Hot Rods by Dean 1935 Ford Pickup, chevrolet performance GM Retro Iron

GM Retro Iron Builder of the Year Finalist – ’35 Ford Pickup from Hot Rods by Dean

The new GM Iron and GM Retro Iron Builder of the Year awards sponsored by Chevrolet Performance are designed to honor the professional craftsmen and shops that keep the hot rod hobby moving forward by consistently building incredible vehicles. With that in mind, it’s fitting that the first Retro Iron finalist award (which goes to a non-GM vehicle with a GM engine in it) was giving to Dean Livermore – a builder who has been crafting incredible rides with his Phoenix-based team at Hot Rods by Dean for two decades now.

Hot Rods by Dean 1935 Ford Pickup, chevrolet performance GM Retro Iron

The vehicle in question here is Lee Schmidt’s ’35 Ford pickup, a vintage-style hot rod that has actually been on the road for a number of years, but still shows off impressive style and continues to turn heads. The truck is a great showcase not only for Hot Rods by Dean’s build quality, but also for the power and reliability of the ZZ350 small-block Chevy crate engine between the frame rails.

Hot Rods by Dean 1935 Ford Pickup, chevrolet performance GM Retro Iron


That frame was custom built by Dean and his team with bobbed rails front and rear and a Z’d rear section to get the four-bar-suspended 9-inch rearend tucked up high. A Super Bell dropped I-beam front axle located by split wishbones and fitted with So-Cal disc brakes inside the finned drums. Chrysler 16-inch artillery wheels were fitted with Firestone 5.00- and 7.25-inch tires. The aforementioned ZZ350 engine is backed by a Hughes-built 700R4 transmission and augmented with a Holley carb, custom lakes-style headers, Moon valve covers, and plenty of black paint with polished details.

Hot Rods by Dean 1935 Ford Pickup, chevrolet performance GM Retro Iron

The Ford pickup body has been altered in myriad ways – the cab was chopped 4-inches, and channeled 5-inches, while the truncated bed was built from scratch and finished off with a ’37 Ford tailgate and custom wood floor. Up front, the grille shell was sectioned and the hood modified to match. All metalwork was done in-house at Hot Rods by Dean, as was the paint – a period-style custom-mixed maroon hue using PPG materials.

Hot Rods by Dean 1935 Ford Pickup, chevrolet performance GM Retro Iron

A ’40 Ford dash fitted with Classic Instruments and ’48 Packard wheel atop a modified ’35 Ford column lead the way inside, while Glenn Kramer gets credit for the black leather upholstery on the bench seat and door panels. Vintage Air keeps driver and passengers cool.

Hot Rods by Dean 1935 Ford Pickup, chevrolet performance GM Retro Iron

Truck owner Lee Schmidt is a golf course architect, and we can only imagine him pulling into a stuffy country club in a rowdy hot rod like this. We’re not sure if the golfers would approve, but for any dyed-in-the-wool hot rodder, this truck is a definite hole in one.

Hot Rods by Dean 1935 Ford Pickup, chevrolet performance GM Retro Iron

Photos by John Jackson

Associate Editor

A lifelong car kid, Steven grew up around drag strips – his name may sound familiar because his grandfather is Bob Bunker, a Pro Mod pioneer who piloted the “Folsom Flash” ’55 Chevy from the ’70s through the ’90s. Steven’s father, Bob Bunker Jr., heads up Bunker Motorsports and is a regular in the West Coast racing scene, building chassis and race cars for more than 30 years. With genetics like that, it’s no wonder Steven has a passion for both cars and motorsports. In addition to helping his father and honing his fabrication skills at Bunker Motorsports, Steven began shooting photos at the drag strip and capturing the action with his Canon camera. He is now artfully crafting stories around the awesome machines at the shows, as well as the men and women behind them. When he's is not on the road covering events, he spends his downtime out on the water fishing, building his 1962 Chevy Nova, or cruising his 1987 GMC Suburban.