By Michael Kitchens
1954 Chevrolet 5-Window
Engine: 350 Chevrolet small block, mild cam, Edelbrock carburetor, custom header
Drivetrain: 3urbo 400 transmission, Chevelle 12-bolt rear end, 3-inch straight drop axle, Edelbrock carburetor, custom header
Exterior: Custom paint by Erik Salvaggio, custom Satele wood deck
Interior: Custom upholstery
Wheels/Tires: Custom white-wall tires, custom hubcaps
There’s a deep satisfaction in reaching one’s dreams and sometimes it takes a long journey to achieve them.
Take Joe Orellana, for example, who as a child fell in love with the classic Chevy truck. Growing up in Los Angeles, Calif., Joe was surrounded by the lowrider and classic vibe, forever imbibing the lifestyle in his mind.
After relocating to Hawaii, Joe focused on family life with little time to even think about building his dream ride. When the kids left the nest, Joe’s wife, Darlene, gave him permission to start the process. It was Joe’s brother-in-law who introduced him to a friend who owned a 1954 Chevrolet 5-Window pickup. The truck had a new motor, tranny and rear-end, but it had been used as a work truck for the majority of its life. In other words, the pickup was beatup.
Still, it was a start, so Joe had the truck shipped over a few months later. After noticing it ran rough, Joe took the truck to Allen Hiyashi at Hiyashi Auto Repair and the two struck up a deal: Joe, who,would repair Allen’s wooden boat, which was passed down by his father, and Allen would restore the truck. Eventually, both the truck and boat were in fine-running condition.
“This man, Allen, when he says he’s going to do something, he’s gonna do exactly what he said he’s going to do,” says Joe.
Allen and his crew got to work and tore the vehicle down. Warren Tojo did all of the bodywork, working one part at a time until it was perfect. Ronnie Hanada completed all of the welding, and Lonnie Baker Sr. pitched in as well on various parts of the job.
For more than five years, the team worked on the vehicle. They slowly worked through every single portion of the vehicle. Joe was blown away by how in-depth the process was; he felt like Allen raised the entire project to another level.
The vehicle has been rebuilt from the ground-up with a 350, as well as a mild cam mated to a Turbo 400cc automatic and a 12-bolt posi rear-end. It absolutely gleams, thanks to the incredible paint job done by Erik Selvaggio of Faith Collision Center of Hawaii. It looks brand new, and you’ll not find a speck of dirt anywhere on the chassis.