Sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck. While some take it as a missed opportunity, others choose to perceive the setback as a detour for something greater. For Danny Diaz of Miramar, Florida, his perfectly built 1953 Chevy falls right into that scenario.
Born and raised in neighboring city Hialeah, Danny was first introduced to custom vehicles at 10 years old. “My father was into muscle cars when I was just a boy,” Danny tells LR. “I helped him change water pumps and do brake repairs on cars.” As that knowledge and experience grew, Danny took his first foray into customizing cars when he bought an RX-7, which he soon passed down to his brother.
After playing with the RX-7 and a Honda Accord, he enjoyed the time spent with each but deep down inside he knew that the import lifestyle wasn’t for him. As a parts coordinator for an airborne maintenance company he traveled down the same road every day to work. The monotony of the same drive every day wasn’t without enjoyment, as he would see a woman in a classic Chevy truck. “I would see people honk and give a thumbs up to the owner.” Danny adds, “I loved the attention and the positivity that they showed her.” So Danny realized his future wasn’t in the import scene.
Danny’s luck proved to be challenging as he searched for a solid classic truck to purchase. He found a 1948 Chevy four hours away and arrived there with a truck and trailer to take it home, but it was sold right before he got there. Dejected but still determined, he kept searching and eventually found a 1953 Chevy 3100 truck in North Carolina. Although the truck was being used as a farm truck and definitely needed TLC, Danny purchased the classic and brought it home. His first step was bringing it to a body shop to repair all the rust and imperfections. But again, Danny’s luck wasn’t good. The truck sat at the body shop for a year and parts went missing, so Danny removed the truck and brought it back home.
The truck then sat in his backyard for four more years before Danny got his motivation back. By this time the body needed even more work and more attention. He emptied his garage, bringing the Chevy inside and his old-school friend Yaril Quintana got busy adding the four-link, drop spindles, and welding in the brackets for the air ride. Yaril brought the classic to the ground with a full AccuAir e-Level system and then turned his attention to the needed bodywork. The entire cab bottom was removed and replaced with new sheetmetal.
The 1953 dashboard was completely rotten so Danny found a 1951 Chevy DeLuxe dash and added it to the classic. The seats were modified to sit lower inside and the running boards were molded to hug the front fenders. The next step was a complete color change by switching the stock blue to an Omni Commando Green to stand out. Hialeah Plating was used to chrome every possible section that could be chromed. The last step was adding a custom bed, so Danny enlisted Manny Martinez from Tropical Glitz. A solid oak bed was built and stained and bed tilts and gas struts were installed to maneuver with the AccuAir system.
Danny’s luck may not have started out promising but looking back he’s very fortunate that he was able to pass on that first truck and got the one he really wanted.
He wishes to thank his beautiful wife, Yosi, and their three children, Lily, Jacob, and Noah, for all their support and love through the build. Special thanks goes to his good friend Yaril at Yaril Customs as well as friends John Wempe and Eddie. With help from AccuAir, Kicker, March Performance Pulleys, Presitge, Lokar, Mar-K Quality Parts, Coker Tire, Tanks Inc., and CPP Classic, Danny’s “Suerte” turned out pretty good.
1953 Chevy 3100 Five-Window
SBC 327, 700-R4 transmission, 1968 Camaro rearend, 308 gears, March Performance pulleys
Commando Green painted by Yarils Customs, extended running board, tilt oak hardwood bed stained and cleaned by Tropical Glitz, chrome plating by Hialeah Plating, glass replaced by Classic Industry
AccuAir e-Level air management system, four-link and Panhard bar
1951 Chevy DeLuxe dashboard, 1953 Buick steering wheel and column, upholstery done by Rivero Upholstery, 4-inch pleats on modified bench, fabricated aluminum door panels, green carpet, power windows
Hidden out of sight, two amplifiers; Rockford Fosgate 160×4, Kicker 500, 10-inch Kicker subwoofer, Kicker components, Bluetooth connection
Coker tires 6.70, 15-inch Smoothie wheels