It's no secret that a certain percentage of U.S. "domestics" eventually become Euro/Asian "imports." While the numbers may weigh more toward the export side, one way to look at it positively is the fact that so many foreigners are so dedicated to the preservation of vintage American iron that they would rather see a classic truck shipped out of the country than scrapped and eventually crushed, eliminating any chance of it ever being restored!
When it comes to Japanese restorations and customizations, they're usually right on the money regarding accuracy-era, style, and especially parts. It's truly amazing to see just how far they can go, namely with ultra-rare speed parts and/or accessories that even Americans have a hard time locating. The British can be just as anal, but oftentimes, they tend to apply a bit of their own automotive influence in either the styling or the mechanics of their Yankee projects, which indeed offers a nice twist. This is especially true of Phil Middleton's '53 Chevy pickup, which from the exterior looks to be a nice North American-style hauler. But as you will learn, beneath the sunset yellow pearl exterior lies a certain bit of componentry quite foreign to the average American rodder.
Originally a Colorado native, the 3100 came to Phil in the U.K. via Mr. Importer, aka John Reid. It was by all accounts a rust bucket. However, with years of experience under his belt building a variety of things-from custom vans in the '70s to hot rods and such-it didn't take long for Phil to turn his '53 five-window into one of, if not the nicest pickups in Great Britain.
While the small-block Chevy, Turbo 400 automatic, and even the Chevy 10-bolt rearend are familiar items, what Phil chose for his truck's front suspension is surely as far from the norm as can be. Instead of an IFS based on the typical Mustang II lineage or even a Camaro clip, Middleton opted to incorporate a Jaguar XJ6 unit-everything with the exception of the steering, which was swapped out for a lefthand drive rack-and-pinion setup (so as to minimize further modification of the truck to accommodate a righthand drive setup). Very unique, for sure, but very responsive and well handling, which had a lot to do with his decision to go "domestic" in the first place.
From the updated chassis to the "rodstored" interior to the aforementioned pearl paint job, Phil went through the truck entirely on his own-and the results more than speak for themselves. This is one AD Chevy that many (definitely not all) Americans don't mind seeing cross the pond!