The engine compartment, as smooth at the exterior, has been filled with a brand-new high-performance aluminum head ZZ4 crate engine from Pace Performance, aspirated through a single Holley 700 carb and fired by an HEI ignition with Bosch wires. Dan made sure there was plenty of chrome, from the ball-milled air cleaner and valve covers to the intake manifold and one-wire alternator. The Jet-Hot coated headers run to 2-inch aluminized exhaust pipes with turbo mufflers providing the tone. Harvey's Transmission, right there in Orange, built the TH350 automatic and Randy's Driveshaft Service in Houston provided the driveshaft. At the other end, 3.73:1 gears fill the limited slip S-10 rear.

The cab was completely rebuilt to keep up with the rest of the pickup's complete custom theme. Of everything on the truck, Dan says that the dash, taken from a '60 Chevy passenger car, is one of his favorite parts. He installed Auto Meter gauges in the instrument panel and added vents for the Vintage Air A/C system. The wheel and tilt column came from Flaming River and the shifter is from Lokar. When it was ready to be upholstered, the truck went to Charles Powell in Houston, who covered the custom door panels and Glide Engineering split bench with two-tone gray simulated leather that Dan says feels like the real deal. The Sony stereo and speakers were installed by Performance Car Audio in Beaumont, and Steve Flores at Intensive Car Care, also in Beaumont, wired the truck using a Painless Performance wiring kit.

The final result is a real time bender-a custom classic truck inspired by the styling of a late-model truck that was itself inspired by the styling of classic trucks. Thinking about it makes our brain hurt, but looking at it makes our eyes very happy.

"It turned out exactly as I envisioned," said Dan, who also happens to own the last of the '06 SSR pickups, fully loaded and painted a similar blue to the '54. Putting the two trucks side by side makes the clock run backwards.