Reborn to Roll: A Reimagined Depression-Era ’37 Chevy Pickup
Keen eyes will always be able to spot the lurking gems hidden deep within a sea of junk. That’s just how Chris Hubble, of Anchorage, AK was able to dig up this killer ’37 Chevy pickup. Chris grew up around all kinds of car and trucks, and by the time he turned 18, he estimates that his father owned over 100 vehicles in that time. For a young kid being able to see that many different types of makes and models, he considers himself lucky to have been able to help his pops turn wrenches on a good amount of those cars.
While Chris already has a number of completed projects under his belt, we’ll be narrowing our view on how he acquired his latest project vehicle—this ’37 Chevy pickup. “It was the fall of 1995,” he recalls. “I stopped by an old Alaskan friend Bob Brown’s shop to see what he was up to. Pushed to one side of the shop was a ’37 Chevy truck partially assembled with boxes of parts and pieces around it that caught my eye.” When Chris asked what was going on with the truck, he was shocked by what he heard next (but was pleasantly surprised at the same time).
Just a Chevy?
“Bob was a real big GMC guy,” Chris says. “So, when I asked him about the Chevy, he pretty much said that is was just a Chevy and wasn’t worth finishing. I knew in my heart that wasn’t the case and decided right there and then that I was going to buy the truck from him and do my best to restore it.” The two struck a deal, even though Chris still had to pay up for the truck, but it was worth it to him. “I hauled the truck home, and quickly dove into the tedious task of going through the boxes to make some sense of what was in them. Luckily, the truck was all there for the most part, so I was able to assemble it and paint the truck that same winter.”
A Dull Life
Over the next few years, the truck didn’t see a whole lot of road time. Between keeping a busy schedule, and with the Chevy still needing to be dialed in, Chris put another 100 miles (if that many) on the odometer. The Chevy spent a good deal of the next 20 years stored in a container only for it to make the occasional appearance for family photo ops. It definitely wasn’t the relationship Chris had intended on having with the Chevy, but hey, at least he still held onto it when most might’ve already sold it off.
As time passed, Chris spent less and less time worrying about what was next for his truck and started moving onto new projects. “I was having a car worked on by AJ Schwichtenberg of Good Fellows Classic Cars in Phoenix, AZ, and I mentioned that I was thinking of cleaning up my Chevy pickup and getting the thing drivable but more reliable this time. AJ told me to send it to him so he could have a go at it.” Now, Phoenix is a hell of a long way away from Alaska (obviously) where Chris is located, but the feat of having the truck delivered to AZ wasn’t impossible.
Making it Badass
In the late summer of 2017, the Hubble family Chevy pickup was on its journey to the Arizona desert. Once AJ got an up close and personal look at the ’37, he reached out to Chris and told him that they had to do something bitchin’ with the truck, which Chris agreed with wholeheartedly. “When AJ asked what kind of theme I had in mind, I already knew my answer”, Chris says. “Something bad ass.” With such a broad, tall order in front of them, the two spent the better part of two years bouncing ideas and sketches off each other. Soon, they had a concrete plan in place with an execution phase scheduled to launch.
Given the age of the ’37’s frame and plans to go low, AJ saw it best to run with a custom Roadster Shop chassis outfitted with top shelf accessories like AFCO coil-overs and Baer brakes to give the Chevy a solid, responsive foundation for Chris to cruise on. Adding style and function is the 17x10-inch American Racing Salt Flat billet wheels that are wrapped in 315/35R17 Nitto NT555 G2 tires. These tires look mean peeking out from under the widened front fenders and help lay down the power with large outer tread blocks and twin center ribs.
While the guys were designing the build, they decided to up the ante and go all-in with a brand new LS3 backed by a 4L-75E transmission to complement the updated suspension system. AJ and crew handled the install of both the engine and chassis while fabricating some one-off goods to better blend the two systems together. “Our total picture of the build was to keep the truck looking like a subtle ’37 but one that that was a real driver,” Chris adds.
With the Chevy quickly evolving into something much more than just a “driver,” the Good Fellows crew began preparing the outer surfaces for treatment. A healthy amount of body and metalwork was invested before the guys landed on a PPG paint color, Desert Storm, which is equal parts clean and classy, and looks downright perfect on the ’37. Good Fellows, once again, crafted an array of custom one-off alterations and scratch-built wares that all come together to make for an unforgettable first impression.
Another aspect of the build that gets a lot of attention is the interior, which was a collaboration of the Good Fellows squad and the Unique Upholstery team from Gilbert, AZ. The custom-made seating, center console and leather upholstery really take center stage inside the cab. The door panels were also given complementing styling, and the dash has been stuffed with updated gauges from Classic Instruments. When pieced together, the cab space made for a welcoming environment to spend an afternoon drive in and then some.
The Next Phase
After an intensive year spent conducting actual physical work on Chris and Christine’s ’37 Chevy, it was finally completed, which left them planning the next phase of ownership, which included a lot more driving, and far less storage (well, except for the winter months). “Lucky for me, my wife, daughter and son like cars too,”, Chris exclaimed. “We can all enjoy this truck together. We have been fortunate enough to own more than our share of different types of vehicles, however, this truck has a personality of its own. It just makes me smile when I see it.”