When you call Fatman Fabrications to order parts, chances are you will talk to owner Brent VanDervort or Tim Tullo. Tim, an avid hot rodder and gearhead, knows his product and can help find suspension parts when it comes to the Fatman catalog. But what Tim wanted to learn more about was hands-on installations, not only on the Fatman product line, but how to do all the rest.
I hear people say that it is easy to turn a mechanic into an engineer, but not the other way around. Its not that the engineer is smarter than the mechanic, but rather the engineer is wired to think different. Same goes for Tim’s job at Fatman Fabrications. He spends most of his time talking to people on the phone helping with product installations (via the phone) and selling parts. So to help wrap his head around the “how to” questions, he set out to build a project of his own.
Let’s not discredit Tim’s skills in the shop because he has been building cars and trucks since he was 15 years old, but he was not confident in some areas. The only thing he was lacking was metal fabrication and needed some time behind the welding mask. So, in search of one perfect project truck Tim found two trucks with parts that fit one another. The tricky part now was deciding what truck was the best candidate for a complete build. Mike Craig (Fatman’s frame and install shop manager at the time) and Tim towed the ’53 five-window over to Tim’s house first, since it was the more desirable of the two pickups. Tim said, “It was a rusty and well-used farm truck that has seen its better days.”
This was also about the same time the movie “Cars” was out and Tim’s young boys Anthony (9) and Joe (4) were really into it. When Mike and Tim brought the truck home for the first time, Tim’s boys ran over to mom and said “Mom! Dad just brought home Mater!” When Tim found out what the boys said he was overcome with joy, because that meant they showed interest in the truck, a father’s dream.
The floorboards and toe boards were replaced first and Tim decided it was a good idea to have Mike Casanova (Fatman’s install shop employee) come over and help weld the exterior panels because Tim didn’t want to warp them. Mike received some good old country cooking in trade for his welding and fabrication skills. Now that’s a trade. The frame was in no better shape than the cab, so what better way to sharpen his fabrication skills than building a new frame in the Fatman shop. With some instruction from the Fatman crew, Tim spent countless weekend hours building his very own frame. This way he could explain how to install parts over the phone from personal experiences and hardships.
Tim’s plan was to finish the truck in six months to a year, but even he admits that his plan was a very naive. It is now four years later and thanks to Rich Delarosa, Mike Casanova, Josh Layton, Brent Vandervort, Delton Russell, Keith Wade, Tom Norman, Ashley McVickers, Mike Craig, and Pete D’Orta and Tim’s family for support during the build. The ’53 would still be in the beginning stages if it weren’t for everyone’s help.
Editor’s note: I was handed the keys to Tim’s truck and I was a little timid at first, but once behind the wheel the truck drove better than my rental car. Nice job Tim.
Harrisburg, North Carolina
1953 Chevy Five-Window
Fatman Fabrications by owner
Rearend / Ratio:
Ford 9-inch / 3.70
Fatman parallel four-bar / RideTech air bags
Fatman IFS with RideTech coilovers
Mustang II rack-and-pinion
Summit Racing Legend Series 17x8
Summit Racing Legend Series 17x8
General Altimax HP 235/55R17
General Altimax HP 255/60R17
’86 350 bored .060 over
RHS Pro Torker heads
Edelbrock Performer EPS
Exhaust / Mufflers:
Flowmaster 40 series
shift kit / 2,000 stall converter
Windsor Fabrications / hidden under dash
’53 Chevy five-window
rear window enlarged, replaced driprails with round stock, removed cowl vents, raised bed, one-piece door glass, filled hood emblems and roll pan
Bodywork and paint by:
owner and Rich Delarosa
Paint type / Color:
SEM / Hot Rod Black
Headlights / Taillights:
Hella / LMC
LMC / LMC roll pan
GM – modified
Dakota Digital VFD series
Kenwood / MTX amps
’01 Buick LeSabre
Material / Color:
cloth / gray