00 Shop Tour_ Old Anvil Speed Shop

Complete Custom Fabrication, Intricate CNC Work, Restoration, Chassis Design, and Custom Paint

By Eric Geisert – Photography by the Author

There have been dozens of Hollywood-produced movies where someone living in the East packs up all their belongings in an old truck and heads out West to make it big. Rarely do you ever hear of that kind of thing actually working out, but for Paul Bosserman (Co-founder of Old Anvil Speed Shop) it’s looking pretty good.

01 Opened in 2018 Old Anvil Speed Shop in Orange, CA, with his personal shop truck
After working in a few of Southern California’s most high-profile hot rod shops a few years back, Paul Bosserman, 49, opened Old Anvil Speed Shop in Orange, CA, in 2018 alongside his shop truck—a ’66 Chevy Fleetside (that was a C20 Custom Camper) that had the bed shortened (by 20 inches!) and set onto a new Old Anvil chassis.

Read More: Hot Rod Shop Tour: Jimenez Bros. Customs

After growing up in Virginia and having had a successful stairway-building business when he was younger, Paul’s passion for hot rods eventually got the better of him. When he was a kid his dad had a channeled Ford coupe, and Paul’s first car was a ’57 Chevy hardtop, but he was trained in metallurgy and in fabrication shops on how to manipulate steel in various forms. With the economic crash of 2008 his type of work was hard to find, but he was able to hook up with a sports car restoration shop that built Pebble Beach Concourse–level vehicles (allowing him to hone his fabrication skills even further).

02 The shop truck_s ’97 LS1 engine was built on site and Old Anvil makes these billet Cerakote valve covers
The truck’s ’97 LS1 engine was built on site and Old Anvil makes these billet/Cerakote valve covers for the one-year-only design. A Holley Hi-Ram manifold with Holley Terminator X Max EFI controls the 4L60E transmission that’s out back. Old Anvil also makes their own billet overflow tank (over a quart capacity), radiator cap, and the two-line power steering reservoir.

He’d also run across a ’38 Chevy truck (a former six-wheel coal delivery dump truck) that he bought sight-unseen for $500. It was only a cab and frame but, when he went to retrieve it, they had to cut away the bushes that had grown up against the house to find the hood and front fenders, and the original ’38 registration was still with the truck. After Paul installed a 350 engine paired to a 700R4 transmission combo he made the truck driveable.

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03 Old Anvil also makes their own billet reservoirs_tanksAt a Rockabilly Rumble car show in Virginia he met his future wife, Jenna, who was visiting from California. After a trip to SoCal to visit her, he returned soon after to attend the 2014 Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona and hand out a dozen résumés and Troy Ladd (owner of Hollywood Hot Rods) hired him.

A few months later he packed up his ’38 Chevy truck, and with a 24-foot trailer hauling three Harleys, all his toolboxes, and a bed, he moved to SoCal. Paul worked at Hollywood Hot Rods for a while, then spent some time in both Jimmy Shine’s Speed Shop as well as with Scott Bonowki’s Hot Rods and Hobbies (working on the eventual 2018 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award winner).

04 The _52 GMC is one of two trucks in Old Anvil which was chopped
This ’52 GMC is one of two trucks in Old Anvil from the same owner (Jerry Rava). Following the Eric Black illustration, Old Anvil will chop the top 1 1/2 inches, extend the cab 2 inches, shave and reshape the hood, and massage everything else.

In May of 2018 he and Jenna (who had married in 2017) took the big step and opened Old Anvil Speed Shop in Orange, California, and he hasn’t looked back since (the shop got its name from the 100-year-old Farrier’s anvil Paul still uses today that used to belong to his great-grandfather). The 13,000-square-foot facility (with six talented fabricators working for Paul) is always full and the projects seem to lean toward one-off fabrication type of builds, nothing is off limits. If it’s interesting to Paul and can test his skills, he’s into it!

Read More: In the Shop: Scott’s Hotrods ’N Customs

05 Up on one of the speed shop_s chassis tables the 1 3_4-inch mild steel
Up on one of the shop’s chassis tables the 1 3/4-inch mild steel, 0.120-wall round-tube chassis is going together. In the back is a 10-inch ring gear Winters quick change rear end, independent suspension front and rear suspension with torsion bars that can be adjusted on the fly with hydraulics actuated via Ridetech airbags that will monitor the ride height. A 427 LS7 engine with possibly a Jenvey or Kinsler injection stack will be underhood.

The list of makes and models in the shop seems to vary weekly but, with all the International Harvesters parked at Old Anvil Speed Shop at the moment, you’d think that’s all they do, however the hot rod shop is actually quite diverse when it comes to customers’ cars. Where else will you see a twin-sidewinder-engine Camaro, a V12 Jaguar-powered Triumph TR6, an old custom started by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and finished by George and Sam Barris, a 427 SOHC-powered Model A coupe, an Alfa Giulietta restoration, a ’50s chopped Merc, and a half dozen or more cars and trucks going together under one shop’s roof? We’d bet it can’t be done, as there’s only one Old Anvil.

06 In the back is a 10-inch ring gear Winters quick change rear end
Based on the renderings artist Eric Black provided, Old Anvil milled the centers for the 19×12 and 19×9 wheels, adding a Halibrand-type six-pin mounting pattern and locknut.
07 Old Anvil milled the centers for the wheels with Halibrand mounting pattern
Based on the renderings artist Eric Black provided, Old Anvil milled the centers for the 19×12 and 19×9 wheels, adding a Halibrand-type six-pin mounting pattern and locknut.
08 This 1950 Ford F100 came to the speed shop to have the chassis beefed up
This ’50 Ford F-100 came to the shop to have the chassis beefed up and powder coated, the rear narrowed for the huge 15×15 wheels, and headers and a large intercooler built for the aluminum-block 540 Donovan engine to which Old Anvil added the twin turbos and Holley EFI. The setup produces 975 hp on 91-octane with 6 pounds of boost for the street and on the engine dyno it pulled 1,350 hp at 12 pounds on 118-octane. Paul believes it’s capable of 1,550 hp.

09 Powering the 1950 540 Donovan engine to which Old Anvil added the twin turbos and Holley EFI

10 Old Anvil also designs and produces their own line of parts, including these aluminum chassis bulkheads for Ridetech lines
Old Anvil also designs and produces their own line of parts, including these aluminum chassis bulkheads for Ridetech lines that allows them to run the DOT plastic air line inside the frame but stainless hardline outside to run to the individual air springs.

11 stainless hardline outside to run to the individual air springs

12 Old Anvil Speed Shop International Harvester project is this _63 C1100 with its medium-length, 7-foot step side bed
Another International Harvester project is this ’63 C1100 with its medium-length, 7-foot stepside bed (IH also made fleetside-type “Bonus Load” bedsides). Owner Jerry Rava picked it up in Florida where it had been used as a well-kept municipal vehicle for decades.
13 Eric Black rendered this contemporary look for the truck that cleanly updates the 60-year-old design
Artist Eric Black rendered this contemporary look for the truck that cleanly updates the 60-year-old design.
14 Sitting on an Old Anvil custom chassis, the cab will get lengthened 4 inches through the middle of the door
Sitting on an Old Anvil custom chassis, the cab will get lengthened 4 inches through the middle of the door, the top will be chopped, the windshield laid back, and the cowl welded to the hood so it will open up like a new car does.
15 A Redline Performance LS3 engine powers this project truck that is fitted with a Whipple supercharger
Power for the project comes from a Redline Performance LS3 engine that is fitted with a Whipple supercharger.
16 There are 14-inch Wilwood brakes on each corner of the project
There are 14-inch Wilwood brakes on each corner of the project (with four-piston calipers in the rear, six-piston up front) and Old Anvil made their own parallel four-link and Panhard system out back, which uses Ridetech air suspension.
17 Paul_s dad has owned this 1933 Chevy Sedan delivery for years
Paul’s dad has owned this ’33 Chevy sedan delivery for years and it’s finally getting a structural redo along with a substantial motor upgrade (a built ’62 Buick 401 Nailhead with Jenvey injection).
18 Above the Speedway Engineering quick-change rear end you_ll see the temporary fixture
Above the Speedway Engineering quick-change rear end you’ll see the temporary fixture Old Anvil added to square up the body before they started creating the tubing to replace the (rotted) wood used by the factory. The bottom section of the body was also rotted away, so they fabbed all those pieces, too.
19 This ’46 Chevy sits on an Art Morrison chassis equipped with 14-inch brakes
This ’46 Chevy sits on an Art Morrison chassis equipped with 14-inch brakes, Ridetech, and a 9-inch rear end, and is powered by a 433-inch Chevy small block. Paul will carve up some 18- and 19-inch wheels on his CNC that’ll look like vintage Chevy artillery wheels for the truck.
20 61 T-bird 390 FE motor in this ’56 Ford F-100, which Old Anvil equipped with a Holley Sniper injection system
Old Anvil’s Bruno Casella is working on the ’61 T-bird 390 FE motor in this ’56 Ford F-100, which Old Anvil equipped with a Holley Sniper injection system. The chassis was upgraded with a custom Old Anvil independent front suspension system, too.
21 _61 T-bird 390 FE motor in this ’56 Ford F-100, which Old Anvil equipped with a Holley Sniper injection system
Ruben Villamar is the owner of this ’68 Chevy C10 utility truck (he appropriately works in the construction field), so it was refurbished by Old Anvil with Classic Performance Products control arms and brakes and has a 3/4-ton rear in place. A rebuilt 5.3 LS engine (with Holley fuel injection) is backed to a 4L60E transmission.
22 1968 Chevy C10 utility truck refurbished by Old Anvil with Classic Performance Products
Another International project (on the left) is a ’68 Crew Cab with a short bed and it will soon get an Old Anvil chassis under it. The ’62 C10 on the right (with its one-year-only headlight treatment) was a 3/4-ton but Old Anvil swapped out the front and rear suspension and parts for 1/2-ton parts, and it’s getting a new motor (a 307).
23 1968 Crew Cab with a short bed and it will soon get an Old Anvil chassis
Progress on Jenna Bosserman’s ’59 Willys wagon has been somewhat slow, but that’s because she’s the co-owner of Old Anvil and she and Paul have been very busy with customers’ vehicles.
24 A 1959 Willys Wagon co-owner of Old Anvil
Forty-five days from when this photo was taken this ’55 Chevy panel will have debuted at the 2022 Grand National Roadster Show in Southern California. A gold 383 stroker engine will reside in a freshly powder coated black chassis and the two-tone paint came via Mark Mahood in Anaheim, CA.
25 Old Anvil, it will be bolted down to this chassis that has a 525-inch Ford engine
The body for this ’72 Ford SuperCab (an extended cab shortbed) is at Mark Mahood’s paint shop getting its blue and white paint scheme applied and, once back at Old Anvil, it will be bolted down to this chassis that has a 525-inch Ford engine (a 460 bored 0.030) that makes 550 hp at 5,000 rpm and 650 lb-ft of torque at 3,800 rpm.

26 Mark Mahood_s paint shop getting its blue and white paint scheme applied

27 This pair of LT V8s are both destined for truck projects in the shop
This pair of LT V8s are both destined for truck projects in the shop. Paul likes these engines (and its direct-injection fuel delivery system) for vehicles he’s building.
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