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1953 Effie and Chevy Small-Block Make For a Perfect Combo

For Cody Setzer, everything started in mid-nineties when he saw an article on 1954 F-100 in Classic Trucks magazine. He was only 13 back then, but he knew straightaway that he’ll one day get an of his own. And it didn’t take him long to find it. His father helped him in his search and they soon found an intriguing add in Sacramento Union newspaper. 1953 Effie described there was original with straight-six engine, new paint, and generally in good health. It had been used as a farm truck in an apple orchard but by the time Cody came around to see it, that was already Effies’ old job.

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Being in fine condition, with only some rust to remind Cody it’s an early fifties truck, he drove it as it was for a few years. Of course, Cody first waited out before getting his driver’s license. After some time, though, he figured there are more than a few ways to improve the truck and 1953 Effie restoration went underway.

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First part of the restoration process took place at Genesis Fabrication in Galt, California. This is where the old straight-six was replaced in favor of slightly unconventional (for a Ford) 350 Chevy small-block engine and Chevy Turbo 350 automatic tranny. The engine has aluminum cylinder heads, Edelbrock finned valve covers, and it’s topped by the Demon carb. Greasy sound coming out of this 1953 Effie is courtesy of Flowmaster mufflers. Apart from the engine, Dave May of Genesis Fabrication straightened out the undercarriage, widened the front fenders and added the aftermarket wheels.

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Dave May has laid a sound foundation for the future projects but most of his work was destroyed when Cody was hit by the speeding driver. Insurance company came through with the payment, but Cody wanted more than just to repair the Effie. He put the truck in hiatus for eight long years before finally saving enough to complete the restoration in a way he deemed was satisfactory.

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Second stage of the 1953 Effie restoration was completed by Tim Lowry at Tims Hot Rods in Rio Linda, California. He already had a fine foundation to build upon, and everything was smooth from beginning to the end. First order of business were Mustang II–style frontend and Ford 9-inch rear. Tim then added pancake hood and smoothed out pickup’s edges. He replaced the original front bumpers with 1959 Ford pickup ones, added handbuilt rear roll pan and 1937 Ford taillights. Rich Lindgren was responsible for sheetmetal works and Effie’s silver Valspar paint. At the same time, grille, wheels and bumper were painted black to create a fine-looking contrast. Speaking of wheels, the Effie spins on 17 and 18-inch Torque Thrust 2 units with knock-off spinners.

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Interior is arguably the most impressive part of Cody’s pickup. Not only 1953 Effie has pristine gut, but it’s tech savvy as well – especially considering its age. Premier Upholstery in Sacramento, California is responsible for the black high-grade synthetic leather and gray suede with red stitching upholstery, while Glide Engineering is responsible for the seats themselves. Dashboard is enriched by the Mooneyes gauges, and that’s basically all there is to it – only far from it. Cody has installed a custom electronic rearview system instead using the good old fashioned mirrors. It consists of 190-degree camera positioned above the rear window and Raspberry Pi 7-inch screen instead of the conventional rearview mirror. And it works perfectly while raising some eyebrows at the same time. Just what Cody wanted.

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Cody Setzer finally has a complete Effie of his own. It’s been a long journey since he saw that feature article at 13 years of age. He can now enjoy the fruits of his labor. His and all the people’s that helped him out along the way, that is.

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Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much.

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