The bodywork was handed over to Steve's friends at The Local Hot Rod Shop located in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. Johnny and Billy from The Shop filled the seams, installed a smooth firewall, trimmed the side exhaust cutouts, and frenched the antenna mount, one of the ideas Steve and Tyler admired from their trips to the Super Nats. They found the rear cat's eye lighting at a local show and deemed it unique enough to fit the bill, and a pair of stock blinkers snagged from a Harley-Davidson turned custom found their way onto the truck as turn signals. Since then, it seems Tyler has caught the two-wheeled custom bug as well. Covering the fresh five-liter motor is a stock hood that's been given a subtle forward slant for a more aggressive look.
For the bed floor, Steve and Tyler opted for a wood kit from Dan Carpenter, then color-matched it to the body. The rear of the stepside bed features a smoothed tailgate with hidden latches, plus a custom roll pan below. Inside the cab, the stock dashboard was smoothed, and a billet dash cluster was packed with classic analog VDO gauges combined with Dakota Digital gauges, plus a Rainbow Products A/C unit for creature comfort. With the bodywork completed, the '54 was turned over to Steve's friend Bill McDonald in Wilson, North Carolina, where Bill shot the pickup in Estate Green Dupont paint.
While the paint was being color-sanded, final details like the brake lines and Ron Francis wiring harness were installed by Steve and Tyler. The interior is Tyler's own blend of old and new. He tore the covers off a pair of Mercury Sable seats reupholstered in his choice of mahogany and brown distressed leather by Todd McCloud. The 54's stereo consists of an Alpine tuner with a Rockford Fosgate amp and speakers.
As Tyler's mom tells it, "Many lessons were learned by the young builder. Values like setting goals, persistence, patience, and self-discipline were well worth the hours and dollars the pair have devoted. Through the years of the '54 and other projects, Steve has had the chance to teach Tyler things a person can't learn in school," including managing that all-important MDK fund.