You always see the father and son team at car shows, showing off a nice piece of metal that they got to build together. But, in the case of Greg and Toby Porter's custom trucks, they just couldn't share one. Greg Porter owns Porter's Customs, a successful body shop business that offers him the opportunity to build customs the way he feels they should be built. Toby, on the other hand, was a successful race-car driver who brought his knowledge of race-car chassis over to his dad's shop, where he builds the frames and sets up the suspensions.
Greg has always had a great eye for what is cool, and one day he came across the body of an old '59 Studebaker truck. Most people would just walk on by after they took a closer look and realized how much work was needed to bring the truck back to life-not Greg. Since he is a panel beater and painter by trade, this was just the perfect project for him. While Toby had the frame in the chassis shop updating the freshly painted copper-pearl frame with '68 Nova suspension in the front, and coilovers and lowered springs in the rear, Greg had the body in his booth doing what he does best-working his magic on the old Studebaker body. When it was ready, a slick coat of DuPont black, as well as a few custom touches like a Rambler grille and a '49 Plymouth front bumper, were added.
This truck is not all show and no go. It has a built 383 Chevy motor with the classic six deuces putting out a dyno'd 600 hp, with 450 lb-ft of torque turning the wheels through the 3.90 gears. Now that everything had pretty much gone back together on the Studebaker, it was time to move to the interior, and this was no place to stop adding custom touches. Everything from the headliner to the '62 Impala seats was covered in Zodiac metal flake, diner-seat-type material that really added to the nostalgic feel of the truck. Greg did have to hand-make a dash for the Studebaker to house the Classic Instruments white-face gauges. Then, he painted it the same copper pearl as the frame to tie all of the interior to the rest of the truck.
Once the Studebaker was completed, they hauled it all over the East Coast, garnering trophies at every show they attended. While it was nice to share the limelight with his dad and to receive accolades for his trick chassis work, Toby decided it was time to build a truck of his own to take to the shows and park next to his dad's Studebaker. While most people would expect the younger generation of builder to build something flashy and modern, Toby decided he would rather turn his '53 Chevy into something a little more old school to act as a rolling business card for the family business. The '53 is pretty much a stock on the outside with shiny DuPont red fenders and running boards. The cab has been treated to red-oxide primer that has the shop logo hand-painted by his dad.
Since Toby is known for his chassis work, that was where he decided to showcase his work. Most people think the '53 has adjustable suspension on it when they see it at a show, because of its super-low stance. But, in fact, it is static dropped and running the same suspension in the front as the Studebaker that was robbed from a '68 Nova. The rear is nonetheless trick, receiving some major altitude adjustment by running a custom four-link and coilover setup.
The interior remained pretty much stock, but re-covering the seats and door panels was a must. Toby installed a '60 Impala engine, topped with the ever-popular three deuces under the hood, so that he could try to keep up with his dad. It's interesting to see both of these vehicles parked together in a show field, because it actually starts arguments in the show crowd about which truck is the coolest. Porters Customs has definitely given new meaning to "old-school cool."