Did you hold onto your first truck? While most wish they had, Jim Silva is proud to say he still owns his. “Old True Blue” is a 1955 3100 series Chevrolet pickup that Jim has owned since 1986. Thriftmaster trucks run deep in the Silva family, Jim’s father and two brothers each own one. So when Jim turned 16, it was only natural that he get one too. In September of ’83 Jim, his father, brother George and long time friend Jerry Glover piled into dad’s ’53 one and headed out to Stockton in search of a truck. After spending most of the day looking, Jim thought that was it until his father said “there’s one more.”
Armed with only an address, they were off. Upon arrival, Jim’s father knocked on the door. A lady answered, words were exchanged, then she walked over and opened the garage door. Sitting inside was a white 1955 1st series Chevy pikcup. The boys stared from the truck as dad, who according to Jim was “picky” gave the truck a once over. Finally, he called over Jim and he asked “do you want it?” Jim jumped so high he’s yet to touch the ground. His dream of owning his very own truck was now reality.
Old True Blue was only a roller, just a shell of a body, no powertrain, glass or electrical when Jim’s parents bought the truck for him. It’s been through various stages through out it’s life with Jim, but the latest rendition is the wildest.
This time around the truck received a complete frame off restoration. A fully boxed and narrowed stock chassis includes a Chris Alston Chassisworks 4×2″ front clip w/indepedent suspension and a Chris Alston ladder bar setup out back. Varishock coil-overs control the bumps at each corner and the beefed up GM 12-Bolt w/ Strange axles does it’s best to plant the 600+ ponies of the blown small block to the ground. Bringing Old True Blue to a stop is a complete Wilwood Dynalite four wheel disc brake kit. A Rick Tanks stainless steel fuel tank and combination of custom stainless brake and fuel lines keep things clean and simple. Rounding out the chassis is a set of Nitto wrapped Pivot wheels from Budnik measuring 18×8 and 19×12.
OLD TRUE BLUE ’55 SPECS.
Owner: Jim and Saraina Silva
Vehicle: 1955 3100 Chevy Pickup
Hometown: Livermore, CA
Chassis: Narrowed and boxed stock frame.
Rearend: GM 12-Bolt w/3:73 posi w/Strange Axles
Fuel Tank: Ricks Hot Rod Shop (Stainless Steel)
Front Suspension: CA Chassisworks 4×2″ Front Clip
Rear Suspension: CA Chassisworks Ladder Bar Rear Clip
Coilovers: Varishock Front/Rear
Spindles: CA Chassiworks g-Machine Sculpted Spindles
Control Arms: Stainless CA Chassisworks Street Machine
Front Brakes: Wilwood Dynalite Series Brakes
Rear Brakes: Wilwood Dynalite Series Brakes
Master Cylinder(s): Wilwood Tandem Aluminum Master Cylinder
Wheels: Budnik, Front- 18 x 8, Rear- 19 x 12
Tires: Front- Nitto NT555, 245/45/R18, Rear- Nitto NT05R 345/30/R19
Engine: Dart 350 Chevy w/Brodix Aluminum Heads
Intake: BDS Blower w/ Blower Shop EFI Manifold
Engine Managment: Custom PT Performance Engine-ering System
Transmission: TH 400 w/Gear Vendors Over Drive
Exhaust: Custom 3″ pipe w/Lobak Mufflers
Material: Denali Black Naugahyde
Flooring: Black Loop pile Carpet
Door Panels: Custom w/Stock Look
Steering Wheel: Stock
Belts: 5-Point Harness
Hood: Stock w/Custom Made Induction Cutout
Grille: Stock ’68
Bed: Stock w/Custom Red Oak Bed Floor
Running Boards: Stock
Interior: Original Matte Grey Metallic
Exterior: Custom Blue using PPG Aquabase
FROM THE OWNER:
Powering Jim’s ’55 is a Dart Little M 350 Chevy block equipped with Brodix aluminum heads and a BDS blower. A custom PT Perfomance Engine-ering EFI system ensures fuel gets to the motor as quickly as you can mash the accelerator and custom headers remove unwanted gases via the 3″ exhaust and Lobak mufflers. A TH400 equipped with Gear Vendors Over Drive and a GM driveline ensure power gets to the 3:73 gearset.
As you can see, every piece under the hood of the truck is beautifully finished in either polished or anodized aluminum. There’s lots of custom work too, like the huge crankcase filters that adorn each side of the block, and the custom billet spacer plate. It’s all nice and tidy, just the way we like to see it.
While the body on Old True Blue remains mostly stock except for the hand made induction hole for the Hilborn Scoop, the fit and finish is better than GM could have ever imagined. Every panel inside and out has been meticulously massage to near perfection. The exterior, engine compartment and bed are covered in beautiful custom blue paint that uses PPG Aquabase as a base. On the inside, the dash and door panels are painted a stockish matte grey metallic. The interior consists of black loop pile carpet, a stock seat wrapped in Denali Naugahyde, a wood center console and custom door panels that resemble stock. Finally, a set of 5-point harnesses keep passengers safe and secure.
For many, these old trucks are not just trucks. They become family, part of everyday life, they connect us to our past and continue to create memories that’ll last a lifetime. Jim and Saraina’s ’55 oozes cool, the original styling combined with raw horsepower and a modern suspension always makes for the best trucks.