Arturo DeWalt lives in Texas and was raised in Texas, but lived for a while in San Diego. As a Texan, he likes trucks, but during his time in California he gained an appreciation for the particular style of hot rods built there.
While still on the West Coast, Arturo was on the lookout for a ’54 Chevy pickup. He says he likes the looks of the ’54 bird-nose grille better than the slat grille of the ’47-53 Chevys. As luck would have it, Arturo learned that a cousin back in Texas owned a ’54 and was trying to sell it. With that raw material lined up, Arturo needed to find a custom shop to handle the frame-off build. He had seen the name Dale Dinse in several automotive magazine articles and had been impressed by his work. He knew that Dale was the builder who could help him realize his California-influenced vision for the ’54. So Arturo flew to Texas, picked up the truck from his cousin, loaded it onto a trailer, and delivered it to Dale’s Designs in Orange City, Florida. He told Dale his style wishes for the Chevy—a clean look and tasteful, but unusual colors. And he provided Dale with parts and pieces he’d been collecting for two years in anticipation of the build-up.
Dale’s modifications to the body are extensive but low-key, starting with the doors, driprails, and hood, which have been shaved. The door hinges are moved to the rear to create suicide doors. The windows were replaced with one-piece glass; the window moulding was smoothed, and Vision Hot Rod Concepts mirrors were installed. The hood center was welded and filled to clean things up. The visor had been reduced in size and moulded into the roof. The headlights were frenched.
The bed is protected by a Gaylord tonneau. The pocket holes were filled and the floor was replaced with aluminum diamond plating with custom pop-up tiedowns in the corners. Custom LED taillights were mounted in the custom rear valence beneath the tailgate. The license plate hides a tow hitch.
Arturo says he and Dale went around and around deciding on an appropriate color. His vision called for something a little out of the ordinary—so no primary colors—but no trendy color of the month either. In the end, Arturo’s daughters, Angelique and Alexis (who like purple) were the ones who inspired the finish on the ’54. Dale sprayed the House Of Kolor Passion Purple and PPG black. HOK yellow pinstripes highlight the tear-away graphics.
The truck rides on boxed factory framerails modified with a Mustang II front end including 2-inch dropped spindles and coils, along with Race Car Dynamics shocks. An ’88 Camaro Z28 donated its 3.73:1 limited-slip rearend located by a four-link suspension from Full Tilt Street Rods.
The five-spoke wheels are from the Budnik Mercury Dished series. The 17x8 rears are wrapped up with 255/50R17 Nitto NT450 performance radials; 17x7 rims with 225/50R17 tires fill the front fenders. Braking is provided by GM 11-inch discs front and rear, with a Corvette master cylinder and power booster.