Kate Russell is the real deal, getting down and dirty to build her extremely cool ’53 Chevy sled named Colin.
First published in the April 2021 issue of Street Machine
When did you get the ’53?
In 2018, off Gumtree; it’s an original Aussie-built RHD. The Chevy was matte-black with red interior, registered and running. There was not much rust – just in the usual spots. I’d gone to look at the car and told Dad about the lack of rust. He didn’t believe me, so he had a look himself and then told me he’d buy it if I didn’t!
Did you get stuck straight into the mods?
I was FIFO and would do up the Chevy on my breaks, with Dad’s help. It took 15 weeks (when home) from first scrape of paint until I drove it out of Mum and Dad’s shed. We just kept going – there was shit everywhere. We even kicked Mum’s new Mini out of the shed!
What did you tackle?
Dad had a boat building business and he taught me and my brother to try our hand at everything. So Dad and I did it all – panel, paint, interior. The motor is next; she’s a 235ci Blue Flame six that I reckon is currently running on five cylinders. I’m getting a fresh Blue Flame built and adding a little Eaton supercharger. It sounds like a great idea, but Dad and I don’t know anything about superchargers. I guess we’ll learn!
That copper is cool!
I saw a matte-black and copper Merc at SEMA and thought it looked epic. Charlie at Kustom Chrome was keen to give it a try, so I dropped off my interior pieces first; that way if they looked like shit I could just get them chromed. It’s all copper plate, with two-pack clear so it doesn’t turn green.
You clearly have a thing for purple.
Purple is my favourite colour; everything in my house is purple, and so is the love of my life: my ’69 Bonneville Trumpy. The ’53 is painted in Frustration Purple; it’s a custom mix that the guys at S&S Industries did for me.
Tell us about that sweet interior.
I always liked white – it looks great. I trimmed it using my industrial sewing machine. I’ve also fitted an amazing PearlCraft steering wheel along with Deluxe Creations & Designs purple-and-white dash and door knobs.
Do you get out in the ’53 often?
Now that I drive a road train for up to 16 hours a day, I don’t get much time after work. So I go cruising when I can, heading out to pubs and wineries with my friends. I’m not in any clubs, but I do go to car shows. Recently I went to Motorvation with my neighbour, and we talked about putting a 454ci or a big Cummins diesel motor in a small thing like a Hyundai Getz to get out on the pad in something ridiculous. Maybe I’ll look into that next!
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Street Machine is the bible of Aussie modified auto culture, celebrating wild muscle cars, customs and hot rods – and the incredible humans who create them.
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