CTP logoFeature star IN THE SHOP
In the Shop
Old Anvil
Complete Custom Fabrication, Intricate CNC Work, Restoration, Chassis Design, Paint, and Pro Touring Modifications
BY Eric Geisert  Photography By THE AUTHOR

here 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 it’s looking pretty good.

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 fab skill even further).

He’d also run across a ’38 Chevy (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 350/700-R4 trans combo he made the truck driveable.

At 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).

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!

The list of makes and models in the shop seems to vary weekly but, with all the International Harvesters parked at Old Anvil at the moment, you’d think that’s all they do, however the shop is actually quite diverse when it comes to customers’ cars. Where else will you see a twin-sidewinder-engine Camaro, a V-12 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.

Old Anvil Sign

After working in a few of Southern California’s most high-profile hot rod shops a few years back, in 2018 Paul Bosserman, 49, opened Old Anvil Speed Shop in Orange, CA. Here he is 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.

Truck engine
Under hood closeup
The truck’s ’97 LS1 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 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.
1950 GMC
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.
Truck in garage
Truck frame
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. The rearend is a 10-inch ring gear Winters quick-change, and the independent suspension front and rear with torsion bars that can be adjusted on the fly with hydraulics actuated via Ridetech ’bags that will monitor the ride height. A 427 LS7 with possibly a Jenvey or Kinsler injection stack will be underhood.
19x12 and 19x9 wheels

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.

’50 Ford F-100
’50 Ford F-100 Engine
This ’50 Ford F-100 came to the shop to have the chassis beefed up and powdercoated, 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.
Air line
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.
Truck render

Artist Eric Black rendered this contemporary look for the truck that cleanly updates the 60-year-old design.

'63 C1100

Another International Harvester project is this ’63 C1100 with its medium-length, 7-foot stepside bed (International Harvester 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.

Whipple supercharger
Power for the project comes from a Redline Performance LS3 that is fitted with a Whipple supercharger.
14 inch Wilwood Brakes
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 springs.
Old Anvil chassis
Sitting on an Old Anvil 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.
’46 Chevy
This ’46 Chevy sits on an Art Morrison chassis equipped with 14-inch brakes, Ridetech, and a 9-inch rear, and is powered by a 433-inch small-block Chevy. Paul will carve up some 18- and 19-inch wheels on his CNC that’ll look like vintage Chevy artillery wheels for the truck.
Old Anvil’s Bruno Casella
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 front independent suspension system, too.
’68 Chevy C10
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 5.3L LS motor (with Holley fuel injection) is backed to a 4L60E trans.
'68 Crew Cab and ’62 C10
Another International project (on the left) is a ’68 Crew Cab with a shortbed 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).
’59 Willys wagon
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.
’55 Chevy
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 powercoated black chassis; the two-tone paint came via Mark Mahood in Anaheim, CA.
’72 Ford SuperCab
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.
LT V-8s

This pair of LT V-8s 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.