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1953 Ford Pickup - New Lease On Life

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This old relic had been hiding in my 50s Ford Pickup junkyard box for a long time. I don’t even remember it’s origin.

In model room maneuvers it wound up sitting on top of my TV where it sat and taunted me. So with the consensus of some Facebook friends I decided to bring her back over this rainy holiday weekend. 

Brish painted, chassis and all under hood panels painted silver... And some serious glue welding! There is no way to get it apart. That leaves me working around fixed glass and interior. It had no suspension at all.  I did get the bed off and engine out. Some kid’s best work. So let’s see if we can make it smile...




A bit of quality time at the sink and I wet sanded all the lumpy brush paint. I found an additional coat of dark blue underneath, which works fine for our intent.

Added some more blue paint, and gave it all a coat of Testors Dullcote to see where we stand.

I thought I’d leave a few of the signature bits.. kept the hood scoop and Chevy rear fenders with custom tail lights. It will retain the Desoto Hemi. 

My goal for today was to get it up on wheels. I went fishing in my parts box for new suspension parts and that’s when I found two issues.. our model’s chassis was broken on one side and it had no rear suspension mounts. So I fished out a new chassis and spliced the back half in. 

Note two things in the above photo.. I cut the chassis at two different points.. the break was the one closest to the cab, while the other was directly in front of the suspension mount. I wanted to eliminate a weak point on the frame from parallel cuts. I also drilled and pinned, then glued it all with gap filling thick CA.


And all fixed! Splice is probably tougher than the rest of the frame. I will pop on the suspension in the morning.. I want to fiddle with ride height a bit!

Just having fun...



Edited by Tom Geiger
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On 5/31/2021 at 9:35 AM, Tom Geiger said:

Thanks!  I have tons of interesting kits and resin and you see what I play with!

Im that kid who gets an expensive toy and plays with the box!

I get that!🤪

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On 5/31/2021 at 9:35 AM, Tom Geiger said:

Thanks!  I have tons of interesting kits and resin and you see what I play with!

Im that kid who gets an expensive toy and plays with the box!

isn’t fun working on something old. I am not good at it but I find it’s more challenging…

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Up on wheels!

I’ve missed the model room for most of this week.. been gardening and spreading mulch. My twin granddaughters were christened on Sunday.. they’re nearly two but that pandemic thing held it up!

It was 90 out today with humidity so I said “screw this” for going outdoors and hid in the model room.  I finished building new suspension, and refitted the wheels I chose to fit the wire axle. 

Its supposed to be hot out again tomorrow so I may get more modeling done.

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2 hours ago, Zippi said:

Looks good Tom.  You going to leave that patina look or lay down some paint?

I’m building upon the old paint job for patina. As you see it here, it was wet sanded, and there’s a coat of Testors Dullcote over it. Since then I’ve added red primer into the big bare plastic areas, then comes the chalks!

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I know people are just sitting at their computer hitting refresh over and over in anticipation of my next post! 😝

I added a bit of red primer and some actual Bondo red finishing putty, but body isn’t done just yet.


The model was first built without paint.. but had two different color coats on the body so it had already seen some redo’s in its long life.  One issue was that the interior is permanently glue fused in there and was unpainted.  It’s not all that visible in its finished form but still needed something. That became the “ship in the bottle” portion of this build.

I painted the steering wheel white and added a chrome button to it. I chromed the dash knobs by flattening out the tip of a toothpick and putting Molotov on it to “stamp” color onto the knobs.

The big improvement is the seat inserts.. here’s the tip.. go to Joann’s fabric store’s website. There are literally thousands of patterns! I  queried “blue plaid” and picked this one.  Save the photo as a jpg. Now you can reduce it to look right in scale, then string multiple pics together to get a larger piece. Print on white paper.

I have multiple copies of this kit so I used a fresh one to trim the pieces. Then I covered the seat with white canopy glue with a Q-Tip.  I then pulled the paper through the window and held it with tweezers from either side to center and place it.  I got lucky and was successful first try.  I did print much more than I needed just in case.


I wasn’t as lucky with the gauge cluster.  I  scaled this to size using a spare dashboard. And I screwed up several copies trying to thread it behind the steering wheel.  But it’s done. Image courtesy of eBay Motors parts section.  Street Rod stock appearing gauge set. Note the 140 MPH speedo and that it has a tach. You cannot see that on the model. 

Now I’m working on the engine. My truck had the Desoto Hemi and I’m keeping it true to its roots. The original is glue fused with parts crooked, and since I do have multiple parts kits, I’ve opted to build a new engine. 

Instead of using the two custom options I found a manifold for two carbs in my junk collection and sanded it to fit. 



Edited by Tom Geiger
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One last post..


New engine in place. The beauty of having multiple parts kits! The existing one had everything glued crooked. Engine is wired though tough to see now in photos. I didn’t take any pics of it before installing.

On this Hemi, the plugs are under covers, so I drilled a decent size hole in the back of the valve cover and fed wires into it.  I’ll do this next time I use this engine in something visible like a street rod.

The two carb manifold came from the parts box and carbs from the Fireball 500 kit.. not used in that kit but still on the tree from the Barracuda days. I drilled the barrels so they’re not exactly straight! 😝

The front bumper is an old roll bar that was missing an end. It’s always been in the way in the parts box and I nearly chucked it a couple of times! A lesson there!


Exhaust complete!  I used kit exhaust, but instead of having it go all the way to the back I did the fluted side exit I’ve done on a few other vehicles. I accomplished this by cutting up and drilling / pinning together bits from kit exhaust. The ends are actually injector horns from the engine. 

I usually pin everything and every time I try to short cut  I get bit!  The exhaust manifolds on the engine I junked were on there sooo tight I just glued them onto the new engine. Yup! As soon as engine was glued (and pinned) in place and I tried to attach exhaust from underneath, they popped right off! So then I got to not only drill and add pins (like I should’ve in the beginning) I got to fish them into place from down under!


And this shot was actually to see if I liked the bumper prior to gluing.. just pinned on here. After this I added mirrors, antenna, gas cap and a few other bits.. and it’s finished!

In it’s Under Glass thread:


Thanks for following along!


Edited by Tom Geiger
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 Quote: I have tons of interesting kits and resin and you see what I play with!

Thats a 100% true Tom, most builder / collector that have been building for some time tend to tinker with others discarded builds seeing something good . I can't explain it , but am guilty of it myself.

Edited by BIGTRUCK
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