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Custom Styling of the late-50s: Matt’s 1952 Chevy

custom car As custom restyling truly took off during this era, and it was a time of huge advancement in the automotive industry, I didn’t think I could sum up the entire decade in just one car. So leaving the early-50s last week with Pinkee’s ’47 Merc, today we’re studying Matt Slipich’s 1952 Chevy Sedan. It’s a great example of a timeless custom car – something that might have come out of the shop of Bill Hines or George Barris in the late 1950s, but is actually a relatively newly-built custom by Noble Fabrication in Ventura, California. custom car When Matt bought the car, it was a bit of a mess – already having been “customized” by someone with different tastes. A botched roof chop and custom grill with scrap-metal “teeth”…but when the deal is right and the important parts are in good condition you take what you can get. custom car Matt and Noble Fabrication had their work cut out for them. They started by reworking and straightening out the chop. It’s “new” lines look effortless…just like they’re supposed to. Which is a running theme throughout this series – customs looking different but without anything that screams, “look at me, I’m different”. A huge premise for custom work back then was creating a car the way it would have looked best right off the factory floor in Detroit. custom car The chop these guys ended on is a very tasteful one – probably obvious to more casual onlookers, but not obnoxiously low - just 2 ½ to 3 inches taken out. It takes serious restraint to do this when chopping a car, more commonly people will take out way too much. The rear sail panel dives into the back of the rear tire just like production cars of the day would have done. custom car Some of the extreme modifications on this ’52 Chevy make you look right over them, the front fender lips for example. They’re off the same model Ford and have been graphed seamlessly onto the Chevy. It holds both wheel openings together, as the rear fender skirts had lips on them from the start – continuity is everything. custom car A few other custom treatments are like so many others which paved the way – shaved and decked. For those unacquainted with these terms, let me clarify. Shaved means the side trim and door handles have been taken off – decked refers to the trunk being cleaned up and smoothed. custom car Tailight choices on customs are seemingly endless and can make or break a build. Matt’s choice hit the nail on the head with his choice to use taillights off a ’53 Pontiac. custom car For the grill, replacing the protruding home-made teeth that were there when he purchased  the car, Matt showed restraint again by using the stock grill. He cleaned it up and added stock grill teeth. The end result is super tasteful and a great representation of a mid-to-late 50s custom car. custom car Cheers to you Matt and keep her between the lines! If you’re in the SoCal area and would like to see customs like this one and similar, come up and say hi at the Ventura Nationals during Labor Day Weekend! custom car
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