Finishing a project seems to be a monumental task these days, no matter what it is. Mowing the lawn, putting in a new fence, even regular vehicle maintenance can be a tough thing to accomplish with our busy day-to-day lives, but all this pales in comparison to building or restoring a truck from the ground up. Turning the key and driving off in a freshly completed truck causes all manner of stomach and brain fluctuations, not to mention sensations that can hardly be rivaled, and it better stay that way, because it was a hard road to get to that point!
More than a few trucks are built in home garages of different degrees each year, and every owner/builder can attest to the struggle. The same goes for professional shops. Even though they generally have access to more equipment and space, they by no means have it easy. There are the pressures of running your own business, overseeing and/or tending employees (good workers are still hard to find!), making sure what customers ask for is what they are getting or educating them when they're not sure what they want, and, of course, ensuring the end product is the quality you want your name associated with. It's no walk in the park, even for the "biggest" shops, and just because any one of the shop-based automotive cable TV shows plaguing the airwaves today may portray life in a professional shop as fun, cool, or even embarrassing, it's still not a job for the faint of heart.
The Roadster Shop in Elgin, Illinois, pays no mind to the TV, because they have work to do! They have come a long way in the last few years, not only building Mike Crimaldi's '53 F-100, but also establishing themselves as more than just a hot rod or chassis shop (and they do both quite well), but more of a turnkey, mild-to-wild, you-dream-it-we-do-it kind of shop that can handle each stage of any build right there in-house.
With this last installment and the full feature on page 34 of this issue, we'll conclude the Roadster Shop's efforts on Mike's '53 F-100 and leave you with a few snapshots of the last stages of the final assembly. Don't worry, they'd be glad to build you a chassis for your project even if you plan on finishing it yourself. Don't forget to tell 'em CLASSIC TRUCKS sent you!
Building a custom grille starts...
Building a custom grille starts out something like this. The Roadster Shop cleaned up the stock grille surround, filled the bumper bracket holes in the lower valance, positioned the Hagan headlights in their custom-frenched buckets/bezels, and started bending, cutting, and welding up aluminum.
There is generally some room...
There is generally some room to move underneath older trucks, but the '53 is running a little tight below decks. The Roadster Shop built its Stage III chassis to bring the truck lower to the ground without the use of air suspension by means of raising up the crossmembers and suspension. Couple that with the fact that the 509hp big-block Chevy from Bill Mitchell demands a certain amount of space, and pretty soon there isn't much room for exhaust. But never fear-the Roadster Shop was still able to make a custom 3-inch stainless system that starts with Sanderson Big Tube headers and incorporates the requisite Flowmaster 40 Series mufflers.