwood discs reside on all four corners behind 18×8- and 20×15-inch Schott wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber.
For power, Tim turned to a 468c.i. Chevy big block that produces more than enough power to launch the truck in a neck-snapping manner. The big block is topped with a Dyers 6-71 supercharger fitted with dual Holley Sniper throttle bodies and sends spent fumes through Hedman headers and Flowmaster mufflers. The custom-built valve covers feature the truck’s name – Silver Ghost. The Turbo 400 automatic is controlled by a B&M shifter.
The custom air cleaner is just part of the well-massaged engine compartment. A smooth firewall and other hand-fabricated panels add to the clean look. Much of the bodywork by the Killer Hot Rods team is subtle, but the result is sleek and stylish. For example, a one-piece hood now covers the engine compartment, the custom bumpers are smoothed and tucked tight to the body, trim and wing vent windows are deleted, and the tonneau cover resembles a pickup floor but tilts up to expose the suspension. Custom taillights from Greening Auto reside just above the rear bumper. Nick Ryan at Killer Hot Rods applied the PPG Iridium Silver and Olive Metalika paint.
The interior work by Delgado Upholstery uses TMI seats covered in Ultraleather. A Sparc Industries steering wheel sits on an Ididit tilt column, Classic Instruments fill the dash openings, and most controls are hidden in the glove box. Old Air provides the cooling for the hot Texas summers. Handles and pedals come from Clayton Machine Works.
It’s easy to see why this version of his 1953 Chevy pickup is the one Tim always envisioned. Smooth and refined on the outside, with big of power and strength underneath, it’s equal parts trick and tough, which is a very cool combination.
Photos by John Jackson