Home-Built Hero: Jim Silva’s First-Series ’55 Chevy Pickup


All images by Trevor Dye

It was in September of ’83, when 16-year-old Jim Silva, his father, brother George, and longtime friend Jerry Glover piled into his dad’s ’53 Chevy truck and headed to Stockton, California, in search of a truck for young Jim. The intrepid bunch spent most of the day looking for a viable candidate, but just as things were looking bleak, the senior Silva had one more lead he wanted to follow.


The truck that Jim found in 1983.

“We had spent most of the day driving around and looking, but we hadn’t found anything that suited us. I thought we were done, until dad said, ‘there is one more’.” Jim said. Armed with only an address, the four guys and a their ’53 Chevy conveyance were enroute.


Upon arrival at an unassuming small house, Jim’s father knocked on the door. That’s when a lady answered, words were exchanged, and then she walked over and opened the garage door. Jim couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Sitting inside was a white, first-series, 1955 Chevy pickup. The truck was only a roller with just a shell of a body; no powertrain, glass, or any electrical.

Series One Or Series Two?

When the ’55 Chevy was first introduced, it was still part of the Advanced Design series. It was identical to the 1954 model year. Mid-year, the second-series was released, and the new body style was referred to as the Work Force series.

The guys watched patiently as Jim’s dad gave the truck a thorough once over. Finally, he called Jim to the garage and asked, “do you want it?”  Jim was ecstatic. His dream of owning his very own truck was now a reality.

That was 34-years ago, and since then, the pickup has seen more than its fair share of alterations throughout those years. Now, however, Jim tells us that his little hauler features a boxed, stock frame with a 12-bolt rear filled 3:73 gears, a posi, and Strange axles. The suspension features VariShock coilovers and Chassisworks’ control arms and g-machine spindles. Halting the pick-em-up is a set of Wilwood disc brakes all around.

The engine is a 350 small-block that uses a Dart block, Brodix aluminum heads, and a BDS blower. Behind that is a Turbo 400 with a Gear Vendors under/overdrive

Inside the pickup, the stock seat is covered with gorgeous, Denali Black Naugahyde, and the floors are hidden under black loop-pile carpeting. Although the gauges are stock, Jim added a custom console to house the TCI shifter.


Wheels are by Budnik, and measure 18 x 8 and 19 x 12. The front tires are Nitto NT555, in 245/45-18, and the rears are Nitto NTO5R 345/30-19.

The stock sheetmetal was massaged by Guy Ruchonnet before it was covered in a blue hue by Jorge Flores.

Do you want to read about more Home-Built Heroes? All you need to do is click here. If you own a Home-Built Hero, we want to hear about it. Since we’ve started the series, we have received more than a few candidates, but we still want to see more – we can never get enough. If you want to see more cars built by you the readers, send us a few pictures of your car showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to chevyhardcore@powerautomedia.com.

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars, and involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion got him noticed by many locals, and he began to help them with their own vehicles.
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