I love hot rods. You know the kind that just look like, well, a hot rod. The correct stance, the correct wheels, correct tire size, and even the correct color. I also love Fleetlines. But to most, when you say Fleetline, they think sled or mild custom. I have always loved the Chevy Fleetlines but have always wanted to do one real hot roddy (if that’s correct wording). When some of my buddies asked me what I was going to do with this Fleetline, I just simply said, build it hot roddy. Some got it; but some did not.
I wanted to build a car that would not break the bank. It seems like to get noticed anymore you have to be building a six-figure car. I wanted to build an affordable project, one that was a good driver.
I found the car on eBay (while I had plenty of time laying in the hospital with a collapsed lung from wrecking my bicycle at a BMX race!). I found a super-solid, all-original body that had never been messed with—the perfect start.
To get the correct vibe and look for the car, the stance and chassis was started. Keeping in mind the affordable build, I found a used S-10 rolling chassis. I cut out the front suspension and Z’d it severely to get it super low with a static drop. The same S-10 rearend was used, along with a Chassis Engineering leaf spring kit. The mounts were moved inside the framerails and moved up to get the rear down and achieve a hot rod stance.
To make a dependable driver, and to go down the road real nice, a junkyard takeout 5.3L truck engine and trans was found at a local yard. It was installed in the reworked chassis, and moved up in the car enough for proper ground clearance, and even moved back into the car for a cool look and better weight transfer. The chassis was all painted a tan satin color, which would match the interior.
With the correct stance and a modern drivetrain, the engine compartment was up next. I really like custom engine compartments, so I wanted the same on this project. With the new placement of the engine, the firewall was moved back 3 inches with a deep 8-inch recess. All-new blind-mounted inner fenders and radiator cover were fabbed up and smoothed out. To keep all the stock workings of the injected engine, but look different, some simple custom engine covers were made up to hide all the workings and fuel rails and tie in nice with the Greening Auto Company valve covers, which also hide the coil packs. To further the modern yet retro-styled engine area, the original oil bath air cleaner was gutted and reworked for a new air cleaner and to hide the mass air sensor.
Up next was the body. I really like most of the original styling of the Fleetline, but wanted to slick it up just a little. Emblems on the front and rear were shaved and the hood peaked. The fender trim was lost and holes filled along with the quarter rock guards. The stock taillights were also shaved off and a set of four ’50 Pontiac lights used. I also wanted to get rid of the stock two-piece windshield, so the center bar was lost and new ’50 Oldsmobile glass was installed. The bumpers were welded up, smoothed, and along with all the other trim, painted a metallic color with satin clear. The end result looks like a blasted coating. The rest of the body was finished in a DuPont Chroma Premier in a medium solid blue. I tried to pick a color that might have been used back when the car was new on a base model. To add a little more industrial look, I added a satin panel to the hood, roof, and trunk.
The main frame is a stock 1950 Chevy with an 1983 S-10 front stub, which has been kicked up about 8 inches to get the car low. The stock steering was removed and a narrowed rack-and-pinion was installed with S-10 control arms swapped for tubular A-arms. It has stock S-10 front disc brakes, rearend, and rear drum brakes and a Chassis Engineering leaf spring kit with spring mounts moved to the inside of the framerail and further up to get a good stance. The chassis is all painted the same satin tan color as the engine compartment.
The engine is an 2003 Chevy truck fuel-injected 5.3L LS. It has a GM computer, Detail Zone engine harness, Greening Auto Company valve cover with coils inside covers, and old-school Chevrolet script on the valve covers. There is custom engine sheetmetal covering the ugly stock truck engine. The air cleaner is the stock oil bath that came on the inline-six; the insides of the oil were cut out and are fitted with a MAS air sensor; also custom are hand-fabbed metal fuel rail covers. It has stock truck engine brackets with an 140-amp alternator from PowerMaster, a Rick's Tanks custom stainless fuel tank with Aeromotive pump and a Flowmaster builder's kit 2 1/2-inch exhaust, stock LS exhaust manifolds, all heat wrapped using DEI titanium-colored heat wrap, again to tie the industrial feel into the project. To keep the car driveable with it being low, the engine and trans were moved way up in the chassis for oil pan clearance and back for better weight balance and looks. An Allstar Performance aluminum radiator with Spal cooling fans was also installed.
Body & Paint
The 1950 Chevy Fleetline has a mostly stock body, the hood seam welded with a slight peak, and the hood emblem is shaved. The center windshield divider was removed and 1950 Oldsmobile glass was installed. The stock taillights were shaved and replaced with four 1950 Pontiac panels. Bumpers were smoothed and shaved and one pieced. All trim is sanded and painted a metallic color with satin clear. The body is coated in a retro solid non-metallic medium blue, a with a satin insert on the hood, roof, and trunk for an industrial look. All paint materials are DuPont Chroma Premier. The flat part of the firewall was moved back 3 inches, with an 8-inch recess for the engine. All inner fenders, radiator support, and radiator cover are all hand fabbed. Inner fenders are blind mounted for a clean look.
Wheels & Tires
Polished Real Rodders wheels in 15x7 up front and 15x8 in the rear (has the look of a 10-inch-wide deep-dish rim) are all wrapped in BFGoodrich big 'n' little T/A radial rubber.
It has a stock front bench seat and custom fabbed rear seat. The seats are covered in tan vinyl with pleated inserts done in a canvas material for an industrial look by Hudson Rod & Custom. Other interior panels were done by Strange Motion. The industrial look continues with aluminum accents on the side panels made by Jamey Jordan of HandMade Seat Co. It has Mercedes square-weave carpet, a Ron Francis wire harness, ididit steel tilt column, and old Bell-style Sprint Car–influenced wheel. Air conditioning is by Restomod Air, insulated with BoomMat and Steele Rubber weatherstripping and seals.