It’s a cool look seeing a rod or classic cruising down the highway and it’s even cooler when the fairer sex of our species is behind the wheel, wind in the hair and a pair of cool shades on! To add to the coolness, Tara has just turned 18 and, while most of her friends are hunting down the plastic fantastic for their choice of ride, it’s refreshing to see some Gen Yers still have an appreciation for the old school rides. Tara is the owner of this super cool 54 Chevy pickup built and customized by her Dad, Lindsay Trevaskis and, as she is studying journalism, I thought who better to tell the story of this ex workhorse come hot rod but the proud owner herself. Take it away Tara.
At just 5 months old I was introduced to my first hot rod event. Since then I have been surrounded by them, and so it was only fitting that I should have one of my own when I got my license. I started out cruising the caravan parks in my mini rod roadster, going at the highest speed a ride on mower engine could take me! But as I grew, it seemed to shrink. So at the age of thirteen, my dad started collecting parts to build my first hot rod.
Growing up I’d always loved the look of pickups, from ’48 to ’54. And so, a 1954 Chevy pickup was what was decided upon. Dad started thinking about the build when I was thirteen so that it would be ready to drive when I got my L’s at 16, and fully finished for my P’s at 18. At that time, the restriction on p-platers was a ‘power-to-weight’ ratio. It then changed to prohibiting any p-plater from driving a V8. With that in mind, a commodore V6 and Turbo 700 auto transmission was chosen, to allow me to still be able to drive the car. A single sports exhaust keeps the sound to a minimum while I listen to my favourite driving tunes on the stereo.
When dad acquired the ’48 5 window deluxe cab, we both knew it had to be chopped! With the greatly appreciated help from fellow Highway Joker Jeremy Hughes, the cab was chopped 3 inches. To keep the long pickup body in proportion, the rear tub was also shortened 4 inches, the wheel base chopped 4 inches, and a further 4 inches taken out of the running boards. And while it is a ’48 cab, it’s the ’54 front clip that made us decide on calling it a ’54 pickup. To set the now perfectly proportioned body up with the right stance and ride comfort, a Hilux torsion bar suspension setup was installed up front while lowered leaf springs and a Centura diff keep the rear sitting just fine. Finishing off the rear end is a set of Mickey Thompson tires filling out those classic guards. Braking comes courtesy of discs up front and drums on the rear.
When picking all the styling elements, wheels were a main decision. In the end, Halibrand look-a-likes were chosen, with the rear sporting 15x10s and the front being 15x8s. We also had to switch the gauges across the dash, and centralise the glove box, after having to convert the pickup from left to right hand drive. Paint was also a major decision. But with orange being my favourite colour, choosing “Orange Harvest” for the paint, seemed like a simple decision. Although talk of just building a rough flat black truck occurred, we couldn’t go past the clean look of a shiny paint job. With thanks to Gary Davis for the paint work, the colour has definitely been a hit.
People have also commented on the registration: SHEVE. There was no way we were going to be able to find ‘chevy,’ ‘chev’ or ‘pickup,’ so we got creative. While we read it as ‘chevy’ it seems that most people take it that we chose to have the ‘she’ element in it. Now that we see that, I personally quite like having it!
Going to Nationals and smaller events was always a family affair. And although there are only three of us, we all still needed to fit in the one car. We decided that installing a black Ford XF split bench bucket seat would suit perfectly. Now I can drive the three of us around, with dad having to resign to being a passenger! This was able to happen as my pickup made it to the 2011 Geelong Nationals, with L plates on display.
Having my own hot rod now means that I can continue the interest in hot rodding by myself, and do so in a very classy way! I cannot thank my parents enough, especially my Dad, Lindsay, for everything they have done in creating this beautiful car for me. I remember I had a t-shirt when I was five that said “when I grow up, I’m driving a hot rod.” It was always going to happen!