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Jeff Whiteley 51 Chevy


When Jeff Whiteley bought his 1951 Chevy in 2003, he dreamed about creating a perfectly styled Barris Kustoms inspired full Custom out of it. This Chevy Custom turned out well, very well, for sure one of the most stunning period customs created in the last decade.

Jeff “Pan Blanco” Whiteley from Houston, Texas, bought this 1951 Chevy Sedan in 2003 together with his good friend Adrian Arizmendi. The both paid $500.00 each to have this car as their first shop car. They had just started the Los CoChinos car club that same year, and Adrian and Jeff had created a shop in the Houston Heights on 20th street. It was just more of a hobby shop, and hard to tell, but this 1951 Chevy was one of their first projects. The car was created in two phases and finished some time ago, and it turned out just as beautiful as Jeff had dreamed it would be. Another dream come true for Jeff just recently happened when his 1951 Chevy was featured in the latest issue of the Rodders Journal (Issue #67). So now he not only has created his dream custom, but also got rewarded with a full featured in the prestigious Rodders Journal magazine… the icing on the cake. The Jeff Whiteley 51 Chevy.

CCC-jeff-whitley-51-chevy-rj-spread-01Openings spread from the Rodder’s Journal article on Jeff’s Chevy.

The Chevy has been finished some time now, and Jeff has enjoyed every minute of creating it, and spending time driving it around as much as he could. But a new dream project, a 1940 Mercury coupe has found its way to Jeff’s shop, so it is time to let the 1951 Chevy go. Time to let somebody else enjoy it, while Jeff can concentrate on his new project and create another masterpiece. But lets first take a look how this wonderful Custom was created.

CCC-jeff-whitley-51-chevy-beginThis was how the 1951 Chevy Sedan looked like in 2003. Solid car, but besides needing a lot of work to become the Custom Car Dream Car Jeff had been dreaming about, it also needed some restoration work. But overall the car was pretty nice.

CCC-MarciaCampbellChevy7-WJeff always loved the way the Marcia Campbell / Carl Abajian 1949 Chevy convertible looked. The car was restyled by Barris Kustoms in 1949-50 with just all the right styling features. Over the years Jeff had studied every single photo he could find on the car.

Phase 1

CCC-jeff-whitley-51-chevy-bare-metalTo make sure the base of the car would be as perfect as possible most of the car was put to bare metal and repaired where needed before the customizing would start.

Jeff’s Chevy was created in two phases. The first phase would take care of the body restoration and the chop, plus a few more Custom Restyling details here and there. The the car would be put in primer and enjoyed for some time. The Step two would add all the period details to bring the car up the Barris Kustoms standards. And make it look like it was just delivered fresh from the Barris Atlantic Blvd Shop. First the paint was removed of the complete car and some rust and dent repair work was done to get a nice solid base. The Frame work was done to get the car at the right stance and then the body was put in primer, and then… it was time for the fun stuff… starting with the chop.

CCC-jeff-whitley-51-chevy-chop-01The body is in primer and chopping the top has started. It was decided to lower the top 3.5 inches. The work on the top was done by Adrian Arizmendi, Ty Thomas, and Jeff Whiteley.

CCC-jeff-whitley-51-chevy-chop-02Cutting out the B-Pillars and re-aligning them after the top had been lowered. Jeff decided to go for traditional straight B-Pillars.

CCC-jeff-whitley-51-chevy-chop-03Then it was time to leaned for ward the rear window and create new sail panels.

CCC-jeff-whitley-51-chevy-body-work-01With the chop completed the body is fine tuned with s skim coat of filler and a new coat of light gray primer is added. At this point the stock grille and stock taillights are still in place.

CCC-jeff-whitley-51-chevy-body-work-02After driving it around in primer like this for some time it was time to add some color. Semigloss maroon on the main body and a dark red gloss paint on the top was added.

Phase 2

After having enjoyed the Chevy as “finished’ in phase one for a while, it was time to get back at it, and finish the car as how it was originally planned. Jeff had found the 1950 Chrysler taillights, a 1949 Cadillac grille, and a set of 1950 Oldsmobile bumpers. The same parts that the Barris Kustoms shop added to the Marcia Campbell Chevy in 1949-50. The rear fenders were stretched 4 inches, the rear splash pan extended and reshaped to make the 1950 Oldsmobile bumpers fit. The1950 Chrysler taillights were mounted low on the the rear fender, just above the Oldsmobile bumper. At the front the hood and front of the front fenders were reshaped to allow the 1949 Cadillac grille to fit the body. The Grille ends had to be reshaped quite a bit to work well with the Chevy body. And once this was done the whole unit was send out to be replated. The front splash pan was reshaped and the 1950 Oldsmobile front bumper was added. The whole body was sanded and sanded till it was absolutely perfect for the wonderful House of kolors Brandy Wine paint job.


CCC-jeff-whitley-51-chevy-paint-01 Marco, from J M Autoworks in Houston, Texas did an amazing job on the House of Kolor Brandy Wine paint job. The car came out absolutely stunning.

CCC-jeff-whitley-51-chevy-paint-03 The freshly painted Chevy back home in Jeff’s Garage ready to be put back together again. Lots of work still to do.


The Olds bumpers have been installed, and so is the rear window. The Chrysler taillights and side windows and trim still to go. Take a look at that amazing reflections on the extended rear fenders. Notice how well the one inch extended down flush fit skirts fit the rear fenders.

CCC-jeff-whitley-51-chevy-paint-05Installation of the modified 1949 Cadillac grille, which looks absolutely stunning on the car. The headlights till need to be installed in the molded rings. This photo also shows the welded and peaked hood really well.

The Finished Dream Custom

When all the body work and paint done on the car it was time for the upholstery. Jeff choose a very conservative off white and tan Naugahyde to fit perfect with the rest of the conservative theme of the car. The Conservative in this case is not another word for mild custom. Jeff’s Chevy is far from mild, with a lot of body modifications done to create the right effect. Its just that all the modifications and restyling are done with style and taste, with an overall design in mind.The upholstery was done by Victor and Ty Thomas of Saints Rod and Kustom, Houston, Texas. And one of those conservative elements are the painted dash and garnish moldings to match the color and feel of the upholstery.

The car was now finished and it was time to step back and take a good look at the result. Everything Jeff had been planning for years came out just as he had envisioned it. The car really looked like it could have just been finished by the Barris Kustom Shop in the early 1950’s.

CCC-jeff-whitley-51-chevy-paint-06The car is now all assembled and parked in front of Jeff’s garage for the first time.

CCC-jeff-whitley-51-chevy-01One of the first photo sessions with a wonderful backdrop… The frenshed headlights with stock rings, the modified 1949 Cadillac grille and Oldsmobile bumper all work together in design harmony like they have always belonged there in the first place.

CCC-jeff-whitley-51-chevy-02 The longer rear quarters and low mounted Chrysler taillights add class to the rear, and the Olds bumper is the icing on the cake. Looks at the flow of the chopped top, it looks great from every angle.

CCC-jeff-whitley-51-chevy-03Cadillac grille, Olds bumper, peaked hood and ribbed rear view mirror.

CCC-jeff-whitley-51-chevy-05The dash, windshield molding and window garnish are all painted to match the upholstery.

CCC-jeff-whitley-51-chevy-09 Master photographer Trent Sherrill captured the look of Jeff’s Chevy really well in these two photos.


The specifications.

  • 1951 Chevy 2 door Deluxe
  • Stock frame step notched in the rear by Ivan Cruz of Cruz Kustoms
  • Chopped 3.5 inche by: Adrian Arizmendi, Ty Thomas, and Jeff Whiteley
  • 1949 Cadillac grille reshaped and fitted to reshaped grille opening by Adrian Arizmendi, and Ty Thomas
  • Hood made one piece and peaked by Marcos, and Ty Thomas
  • Quarter Panels Streched 4 inches and molded rear splash panel by Adrian Arizmendi
  • Fender skirts extended 1 inch by Adrian Arizmendi
  • Door handles shaved,
  • Deck Lid Shaved
  • Gas filler shaved and relocated to trunk,
  • Shaved trim by Jeff Whiteley
  • Headlights are frenched with stock rings by Jeff Whiteley
  • Taillights  1950 Chrysler by Adrian Arizmendi
  • 1950 Oldsmobile front and rear bumpers by Adrian Arizmendi
  • 1950 Chevy side trim shortened 6 inche and moved down by Jeff Whiteley
  • Metal fabrication/bodywork by Marco of J M Autoworks, Houston, Texas
  • House of Colors Brandy Wine, PPG Clear, painted by Marco, from J M Autoworks, Houston, Texas
  • Interior in tan and off white Naugahyde, upholsterer by Victor and Ty Thomas of Saints Rod and Kustom, Houston, Texas
  • Carpet Wool Square weave, Dark Brown
  • Headliner in tan Naugahyde
  • Stock reupholstered seat frames
  • Dashboard painted tan and shot Flex and Flat clear over dash and garnish moldings to fit with the upholstery.
  • Classic Instruments Gauges.
  • Stock Painted off-white Steering wheel
  • Firestone 6:70 – 15 /  3.25” Whitewall from Coker Tire
  • Cadillac Sombreros hubcaps
  • 1966 Chevy 327 Engine
  • Edelbrock Intake manifold, 600 CFM carburetor and Edelbrock air cleaner
  • Sanderson headers and Flowmaster mufflers
  • 350 Chevy Transmission by Steve Exner, Houston , Texas
  • Engine built by Hippy Dave Motorworks, Houston, Texas
  • Wiring  Painless By Marco of J M Autoworks
  • Chrome plating/polishing by Hector of New Age Plating, Houston, Texas
  • The finished car was featured in the Rodders Journal (Issue #67), and also in the latest issue of HOP UP Vol 11. No2.



Rik Hoving

Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)

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