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Featured Trucks [unsorted]

1954 Chevrolet ½ Ton Pickup

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020


The owner of this month’s Featured Truck is Calvin Weaver of Churchville, Maryland. This 1954 has been in his family almost 60 years! Calvin’s father purchased it in the early 1960’s from a local farmer because he needed a pickup in his masonry business.

As his father used it every day carrying masonry products, he began to really like this little ½ ton. So dependable, easy to make repairs, and carried just the correct amount of supplies for a day’s work! Then he began to notice something happening. After over 20 year old work truck it was beginning to show it’s age. He hoped to have it after retirement so something had to be done to save it. He felt there was only one choice and still be able to use it. He parked it in his home garage at night and during the winter months. The family sedan now sat outside in all weather!

Fast forward to the mid 1980’s and Calvin inherits this pickup from his father. Maybe for sentimental reasons and remembering his father using and growing attached to this pickup, Calvin decided to do a major restoration on it. He was not experienced in this type of project but Calvin was determined to do it as a remembrance to his father.

The more he thought about doing this, the more he got excited. He talked to other vehicle restorers, read articles and ordered catalogs. He even attended some major annual swap meets such as in Carlisle, PA to add to his knowledge. Calvin by this time was in his late 50’s with so much enthusiasm. This “big project” in his life was completed about 1988.

Since that time more pure 1954 accessories were found and added gradually. Calvin now knew what to look for in 1954 options. His hunt was often successful so this challenging hobby continued over the years. Calvin is now 89 years old, he takes in local shows were he often receives trophies. This time in life he mostly enjoys local drives and keeping it clean and waxed. Every time he gets gasoline someone comes out with a camera and questions. His father would really be proud!

More on the Restoration:

It was certainly a learning experience! In his travels he learned the options that were available in 1954. Many his father did not have on the truck after all, the pickup was for work! Some items Calvin added were: a fresh air heater, radio, the dash mounted clock, turn signals, wheel rings, hood bird, the windshield and side window stainless trim, bumper guards, front splash apron mounted fog lights, chrome grill, wood bedside racks with a third stop light. He even added some non-GM backup lights.

Paint Trivia:

To paint the pickup just like Chevrolet did originally, Calvin used the correct Juniper Green. He used “single stage” enamel as they did on the assembly line. (The surface was never meant to be so slick a fly could not land on it.)

Yes, the finish looked just right and not like most two stage surfaces as today! Unfortunately, Calvin did not realize that spayed enamel should be applied in a paint booth, not in a home garage. The overspray covered almost everything in the garage while it was still wet!

Calvin did this painting personally. Very, very nice for a beginner. Few of today’s body shops will paint single stage enamel. Most cannot easily correct paint runs, dusty areas and drips until the mistakes have dried over many hours. Then sanding for a repaint in that area must begin!


1938 Chevrolet ½ Ton

Wednesday, January 1st, 2020


In our 20 years posting Featured Truck series we have only listed one 1938 Chevy USA made ½ ton. (November 2009) The 1938 Chevy trucks are much rarer than the other two years in this series, the 1936 and 1937. This is due to 1938 labor strikes that at times stopped production in most of the GM plants. It was toward the end of the Great Depression and the recently formed United Auto Workers demanded more benefits for plant employees.

Our special truck this month (probably the nicest 1938 in existence) is owned and been personally restored by Glen Andrews of Raleigh, North Carolina. When we first saw a photo of Glen’s 1938, we knew it had to be a very authentic restoration. It had only one taillight! This was just like all early GM trucks when they came from the factory. Most current restorations differ. Correct or not, today’s owners prefer two taillights.


Glen’s ½ ton was originally bought by the father of his then father-in-law. When new it was immediately placed in use to transport heavy equipment for a water well digging company in North Carolina. It was retired 12 years later. By then there was just too many areas that required fixing. The cost would be much less to just by a good used pickup than to correct the aging problems of this 1938 ½ ton. After all, it had been a pure “work truck.” Only absolute necessary mechanicals were updated. It saw water only when it rained! No garage.

The ’38 pickup was placed in a one-car shed near the house where various business and household items were placed on it. Worn out items were kept with the idea that they may still have some value. As more items were placed on the truck and as time passed the old truck was forgotten. The original owner’s son told Glen about this pickup in 1978. It was very difficult to see because of many household items being stored in and on it for 28 years. Glen was able to get in the shed and looked at the cab and engine bay, and then told his father-in-law that one day “I’ll bring it back to life.”

By 1986, older trucks were beginning to gain much popularity and Glen always remembered this rare stored 1938. He decided to take a closer look and then he bought it.

He too stored this pickup but by now he had disassembled most of it. Glen moved the pieces with him during two job transfers. The actual restoration began in Raleigh, NC, in June of 1994 and required four years, finishing it in Pittsburgh, PA. It was then he created this show truck as you see it. Truly a “Work of Art”, identical to the day it left the Maryland assembly line in mid-1938. It is now back in Glen’s adopted home town of Raleigh, North Carolina.


Original colors: Brewster Green with Black fenders, running boards, and wheels; and Gigolo Green pinstripes, which were hand painted to the original pattern. Wrinkle Brown interior panels, and Brown leatherette non-pleated seat cushions. Such a nice combination!
Chevrolet used the 216 cubic inch engine in both trucks and cars; which was a great engine for the types of roads of that era.
This floor shift 3 speed transmission is synchronized in second and third gears. What an improvement over using the clutch pedal twice (double clutching) between each shift.
The rear axle ratio is 4.11 (the engine rotates 4.11 revelations while the wheels rotate one revelation; which allows a comfortable cruising speed of 40mph.
This truck does not have a heater, dome light, cigarette lighter; and, only has one windshield wiper, as well as only one taillight.

Pin Stripe Trivia:

The standard exterior color (Brewster Green) during 1936-38 was given a pin stripe referred to as Gigolo Green.

On Glen’s 1938, he could look very close and make out almost all the outlined factory striping. Photos were taken before the total paint was removed so a hired artist could perfectly replace the color and size. Another work of art in this major restoration!

Why the name Gigolo on the stripe color? This is lost in history. The 1995 Webster Dictionary describes Gigolo as –
⦁ A man who is paid to be a dancing partner or escort for a woman.
⦁ A man is the lover of a woman and is supported by her.

In about 1940 Chevrolet changed the name to Apple. Thus, all new truck shoppers would know the color.

What’s happening now?

As most serious restores know, when you really want it to be factory original, you often find subtle mistakes. The more you place it in shows, read factory original data, and talk to others in this field; the more little things are discovered to correct.

Glen is no exception! In the last 20 years, so many surprises have surfaced. His 1938 truck hobby has been just that, a continual upgrading. A big help has been joining two major early vehicle clubs. The Antique Automobile Club of America & The Vintage Chevrolet Club of America. Their help has been great in guiding this project to fruition.

The largest and oldest, The Antique Automobile Club of America, has presented Glen’s 1938 awards over the years. In June 2019, this 1938 was given their top honor with a “Grand National” in Auburn, Indiana. (This is a serious judging club)


Glen’s 1938 was assembled in June 1938 at the GM assembly plant in Baltimore, Maryland. This was shown in code on the ID plate on the body of the engine compartment. We also know it is at least made in mid-1938 because of the right outside gas add spout.

Therefore, 1938 and all of the 1937 required raising the right ½ seat cushion to expose the gas tank and threaded “bung” that is on it’s top.

you can contact Glen Andrews at gandrews5@nc.rr.com

1951 Chevrolet Suburban

Thursday, October 31st, 2019


The popularity of the 1947-55 (Advance Design) Chevrolet/GMC Suburban continue to increase among truck enthusiasts. Their bodies will never be reproduced. What has survived is what we have!
Their capacity is eight adults in three rows of seats or the rear and middle row can be removed to haul merchandise. There has been little serious competition to challenge the Suburban’s superiority over the years.
The General Motors Suburban are one of the longest living vehicles in the world. Introduced in 1935 with the encouragement of the US Army to carry higher ranking officers in groups on large military bases. They have since been available from dealerships since that time 85 years ago.
With a GM pickup suspension and full steel frame, they have remained a favorite as comfortable transportation for groups up to eight. They can take a very hard hit from most of today’s cars and won’t reflect major damage to their occupants.
They were the choice of the Secret Service to transport recent US presidents (until recently) with their ability to carry heavy hidden bullet proof metal panels, thick glass and cover for all drivetrain components. Now the president’s limousine is surrounded by Suburban’s in a convoy.
Tim Plake of Kansas City, Kansas is the proud owner of this very attractive 1951 Chevy eight passenger Suburban. He receives credit of personally doing most all of the restoration from the ground up. This even includes the painting. Tim only stepped aside when it came to sewing the correct Spanish grain brown vinyl seat material into the finished cushions to look just like when it was new.
The following are Tim Plake’s description of the history and the numerous extras he did to make this Suburban a “stand-out” in any crowd.

”On September 6, 2008 at the all truck Nationals, in Riverside Missouri. I spotted something I’ve never seen before. On closer inspection, I discovered it was a 1952 Chevy Suburban. In my mind I knew I had to have one and the hunt started. A year later I finally found the one for me in Perryton, Texas, a 1951 Chevrolet Suburban Carryall, I borrowed a friend’s trailer and we went on a 448 mile journey to retrieve it. The original fuel tank was rotted out so the owner stuck a portable boat fuel tank in it. He hooked up some jumper cables to the 6v battery, and it fired right up, we were amazed.
Purred like a kitten and loaded it onto the trailer under its own power. I ended up removing the enclosed driveline and 4 speed granny transmission. I installed a 1956-1962 3:90 third member into my original rear-end housing coupled to a S10 T-5 overdrive transmission. I decided the 1956 235 passenger car engine would stay in it to power it. I drove it for a few years in its patina state before deciding to remove the body for a full blown revamp. I did all of the metal/body/paint work myself and it was a long journey. The paint is a base coat clear coat and I believe the roof was the hardest to paint of the whole project. My favorite hubcaps are the 1941-1946 Chevrolet style so that is why they are on my Suburban. I still need to install the headliner and rear side panels. I added a 2nd dome light near the barn doors for more illumination at night.

⦁ 1956 235 passenger car engine with water pump adapter plate installed for the earlier model 216 short pump.
⦁ 1983-1985 S10 T-5 overdrive transmission with mechanical speed odometer.
⦁ 1956-1962 Chevy ½ ton truck 3rd member 3:90 gear set. Installed in original rear-end housing for open driveline.
⦁ Duel reservoir master cylinder/power brake booster with Disc brake conversion on front axle.
⦁ Numerous new and nos parts bought for this project.

Suburban History: Tim states during the final years of this Suburban’s life it was actually used for hauling hay to livestock at a Texas farm. The owner could load many hay bales in the Suburban when two rows of seats were removed. No wonder the headliner is gone!



1942 GMC 1 ½ Ton Flatbed

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

It’s about 2015 and Bob Combe semi-retired of Rancho Cucamongo, California (40miles east of Los Angeles) had begun to develop an interest to restore an early General Motors truck. This may sound strange as he had never done a major restoration but he had the itch to do it. He had always done all maintenance on his daily drivers so he knew he could be successful on a truck over half a century in age. Bob being 72 years old was not an issue.

The action began on a visit to see his daughter near Boise, Idaho. On that trip Bob saw what would be his retirement project. While on a Idaho country back road he saw a hidden truck in weeds beside a fence in a farm field. When he got closer his instinct told him “This is it.”

The owner said it was a 1942 GMC and was left by the field many years ago. (As with many farmers, the time and expense to haul it to a local salvage yard was not financially practical) The dry Idaho air had saved it from being land fill material. Bob had to have it.

He had it transported to Southern California and within several months a total disassembly began. During the 3 ½ year restoration there was not a nut or bolt not removed, examined and restored. To Bob, it was a challenge to prove to himself he could create a “New” 77 year old GMC.

He now proudly says, “I personally did everything myself except for the painting.”

The GMC has its original 228 cubic inch inline six cylinder and the correct non-synchronized 4 speed transmission. Electrical: GMC have positive ground on six volt systems (Chevrolet were negative ground.) To get the most hauling capacity for the 228 engine, the low geared differential has a ratio of 5.43. (The engine turns 5.43 revelations and the rear wheel turns once)

COLOR; Very close to the 1942 GMC factory color Permanent Red. The standard color for fenders and running boards is black. All the interior panels were removable (not welded on) and are the correct tan color

WHEELS; The 20’’ split rim wheels look better than original. These splits are not the design of large over the road trucks that have received so much bad publicity. This GMC lock rings are “one-piece” with no splits. Bob disassembled these, sand blasted all, added new tires and tubes on the wheels, and added air to the factory specifications.

BED DETAILS; its restoration followed the original bed specifications perfectly. Tongue and grooved, 5’’ wide boards, 1 5/8’’ thick. These many 2’’ oak boards (before planing) were one of the more expensive single item of this restoration!

Bob also personally created the metal perimeter band around the bed with the right angle corners. See photos

HISTORY; Because the Cooper Tire logo was still on each door it is assumed its first owner delivered this once famous tire brand from a company warehouse to locations that sold the tire to retail consumers. When the GMC retired after many years of delivering tires, it was purchased by a farm owner. The Cooper logo on each door was of no concern to the new owner in farming. He did not take the effort to sand it off and repaint the door with a close color.

RECENT SHOWS; Bob now belongs to a Southern California car and truck club, CAL-Rods. Now in its 65th year. It has 250 members and at least half attend their monthly meetings and events. A great percent turnout!

One of the few judging shows that Bob has taken his GMC was in Solvang, CA about 400 miles north. It was the Wheels and Windmills early vehicle show. Over 300 classic antique vehicles attend and Bob’s GMC received first place in the commercial class. Not bad for a first time restoration!

Being in serval local South California parades is no exception in public interest. All eyes go to this “new” 1942 GMC 1 ½ ton.

You can reach Bob Combe at: bob.combe@hotmail.com






The End


1947 Chevrolet Deluxe ½ ton Pickup

Thursday, September 5th, 2019


In today’s world, most every early Chevrolet ½ ton has now developed it’s own unique features. Few are exactly like they came from the factory over a half a century ago. Their past owners have added changes just to keep them running. However, in recent years these trucks have been altered in appearance, for safety or for keeping up with traffic on modern highways! The days of owning a 50 year old pickup for hauling farm products or factory merchandise are all but over!

Our Featured Truck this month is a perfect example of what could be done during the early 1960’s when you wanted a very custom ½ ton. Most all these extras are what would have been available 50 years ago when just a few work trucks were beginning to be looked at as having potential to compete with cars for a different appearance.

This very special, one of a kind, 1947 Chevrolet ½ ton deluxe pickup is owned and has been restored under instructions of John Welsh of Lee’s Summit, Missouri. It certainly draws a crowd everywhere it is seen! There is so much to say about this unique custom ½ ton, we will discribe it in sections for easier reading.





Purchased new in mid 1947 by an auto and tractor radiator repair shop in Garden City, Kansas. It was used by the owner to pick up and deliever in the town and surrounding farms. This was its purpose for so many years, even after his business later moved to Glendale, Arizona. There, the owner finally retired and this pickup was stored 12 years in dry-air Arizona.

When it finally came up for sale after many years in storage, the second owner brought it to his home in Lone Jack, Missouri and enjoyed several years of just doing minor upkeep and occassionly driving it as a “fun truck.”

Now, enters John Welsh in the next town in September 2008. It was just what John had been looking for. This pickup had so many early accessories added about 45 years ago that it only needed restoring. John added some items from today’s world that would make it even better than the show stopper it once was.

During it’s many years as a working pickup, the owner made suttle changes and most were left unchanged by John Welsh during the major restoration.

Because the original owner is no longer with us, we have done the detective work and feel very sure this is how was altered about 50 years ago. Very early photos (some included) tell much of the story.

About 10 years after buying it new it was time to freshen up this little ½ ton for better local attention. There was almost no “store bought” extras then for trucks. The owner must have found many of these additions from a local salvage yard. Sixty years later finding these early extras would be almost impossible!

Here’s what we see: From a used 1954 Chevy ½ ton, the owner obtained a then modern step bed (first year for this deeper 1954-1983 Chevy pickup bed) and the 1954 doors with special stainless window-trim and air wing vents for better ventalation. All the remaining 1947 sheetmetal was repainted black.





Early Changes by Original Owner:

So many changes by the first owner still remained when John first saw it. He was really impressed! He just added more items that were not work truck related.

Theses are some of the accessories that appear to have been added during the first upgrade in Kansas.

  • Duel side mounts with metal covers. This allowed for advertising by the radiator shop on both sides of the truck.
  • Possibly for more hauling capacity the owner replaced the total bed with a 1954 deeper design.
  • The pickup has an inside cab hood release lever. Very unusual!
  • The original 1947-48 gas tank was exchanged for tank behind the seat.        [Suspected reasons for this change are at the end of this article*]
  • A non-Chevrolet aftermarket rear bumper wraps around the fenders for protection and allows for extra strength pulling a trailer. A chrome grill guard was also bought new during the owner’s upgrade. Both items are from the aftermarket company “Smash-Hit” made by the Perry Company in Waco, Texas. (John had them restored to look new) Such rare accessories.
  • Rare Chevrolet stainless steel fender trim as used on the 1947-55 deluxe panel trucks. The long front fender strip is repeated on the rear fender of the pickup. Nice touch!
  • A real pair of authentic hand operated GM spot lights attached to the windshield posts.
  • 1947-48 Chevy car standard hood ornament on each front fender. On the deluxe car of that year this touch shows the single hood ornament.



Some of the John Welsh Changes:

This list was provided by John during our first interview. It’s posted below with just a few extra words added to better describe.

  • Buckets Seats-converted to original bench seat
  • New Electric Fuel Pump
  • Rebuilt Carburetor
  • Factory Front Sway Bar- Very Rare
  • Factory Running Board Safety Treads
  • New Rubber Seals for all of the cab
  • New Disc and Drum Brakes, Wheel Cylinders, with a Chevrolet 11 inch rotors
  • Turned Flywheel & New Clutch
  • 6-Volt Battery Changed to 12-Volt
  • Heater, cleaned & Lubricated
  • 4 Speed Transmission changed to 5 speed overdrive from a Corvette.
  • New headliner & Glovebox
  • New overhauled 235 engine
  • LED Taillights
  • Sliding glass rear window.
  • Back up lights for obvious reasons
  • Rubber pads on the rear bumper are early non GM brake pedal pads. Allows an easier reach to bed cargo.
  • 1947 license plate, Legal in Missouri
  • Updated with a modern middle stoplight that shows STOP when illuminated.
  • Pontiac Steering Wheel painted to match the truck
  • The hand pull park brake handle beside shift lever. Used the first seven months of the 1947-55 Advance Design on ½ & ¾ ton pickups.
  • The tastefully built oak side boards by Hot Rod Express Restorations are connected at front with wood pegs!
  • The countries most popular outside sun visor, a Fulton 800, is painted to match the beige color of the cab top.
  • The first owner added two spare tire mounts so he could better advertise his business. John decided to add his own personal touch.
  • Not easily visible in a following photo is the interior of the bedsides. Sprayed red over black textured paint. They perfectly match the exterior paint. Great idea!
  • John moved the gas tank from behind the seat where the first owner had placed it.

The Mechanical Changes were Major

  • The original 216 engine (used over 60 years) was exchanged with a full oil pressure 235 inline six cylinder. Minor corrections required to make it an easy upgrade.
  • The factory 4 speed transmission was replaced with a Corvette 5 speed giving the ½ ton an overdrive gear for better highway speed and lower engine RPM’s
  • The Chevrolet car differential raises the gear ratio to also give better road speed
  • The front brakes are now the modern disc design for faster emergency stops. To do this a total front suspension from a mid-1980’s Ford Mustang II replaced the 1947 front straight axle. Thus, the pickup now has coil springs! The smaller “Mustang rotors were exchanged with Chevrolet eleven inch kit currently available. Now this light weight ½ ton “really stops.”
  • A late model dual chamber under the cab master cylinder is also a big safety factor! Losing fluid to either the front or rear wheels and you still have the ability to stop.






The Results

This pickup’s second restoration was completed in 2015, after over a year in the process. Much heavy work was done by “Hot Rod Express” in Blue Springs, MO. This is one of the premier restoration facilities in the Mid-West. Contact at the end of the article.

Here is a one of a kind 70 year old ½ ton that is admired on the road and at truck and car shows. Its combination of 235 six cylinder, 5 speed overdrive and higher differential gearing allows it to easily cruise at 60 mph. It can now get traffic tickets like other newer vehicles!

The color is 4-stage Candy Apple red with clear coat and beige top. Application for “professionals only” to get this deep metallic appearance.

The following photos show the many areas of John’s special truck. Hope you enjoy them as much as John did in creating his special 1947 deluxe pickup. A few like it may have been seen in the 1960’s.

*The following mentioned in an earlier paragraph*

The 1947-48 ½ tons all had an under bed gas tank. To make this happen GM had to fit between the cab and rear axle. The only way to keep an 18 gallon capacity was to extend the tank bottom closer to the road surface.

A General Motors mistake! Lowering the tank caused contact with the ground and rocks when the wheels sank deep in ruts on a mud road. Dents caused leaks.

The answer in the 1960’s was replacement 1954 tank from the first restoration which was behind the seat that year. John decided to remove this tank during his major restoration with a flat tank behind the rear axle. Thus, the gas tank spout in the middle of the accessory rear bumper. Problem solved for our Featured Truck of the Month.



Much of the recent restoration was done under John’s guidance by: Hot Rod Express in Blue Springs, MO. Phone 816-224-9597


1961 GMC Suburban

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

Buying a GMC truck in 1961 with this many special options is quite unusual.
Now 58 years later this GMC is about one of a kind survivor.

            Think about this: A GMC with a 305 cubic inch V-6 engine, Suburban body, 4 wheel drive, and the higher 3.73 differential. What a combination!

The proud owner is Joe Disanti of Shurly, Long Island, New York. This has been a part of his family for about 40 years. He found it in a nearby neighborhood front yard with a for sale sign on the windshield. It was love at first sight (and still is.)

Joe and family live on Long Island about 10 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. It soon became a perfect weekend camping vehicle with then two young children. So many warm weather weekends all would head for the beach for a few days of fun.

Of course, that always included drives along the Ocean shore besides water’s edge. Great family memories but not good for the Suburban. Salt water and mist in the air on the metal body took their toll!


Actually, the body rust had become so bad there was no repairing it however, Joe was not about totaling his Suburban. There was just too many great memories of the good times his family had with the “old Suburban” plus by that time Joe’s family had increased with two more children. He really wanted these younger children to also share the same weekend camping trips the first two had experienced.

So, a serious Suburban body hunt began. Among the many dead end rumors success came in 2002 when Joe found a Suburban body in Texas, a long way from Long Island, New York. It had limited rust and resembled his Suburban when he found it in the late 1960’s.

With some transportation help and willing shop to help make some of the change-overs this was now a nice Suburban replacement much like it was 40 years ago. The two younger children could now experience the weekend fun as the other two had done.

No surprise it became another total body loss with beach salt working on the recently installed Texas body that already had some damage rust developing.

LET’S DO IT AGAIN! Now when the children were mostly on their own, Joe decided it would be great to do another body replacement and now give it a major restoration. This time it would be kept away from the beach salt! The GMC would be a wonderful momentum of his years spend with his children as they grew up.

It was much more difficult to locate a viable 60’s Suburban body. Joe wanted it to be from an area that had no winter road salt. This would be a last restoration and he would always keep it for memories but now going in a different direction! Joe would get acquainted with local early car and truck clubs. Having a now almost extinct GMC was certainly an incentive to make it special.

The body hunt was quite a project but now time would not be an issue. He would look until he located a solid body that would stay that way. It did not have to be only 1961 but must be from the 1960-66 series.

After a few years regularly looking though car magazines and on Ebay he found the expectable body. The state was Arizona. (Even further from New York) It was rust free 1965 body and chrome grill. It fit into his major body restoration plans. Yes the Suburban would keep its original V-6 engine, 4 speed transmission, differential and GMC four wheel drive. It now drives just like the early year except Joe added 1971 disc brakes and master cylinder. It has its own 30’x40’ garage so it never see the big winter snows that used to affect the other bodies Suburban bodies.

WOW look at the attached photos and see what the Disanti family have now. There is nothing even close to this GMC at the New York shows where it is seen.


NOTE: The 305 and 351 cubic inch V-6 were the one and only offered in GMC smaller trucks from 1960 to about 1963 and then as an option though 1969. This quality built GMC only V-6 engine really gives so many years of service.

The 4 speed transmission on this Featured Truck is often referred to as a “bullet-proof.” Millions were used in ½ to 2-ton truck from 1948 thought the mid 1960’s. They rarely need repairs and so often go to the crusher in good condition when the trucks and its other mechanicals are no longer useable. The salvage yards can only afford to keep so many in their stock!

This transmission is much overbuilt when placed in a ½ ton such as Joes 1961 Suburban.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Joe Disanti email jcepaint2@gmail.com






1954 Chevrolet Deluxe ½ ton Pickup

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

What a great example of the mid 1950’s when the United States’ population began (for the first time) to have a little extra disposable income. Our Featured Truck of the Month, a 1954 Chevrolet Deluxe ½ ton pickup is an example of this developing change. The first owner obviously wanted a little more than just a pickup truck to park behind the barn while he used the family sedan to go shopping in town or parking in the church lot on Sunday. This was the time when pickups began to emerge as a little more than a vehicle that only saw water to wash off dirt naturally when it rained. In that era few pickups were given valuable space inside a farm building or a company warehouse.

The real General Motors experiment would be the next year with the introduction of the Chevrolet Cameo Carrier and the GMC Suburban Pickup. Their popularity would show if the 1950’s buying public was ready for a pickup with extras. In 1954, the buyer added most options and accessories to his base work truck. This was the beginning of the American Truck love affair that has continued more than 65 years!

This month’s Featured Truck is a 1954 Chevrolet Deluxe pickup (loaded with extras by 1954 standards), owned by Byron and Eleze Fuller of Symsomia, Kentucky. Finding a ½ ton pickup with so many options is very unusual and they realized it rarity. They found it in California 14 years ago and had to trailer it to Kentucky. It had received a basic restoration so this was a great pickup to work with and add even more extras.

The Fullers are real truck enthusiasts and are seen with their pickup in so many shows within a few hundred miles from their home. This pickup is considered Eleze’s and Byron drives a red 1955 Chevrolet first series pickup as his special ½ ton truck. Yes, it’s a family hobby!

They are members of the American Truck Historical Society (ATHS) that is considered the largest truck club in the world. Byron and Eleze are seen each year at the conventions wherever they are being held in the U.S.


Here are some facts about this unusual pickup but first here are two definitions:

  • OPTIONS: Factory installed (with an extra cost) items special ordered when the vehicle is being ordered.
  • ACCESSORIES: Installed after delivery by the dealer or owner


This 1954 has many for a pickup of the mid-1950’s

  • Five window deluxe cab
  • Hydromantic Transmission
  • Power Steering
  • Transport Blue                  (No Extra Cost)
  • Shell White Top              (Chevy’s first two tone cab)
  • Rear Bumper
  • Right side Taillight
  • Right side sun visor and arm rest
  • Electric Wiper motor
  • Cigarette lighter



Accessories have been gradually added over the years

  • AM Radio and Antenna
  • Factory clock
  • Front Bumper guards
  • Right side mirror arm
  • Outside Sun Visor
  • Running Board Safety Treads
  • Deep 8’’ wide X 15’’ wheels for slightly wider radial tires.
  • By-Pass Oil Filter


The Fuller’s 1954 stands out at all shows with the great restoration and extras. Byron mentioned a big concern on the factory 4-speed hydrometric transmission. It operates great but where would he find a rebuilder if something broke in this rare vintage unit?


The above is a Chevrolet drawing showing the power steering option on an early straight axle ½ ton.
With a 235 Six Cylinder engine

Note: The Pump is secured to the generator which has a one inch longer armature with gear for turning this add-on.
Very Unique!



You can contact Byron and Eleze through email at  chevy54@bellsouth.net


June 2019 Featured Truck Owner Ralph Wescott

Friday, June 7th, 2019

This month we decided to take a different spin on our long loved “Featured Truck of the Month Series”

For the first time since we began the series in 2000 we are featuring a person that at one time was the country’s number one collector and restorer of mid 1950’s GMC ½ tons. RALPH WESCOTT of Largo, Florida is that special person!

1957 GMC Palomino

[from 2007 interview]

Owner: Ralph Wescott

1957 gmc palomino pick up truck

You can’t get more unusual than 1 of 1. This is how Ralph Wescott of Largo, FL describes his 1957 GMC Palomino. General Motors built only one! It was produced to draw attention to their truck display at the New York Autorama show in 1957. Fortunately, its prior four documented owners recognized it as special. It has been mostly in storage and only a few recent car shows have had it on display. The Palomino now has 9,350 miles and almost no restoration has been done. Even the original custom leather seat is free of age cracks. The engine sounds like new as it slowly moves out of its enclosed trailer. It occasionally may be driven in the neighborhood or at a car show.

Gm designed this special 1/2 ton around a fully optional assembly line model. This includes a deluxe cab, Pontiac V-8, Hydramatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, radio, deluxe heater, Cameo style bed, windshield washers, etc. The manufacturer then added additional features that set it apart from the others. In the following photos note items such as (Palomino only) gold paint, custom leather seat and door panels, script trim panels over the front edge of the bed and gold floor mat.

One of its more unique items are the U.S. Royal Master tires. Ralph states GM requested U.S. Royal to produce 5 with this unusual rubber sidewall. After 50 years they are still in on their original 15′ rims! When not at a show the Palomino is in temperature controlled storage out of the sun to protect the leather interior, it’s original paint and bed.

Based on Ralph saying his Palomino is not for sale at any offer, we will refer to it as ‘priceless.’

1957 gmc palomino pick up truck 1957 gmc palomino pick up truck 1957 gmc palomino pick up truck

1957 gmc palomino pick up truck 1957 gmc palomino pick up truck 1957 gmc palomino pick up truck

1957 gmc palomino pick up truck 1957 gmc palomino pick up truck 1957 gmc palomino pick up truck

1957 gmc palomino pick up truck 1957 gmc palomino pick up truck 1957 gmc palomino pick up truck

1957 gmc palomino pick up truck 1957 gmc palomino pick up truck 1957 gmc palomino pick up truck


Ralph at 75years old finally decided to sell some of his most prized low mileage show trucks at his own auction that was nationally advertised. The Palomino was given a value by the last bidder. It brought $197,000.00 by a west coast buyer. WOW! See what happens when you have the only one GM ever made.

1972 Chevrolet Cheyenne Super

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

Our Featured Truck of the Month (a 1972 Chevrolet Cheyenne Super) is the final year of this classic body design. It has never lost its popularity! The 1967-72 GM pickups are the ultimate result. GM began the transition of a farm truck to some luxury trucks in 1955 with the introduction of the Chevrolet Cameo. This was GM’s test to see if some American buyers would pay more for a full dress pickup. Yes, they did! GM then began to gradually add more deluxe features to their top of the line pickups. These fancy trucks just kept selling! So GM went all out in the 1967-72 pickups with more extras each year. The grand finale was the 1971-72 Chevrolet Cheyenne Super pickup.

The owners of this special 1972 ½ ton are Dave and Donna Field of Greenwood Missouri. They have always been avid car collectors. They also own a 1966 (Corvette Convertible and 1967) Corvette Coupe and a 1965 Chevelle Super Sport L79 with 4 speed transmission. With one extra space available in their garage, Dave and Donna have always been on the watch for another vehicle that would be as enjoyable the other three they have.

Their pickup purchase happened about 6 months ago. An old friend a hundred miles away called them to say his neighbor would be selling his Cheyenne Super. As lovers of special interest vehicles, this rare pickup caught their attention. They had seen it when visiting their friend in the past. Yes, Dave and Donna now have it in their garages to fill the vacancy.

This ½ ton had been driven occasionally by a nurse to a local hospital in nice weather four years. With various repairs soon needed and winter months ahead, it was just the right time for them to sell. A few things that needed to be repaired or replaced was a leaking front engine main bearing seal, carpet, padded dash, fuel tank, taillight trim and adding a chrome grill. It now certainly keeps up with the reputation of the Fields other three special interest Chevrolets.

The shorter 6’ bed and automobile like deluxe interior does not relate to a truck for carrying heavy merchandise. Even the name “Cheyenne Super” says what so many non-hauling pickup buyers wanted to see.

In addition to standard equipment on a Cheyenne Super, the Field’s pickup has factory options that more pleasure truck buyers required (GM knew to make some popular items optional so they could make a more profitable sale). On the Field’s Cheyenne Super this includes: 350 V-8, Turbo-hydromantic transmission, in dash air conditioning, power brakes, power steering and tilt steering wheel. Two very unusual options on the dash cluster is the tachometer and vacuum gage. This midnight black ½ ton is a real eye catcher even to the non-truck people.

Missouri (like some other states) allow the use of original older license plates. The Field’s took advantage of this and located a nice 1972 plate. It is now registered with the state!

Notice the wheels with chrome centers and stainless steel rings. These were on the top of the line 1973 and newer. In todays’ world they are almost always seen on 1967-72 GM pickups that are being made as attractive as possible. (Originally GM used full wheel covers) This is the second year Chevy and GMC ½ tons changed to 5 bolt wheels from over 45 years of 6 holes.

This little ½ ton is the ultimate pleasure truck and designed to be more at home parked near a golf clubhouse rather than hauling hay on the farm. Dave is now proving this is true. He drives it almost weekly with his golf clubs to a special golf course to meet with his friends.

To the Field: Welcome to the world of Chevrolet Trucks!

You can contact Dave and Donna at davidfield5555@icloud.com


Few photos of this special truck most like Chevrolet offered it.


1946 Chevrolet ½ ton

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019


In the family so many years! This little ½ ton spent most of its life in North Carolina where it was first used on a farm and did the required hauling duties. Now owned by Stephen Caudill of Wichita Kansas about 6 months ago. He purchased it from a family member in North Carolina after the immediate owner had passed away.

            Stephen has since done several requirements such as all new wiring, a major break overhaul, and a modern electric wiper motor. The bed wood was removed and refurbished to look new and then sealed. Over the years the original 216 engine has been replaced with an updated 235 six cylinder. Nice easy replacement.

            The original 4.11 ring and pinion remains and holds this ½ ton to about 55 MPH. It also has the same factory non-synchronize 4-speed it had during its beginning years on the farm.

            To give his truck a little extra, he has placed the name “Bird’s 46 Chevy” on the grill. This is because his nickname is Big Bird.

            Note the 15’’ wheels. They are from a 1937-41 Chevy ¾ ton when those heavier pick-up, still had 6 bolt wheels. Nice touch! They’re are very popular and difficult to find.

            Stephen regularly drives this 1946 in the Wichita area. Very dependable as it was when it came from the dealership over 70 years ago.



The recent trophy for “Owners Choice”
(Includes an eyeball!!)

In Mid-March 2019 Stephen entered his ’46 ½ ton in a car and truck show in his home town of Wichita, Kansas. He took home the “Owners Choice” award. The public certainly were impressed with the special pick-up.





1955 GMC Suburban Carrier

Saturday, March 9th, 2019

They don’t get much rarer than these! In our over 200 Feature Truck of the Month Series since the year 2000, we have never even found one of these Carriers to use as an example.  In their three year production, mid-1955 to mid-1958, less than 1000 were sold through the many GMC dealers in the U.S. The limited survival rate in over 60 years is unknown. The proud owner is Larry Koochel of Liberal, Kansas.  As a special interest vehicle enthusiast and owner over the years, Corvettes being his favorite, he became aware of this GMC many years ago.  A friend told him about this truck and mentioned it was in storage near his home in western Kansas.  Larry had not heard these were ever made and being able to see it in a storage building really got his interest.  Research bought answers to this unusual factory made ½ ton.  No, it was not for sale!

Larry later heard the owner was paying for its storage garage until he was released from a state prison. Unfortunately, soon after release, he again broke the law and returned to behind bars.  Then it truly became up for sale!



It was only then the GMC came out of storage and found a new owner. This person gave it a body off restoration.  Cab corners were all that was required in body part replacement before painting to the original Dover White.

Flame Red was on the wheels, inner bed panels, and rear cab secondary color. Of course, all rubber seals, window channels, most glass, and bed wood were replaced.



Now enters Larry Koochel. As a follower of special interest auto auctions he was shocked to see this same Suburban Carrier at a vintage auction two years ago and within driving distance of his home!  He immediately recognized it as the GMC he had seen years ago in storage.  Yes, he wanted it and the high bid was his!

It is now in storage near his home but this time occasional driving keeps it “up and going”! Probably one of the only Suburban Carriers in Kansas. Having a truck this unusual sure makes Larry happy being at that auction two years ago.

With the coming of the new 1955 pickups GMC knew there was no time to develop a small V-8 engine. What now?

GMC already produced a much larger V-8 but it was for very big freight haulers, not practical for the ½ tons! The GMC inline 302 was one of the strongest six cylinder gas engines in the industry but the GMC Division realized that they had to do something else to satisfy a ½ ton buyer’s V-8 wants.



Therefore, GM did the same as in 1938. They borrowed the correct size engine from the Pontiac car division.  In this case a 287 cubic inch V-8 that was used in the 1955 Pontiac.  They then became a leader of largest “small block” V-8 and with little tooling costs.  NOTE:  GMC slightly modified the V-8 heads so compression was slightly less than the Pontiac.  This made sure the engine operated well on regular octane gasoline.

Two other modifications when the Pontiac V-8 was placed in the GMC, the color changed from dark green to red orange. Of course, GMC did not want the Pontiac name stamped on the two valve covers. Thus, truck valve covers do not have the Pontiac script stamped on their top.

Why a Pontiac V-8 engine in a GMC? The new GM truck body in Mid-1955 for both GMC and Chevrolet were following some customer’s interest for more power in pickups.  Chevrolet had been developing the 265 cubic inch small block V-8 for several years to be ready for the new body designs.



Specifications for Larry’s Suburban Carrier:

Engine: Pontiac V-8, 287 Cubic Inch. 7.4 compression ratio

Transmission: 4 speed Hydromatic

Differential: 3.90: 1 semi-floating

Single exhaust and 2 barrel carburetor

Weights and Measures:Wheelbase: 114”Overall width: 74”Ground clearance: 7 1/8”Base price without options: $1,981.00

Shipping weight: 3,645 pounds

Bed length: 6’6”

Overall length: 198”

Tires: 6.70 X 15” tubeless


Hydromatic                  $210.00

Radio                           $55.00

Heater                         $40.00

Oil Bath Air Cleaner    $15.00

V-8 engine                   $106.00


The year 1955 was good at GMC Truck and Coach Division, made even better by the surprise appearance of the sporty, classy Suburban Carrier. It was a truck that was much more at home pulling up to the country club than hauling hay on the farm. NOTE: We heard a rumor that this rare GMC might be for sale for a little less than $39,000.

You can contact Larry Koochel at: lkoochel@Yahoo.com

1935 Chevrolet ½ Ton

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

About 4 years ago Jim McCoy of La Fontaine, Indiana attended the area’s largest car and truck show in this part of Indiana. The Dave Kunkel Cruise in occurs annually and has grown to be the largest the state. Jim is a regular and always reserves the day to be a part of it.

It was love at first sight when Jim McCoy saw this month’s featured truck among the many vehicles. This 1935 ½ ton is so rare! Their wood framework that supports all the body sheet metal has made almost all cabs a total loss during the past 80 years. Almost all trucks in those years were used for work only. Few were kept inside a building much less ever washed between rains! When water began to seep into the cab, rotten wood was soon to follow. Replacing the wood frame in the cab would cost much more than just buying another working pickup! They then went to the salvage yard.

Jim quickly recognized this unusual truck as being an almost one of a kind in his area. He asked the owner if it was for sale. The answer was NO.

A year later Jim was back at the show wondering if he would see this little orange 1935 again. Surprise, there it was among hundreds of other special interest vehicles. The owner was given the same question and the answer was the same. NO!

The third year all was repeated, however to Jim’s surprise the answer was MAYBE. By the end of the show it was a YES! He was now the proud owner of one of the very few 1935’s remaining.


The updates now began with various improvements including a new very deluxe interior and completed rewiring. Jim needed extra storage for his short trips. Thus, a custom wood box, with a 1935 Chevy Bow-Tie on top was custom made to fit at the front of the bed. SEE PHOTO

Much cleaning, paint touch-up and mechanical tuning brought it up to updated quality. A very detail project was removing an accumulation of dirt and grease from all areas of the modern V-8 engine. Now, the chrome and orange paint shines like it was just added! The two hood sides have been removed to draw attention to the “work of art” engine compartment! As a final touch he attached blue lights to underside of the hood. A real eye catcher to draw attention to all the chrome during night shows and driving.

The pickup has a 350 cubic inch V-8 engine, 350 transmission, front disc brakes, and a higher speed differential to keep up with highway traffic.

The organizers of this annual car show in Wabash, IN were so impressed with this 1935 that they used it on all show plaques given to entries in 2018.




Here is the Jim McCoy story:

Jim worked for the Morton Building Company for 20 years as a sales representative, when his knees got bad at 61 years old the decision was made to replace both at the same time. He liked his job and wanted to go back as soon as possible.

In 2008 he went in for knee surgery at 6:00am and later that evening he had a major stroke in the hospital! This put him in the intensive care for many weeks. Jim could not eat, talk and certainly not walk. We can only imagine the extra time and care the staff put in the first few days after his stroke to keep him alive.

It has been 10 years now. During the first 5 years he had to teach himself how to talk. This was difficult for a person that made his living talking.

Jim’s car hobby is his retirement therapy and aided in his recovery. He drives a late model Corvette but loves the short drives with his special little 1935 ½ ton pumpkin. No speeding tickets yet!

During our interview we could tell Jim (now 72 years old) is on a high with his second chance at life. He says. “I feel so blessed.”

You can contact Jim McCoy at jimmccoy@embarqmail.com




The 1935’s are so rare we feel lucky to have another from our 19 year Feature Truck series. Click on May 2014 to see and read about this other special 1935 ½ ton on our website.


1951 Chevrolet Suburban

Sunday, January 6th, 2019

Featured Truck of the Month 2019 starts off with a bang! We are offering a different way of showing this special truck. We hope you enjoy the video, background music and the detailed description as much as we did putting it all together.

This Advanced Designed Suburban was rebuilt by Mike and Tyler Chance a father/ son team devoted to their business of restoring early Chevy Trucks and Ford Mustangs. This is one of so many vehicles they have completely restored over the, 18 years in business. This 1951 Chevy Suburban is a real stand out for any GM Truck enthusiast.

Mike the founder of the restoration company stated: “This type of a custom truck was sometimes seen in the 1960’s. No structural changes and the mechanicals appear almost factory original.” The first differences you see will be the unique color arrangement and extra chrome under the hood. The gray pleated material on the seats are a plus as well as the carpeting. They give it the extra touch!

Yes, it is upgraded with a 1957 six cylinder 235 engine (an easy drop in) and slightly higher ratio differential. It will now cruise at 70 MPH with traffic on the open road!

Notice a few little extras that places this suburban a cut above so many others.

GM Dealer Installed in the mid-1950s:

  • Rear turn signal lights when you requested this new option
  • Grill guard from side to side above the bumper. Very rare!
  • GM tissue holder under dash

Aftermarket extras that could have been added by the owner.

  • Fenton Exhaust Headers, and in this example, have been polished and chrome plated as well as the intake manifold
  • Wolf Wistle operated by vacuum from the middle of the intake manifold.
  • Six-hole wheels are from a 1937-1941 Chevy ¾ ton. Nice Extra!
  • White wall tires
  • Stereo System disguised by an in-dash copy of a real Chevy radio.
  • Left door hand operated spot light. Great for seeing house numbers and strange things along the road.


A very unique feature is adding a 1963 and newer 3 speed transmission that is synchronized in all three gears, not just 2nd and 3rd as original. Even more unusual is the modified shift linkage. It still remains a column shift much like when it left the factory. There is one exception! To correctly allow it to still use the factory steering column and shift lever an unusual modification was needed. After the two linkage rods were remade between the transmission and gear shift box, the quadrant position had to be reversed. This moved 2nd gear to the lower right and the higher gear to the upper corner. This requires a 180 degree design change from the original factory transmission.

Mike’s interest in older vehicles comes from his father’s hobby of collecting older cars and trucks. At times he has had over 50 unique special interest vehicles. Now, at 85, his father has kept his two favorites. A 1955 Chevy car and a 1972 Chevy ½ ton pickup both of which he drives regularly. In addition he walks and jogs about 10 miles each week. What a great example to all of us. Mike and Tyler, has some big shoes to fill in being involved in this restoration company.

Their GM truck and Mustang restoration business is in a large airplane hangar near the Fort Worth, TX area. The airport is still an active for light aircraft. Some other adjacent hangars store antique airplanes and some additional car storage. It’s a little like following Jay Leno who has a similar car workshop and display area in an airplane hangar located in Burbank, California airport.

Mike said the Suburban was originally bought and used on a large farm in California as a family and worker hauler. Somehow it found its way to Texas, where Mike saw it at the large Pate Swap Meet near Fort Worth. He was so impressed he bought it on the spot!

Almost no body rust made it a real find. Much less time, money, and labor to make it the way it is shown in this video. You can spot the many extras in the body color, redesigned interior and extra chrome. The Suburban has been changed by following what might have been available in the 1960’s.

Look at Mike and Tyler’s Video on this 1951 Suburban. We think you will find it quite interesting. (Don’t forget there are two videos to see it all.)

The following are the words of Mike Chance on his love for the old Chevy trucks

“Having grown up in Abilene, Texas in the 1970’s, I was familiar with Chevrolet trucks of the early to late 1950’s.  They were so well built that many of them were still doing time. Almost everyone I knew had owned one or knew someone who had. As I grew older I grew more and more fond of these uniquely American workhorses. For me, it was interesting to watch the truck morph from just above tractor status to a legitimate dual purpose vehicle capable of rivaling the car as a transportation choice. 

Back in the early 1950’s, the Carry All was the ultimate people transporter. It exceeded the typical car’s capacity by at least two people.  When I saw this 1951 model at the Pate swap meet in Fort Worth, Texas I purchased it on the spot. It had benefited from a quality restoration and was a real eye-catcher. Better than that was the fact that it was capable of providing on demand fun by loading it with friends for delightful excursions.

It had been upgraded to a late model 235 engine along with a high-speed rear end and power disc brakes the combination of which allowed it to be driven at high way speeds with confidence. 

Always looking for the next thrill, I ultimately sold it. Had I known that I would one day have 11 grandkids I would have never sold it. I am now back in the hunt for its replacement.

I still LOVE old trucks and currently own a 1959 Apache “double deluxe”. My grandkids call it Apache Red.  It’s a factory 283 engine with some mild updates for drivability. My wife and I drive it almost every day.  We recently added Vintage Air to help us get through the hot Texas summers.

I have other collector cars, but the old trucks have my heart. It seems like everyone loves an old Chevy truck. My personal taste runs more to stock original presentations with some mild updates for reliability and safety.  If it has a 235, 261 or 283 in it, I am a fan.

Michael Chance lives in the DFW area of Texas and buys, sells and updates Classic Cars. His website is MyRod.com This video is just one of several he has done on classic truck ownership and is currently working on one to describe his idea of the “perfect mix” of originality with a few critical updates for drivability. “



Our 1951 Chevy Suburban In Action

Video 1

Video 2


WOW! Look at Mike’s immediate family in and around this older 1940’s Plymouth convertible.


1957 Chevrolet Cameo

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

             Beside the beach

Louie Hinojosa of Bakersfield, CA has been a car and truck enthusiast since his high school days in the mid-1960’s. He had a 1955 Chevy two door hardtop ready when he was of driving age. This was his daily driver for many years. He learned so much on how to keep it running and keeping its appearance the best. One of the unusual purchases a few years later (while he still drove his 1955) was a 1955 Chevrolet Nomad Station Wagon. How rare! It was to be his “keeper” so he restored it. It’s now in storage with his occasional driven Cameo. This leads us to his first meeting with a Chevrolet Cameo (He had never seen one.)

It is strange how a single occurrence in life can change the direction of our future. The following is the way it happened to Louie. While doing a major rebuild on his Nomad Station Wagon, he needed a truck to haul body parts and mechanical items to shops such as: front fenders, hood, the seats, engine, transmission, etc. When he saw an interesting classified ad in a local newspaper: “1957 Chevrolet ½ ton pickup for sale, runs good” he wanted to check it out. The first time he saw it, he thought “the bed has a weird appearance.” Louie figured it must be a one of a kind special built for some street rod show!

The seller appeared to have no knowledge of its rarity, he bought it for its unique appearance and hauling ability. Now he just wanted to sell it. Louie did some research and said. “Oh my gosh, this is pure Chevrolet.” He had to have it! Plus at the same time he also had a hauler for his Nomad parts. Even before the Nomad was completed Louie began to watch for spare emergency parts, not only for the station wagon project but certainly for his new 1957 Cameo. The more he read about these special trucks the more he realized he found a diamond in the rough.

Louie bought it in 1980 but it was not until about eight years later that he made plans to when the ground- up restoration would begin. He had never restored a truck, much less a Cameo, and he was excited! His 1957 Cameo had received no major alterations. It was all pure Chevrolet, so he could make it very close to factory correct without major research.

In the meantime, he had a full time job, a Nomad to finish and three small children to raise. It was not until several years before his retirement that he could get serious on the Cameo project. It was taken down to the bare frame and all his experience from prior Mid-1950 Chevy cars went into make this Cameo close to the best.

Mechanically, it came with a 283 V-8 and the optional three speed overdrive. Rather, than go through the tired 283 engine, it now has a visually identical 327 engine and a 700 R4 overdrive automatic transmission. Note the special shift lever from the floor. This is a recent addition that makes the automatic transmission look somewhat like a floor shift unit that would have been in a truck. This really adds to the interior appearance. The original 3.90 ratio differential and brakes are still in place.

Louie really liked the original Golden Yellow and he was happy to keep it the same. Great choice! The only color change was to remove the Jet Black inner bed panels and paint in these panels and horizontal outside bed side panels Bombay Ivory (as most other Cameos were that year.) The interior is slightly on the custom side but has been done in good taste. The combination is a real eye catcher. The seat upholstery is of the exact Cameo design used in 1957.

We noticed he kept the optional AM radio just like Chevrolet sold the Cameo. NONE! A radio was a factory option. The blank-out has been chrome plated as in the ash tray. Nice touch! He kept the two paint colors on the metal interior just like the factory made it. A few other dealer installed GM options are the metal outside sun visor and the finger-nail scratch guards behind the door handles, and the pair of chrome hood ornaments.

Who would have thought someone needing transportation for a restoration on a Nomad Station Wagon would have stumbled into something like this! Louie’s hobby has enlarged with his retirement, He is now a major supplier for used and some new Cameo and Nomad parts. What a fun retirement! (We should know)


You can contact Louie Hinojosa at louielouie567@aol.com

V-8 Hood Emblem Just Right!


1961 GMC ¾ Ton

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

Ever seen a NEW GMC pickup? If not, our Feature Truck is as close as it comes to factory new.  Now owned by Jan and Ross Gale (father and son) of Princeton Junction, New Jersey.  It is so pure even the seat upholstery is as perfect as it came from the dealership over 65 years ago.  This pickup sets the judging standards for the few 1961 GMC’s now surviving.


It was first purchased by a soon to be retired couple named Clarke. He was an engineering executive for the Bell Telephone Company in Washington D.C.  The new GMC was soon taken with them to Freehold, New Jersey after the retirement.

The next project was to prepare the pickup for the Clarke’s long awaited camping trips. It is assumed the Clarke’s favorite camping grounds were not too far away because the odometer had only 41,000 miles when it was sold to the “Gale Family Collection” in 1999. (About 2,200 miles per year) When not on their camping trips, the Clarkes kept the GMC in their personal garage.  Therefore, it only saw outside weather a few weeks a year!

Keeping the GMC so perfect goes along with the Clarke’s record keeping. Included with this truck they sold in 1999 to the Gales was every repair receipt during their 38 year ownership.  This even included the first written and bound proposal when it was first bought from the GMC dealer.



The Clarkes wanted a little more than offered GMC when it was new. This pickup is a ¾ ton, Series 1502, so is one step up from a ½ ton and provided a longer bed and heavier rear suspension for their new live-in camper.  (These campers were so popular in past years)

To give the pickup more stability in heavier winds and during sharp cornering, the Clarkes had the ultimate installed. They added an extra pair of rear wheels and tires to also help in wet weather.  These two extra tires also pulled the weight of the pickup just like the originals beside them (Check the tech article below written seven years ago on what was probably added to accomplish this extra).


It was suspected the extra two rear wheels and another unusual extra were added as a package from the Morysville Body Works in Boyertown, PA. The other extra are storage boxes attached to the bed sides.  What a great extra!  This would allow much more storage on the Clarke’s camping trip.  Ross Gale says, “The tool boxes have never seen a wrench, are covered with the original paint, and are clean enough to eat off of.”  Maybe the Clarke’s did not need them after all!

By seeing the following photos, note because of the extra dual rear axle width, it was necessary for the Morysville Co. to remove the stock step side rear fenders and add the narrower rear fenders they produce. It all fits together just right with the wide dual rears.




The power plant is one of GMC’s greats. A 305 cubic inch V-6 engine was only offered by them from 1960 through about 1969 in light trucks.  All is exact as it left the factory. It was the only engine offered in 1961 a GMC light pickup

The transmission is the almost “bullet proof” 4 speed which had been used since 1948 in the ½ through 2 ton (In a ½ and ¾ ton it is almost under-worked).

Power brake unit at side




Jan and Ross Gale (father and son) are serious truck enthusiasts and refer to their collection as the Gale Family Collection – GFC. When this 1961 GMC joined their fleet in 1999, it quickly became a family favorite going to shows near and far.  Now with only 51,000 miles, it is barely broken in. (about 1,000 miles/Year.) It now has a nickname as “Blueberry.”

The Gale Family are serious collectors!

Note three other trucks in their collection in the following photo together. These types of trucks are rarely seen in any condition at car and truck shows or other vehicle displays.

  • 1949 Chevrolet 1 ton Canopy Express
  • 1959 Studebaker pickup
  • 1955 Willy’s Station Wagon

These three trucks (in photo) are currently on display in the Vintage Auto Museum of New Jersey.

One other (almost the last survivor) is a 1952 GMC 1 ton “Banana Truck” Too nice to even get outside on a cloudy day.





  • Front license plate not using the two middle holes for the bracket. Could it be New Jersey requiring two plate years later and Mr. Clarke could not find a bracket?




See below

  • Front accessory bumper guards. Nice!
  • Parking lights in the hood the same as Chevrolet but lens background totally different.

  • Notice non-split rim wheels. Most all ¾ ton 8 bolt wheels were split rims. These even secured them to the factory hubcaps. Maybe an option?
  • This 1961 has seat belts. Was it a GMC option or installed later? Federal law didn’t required seat belts on new vehicles until 1968.
  • With new storage boxes attached to the bedsides, the original taillights had to be replaced. See photo
  • Chrome grille, bumpers, windshield trim and hubcaps. ALL GMC extras.

You can contact Ross at ross.gale@gmail.com &Instagram @fringecarcollector




1937 GMC ½ Ton

Monday, October 1st, 2018

During our 18 years’ experience with the Featured Truck of the Month Series, we have never located even one GMC ½ ton pickup of this vintage year. When we discovered it a few months ago, it was an immediate candidate to be posted for all to learn about.

The truck is a 1937 GMC T-14 ½ ton pickup owned by Larry Shisler of Tigerton Wisconsin. It spent most of it life in Montana doing rural hauling for a farm as most pickups did during the 1930’s. Larry discovered it about nine years ago near his home in Wisconsin, its old attached license plate was 1963 Montana. He immediately knew it was a perfect match for him and his interest in rare vehicles.

In 2013 he personally began the disassembly process to check all areas of the frame for cracks. This backbone of his future new older GMC had to be just right. The search for some needed replacement parts became a major project. Due to the rarity of this 80 years old lower production work truck, sometimes Larry often had to rebuild what he had.

Yes, this little GMC shares much from its Chevrolet cousin, however the GMC differences are quickly noticed. Some big changes you begin to see as you look under the hood. Other changes are the grille, the placement of the exhaust system, bumpers, dash gauges, GMC letters on tailgate, etc.

Of course, the first unique feature you see is the grille. Nothing is like this on the Chevrolet. It is totally redesigned to make the GMC look different than any truck on the road. In a time of conservative colors for truck (and cars) these brightly colored non-chrome grilles and striping made many take a second look as it moved down the road. Larry matched its Mallard Blue and Canary Yellow paint just as this ½ ton came from the factory. He found several places with spots of original color.

Larry has a factory 1937 GMC option book that shows deluxe items such as a chrome grille and bumper. It was probably made an option to allow a customer the lowest base price during the depression years.

This little GMC is about 90% finished but we did not want to wait to feature it for all to read. Maybe we can encourage a reader to even find a tired 1937 GMC like this at the end of this article!

Why a GMC small truck?

Our feature truck of the month was the second year a small truck from GMC the big truck division of General Motors. (Chevrolet has produced lighter trucks since 1918.) The US was experiencing the Great Depression and GMC was in big trouble! Sales had slowed to the level that the remaining new big truck GMC dealers were surviving by maintenance of any vehicle, selling used cars and truck plus often taking on new agricultural lines such as tractors and related farm equipment. Something had to be done fast! Thus, trying to survive resulted in the entry of GMC into the small truck market.

Timing was so important to get the first small trucks in the GMC dealerships that they used much from the Chevy pickups. Yet it was disguised with appearance items that were GMC only. If the potential buyer did not know trucks he might have not noticed the Chevy parts used in the GMC or the dealer could always say “A GMC is so improved over a basic Chevrolet!”

Because the big truck GMC dealers were usually in medium or larger cities where more sales existed, their new light trucks found a larger percentage of city buyers over farm purchases as compared to Chevrolet. Most small US towns had a Chevy dealer which sold cars and trucks.

Points of interest on this 1937:

• The two-tone grilles were usually all painted, not chromed.

• Note the left tail light. It and the bracket are pure GMC. None of the taillight items are from Chevrolet. Larry personally hand made a reverse bracket for the right side. (There was no right taillight on any GM pickups in the late 1930’s.)

• On the 1937 only, the right side seat cushion is removed to gain access to the gas tank. (Too bad for the passenger that had to step out in the cold rain or snow and wait for a fill up while the cab interior got cold in the winter!!!) See photos of this very unusual requirement for fueling a 1937 GMC Chevrolet truck.

• The carburetor was recently replaced with an original single barrel 1937 Zenith. This company was a large carburetor provider in the 1930’s & 1940’s.

• The GMC has the logo on the rear of their 1936-46 tailgates. During these years Chevrolet placed it only on the 1939 and 1940.


A very small GMC ID plate is on the lower right cowl. Nice touch!

Engine in New GMC ½ Tons

GMC never used a Chevrolet engine until about the mid 1960’s.  Though the GMC Truck Division was developing their own inline six cylinder engine, it would not be introduced until 1939.  Due to slow GMC truck sales during the Great Depression, there was no time to wait until 1939 for a light pickup.  The remaining GMC truck dealers needed help immediately!!

Thus, the GMC Division looked at the GM cars currently being marketed and decided the best engine available was in the Oldsmobile with their 230 cubic inch inline six cylinder.  It would fit in the Chevrolet frame GMC would be using. A modified front cross member was added to connect to the Oldsmobile flat head engine.  This was then used in the 1936-37 GMC ½ ton.  For 1938, one year only, GMC used the Pontiac flat head engine in their ½ ton that even had an Indian head cast in the side of the block. (The Oldsmobile engine was continued in the 1938 light trucks above the ½ ton) Both of these two flat head engines (valves in the block) had a full oil pressure system as vehicles do today.  Therefore, the oil gauge in the GMC dash reads 0 to 80 lbs.  Chevrolet low pressure dipper system in dash gauge reads 0 to 30 lbs.

Larry found papers in the truck showing a new Oldsmobile engine was installed in 1948. It looks just like the 1937 but various improvements had been done internally by Oldsmobile. Larry removed the old pan, all checked good, the pan was cleaned and reattached. It now runs great! It will soon be painted the original Oldsmobile green.

There was another very big difference in the Oldsmobile verses the Chevrolet engine. The intake and exhaust manifold combination are on the opposite side of the engine block! This required a change in design of the exhaust and the tail pipe to be on the passenger side of the truck.

On the GMC truck, this manifold position change required fuel line protection because the GMC shared the cab and gas tank with Chevrolet. The fuel line that came from the tank, now ran parallel and close to this muffler and exhaust pipe. Too dangerous not to make modifications. See photo showing the original metal baffle plate from the frame to lesson exhaust heat transfer to the fuel line. (We hope other early GMC restores remember to add this protection.)

Larry will have a new tail pipe specially made in a few weeks!

CONGRATULATIONS to Larry Shisler for saving and restoring about the rarest of the GMC ½ tons. It is a part of US history created during difficult economic times. American engineering at General Motors helped save so many GMC large trucks struggling dealers.

1958 Chevrolet ½ ton Short Bed

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

Yes, you can create a 1950’s show truck at home, however it requires a basic mechanical attitude, enthusiasm, tools and of course a garage or work shed. This little ½ ton now looks about like when it was in the dealer’s show room 60 years ago. It left its home garage only once during its three year ground-up restoration.

The owners and restorers are Dick & Dolores Diestel of Schofield, Wisconsin.

 Truck History:

This 1958 Chevy was discovered in Montana alongside a back road by some hunters from Wisconsin about seven years ago. Rust covered and the bed was missing. See photo.

Seen Along a Roadside

Some would say it was a few steps from the salvage yard! At one time it had been used by a local farmer to mostly carry bags of feed from the town to a nearby cattle operations.

The hunters decided the price was right and took it back to their northern Wisconsin location as a future “fixer-upper!” There it sat untouched for about two years until Dick Diestler found it. He bid the right price and then owned it.



Meet Dick Diestler:

This person is a real go getter and an inspiration to many. Dick is a retired electrician and 81 years old. He acts and looks 20 years younger! Not only does he love retirement but he stays so active. Many would say he stays younger by being active and keeping his brain working.

Dick’s talents are many beyond being a quality electrician in his other life. He is a “Jack of all Trades.” During his employment years he did a few complete restorations after hours; Three 60 year old farm tractors, and older earth moving dozer, and early Jeep, a large retired “big” truck, etc.

One day after his retirement Dick rode with a friend in a nice older truck that had been restored and he was hooked. “I want to restore an over 60 year old GM pickup to be just like I remembered when they were new.” As this big restoration got underway he wondered how he had time to work his regular electrician job and still do a few restorations.

The Restoration:

It was three year project but Dick Diestler loved every minute of it. He had restored non-trucks in the past years so he had a general idea of what would need to be done. Finding parts to replace those not restorable was the big part of the project. It can be quite frustrating trying to find items not being reproduced that you need to continue with the restoration.

He did almost the “total” restoration with little help except for upholstering the two seat cushions. With a welder in his garage Dick cut out and replaced the cab corners, much of the floor, and everything that was rusted beyond repair. Completing the frame restoration, was big considering a few age cracks and much grease accumulation over the years. See these photos Dick realized to make the final painting perfect he would have to do it in a paint booth so he found one at local body shop he could rent one.

The agreement was to rent the booth at their shop for 5 days at $1,000.00. An employee would help him block sand the primer before the Cardinal Red was applied. Yes, Dick Diestler personally did the final spray painting of the red.


The Extras:

He has kept this ½ ton mostly as it left the dealership in 1958 including Cardinal Red paint.

Factory Special order options:

  • The 283 cubic inch V-8 engine that was in the pickup in Montana during its beginning years (Extra cost over the 235 six cylinder engine)
  • 4 Speed Transmission (not the standard 3 speed column unit)
  • A double pulley generator turned by a secondary pulley attached to the crankshaft
  • Chrome grill, bumpers and hubcaps.
  • AM Radio
  • Fresh Air Heater
  • 16’’ Wheels (not the standard 15’’) This helps reduce some engine RPM

Accessories (Non-Chevrolet)

  • The differential gearing was changed from the 3.90 factory ratio to a recently made 3.38 ratio. What a difference 20% increase in higher speed and lower engine RPM on the highway
  • Dual exhaust system gives less back pressure and extra sound difference you cannot get with a catalytic converter.
  • Amber park light lenses replaced the original clear units.


Show Success:

When completed Dick began to wonder just how this ½ ton would be accepted in some car and truck shows. So he and his wife, Dolores, decided they would do local traveling together in Wisconsin. Dolores thought that people at shows might also enjoy seeing and reading about the truck as they walked by other displayed vehicles. Therefore she made a detailed poster with photos and text that is displayed next to the little ½ ton. Wow what an attention getter it has become!

Dick and Dolores can do this together and see much of Wisconsin they would have probably never had visited. It is part of the hobby that Dick had not originally thought about this but what a nice extra. Yes, they now travel together to each show in this 1958. No trailering.

Surprise, the people visiting the shows are in love with this pickup. Judging teams usually place it near the top with other show vehicles.

In two years showing it has received 25 trophies of which 17 were “First” in the show and many, many comments. That says it all. Not bad for a retired guy having fun with his hobby.

One Extra Plus: The Famous Iola, Wisconsin car show and swap meet that attracts 110,000 people each July has given this 1958 a place of honor. It’s one of about 50 special picked vehicles given a displayed area in their large main grassy yard in front the show’s headquarters.

OOPS, one last surprise:

Before this 1958 ½ ton, Dick experimented on a complete restoration on his first GM truck, a 1951 Chevrolet ¾ ton pickup. That is a story in itself! It has received an equal amount of attention at car and truck shows. These two show trucks are always driven, not trailered. Between the two pickups, one end of their family room is filled with all the trophies they have received since Dick’s retirement.

Also see Featured Truck of the Month September 2012. You can contact Dick & Dolores at richarddiestler@charter.net

1949 GMC ½ Ton Long Bed

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018


How many truck owners do you know that have owned their vintage GM pickup almost 40 years! Steve and Patty Briand of Woburn, Massachusetts have been the owners of a vintage GMC since 1978 and it has become part of their family.


This 1949 GMC ½ ton long bed was bought new by the owner of a large chicken farm in Manchester, New Hampshire. Therefore, a ½ ton was adequate but the longer 8 foot bed (not the normal 6 foot on a ½ ton) could haul more of their lighter weight products.

After about 25 years, it was sold to an individual in Massachusetts as his daily driver. He did the usual repairs and upgrades that normally occurs to a well-used truck of this age.

Just 4 years later it was for sale again. The owner had accepted a job transfer on the west coast. As the GMC still required some mechanical repairs, the owner would not drive it the 4,000 miles to his new home. The cost of hiring a transportation company was not an option. When the Briand’s saw this GMC, born in 1949, advertised at $450.00 and they found this was a running truck it was “love at first sight.” For this price it could even be used for their miscellaneous hauling needs.

Their landlord at that time had an available garage to protect it from the heavy seasonal snow. Otherwise, Steve began using it occasionally to drive to his local job. People in his company always knew Steve was on the job as the GMC was taller than the other vehicles in the parking lot!

The first big project was making it all one color instead of several colors and primers that showed its many years. Steve and Patty chose an original GMC cream. It made such a visual improvement. This color remained for almost 35 years.


          Over the many years, the Briand’s long term goal was someday to make their GMC just like it came from the dealership in 1949. They knew this would be a major time consuming project and a big money spending project. So for about 35 years it was a driver, the restoration would wait until retirement years!

When they bought their “dream home” in 1989 the GMC was part of the equation. Their pickup must have its own private house, when restored so they built it behind their home in 2014.

The “GMC’s house” has more than parking space. An area at the side gives storage for most of the disassembling that was to occur. Even the roof supports were given extra strength for a winch, for someday lifting the cab and engine with transmission.



No major changes (other than color) were done over the years. It was a matter of keeping it running much like in 1949, with parts hunting and discovering other owners, Steve managed to usually keep it going.

One great help was discovering and joining the North-East Chevy/GMC Truck Club. Their membership base is in Massachusetts and the surrounding states. It is now considered the oldest running vintage truck club in existence. Club contact is: gordonmil@msn.com Steve could always call on a member for emergency parts and repair advice.



          After Steve’s retirement the time was right. The disassembly began in early 2016. One year was set aside for this to be Steve’s only activity. SURPRISE! The restoration has just been completed after 2 ½ years! So many unexpected extras occurs during a restoration of this size. Steve, at times, became overwhelmed. It is one big project to disassemble a 65 year old truck with rusty bolts from New England winters, a totally different set of rules exist for a quality restoration and assembly.

Steve began the long difficult job of the total restoration (he had never been involved in a project like this.) Though he enjoyed it, in a few months he realized there were so many different things to learn that were totally new to him. What now? A different approach would be necessary if it was to be completed in his lifetime.

Sometimes it is who we know that helps solve problems that may seem overwhelming. This speaks for Steve Briand and his GMC. One of his good friends had knowledge of a local shop owner that specializes in major special interest car restorations. In his many years restoring, the owner had never rebuilt a truck and was really interested in this GMC.

Good luck for the Briand’s. Steve had the pickup totally disassembled and parts completely covered their garage floor! To learn about a GMC, and not haul the many parts to his local shop. (Steve knew how it went together) the restoration shop owner offered to bring his tools to their garage and work on the weekends.

Wow! Someone must have been watching over the Briand’s. This match was certainly made in heaven!

The part time weekend project continued almost 2 ½ years. Both added to the restoration. To prevent a possible unhappy neighbor in their residential neighborhood the Briand’s invited them over to share the progress of the restoration. As the Briand’s were already very close with those nearby residents all liked watching the progress in his garage. Most had no idea what takes place in a ground up building.

Yes, sometimes a complicated item was taken to the restoration shop but most work was done in the GMC’s personal house!



          The Briand’s have kept their GMC with its original 228 inline six cylinder engine and 6 volt electrical system. The 4 speed top loader transmission is almost bullet-proof in a GMC ½ ton. It was standard equipment in the in the large 2 ton GMC work truck! What is unusual it is an 8 foot bed and 125” wheel base like a ¾ ton but is still rated as a ½ ton.

The rear leaf springs are ½ ton 1 ¾’’ wide, not 2’ as in a ¾ ton! The smaller ½ ton differential has a ratio of 4.11 and not of the lower gear slower moving 5.14 or 4.57 on ¾ tons.

When removing the hood hinges from the firewall during the complete disassembly, they found the untouched original Brewster Green. This is now its new correct color! It has also the orange engine color that replaced olive green in 1948.


          Steve and Patty Briand now have their new 1949 GMC. It is kept in its own personal home and will not be on the road during snow days. Now only an occasional light weight hauling job might be allowed.

Very important for the six volt electrical system, this GMC has the correct heavy gauge battery cable to the starter plus two ground cables. Just like General Motors did on all their 6 volt vehicles. Thus, the engine turns over almost as fast as a newer 12 volt vehicle.

The Briand’s give fair warning to a thief with an idea of breaking into the GMC’s garage to steal expensive tools. Check out their sign posted on the door!














You can contact Steve & Patty email usscassinyoung@yahoo.com

Another Steve Briand’s sideline. For 35 years he had been helping 30 military veterans in the restoration and upkeep of a WWII destroyer, the U.S.S Cassin Young now kept in a dry dock in Boston. All is volunteer work and they have brought it back to its appearance 75 years ago in the Pacific.


A Few Photos of the Restoration



Rear of truck. Notice the rare GM accessory reflector!

The Red Wheels Sure Make the Truck Stand Out!

Steve and his buddy!


          If you would like getting into more details regarding this GMC ½ ton long bed read on!


From 1936 through 1955 a 8’ long bed on a GMC ½ ton was a factory option. (The more normal ½ ton bed is 6’) Our feature truck included the usual 16’’ 6 bolt wheels, longer frame side rails, an extra cross sill, and the same bed used on the GMC and Chevy ¾ ton pickups. This long bed ½ ton was not offered on Chevrolet pickups.

For this GMC option General Motors cost was not that expensive until it came to the need for a longer drive shaft behind the transmission. What do they do now?

No doubt this is where real engineering talents become necessary. This would require about a 2 foot connection for the extra bed length, between the u-joint and the short bed driveshaft used on their 6 foot bed.

GMC engineers suspected there would be some major problems if they just lengthened the ½ ton drive shaft assembly. Too much length to withstand overload abuse by some owners and repairs might be a big expense to them. It would probably be the last GMC the mad owners would ever have if the problem developed.             The decision was to continue with the proven short ½ ton closed drive shaft but create an almost 2 foot insert with and extra u-joint.

If and when this extension failed it would be much easier to repair. Some have called it GMC’s “weak link” but they were built heavy and withstood many, many years of abuse. After all it was a ½ ton, not a big work truck using this extension See photos and the enclosed blue print from a GMC shop manual.

More details of the GM Optional Reflector

To add better night visibility to all trucks, Suburban’s and panel trucks, General Motors offered a 4 inch diameter reflector as a dealer installed accessory.   With the single small factory taillight, seeing of these vehicles on the road could be difficult especially if their one bulb burned out.  To help correct this problem GM offered a larger reflector that could be attached to the rear license plate bracket.  It greatly improved visibility to others at the rear during night driving.

This was a time when town street lights were limited.  Of course, on the open road there was no lighting along the highways!  This simple GM reflector was offered by the dealers to prevent rear end accidents.  The customer could buy this dealer accessory from about 1940 through 1953. One of the attached photos is taken from a 1949 Chevrolet Truck Data Book. The 4 inch lens is a Stimsonite # 24 and the metal Guide ring has a stamping of X-19. Jim Winters of Rochester, Minnesota has both a restored 1946 panel truck and ½ ton pickup with this option.

1948 Chevrolet ½ ton Funeral Hearse

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

It will be difficult to ever top this Feature Truck of the Month! Rarely do we find a Chevrolet ½ ton so unique. It may not have been a one of a kind but in today’s world it is close to it. The truck is a 1948 Chevrolet Funeral Hearse on an all original ½ ton chassis.

We discovered this unusual vehicle seeing photos of a recent club truck driving event in the country of New Zealand, though the other trucks were very interesting, this stood out as so much different than the others. This Chevrolet is probably the only 1947-55 Funeral hearse now surviving! So different and yet it is obviously an Advanced Design 1947-53 truck

The reason for a hearse body on a Chevrolet ½ ton is simple. In the US as well as other countries, small communities do not have the population to justify the expense of a top of the line hearse. The request for a more affordable vehicle for the “last ride” has always existed. Some vehicle body companies realized this need and marketed a hearse at a fraction of the cost to funeral homes. During the 1950’s and before, most people in many countries and the US had very little disposal income. Thus, a lower cost funeral was a requirement for so many families.

With extra research we found the owner was the Chevrolet Enthusiasts Club of New Zealand. We made contact with two of their members: Grant Williams (long time member and often the hearse driver) and Rob Webster (the club president.) Between the two members, we were able to learn of the hearse history or as much as is known.

When new in the 1950’s the frame, mechanicals and no bed were shipped from the assembly line in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada where GM’s right hand drive trucks were produced. Many were then shipped to New Zealand and other countries to a specialized local manufacture to make and install the hearse body.

The club members state it has been owned by their National New Zealand Club for about 20 years. It is perfect for carrying merchandise for club events and always seems to have the required room for what is needed. All club members refer to it as their bus or van.

Rob (one of the longest running club members and now their president) remembers them buying it from the fourth owner. This person had used it basically as is. It was the third owner of 4 years that removed the dark blue velvet material from the sides and ceiling, a wood dividing panel with a small sliding window behind the bench seat and all the funeral related apparatus.

The enclosed photos show it for sale on the street in the late 1980’s with the traditional black paint.

For sale in the 1980’s


It is understood during the beginning years two funeral homes had ownership, one buying it from the first owner used.

It is so much like a usual ½ ton. Wheels are 16’ with 6 holes. The dash is reversed like most New Zealand GM Advance Designs trucks with right hand drive. Engine is the correct 216 valve six cylinder and still has the original 6 volt system. This 1948 has a floor shift 3 speed transmission. (In the US, the last year for this early 3 speed was 1947.)

The change in the hood (bonnet) size is very interesting to appear less like a ½ ton pickup on the front. The body manufacturer created a high hood from the Canadian import to appear much like 1946-48 Chevy cars. After all, a hearse should not look like a truck! Good sales feature! It even appears to have a Chevy chrome hood ornament very similar to a 1948.


Note: During the email exchanges several questions were asked to Grant. Here is our questions in black and Grant’s answers in red.

–          Made by a body company in Australia?

Body was definitely made in NZ. All Chevy pickups and panel truck were given the final assembly in NZ. They were not imported as complete vehicles. It would have come from Canada as a rolling chassis with bonnet (hood), front guards, front windscreen, and running boards. Everything else was made in NZ including the doors.
You will note that the bonnet is higher than standard to line up with the rest of the body (this alteration can be easily seen on the underside of the bonnet)

–          Know anything about the body company and did they only make hearse vehicle’s and only for Australia? Sold to NZ?

Not sure which company but there were several that made bodies in NZ at the time.

–          Is it on a ½ ton chassis? 6 bolt wheels?

Yes it is built on a ½ ton chassis. It has 16’ wheels and not the 15’ split rims that the heavy duty trucks had. Yes, 6 stud wheels.

–          Original engine?

Yes, original 216 & 3 speed floor shift transmission.

–          How long have you owned it? Where did you get it?

The club had owned it for over 20 years and it has just been used as we purchased it, the club has only kept it in useable condition and has not been restored. One of the previous owners had it for four years and in that time it was stripped out and entered into the “Variety Bash” which is a fundraising rally for all types of vehicles from race cars to fire engines and everything in-between. The bench seat was removed at this timeframe and fitted with the current seats. The wall behind the front seats were originally a complete wall with sliding windows and not the current walk through arrangement.

–          Was it used in small towns?

It was used by at least two different undertakers and they were in smaller towns in NZ.

–          Original paint?

The paint is not original as this was, of course, black and done up in blue velvet with all the usual equipment. By the time the club purchased this vehicle all this equipment was well gone.

–          Is the bed bottom wood planks?

The bed in now plywood.

–          Front sheet metal like a pickup?

Originally yes, but the hood and guards (fenders) were modified. The overall effect makes it look more like the 1948 car.


Take a closer look:

The body sides extend out to the edges of the running boards. Yes, the boards are the same as on the conventional ½ ton pickup! This gives the passengers the convience of stepping up into the cab easier. See following photo. Therefore, the front doors must be constructed by the body builder and the fenders were also modified. VERY interesting.

Front View Shows tall reworked Hood
CLOSED                                                                                OPEN

Good Distant View
Full view Dash                                                     Different seats added later

Flat door Panel probably once covered                 Door remade with non-opening wing-vents.
with blue velvet as the rear                                          Running board still in place!
The normal 216 engine. Oil add position on both draft tube and valve cover. Hmmmm!
Horn may be aftermarket!
Probably how it left Canadian factory in 1948 (maybe ever more disassembled and without rear fenders)

Proudly owned by

If you have any questions on this unique hearse contact Rob Webster at : robwebster@slingshot.co.nz

1956 Chevrolet Cameo plus Topper

Friday, June 1st, 2018



If you are a regular reader of our Truck of the Month series, you know we attempt to present the more unusual. These vehicles are rarely seen at car and truck shows or even in specialty magazines.  This month’s feature truck is so rare; it is possibly the only example still in existence.  Its photo recently arrived in our company computer of an unrestored 1956 Chevrolet Cameo with less than 13,000 miles on the odometer.

It has what we will call a Topper that has not been removed since installed over 60 years ago. When contacting experienced Cameo enthusiasts, they unanimously said, “Never heard of a Topper made only for a Cameo”.

 (He even has a business in marketing pre-owned German vehicles. See below).






When Bill heard about this unique low mileage 1956 Cameo, and in his own state, he had an immediate interest. He discovered it was an almost pure un-altered 62 year old but yet something else stood out of equal interest.  Attached to the Cameo bed was a Topper.

Bill knew that Cameos were marketed as GM’s “Boulevard” most top end truck during the mid-1950 so why would there be a Topper over the focal point of the total pickup? Most buying this expensive pickup would want to show it in “all its glory”. If you wanted a Topper, you usually placed it on a more basic step bed pickup and spend much less for the total package.

Bill had to have this “top of the line” pickup and it was soon moved from one storage building to his own private collection.






The information Bill received is this Cameo was bought new in Arizona and stayed with that owner until 2008. It was the most popular color; Bombay Ivory, with Cardinal Red inner bed sides, front bed panel, tail gate, and around the upper back of the cab.










FACTORY OPTIONS:  265 V-8 engine and Hydromatic 4 -speed transmission.  The most expensive dealer installed accessory is under dash “Cool-Pack” air conditioning; a nice extra for the hot Arizona summer.







This was quite a unique accessory on a 1956 truck as very few cars even had it available! In-dash factory air was not offered until 1965 on trucks.  All GM truck air conditioning systems were dealer installed cool-Pack until 1965.  The dealer received the system in a large box and it was ready to connect to the engine and cab.

Interesting is this center under dash evaporation and blower unit would not match up with a 4-speed shift lever that required a high hump in the cab floor. (Not Bill’s Cameo). Thus, if the owner had a 4-speed it was installed to the far right under the glove box area.  No doubt, the passenger got more cold air than he wanted!

STRANGE: With all the money spent on this 1956 Cameo, the first owner decided not to order the AM radio. The factory blank-out plate still remains.




Sometime after this Cameo purchase, the owner had the Topper installed. He must have been an outdoors person as the top is more than just a cover.  Its extras include slider windows with curtains on the sides and curtains over the front and rear stationary windows.  Also, there is a varnished plywood ceiling with adjustable round air vent plus a light, and a pair of swing down bed spring frames (like at a boy scout camp).


The attached ID plate on the Topper exterior refers to it as a Sportsman Top manufactured by Borg Welding & Manufacturing Co. in Gardena, California.



THE BIG SURPRISE! The Topper was made just for the Cameo pickup bed.

Notice the pair of vertical end plates on each side of the lift gate. The bottom edges taper up so they do not touch the taillight housings. The Topper bottom edges run beside the fiberglass bedside. A rubber weather seal prevents the Topper to make direct contact with the bedsides or get water inside.



Bill feels sure the cover has “never” been removed. Either as part of the Topper package or installed by the owner, there is black carpet over the bed wood floor, the inner bed sides, plus the front bed panel and tail gate.  This total Topper package made a nice weekend getaway fishing truck especially if you could park near a picnic table.

Sometime after the original owner had the new red Topper installed, he made a major color change. This Cameo was painted all red to match the new Topper, not given Cardinal Red as GM would have provided.  Where the original color was Cardinal Red around the upper rear of the cab, it was reversed to white.  Of course, the insides of the bed remain the Cardinal Red from the factory.

Records show it being sold to its 2nd owner in 1970.  It then went to San Diego, CA, with less than 2,000 miles on the odometer and later he moved it to Washington State in 1986.  It was sold to Bill Steely of Monroe, WA, in 2018 with a total of 12,788 miles showing.

If there was ever a question if the bed wood floor was body color, varnished, or black, this 1956 Cameo is proof that it came from the factory black. The aftermarket carpet has protected the bed’s original appearance all these years.  Bill has no plans for changes!  He knows that other than the outside paint, this Cameo is pure GM.  It is almost like it left the factory in 1956 plus the low mile odometer is the proof.

Look at the 15” original wheel covers. GM used the best available in 1956.  They are the same as the top of the line Chevy Belair car.  Because these Cameo wheels also were on the standard ½ ton, they still have three hidden spring clips that could secure smaller hub caps.

On the underside of the driver’s sun visor is an instruction sheet explaining how to operate the Hydromatic transmission. With automatic transmissions NEW to many in 1956, these sheets were of help to the first owner.  This is especially true on the 4-speed Hydromatic that is placed in park different.  Put it in reverse and shut off the engine.  Now you are in park!


On the passenger side of the in cab gas tank is the fire extinguisher held in place with a snap band, probably a non-GM accessory.

A few extras on this 1956 Cameo that may be of interest:

  1. The word “Frigidaire” is on the under dash dealer unit. It is there because General Motors had recently purchased this company that became famous for home refrigerators. The nickname “Fridge” is still heard among some seniors!
  2. Notice the left chrome air vent cable and knob under the dash. Because of the air conditioner unit, it must be positioned on an angle.
  3. The original owner added the two roller bars on the top of the Topper. They are still in place. This made it much easier to slide and remove his fishing boat up on top of the Topper.
  4. One modern extra was added by one of the first two owners. Note the small speaker box at the top of the Topper front. This would imply that a second person could nap on the bed spring bed while the driver continued on the road.

When you find any 62 year old vehicle that has averaged 210 miles per year it is a real find. Fortunately, Bills 1956 Cameo is a guide to show what is correct!  So important if you want your Cameo just right!


Bills lifelong automotive interest has lead him to also making it into his business. He is one of the leading sellers in the Pacific Northeast of used German made vehicles.  His main interest in this area is BMW autos and he carries a large pre-owned selection for sale.  The company name is: Velocity Automotive and can be found at www.Velocityautomotive.com

Bill’s email is: bill@automotivevelocity.com

1951 Chevrolet ¾ Ton (BIG RED)

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

It is rare that we see a transformation that has occurred like this 1951 Chevrolet ¾ ton pickup. It was changed from being a parts truck to a national show winner among some very stiff competition.  It has become a step above the quality on the day it left the dealership 65 years ago.  The owner, Dr. Fred Young of Moorestown, New Jersey is the one initially responsible for it reaching this level.

The adventure began about 15 years ago. Fred’s interest in older vehicles had been growing over the years. To restore an older 1950’s vehicle was what he wanted.  It would be a complete change of pace over his daily routine but maybe this is what made it so rewarding!



Why a pickup? Fred was told by a vehicle hobbyist that pickups were less complicated to restore, and would be a good starter vehicle. Who ever said that did not realize how deep Fred and his restoration technician were going to get into this project or the poor condition this new acquisition would be. Greenie, as Fred first called it, was because of its original Seacrest Green color.








It had been on a working farm (used and abused) near Danville, VA for 49 years. The older it got, the less it was taken care of, until it had almost reached the parts truck category.

No windshield (caused interior damage), a metal plate covered the rotten wood and cross sills, 3 fenders a total loss, and enough caked mud and dirt removed to start a 50’ x 50’ vegetable garden. Yes, the farmer had tried to keep the body going by just covering the rust with Bondo.  Oops, he had forgot to add enough antifreeze one winter so the truck’s replacement 235 engine (1954-55) had a 10” crack in the block that was spot-welded by the other owner.








A major restoration always begins with disassembly. Fred jumped right into this project with no hesitation.  This is what he had been looking forward to before his retirement.  He worked on it hours a day discovering the abuse it had experienced.  He began with the preliminary restoration work such as paint and dirt removal (a big job), and begin buying the new parts that would be needed soon.  With the paint removed to bare metal, Fred renamed Greenie to the Silver Monster!  With so many parts now spread over his garage, he began to realize maybe he was beyond his ability as a first time restorer.  He wanted to enjoy driving this truck and not just be restoring it during all of his retirement years.


He began to visit the body shops in Danville for help and all four said the same thing. “We do not do restoration work anymore.  We have changed over to more profitable insurance work and our employees do not have the skills to satisfy older car’s owners.”



Fortunately, Fred’s research found one of the most knowledgeable persons in the country on 1947-1955 (Advance Design) Chevy/GMC trucks.  Bob Alder of Stephentown, New York, has about the top reputations in this field.  Bob has his own restoration shop, has built many show trucks, plus behind his building is over 100 early GM trucks for parts and research.  Also, he is a tech writer of restoration articles in national magazines on AD trucks.  These credentials could not be better!  Fred certainly found the best person to finish his pickup and Bob’s shop was only 150 miles away.  Better yet, he had a spot open for Fred’s Silver Monster!







With the paint removed, Fred towed it to Bob Adler Restoration Shop with all the parts he had accumulated. Bob did an excellent job over the next 18 months.  He even regularly emailed Fred showing him exactly what he was doing every few days.  What a nice touch!






The cab was removed immediately and set on a dolly until the chassis was completed. The cracked engine block needed a replacement. No problem for Bob.  He went out back to his massive collection of Advanced Design Trucks and picked the correct Thriftmaster 216 cubic inch engine that was pure 1951. What restoration shop in the world could have done this?

The same was the truck’s two doors. They were beyond salvaging.  Once again, Bob was about 200 feet from his door collection and made a quick exchange.

Once the 18 month project was complete Fred had a brand new 65 year old truck! Certainly a sight to behold.  It was then christened with a new and final name.  To Fred it will always go by “Big Red”.  It does have some factory options.  Fred chose Swift’s Red as the exterior color.  This is one of the optional 12 colors that year.  The interiors of all 1947-52 trucks were a gray-brown with slight metallic.

White wall tires were a non-factory option. In 1951 any Chevrolet dealer would have been glad to take a new non-sold showroom ready truck down the street to a tire store and exchange for a set of more “attention getting” tires (to get a sale).



One photo below shows this ¾ ton pickup has a 3 speed shift lever on the steering column. Most pickups of this size came with the optional 4 speed floor shift transmission as the plans were to use them for hauling heavier loads.  Thus, it is questioned if the very first owner in 1951 was on a farm or the farmer got a sweet lower price but that answer is lost in history.

Fred requested the option chrome grill with Waldorf white back splash bars and stainless around the windshield and door windows. The chrome hood ornament and bumper guards were Chevrolet dealer items and add a little extra sparkle.



While Fred’s “Big Red” was at its very best he decided to take it to serious judging shows in 2012 sponsored by the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America (VCCA). He received more than three major awards over a three year period, including First Junior, Senior, and Preservation awards in their Commercial Class.  One of the larger 2013 shows in Lawrence, NY, “Big Red” was recognized as the Best Commercial at the show!

So this is an overview of a very large pickup with humble beginnings; saved from almost being sent to the salvage yard. What a second act for a hardworking truck from Virginia.


Contacts for the above are:

Fred Young – ybarbfred@AOL.com

Bob Adler – bobadler@NYCAP.RR.COM



1969 Chevrolet Short Fleetside Pickup

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

Owner: David Griffin

Suddenly, while moving with traffic, directly in front of our vehicle on a major interstate highway, was a very attractive 1969 Chevrolet ½ ton short bed pickup. We also watched other drivers and we could see it was certainly an eye catcher to them. The biggest surprise was that it was soon parking in the same building supply store where we were parking!

This coincidence was just too great not to talk to the owner about his attractive little red Chevy. The more we discussed his truck, the more it seemed like a perfect candidate for our feature truck of the month series.

The owner is David Griffin of Oak Grove, Missouri. He rarely drives it the 40 miles to his work, however, that day we saw him was an exception.  It was his “fun” transportation to his job then and we were both going to shop at the same store.

David told us the major part of the restoration was complete to almost factory specifications except for the interior. That will follow soon as time and money are available.  Of course, for now it is a great driver but it is only out on nice days!  He continues to do the many other small restoration extras that need to be completed while it is his fun driver.

It’s legal in Missouri to re-use the same year license

Here is what makes it so special to David: His grandfather, Jim Kuder, had owned it 15 years, personally did most of the restoration, and then gave it to David. What a gift and a surprise!

Jim has always been an avid collector and restorer of specialty vehicles. He still has such special completed cars such as a 1931 Model A Ford, 1954 Ford Sky liner (glass top Tudor), 1951 Studebaker, Ford Bronco, VW Dune Buggy etc.  This special ½ ton was built just for his grandson, and this certainly gives David real pride of ownership!

This 1969 Chevy pickup is painted the same colors as it came from the factory in Crimson Red with Polar White top. Jim bought it at a local antique car swap meet about 2003 because of it having so much restoration potential and it had the very popular short bed. The limited rust required only one cab corner to be replaced and most all was factory original.

It’s tired 250 six cylinder engine and Power glide transmission were easily exchanged for a 400 small block V-8 and 350 Turbo Hydromatic transmission. This transplant pair came from a 1974 Chevy Bel Air Car. Unfortunately, the hope for this being a good engine was short lived.  The timing gear broke soon after instillation and driving came to a stop.

Jim must have had plans for David to later own the pickup because the V-8 was removed and given a major rebuilding, not just a timing gear. Even a 4 barrel intake manifold and carburetor were then added.  With the powerful V-8, David has no problem keeping up with freeway traffic.  It is the more frequent stops for fuel that reminds him, “Gasoline used to be much less expensive”.

Speaker Hole. Do we use them or fill them?

David is not new to older Chevrolet trucks. In high school his first truck was a 1964 Chevrolet ½ ton stepside long bed.  He drove it another six years learning so much on how trucks operate and how to make the repairs that are required when driving an over 10 year old vehicle.

Note: David did not realize at the time how unusual this high school pickup really was.  Few long bed stepsides were produced by the mid 1960’s.  Most wanting a long bed, (usually for work) paid a little extra for the extended bed with the 127” wheel base, and got a fleetside pickup.

1939 Chevrolet ½ Ton (Australia)

Thursday, March 1st, 2018
Owner: Colin Carvolth

 If you are a person that has followed our Feature Truck of the Month series you know we try to find GM trucks between 1934 and 1972 that are just a little different. Their criteria are they should have a different flair in some area that makes them almost a one of a kind!

Therefore, even though our featured truck for March’18 is unrestored and been sitting outside in dry air for almost 50 years. It is being shown to our readers that enjoy learning about an almost 80 year old ½ ton that most did not know ever existed.  We hope you enjoy this article as much as we had fun in discovering this unique “creature”.

This pickup is not just a 1939 Chevrolet ½ ton (rare in any country) but is one of the few survivors that was assembled in Australia. Its owner is Colin Carvolth of Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.

The original owner was the Coolahcore Company that manufactured refrigeration cooling coils for Australia. Their logo still remains above the windshield and on each door as was painted in the company colors of orange and black in 1939.


Colin bought it from a 90 year old orchard farmer in Wombat, NSW, about 230 miles west of Australia’s east coast. Thus, no salt air or snow.  The farmer had driven it under an old wooden carport in the middle of the orchard.  It was left there 20 years sunken in the dirt up to its axles before he bought it.  Colin could not pull it out with his 4-Ton truck, so the farmer got his tractor and a 50 foot chain.  They wondered what would break first: the chain, the tractor, or the farmer!  Fortunately, the tractor not only (very slowly) pulled it out of the soil but was able to drag it up on the trailer in the photo.  After Colin brought it home, it has been stored behind his home garage another 30 years!

Now the time for a full restoration has arrived! The rebuilding has become more on Colin’s mind in recent years and he has recently bought miscellaneous parts. He has become very committed to a total restoration.  Recently, a person heard about his 1957 Chevy station wagon and would not take no as the correct answer when he asked to buy it.  Colin now has a garage and a little extra hobby money!

Many things show this unusual pickup as a pure 1939 Chevrolet, however, several changes will cause a US knowledgeable truck enthusiast to quickly take a second look.

From the factory the Australian ½ tons came with no beds. Two new rear fenders were wired flat to the rear frame rails (for the new owner to use if he wanted). * It was his job to build a flat bed or equivalent as he needed.  In this case Colin’s photo of it being pulled from the orchard (by him after the purchase over 30 years ago) shows the rear fenders in place but their tops cut away to make room for the home-made low flatbed (or as Colin calls the bed in Australian a “tray”).





Why was no bed provided? The Australian government required a certain percentage of the new assembled trucks to be furnished by their country for economic reasons.  This includes the lack of a bed (it also lowered the cost), locally made wiring harness, glass, tires, floor mat, exhaust system, paint, etc. After all, a truck was for work and the new owner was most interested in an affordable truck.

Note: The major mechanicals and front sheet metals were shipped from the Oshawa, Ontario factory in Canada to be put together in GM’s Holden factory in the Camperdown, Australia assembly line (near Sydney). All of the cab is pure Holden in Australia; this is similar in the United States, when Chevrolet cars once had their bodies by Fisher.

Here are some things that may seem very different to a 1939 US Chevy truck owner or even a 1939 pickup assembled in New Zealand less than one thousand miles away.


The rear fenders (mud-guards) for a ½ ton were usually included with the new bare frame pickup. It was felt they would be needed after a home-made bed was made by the owner.  This would stop mud and water from being thrown after a bed was created and installed.


About the most unusual item on this truck is NO swingout windshield. The bottom of the lower edge of the frame is straight across, not with a slight upward arch as on the US 1939’s.  Therefore, how do you get outside air to flow into the cab?  This is by a method not seen in most 1939 trucks.  Note the vent doors on each cowl panel between the door and hood (bonnet).  Opened by a lever from the inside of the cab.

Thus, there is no top air vent on top of the cowl. Almost all US trucks and cars had top cowl vents in those years, but not this 1939 Chevy ½ ton.

Look at the rear cab window. It’s slightly taller than other country’s 1939’s.

The wide panel below the bottom of the door is really different!

There is a very wide horizontal belt stamped in the cab along the doors and around the back of the cab below the rear window. Not seen is other country’s 1939’s.  Belts can give metal panels stability.

Interesting is the gas spout on the left side of this right hand drive truck. All is just the opposite on a left hand drive vehicle.

The length and diameter of the headlight buckets are the same as passenger cars in Australia and the US. This results in 7’’ reflectors vs. 7.5” in the US on trucks.  The reason is unknown.  (Unfortunately the longer headlight bucket allows for easier metal to metal contact when the hood “bonnet” is opened or closed).

We note that the front bumper on this 1939 ½ ton is the same as 1937-45 1 ½ ton larger trucks in the US.  Thus, this bumper extends further on the edge of the front fenders.

Check out the seven I.D. plates Colin removed from the cab for safe keeping. They show it was assembled at the factory near Sydney, Australia in Camperdown, NSW.  These plates each have something to say (in the US trucks did not have a different cab company and there is only one plate).

FYI: The Australian 1939 Chevy trucks are so rare! Two big reasons:

  1. Australia entered World War II in 1939, not late 1941 as the US. This was to provide assistance to England as Germany continued to move closer to invading Australia’s mother country. Their army went to help! Soon after, the Australia vehicle assembly lines were shut down to be changed over to making war supplies.
  2. After the war, when these pickups finally required major mechanical repairs it was less expensive to convert them. The frame rails were cut behind the cab. This provided the beginning of a utility trailer. The two “stubs” of the frame could then be pulled together and a hitch assembly added. All that the owner then needed was to build a bed for hauling. Yes, the differential stayed in place for the rolling support of the trailer. This was done over and over!

1942 Chevrolet ½ Ton

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

Owner: Bill Sanders

1942 Chevrolet ½ Ton

Buy Parts Now @ Jim Carter's OldChevyTrucks.com

If you like the 70 year old body designs with the “creature comforts” of a modern vehicle, our feature truck this month might really catch you attention. It may appear very old but on a freeway it can reach a speed far above the legal limits!

This eye catching stand out in a crowd 1942 Chevy pickup is owned by Bill Sanders of Crossville, Tennessee. What a creation!  After 2 ½ years of building it has just been on the road only a month to check for little problems that need corrections.  So far, nothing has shown up that cannot be easily repaired.

Bill has been involved in other vehicle restorations but this is the first time using a late model drive train. His brother had stored this cab, bed, and front sheet metal for many years with no steps taken to restore it.  So, one day, Bill got the opportunity to buy it.  It was soon brought to his home but in pieces.  No frame or related suspension, motor, transmission or differential.  So what now?  Either gather original parts and create a “frame off” original or do what he has sometimes seen at local car shows.


After much research and talking to others. Bill’s discovered a US Company that manufactures conversion kits designed to attach a 1939-46 Chevrolet ½ ton body to a Chevy S-10 pickup chassis. Why an S-10?

They are almost the correct wheel base as Bills 1942 and have a full frame to secure the older sheet metal and extra weight that may be hauled. S-10’s have repair parts readily available and they come from the factory with options like automatic transmission, independent front suspension, power steering, power brakes and air conditioning.

The company “Code 504” will even get involved to help you adapt your S-10 Chassis to hold a late model Chevrolet V-8 or most any tech question during the installation.

Bill was hooked! This is what he wanted.  A good friend with experience in this type work was retired but decided being off work was not for him.   Bill found him at just the right time.  Thus, John Leech, also of Crossville, Tennessee and Bill Sanders became partners.

Together Bill and John with 2 ½ years created the finished product. John did the chassis rebuilding on a 1979 S-10, adding the “Code 504” kit, and restored much of the 1942 body.  Bill says he became John’s assistant.  John’s so many years in mechanical repair business made him a natural on what needed to be done.

The easy part was replacing the worn out ½ ton bed. Fortunately, all bed parts are available and they fit and took just like the originals.  No repair panels required.  Mostly a light sanding, paint and the detailed assembly was needed.

The 1942 sheet metal was another story. It had been so abused over the many years!  Few, items are being reproduced and it became a hunt to locate better used replacement parts.  Thank goodness for John Leech!

The updated modern mechanicals from the radiator to the differential were not difficult to obtain. You just need some deep money pockets to take position and then get them to all line up together.

A few of the major items were a 350 Chevy V-8, 400 turbo transmission, (both from a 1975 Corvette) GM power steering and brakes, air conditioning, plus tilt steering column. Of course, the extra chrome and polished aluminum made the engine compartment a real standout.

Owners of special interest older vehicles are never completely done. Bill has some ideas that may take place in the future.

For sure, he plans on this to be a tribute to US Army Special Forces that include:

Delta Force * Green Berets * Army Rangers
(Bill’s son-in-law is a Green Beret and this had made a deep impression on his feelings for our US military).

He might even install an exact copy of a 50 caliber machine gun and mount it in the bed for local parades. What a parade eye catcher!  A non-military vehicle with a large machine gun!

Bill is even thinking of calling it his Hillbilly Humvee.

Special bed side boards will announce this fact during parades!

You can contact Bill at wildbillsanders@comcast.net.

1942 Chevrolet ½ Ton

Coming down the road

Side View

Nice Bed – Small Tubs Required

Satin Sheen in Red

View from a step ladder

Centerline 5 bolt wheels

Extra Bright work is just right

The kit installed on a restored chassis ”before the body”.

The Proud Owner, Bill Sanders

1942 Chevrolet 3/4 Ton

Friday, December 1st, 2017


WOW, a real World War II produced pickup! Few have survived and those remaining are usually restored with their trim parts chrome plated as before and after the war years. This 1942 Chevrolet ¾ ton pickup has been kept over 95% pure as it was during the final year before most all pickup truck production came to a halt in mid-1942.

The owner and restorer is Roger Dunford of Elba, Ontario Canada. Records indicate it was built in California and spent most of its following years as a Fire Department truck in Gabbs, Nevada. No doubt the dry Nevada air plus being kept inside out of the sun made for a perfect example of its originality. Yes, it still has less than 4,000 miles on the odometer!

Many years later it was brought to Alabama for a future restoration however, this never materialized and it remained in the same barn for so many years.

Roger decided a truck this rare (plus such low mileage) deserved to be kept much as it was over 70 years ago.

The Nevada dry air and long term storage had prevented major rust. Only some sheet metal surface rust existed. Replacement of all rubber parts was necessary as well as master cylinder rubber cups and all brake hoses!

Surprise, the brake shoe linings still looked new since installed in 1942! Of course, no grooves in the brake drums. The 216 engine required an oil change, cleaning, and a repaint to make it as it left the factory. It still runs like new.

To make it correct, Roger dis-assembled the pickup restored each part, and then painted them before assembly. He painted the exterior Apple Green (a GM color) and kept the tool box on the right side running as was installed by the Gabbs, NV Fire Department in 1942.

In summary we could see very little that would not have been on a new 1942 as it left the factory. Possibly the pine bed wood (Roger personally cut and grooved it) would have been black as well as black fenders but it is about as pure as anyone will find.

The 15” artillery wheels are pure 6 hole units as were on pre war Chevrolet / GMC long bed ¾ tons. The 85 ¾” bed length and three stake pockets per side shows its ¾ ton difference over the shorter a ½ ton.

Reason for no chrome: After the US entered WWII in early December 1941 almost all car and truck production began to come to a stop. Factories began to tool up for was necessities required overseas. Planes, tanks, guns, ammunition, uniforms, big trucks, were all more important to the survival of the USA. Plus so many people enlisted or were drafted into the military. Less demand for small personal vehicles would begin to occur.

The material required to produce good plating (copper, nickel, and chrome) would be used in the war effort, not on a pickup that was bought in the 1940’s for work. Thus, the grill, hubcaps, hood and interior trim, plus bumpers were painted Turret Gray.

As the story goes: When the replacement non chrome painted trim arrived at the 1942 factory assembly line, their remaining chrome items were never discarded. They were painted gray to match to new incoming items. This kept all trim painted the same color when the truck left the factory! No one complained. It was the state side people doing their part to help make the US successful in winning the world war!

You can contact Roger @ r13659640@aol.com



Correct six board bed

A personal touch!

1957 Chevrolet Cameo

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017


Our special truck this month: A 1957 Chevrolet Cameo owned by John Wazorick. Few people can say they have owned their 60 year old vehicle 40 years! It all began when John was in high school and the new 1957 Cameos were introduced in Chevrolet dealer’s show rooms.* It was love at first sight but it brought up a big problem. No money! It would be 20 more years later when he heard about a 1957 Cameo for sale in his state of Illinois. It immediately brought back high school memories. He thought this might be the only chance to buy a real 1957 Cameo! Plus it was his favorite colors: Cardinal Red and Bombay Ivory. He bought it unrestored with a locked up 283 engine.

This was not a good time for John to make it new again. He owned a business, had a wife, 3 children, 2 dogs and a summer home. At least he now had his high school dream. It would be in storage an additional 20 years!

When the Wazorick’s retired, they decided Arizona was where they wanted to spend their later years. John remembers trailering the Cameo from Illinois with his unrestored 1963 Chevy ¾ ton. What a sight with two very tired looking trucks going down the highway, both looking very tired.
It was not until he and his wife settled in their retirement home in Waddell, Arizona that he began to consider a full restoration. Now with extra time and some disposable income, John began a total disassembly and rebuilding.

As with many ground up restorations, it went down to the bare frame and was put together like an oversize toy model kit. In two years it was back to almost new condition and now it is a pleasure to drive.

John rebuilt it much like the one he saw at the dealership in high school. Only a few changes were made such as adding power steering, and a currently popular 5 speed overdrive transmission from a later S-10 pickup. A rebuilt 283 engine plus the original 3.90 ratio ring and pinion differential are like GM made them.


About 5 years ago, while driving his fancy Cameo in his Arizona home town, an unbelievable thing happened. While waiting for a stop light to turn green, John was rear ended by a 1 ton box truck. Neither John nor his wife was hurt but their Cameo was another story. The tail light, bedside, quarter panel, and trim were mostly not repairable.

Though the odds of this happening was almost zero, it still occurred. John felt so lucky they were not injured and had full coverage insurance. After the shock of this misfortune, John found how fortunate he was to have Hagarty Insurance. (A company that markets insurance for special interest vehicles) They took care of all repairs. Even a complete paint job was provided so the red color would all be the same! $15,000 later the Cameo was back on the road, looking even better than before.

*These were Chevrolet’s most deluxe pickups ever offered. Often referred to as a “Boulevard Pickup”. It was designed for the buyer that wanted a pickup with the appointments of a top of the line passenger car! In today’s world it is so natural that most pickups are bought with little thoughts of much hauling but in the 1950’s it was a chance General Motors took to market such an unusual pleasure pickup.

FYI: Here is another creation that can be credited to John’s talents in truck restoration of unusual vehicles. This short wheel base 1937 GMC cab over engine is probably the best example in the country of how they first appeared 80 years ago. It runs great and looks even better! See Photo.
You can reach John at tovintrk63@sbcglobal.net







“After the big hit!”

1937 GMC Cab Over Engine

1939 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

On The Liberty, Missouri Square

A part of the family 55 years! Rob Bratcher of Liberty, Missouri is proud to be the owner of his father’s 1939 Chevrolet ½ ton. It was bought in 1963 for miscellaneous chores on the family farm in Kentucky. It had originally been a total work truck and it showed!  Rob’s father used it until some engine problems developed about 1968. It was then set aside and not repaired.

Rob remembers the Kentucky farm in his early years, both before and after the ½ ton was retired.  He always enjoyed time playing on the old pickup. As many years passed since then, Rob’s interest in this truck remained strong. The time finally came when the little pickup needed to find a new owner as it had sat abandon for many years. Rob was the chosen family member to own it. Lucky guy!

It was transported from the Kentucky farm to Rob’s Liberty, Missouri home in the year 2000. Parts of the motor was missing, the wood bed floor rotted (most missing), and the dented fenders gave evidence of it being a working pickup most of it’s life. What now?

It was decided to get it running perfect but to keep its character just like when Grandpa and his father drove it for work projects. Rob said: “If I replaced all the needed parts that were almost beyond repair, it would not be like the old truck I remembered”. It was decided to repair most used items, except mechanicals (they were replaced) and give all sheet metal parts a clear coat. He would call it pre-restoration (preserved and restored).

The non-mechanical items that just had to be fixed was a wiring harness, bed wood, seat covering, and interior paint (1939 grey). Rob realizes it is not a typical restoration but it retains its “Old Truck Look” while still being a driver when needed.   He and his father spent two years bringing this little ½ ton back to life. His father took a strong interest in the restoration because he had been its only driver for many years and he remembered Rob often being with him when it was driven on hauling projects.

This is a perfect example of why trucks were bought over 50 years ago. They were farm workers! They were set aside after hours and the family sedan became the transportation.

In summary, Rob mentioned his 3 dreams in life: Get married and have a family, check. Become a Police Officer, check. Preserve the old truck he remembered, check.
You may contact Rob Bratcher at robert.bratcher@lps53.org

Rob at 3 years old in front of the 1939

When Rob took possession in the year 2000









The Best Home Ever!

More Details on Rob’s Special 1/2 Ton

The 1968 license. Last plate used. 5,000lb gross weight

Bed wood. White Oak, Walnut and Maple (all from very old boards)

Original with one wiper arm

Got paint but no brush? Rob says it was painted with someone’s finger (These truck letters are required
for state truck scales)

Fender support strap. Thousands of pickups used these when the factory under-fender brace deteriorated

Rob added this accessory fog light from the 1930’s

Replacement tail lights and brackets are just right

ID Plate with clutch head screws still in place!

1965 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton

Friday, September 1st, 2017


Here is a Feature Truck of the Month that was truly saved from the salvage yard. It had been outside deteriorating over 20 years behind the out of business Dellwood Dairy in Copiague New York (on Long Island). Because of some mechanical problems it had been left in the back lot of the abandon dairy.

Now enters Vinny Tumminia of nearby Lindenhurst that had once worked for the dairy making daily milk deliveries in the neighborhoods. (We would have called him a milkman) On his way to his US Post Office job each day he passes the empty dairy building and always notices the tired ½ ton in their back lot. It brought memories of his younger days as a dairy delivery person. He dropped off milk and related products on front steps of homes between 3 am and 9 am so the glass bottles were always there when the customer got up in the morning.

One day after passing the empty dairy building on the way to the post office, it just hit him. Now with just a little disposable income, why not try to buy the old delivery truck, get it running and use it for driving to work? (Just for old time memories).

Therefore, one Saturday Vinny began to hunt for the widow of the once owner of the dairy. The search was successful and he became the pickup’s second owner for $200.00. It was towed to his home the next day.

Vinny’s excitement now began to grow! The more he looked at it the more he wanted it better than a very rough driver to get to work. He had seen 1965 Chevy ½ ton’s at local car and truck shows and they were so nice. He would change course, take his time, and as money permitted restore it to be new again!

As parts were removed, another item was usually found that also needed attention. When he got down to totally worn out body mounts and the cab needing lifting to replace them plus bed wood and cross sills a total loss, it was time to get to the bare frame rails. Thus, this would now be his oversized model kit.

The pickup’s condition even got worse when rubber parts of a few old floor mats were removed. Surprise! Water had been in the cab so many years from a damaged windows. All floors and rocker panels had to be replaced. That was in addition to both cab corners that he already knew about. Six months in the body shop. (As Vinny said, he saved it from the crusher!)

The frame became even better than new. It was transported locally to be sand blasted and then to a powder coating company.

On weekends and many evenings each week for three years, Vinny was in his garage building his new truck. In the first year he knew it could not stop the project. The pickup was in so many pieces in his 12’ x 24’ garage and in the back yard. To try to sell it at that time would have brought him scrap metal price per pound for abut the $200.00 he had first invested. This wasn’t going to happen but he sure hoped he did not accidently walk out in front of a bus! His very supportive wife, Elizabeth would even have an additional loss, with iron parts filling the garage and yard. Where would she sell all of that stuff?
Three years later it was beautiful. It became Vinny and Elizabeth’s new 1965, ready for Sunday drives and local weekend car shows.
Factory available upgrades were added as chrome bumpers and grill. The largest expense was eliminating the factory 250 six cylinder engine plus 3 speed column shift transmission. The replacement was an optional factory 283 V-8 and 4 speed transmission that he found in Central Kansas. It was all shipped by truck line to his home in New York.

Color is Teal Green and updated modern deluxe wheels make the total package just right.


After many years outside delivering the US mail in New York, the cold winters became less enjoyable. Many below zero days and snow blowing sideways was becoming a real challenge! So because most towns have a post office he was able to transfer his job to the south. Vinny and Elizabeth now live in Melbourne, Florida. What a change! Their “new” little ½ ton now goes to car shows in winter more than summer. They had it hauled from New York in a large enclosed truck. No extra miles place on the odometer. This ½ ton has never had it so good.

What’s the future plans for another restoration? They just completed a 3 car garage behind their Florida home. We suspect he wants to be ready, just in case another special vehicle comes up for sale.
Nice view!

How did Vinny have the confidence to think he could build this 1965 (destined for the crusher) with never doing a restoration before? There was a reason. Check the following and see how his early years made it all possible. This is

The Rest of the Story.

School is out for summer and 11 year old Vinny Tumminia is usually riding his bicycle around the neighborhood. By chance he stops by a local auto repair shop and asks if he can now mow their over grown yard.  (A little spending money is always nice).

To Vinny’s surprise the owner Richard Fellner said yes. The mowing was done so well, Richard said “See you next week and you can mow it again”.

This began a 3 year relationship that molded Vinny’s interests in life. Soon he was sweeping the shop, carrying out trash, and doing misc. clean-up projects in this repair shop near his home. Richard was impressed with Vinny’s upbeat attitude, wanting to learn about cars, and being on time when it was necessary. This opened a new world for Vinny. He loved every minute of being in Richard’s shop.

Then a great opportunity occurred the next summer. The shop’s one employee left for another job and Richard needed help until he could find a replacement. Vinny was ready to tackle any auto repair. He just needed guidance. In addition to continued yard mowing, Richard taught him light jobs like oil changes, tire rotation and lubrication of car and pickup suspension, etc. Vinny was like a sponge and he did not forget!

This would be his summer and after school enjoyment and very close to his home.  He would even help Richard on numerous more difficult repairs like replacing a clutch, pulling an engine head and removing a radiator.  Of course, Vinny became the number one mechanic for his family’s sedan.

Thus, a 1965 Chevy ½ ton setting for 20 years did not scare him. He already knew how to replace parts and how to diagnose problems.


It is so interesting how one little occurrence can point us in a different direction for life!

This is certainly such an example as Vinny ask to mow a yard!

All looks good.

Optional V8 engine

Sitting in sunny Florida

Signs on the new side racks

1941 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton

Friday, August 4th, 2017


When light trucks appeared on the scene about 100 years ago, they were created for only one reason: WORK. This remained their primary use through at least the 1960’s.

Move up another 55 years and today we find the majority of light trucks purchased for another reason: FUN, PLEASURE, and TRANSPORTING PEOPLE. Even the traditional 8 foot ½ ton bed has been mostly replaced with a 5 passenger cab in front of a 6 foot bed. Hauling is less important than carrying friends and family.

Now enter a related newer segment of this trend. It is a spin-off of our current love for trucks and probably why you are reading this article. Of course, it is the enjoyment of owning and rebuilding an old hauler that once was parked and forgotten on a Friday evening when work duties were finished. Then the family sedan or even a sporty coupe or convertible became the weekend transportation.

In regards to his enjoyment of older trucks, few early pickup enthusiasts can be a better example of our country’s new love affair than Jim Shaw of Marshfield, Wisconsin. When you first see Jim’s 1941 ½ ton you think “It all flows together just right but is still very different. Pickup was a limited production or experimental model that General Motors had considered for production!” Here is Jim’s story:

He purchased this ½ ton about 14 years ago in central Wisconsin. It had spent most of its life totally on a local farm. In fact for its last 20 years it had not been even licensed. The title was lost, probably because the farmer never needed it beyond his property use.

Jim immediately decided to keep its attractive 1941 appearance but add some mechanical modifications that would give it a better cruising speed on modern highways, stop quickly and safer, plus be more comfortable to drive. Though the updates were kept hidden, the most eye-catching feature is the all metal bed.

He was just the right person to create this special pickup. Researching, attending auto shows and swap meets allowed him to be so successful putting this project together.

When it came to replacing the very poor condition pickup bed it was the cost that made this unique ½ ton bed come into being. Jim added the new bed price plus shipping and all came to a stop. He is a metal worker by trade. Some left over metal was free at his company after some jobs were completed. His imagination began to put together plans for a special metal bed. It would look much like a private company might have offered it in the 1940’s.

We think he got it just right. It is all hand built by Jim Shaw personally! It was sure an attention getter in the very recent Iola, WI swap meet in July 2017.

The following are some of the modern updates that make this ½ ton his daily driver.


Jim found the ultimate in horsepower from a drop-in 261 six cylinder to replace the original 216 low oil pressure engine. The 261 was used in 2 ton trucks and school buses during the late 1950’s. What a difference!


A 5 speed overdrive transmission makes all the difference in highway speed. The big surprise here is Jim installed this unit from a 1985 Ford pickup! He had this tranny and he felt sure he could make it fit. What a project! As you might suspect it became a complicated project to get a later Ford transmission to fit against a 45 year old Chevrolet bellhousing. The amount of re-drilling, building special shims and spacers is difficult for one’s imagination. Our hats go off to Jim Shay, a professional metal worker with patience and talents far above most restorers.

It gets even more complicated. The original bellhousing was used because in these early years the horizontal shaft that secures the clutch and brake pedals also support the under floor master cylinder. This shaft extends from the left frame rail to the left side of the bellhousing. In this way Jim could place a new duel chamber master cylinder (for safety) out of sight and position it just like GM did it.

We wonder if this configuration exists anywhere but on Jim Shay’s special ½ ton. This is so unusual, we would be interested to hear from anyone that has completed this project.


A higher speed ring and pinion replaces the original. Lower engine RPM at the same speed is the reward. An open drive shaft now connects to the later differential and the overdrive transmission. All are out of sight unless you get down under.


Front late model disc brakes, not seen unless you look at the underside. Extra money was spent during this modification to keep all the original 6 bolt wheels.


A Show Stopper ½ ton that cruises at 70 mph and Jim Shay, made it all fit together!

He drives it daily to his work and on weekends. He keeps it in storage during the Wisconsin winters but still has driven it 2,700 miles in the last 5 months.


Rear View






A Little Extra


From the Driver’s Seat


Passenger View


261 Engine with Full Flow Oil Filter

1953 GMC Long Bed 1/2 Ton

Friday, June 30th, 2017


We had heard of this special GMC over the years but had not personally talked to the owner or seen the various photos showing it in detail. The owner and person responsible for this creation is Bill Miles of Ashland, Massachusetts. After several conversations with Bill, we knew this pickup should have been a part of our Feature Truck series long before now!

It was created in 1953 and began its life as a long bed ½ ton, not a short bed as most are used to seeing. It was the decision of the General Motors Truck Division to offer a long bed ½ ton (using a ¾ ton bed) during the early years and not make it with heavier suspension, a stronger frame , and low gearing in the ¾ ton differential!

GMC had its own full oil pressure inline six cylinder since 1939. Additional horsepower allowed this extra 12” bed length on a ½ ton (not available on the Chevrolet ½ ton). The gross weight remained 4,800 pounds, the same as the short bed. It was still far below the ¾ ton gross weight of 8,800 pounds. This long bed could still have the higher ratio 4.11 differential and not the lower geared ¾ ton with 4.57 and optional 5.14 but with the same bed. The ½ ton ride was smoother, highway speed increased, and fuel economy improved over a ¾ ton.

Another very unique feature is the factory 4 speed Hydra-Matic transmission. It operates just right and was the first year GMC offered it in a pickup. Photo shows this “big brute” on a table just after its rebuild.

Our feature truck is one of these unique pickups, however with Bill’s help it has been given several additions to operate better on today’s highways. And the big plus: Most of these extras are not visible. Bill’s ½ ton has been given a higher speed and is a pleasure to drive.

To most, it appears as a very nice restored stock GMC pickup that is as was bought new over 60 years ago. It is not!

The following is the data from Bill Miles that personally explains what he added to make it so road worthy and at the same time safer to drive. His reward: 40,000 miles over the US in fun driving since he bought it in the year 2000. Many vacations were scheduled.


I purchased my 1953 GMC Hydra Matic long bed half ton in the summer of 2000. At the time, it had a 270 GMC engine with Fentons, 4 wheel drum brakes, the original 4.11 rear gears, and 15 inch bias ply tires that were 27 inches tall.

Over the years, I have installed a 302 engine with a 2 bbl. Holley AA-1 Carburetor, keeping the Fenton Headers, changed the rear gears to 3.55’s, changed the tires to 215/85R 16 inch radials that are 30.5 inches tall, installed front disc brakes with a dual master cylinder, and added an original sway bar.

By changing from the 4.11 and the 15 inch tires, to the 3.55’s and the 16 inch tires(3.5″ more diameter), my engine rpm dropped by approximately 800 at 65 miles per hour.

I kept the 16 gallon fuel tank behind the seat and added a second 16 gallon tank under the rear of the bed, where a spare tire would mount if there was not a side mount. I have a valve on the floor of the cab to switch between tanks. Each tank has a sender that is wired to an On/On switch under the dash. When I flip the switch forward, it reads the seat tank, when I flip it back it reads the rear tank, all from the original gauge.

The two tanks come in handy when I am traveling. In 2009, I shipped the truck to my friend Ken Brown’s home in Yacolt, Washington. Then, my son Connor and I flew to Washington, and drove the truck home to Massachusetts. We were on the road almost a month and drove 5200 miles, visiting San Francisco, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, and other attractions.

I have driven the truck to ATHS (American Truck Historical Society) shows in Syracuse, NY, Baltimore, MD, Auburn, IN, and several times to the ATCA show in Macungie, PA. I have logged about 40,000 miles since I bought the truck in 2000.

In May 2017, I drove to the ATHS show in Des Moines Iowa, then headed south to Nashville, and Lynchburg, Tennessee, then drove north through Bowling Green, KY, toward home. I was on the road for 15 days and traveled 3800 miles. To date, I have driven the truck through 31 states.

You can contact Bill Miles @ bd97@comcast.net

Loaded and ready for travel

Nice Phrase

First year for the optional side mount

The cockpit for traveling.  Look at the speed on the speedometer!

Close-up of Hydra-Matic shift and original gauges plus a very old turn signal control.

Only year for the Ram Horn attached to the intake manifold. It requires the new relay on the firewall.

The 302 looks new!

Fresh Hydra-Matic Rebuild. Now that is a heavy weight! Bill’s 1953 in the Background.

Bill showing the “shaft extension” that gives the short bed the extra length to make it a long bed GMC ½ ton. Making this extension saved GMC so much money in designing a total new longer ½ ton drive shaft system. Some may have call it GMC’s “weak link” but it sure has not been the case for Bill Miles.

Setting by the Bowling Green Water Tower near the Corvette Museum.

A day at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky

Beside a small local church in West Virginia

3.5 more diameter

1939 Chevrolet COE, 108″ WB

Monday, June 5th, 2017


If you wonder what are some of the most unusual early GM trucks, you should always remember John and Lisa Milton of Vestal, New York. Their continual search for those with almost no survivors is their passion. Not only do they occasionally find an available rare truck for sale they usually give it a ground up restoration to be like it left the factory.

Among their collection of almost non-remaining GM trucks, one of their favorite is this restored 1939 Chevrolet Cab-Over-Engine (COE). Of the very few remaining, maybe none have this short 108” factory wheel base.

The attached photos show it like the day it was delivered to the dealer in 1939. Swifts Red, 216 six cylinder, 4 speed non synchronized transmission and single speed rear axle. About 2 ½ years were required to complete a total restoration.

It was first seen in a national ad and John was immediately interested. Especially at the $500.00 price.

Having the first year for a Chevrolet COE was just what John wanted. The immediate trip from their home in New York to Janesville, Wisconsin was 1,300 miles with their trailer behind. Unfortunately it was not love at first sight! Photos certainly did not tell the true story. There was so much rust and abuse since it was abandoned outside for many, many years.

They offered only $250.00 just for parts and to help pay for their long trip. Surprise, the owner agreed. After all few people would attempt this major rebuilding of a totaled 39 COE. This would be the owner’s only chance to sell it. Once back in New York, it was placed in their side yard until 2 years later when Lisa said “Move It”. John knew it was time to begin the planned major restoration.

Down to the bare frame and each part evaluated. John had done this many times before, but never to a COE. Fortunately, the cab is much like a more common ½ ton and chassis is so similar to a conventional longer wheel base 1 ½ ton of several years. John’s talents in finding parts, knowing people in the business and many years doing restorations as a hobby made this project possible. Much money was saved by John having his own shop with so much repair equipment. If this project was given to a restoration company, the price would have been prohibitive! John’s many talents even includes sheet metal welding, straightening, and repair plus painting. Even so, the price to complete this project far exceeded the planned budget.

Just the plating of the limited chrome on a COE truck was over $5,000.00. Plating the massive grill was the really big ticket cost. Expensive! There are no grills available so you write the check and try to not think about it!

The not even in fair condition 1939 COE front fenders were repaired. You must restore your own no matter what damage they have as others are about non-existent.

Lisa, has always been a great supporter of John’s passion for unusual early GM trucks. She also helps when time allows however Lisa also has another interest. She raises English bull dogs and miniature pony’s and has done some showing. What a unique couple!!


John’s future plans is to build a 90” wood flat bed for this short COE. It will be much like other after-market beds sold by non GM companies about 75 years ago. This will certainly protect the back of the cab from flying debris, and rear wheel gravel when on the road.

Notice the voltage regulator on the upper left side of the firewall. Other 1939 Chevy trucks still had the voltage cut out attached to the generator. Because of the difficult accessibility to the cutout on a COE, GM used a voltage regulator that would later be on all 1940 models.


In the year 2000, the Milton’s had a major barn fire. All the rare limited survival trucks were lost. At least 10 restored very rare GM trucks were gone! Years later, his current collection of 17 years is almost as good.

John and Lisa had nothing but compliments for their insurance company, JC Taylor. They received a check in the mail within 10 days from that company after the fire. The Milton’s photos of the ashes of the barn and trucks told the story. This time he built an all metal building.

You can reach John and Lisa @ jmilton@stny.rr.com

The real thing!

Don’t look at the flowers!

Waiting for a new bed

Drive line exposed

The massive tall grill

The script says it all

Nice chrome nose

Maybe better than new

one year only interior color

Wish you had one?

No mistakes here

Correct non-pleated seat


Factory accessory re-circulator heater

1948 GMC COE Deluxe Crew Cab

Monday, May 1st, 2017

When your love for custom cars and hot rods has continued to grow over the years there comes a time when you really want a “one of a kind” vehicle. It must relate to your personality and have that certain flair that will never be seen anywhere else.

This creation came after years in the imagination of Cholly Nachman in his small mountain town of Lancaster, New Hampshire.

In his younger years, Cholly had limited disposable income so he personally did minor repairing and rebuilding of his and others special interest basic cars and trucks, attended local vintage vehicle shows, plus was just wishing for something to come into his life that would be more than “everyday”.

Then about 3 years ago when he reached his mid-40’s he said to himself “It’s time to stop wishing. Let’s just do it!” Cholly had mechanical talented friends as a backup, he had some extra money and he sure wasn’t getting any younger.

The decision was made to find a Chevy pickup or panel truck from the 1950’s and fulfill his dreams. In his search for ideas, he suddenly saw a COE (cab-over engine) truck of that vintage. Wow! Not only was it an eye catcher from the factory 60 years ago but he thought what an owner could do to make it different! Cholly was sold. He would find one, try to stretch it into a crew cab and add a pickup box. This combination would be his goal and he began with only some auto magazine photos.

He searched the country for the right cab for a longtime to start the project. The choice would be a deluxe 5 window COE cab. He found his choice in Florida, almost 1,800 miles away. It was shipped to John’s Welding and Repair Shop in Vermont (Now the money flow began) and soon after the rear of the cab was cut and pulled in two pieces. This totaled deluxe cab with all the floor rusted away was just candidate for this project.

The finished product had to be totally ready for highway speeds and have most all modern extras. Therefore, the “drive train” came from a 1985 Chevy Suburban with a 454 cubic inch V-8 two wheel drive. The body was removed and all the mechanicals and frame were rebuilt to be like new. Cholly wanted no repairs, once all was complete.
The long Suburban wheel base allowed for an 8 foot bed from a 1950’s ¾ ton pickup even with adding the longer crew cab. It all fit together so well including the 60 year old pickup rear fenders. All the details of this total project could fill a small book!


One of the best ways to be successful in creating a quality custom truck is to be able to call upon experts that know your rebuilding needs and are willing to lend a hand when the need occurs. Cholly knew he could be successful in most any basic vehicle update but much of creating an extended cab would be in new territory for him. Mistakes can be very expensive to correct!

The person doing the metal panel addition on the cab sectioning had been a good friend for many years and metal work was his specialty. His name is John Lovell and he operates John’s Welding and Fabrication Shop about 10 miles distance in Maidstone, Vermont. To Cholly – John is a legend! He can build / fabricate anything he puts his mind to and he’s learned a ton of skills in his 30 year career building and maintaining Ships in Alaska. He was the shop foreman for a large shipping / fuel company in Nenana Alaska – Working there from spring till fall every year and would come back to northern Vermont for the winter months while the shipyards were closed in their coldest weather. “This project would not have been started without John’s ability!” (This claim to fame is very unusual). He is retired after spending the warmer months in Alaska building and the maintaining of ships but works full time doing sheet metal repair on antique and special interest vehicles. He specializes in antique auto restoration with 30 years’ experience.

John has spent the winters in northern Vermont most of his life. Yes, it is warmer there than in Alaska and he knew Cholly back in the days when he worked in his off season shop. Cholly got lucky! John was willing to take on this very difficult cab extension at 73 years old. Impossible by most any body shop! His tools, lifting equipment and many years’ experience makes it all come together.

When Cholly and John created the extension, they cut the back off the deluxe 5 window COE cab and slid it back 33 inches. Then talented experience began! John created metal panels that fit so smoothly it appeared GM did it with tooling in the 1950’s. He made the large shaped panels to connect the roof and the sides with the original. Everything had to be just right. There was no room for any error.

Here were some of Chollys associates that were so much help in creating this unusual COE extended crew cab three years ago. Without any of them, this truck would not be as it is today.

Larry Mclain – Body Work specialist Paint Specialist
Steve Bennett – Cleaning and Fabrication Start to finish.
Wayne Gilcris – Electrical Wiring
Dillon Fosket – Welding
John Lovell – Project Manager – Fabrication Specialist.
Dane’s Upholster – Danville Vermont – specializes in Antique Upholster
Rae Davenport – Pin striping – Detailing.

With Chollys team of experts, most all of the COE crew cab was finished in about 12 months. Record Time! The results are outstanding as seen in these attached photos.

After so many years of dreaming of building a really awesome custom truck, Cholly now owns a vehicle unlike anyone else. It looks like an all original 60 year old to non-experts but it has the modern necessities. This includes a smooth riding suspension, extra horsepower and an automatic transmission. Cholly has given his special vehicle thousands of miles over the past 3 years. It’s super comfortable on long trips and is a complete blast to be out and about in. People are so drawn to the truck! Compliments occur at every stop and questions just keep coming.

Cholly stores it for most of the winter as they salt the roads heavily in New England. With a 7 ½ foot height a special garage is of course required.
Much of the fun during its first 3 years has been taking it to local Special Interest car shows. The COE has won 30 first place trophies in the truck class. Most impressive is 1st place 3 years in a row at the International Car Show in New Port, Vermont. What a pedigree!

You can reach Cholly @ cholly.nachman@myfairpoint.net

Cholly and his “One and Only”

3/4 ton long bed fits just right

Even made original Hub Caps fit model wheels

New White wall tires made all the difference!

Open for view

New England back ground

Nice Interior

Comfortable Custom

At Home

Yes, you can park it with cars on the street

COE meets an International! Are we related?

At the beginning. The COE from Florida

The separation

Placing the body on the 1985 frame

Assembly work

Cab almost complete

All together in one photo!

Cholly and John just saying Hello!

1937 Chevrolet Panel Truck

Friday, March 31st, 2017


Its 1947! A 14 year old Burt Fulmore thinks of a method of getting to school each day from his home in the small town of Economy to Bass River, Nova Scotia Canada, seven miles away. (This island province in eastern Canada is 450 miles above the US most northern state of Maine).

He knows his father’s 1937 panel truck is not used in the mornings for local deliveries from the family’s general store. So an agreement is made. Burt can drive the panel truck to school and in return he will make local grocery deliveries after classes twice each week for his father’s store. Sometimes he does not get home from deliveries until 7:00p.m., just in time to milk the family cow.

Burt soon transported as many as 10 class mates to school each day often in very bad weather conditions! (.50 cents per week per passenger) His friends did not hesitate to jump in the panel truck and sit on “butter boxes” or the floor for the seven mile ride to school. No, he did not have a driver’s license at 14 years old but the 1937 panel truck was the only option. In those early days, there were no school buses. (Maybe the one local policeman looked the other way as Burt was helping local children get to school). He got his license at 16 years old and continued to take his friends to school two more years until he graduated in 1951.

These pictures show the panel truck and 14 year old Burt posing for the photo in 1949. Note the round grill guard!


Burt then began attending Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, the adjacent province beside Nova Scotia. Yes, his transportation was still the old 1937 panel truck. He drove it 75 miles, to and from college every weekend until he graduated with a mechanical engineering degree in 1954.

To be sure that the truck started easily every time during the winter, each summer Burt did major engine work. Replacement piston rings were added each year to ensure high compression for successful starting. Some of the shims in the rod and main bearings were removed, if needed, which insured the moving bearing surfaces had the correct clearance. He wanted no part of replacing a noisy rod bearing in the Canadian winter after classes in a parking lot.

As with some of us, if you must keep an older vehicle running during your youth it can be more on the fun side as it was for Burt. Therefore, years later he began to think about the “Good Ole Days” in terms of having another vehicle to repair just for old times.

As the years have gone by mostly Chevrolets have become Burt’s addiction. He began with two very rare GM vehicles, maybe the only remaining examples of their kind. These are a Canadian built 1934 Chevrolet Cabriolet (not even 200 made) and a 1937 GMC 1/2 ton (352 produced). Because they were both assembled in Oshawa, Ontario in such limited numbers over 80 years ago, Burt suspects these are the last examples. Being produced in Canada there are some features that are not like those made in the USA. The devout US restorer, soon sees there are things that are Canadian only. Finding those parts from about 80 years ago are almost impossible!

While these two major restorations, were underway Burt kept thinking of his father’s old 1937 Chevrolet panel truck that he drove and repaired for many years. The decision was easily made. If he could ever find another, it would be restored just like the one he drove during his younger years.

He became so sure he could find one, Burt bought a 1937 pickup with an un-restorable body. As the chassis are the same as the panel truck, he completed a major rebuild on all the mechanical parts. It became a new rolling chassis but with no body. He hurried to find a Canadian 1937 panel but with 847 produced there appeared to be almost none. He jumped at one in 1997 in Ontario, but when he got it home it was decided it was “too far gone”. What a loss. See photo. About 2 years later he found a restorable 1937 panel truck in New York. Finally Success!

Oops, Too Far Gone

Finally, a restorable 1937 panel truck

In October 1999 this second panel truck was delivered in Nova Scotia. Burt and Mike (his youngest of four sons) began the detailed body work and paint restoration in Mike’s garage with excellent results. Completion was two years later in 2001. 3 photos below are “under construction”.




This second panel truck is now like new. It is even much better than the one he had for so many years. Even the sides are hand lettered with the company name just like his father’s. The 216 cubic inch engine with 3 speed transmission is just what Burt drove to school so many years ago.






A. About 1948 Burchell (Burt) met Lucia (Lu) in a high school class and they began dating in late 1949. It is said even their first kiss was shared in this 1937 panel truck. Burt and Lu were married in May 1955. They have four sons: Doug, David, Jim and Mike. They also share their father’s interest in all things automotive, but mostly Chevrolets.


B. Two months after the restoration was completed Burt and Lu made their first long vacation in the “new” panel truck. They toured some of New York State, visited friends and during the 2,800 mile trip had no problems.

C. After returning home from the New York vacation Burt and Lu sponsored a 50 plus reunion for their classmates to reminisce about their school days and talk about their riding in the old 1937 panel. Burt even made “Butter Boxes” (they sat on going to school) to place in the panel and several climbed in like the old days for photos.

Classmates standing in Front of the New Panel Truck

Sitting on “Butter Boxes” for a photo

Three Butter Box Seats inside the panel

Note: The wooden Butter Boxes came to the general store regularly with 60# of butter. (It would be repackaged in their store in smaller private label boxes for home kitchen use). These boxes made perfect seats for the 7 mile trip to school.

D. What a coincidence! Burt’s father had this personal initials BL, placed on the side of the early 1937. This restored panel is of course lettered the same as original however the BL can now also stand for Burt and Lu! What are the odds of this happening?


E. Notice the round grill guard attached to the front bumper. Burt removed this aftermarket accessory from a totaled 1936 Plymouth in the mid 1950’s. He then placed it on the everyday panel truck. He kept it stored over these many years. It now sets in the same position on his “new” 1937. He has never seen another!

The same grill guard Burt added to the older 1937 in the mid 1950’s

F. Look at Burt in 1947 sitting on the hood at 14 years old. Look at Burt in 2001 sitting on the hood of his new 1937, 53 years later.

2001                                            1947 (Check the round grill guard)

G. Note the center indentation on the rear photo. This was GM’s idea to allow the person loading to get closer to the body. Good Idea!

H. The panel truck has now been driven over 22,000 miles. Burt and Lu traveled as a team to places like Vermont, Quebec City, Maine and New York. That does not include so many car shows plus trailering to two national more distant shows sponsored by the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America in Flint, MI and Nashville, TN.

The happy couple about 2015

Below is a group photo of Burt and Lu’s vehicle collection. Left to right.
1957 Bel Air convertible, 1952 Styleline Deluxe Two Door, 1937 GMC ½ ton Pickup, 1937 Panel Truck, 1936 Maple Leaf 1 ton, and 1934 Master Cabriolet.

You can contact Burt or Lu @ burtfulmore@gmail.com.

1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton “Deluxe” Pickup

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017


This is one of the better examples of an Advance Design “Deluxe” pickup. General Motors offered this extra above the standard model. As extra money was limited during these years, most settled for the no frill model. After all, pickup trucks were for work duties. Spending extra income (which most did not have) was not spent by buyers that were just one generation out of the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

To make a 70 year old pickup as nice as this Feature Truck, it certainly had to be disassembled and rebuilt from the frame. Most all areas were kept as factory original as possible. Even the Windsor Blue color was retained.

The proud owners are Dave and Julie McBee of Independence, Missouri. During nice weather Dave and Julie can be seen in their little ½ ton around town or on the open highway for a Sunday drive. Here are the items that make the McBee’s 1948 a factory “deluxe” pickup:

Five Window Cab (the main feature)
Chrome Grill
Stainless Outside and Inside Door Window Trim
Two Inside Sunvisors
Arm Rests
Stainless Outside only Windshield Trim

Two special extras were added to give it more “Keep up with Traffic” qualities. The original 216 cubic inch engine (90 horse power) was exchanged for a 1954 235 high oil pressure engine (145 horse power). What a nice upgrade. This 1954 inline six cylinder, first year for this 235 power plant, was the factory unit in a 1954 Advance Design pickup. Thus, this is a “drop in” exchange with no alterations. It looks almost factory but has 55 more horsepower.

The other important extra was exchanging the original 4.11 ratio ring and pinion with the recently offered 3.55 ratio. This gives about 20% lower engine RPM and higher road speed. What a difference these two extras have given this pickup!

To obtain even less engine RPM, Dave will soon remove his later 6 bolt 15” wheels. They will be replaced by 16” original” wheels plus radial white wall tires that look in tread like the original bias ply design. (The taller the tires, the lower engine RPM)


Julie had been in love with this pickup since they bought it 3 years before. However there was just one item that was not to her liking. It had a 3 speed standard transmission with a column shift lever for changing gears! She would drive it this way but always wished it had an automatic transmission.

Dave soon picked up on Julie’s wish and began to research if any upgrade could be added. What a surprise! He discovered Jerry’s Chevy Restoration Shop in his own city. The owner, Jerry Rivers, can do most anything if it has to do with an older Chevrolet / GMC truck or car.

On their first meeting, Jerry thought about using the same year Chevy passenger car transmission. That automatic (a cast iron case Power Glide) it was introduced in 1950. The car and truck engines were the same. They both had about the same wheel base and they shared a closed drive shaft. Surely, with some yet unknown problems, the automatic could be transferred to a ½ ton. Maybe if it was not too impossible he might even mount the shift lever assembly to fit like the car. After all, the production years were about the same and maybe the same GM engineers shared some of their designing between ½ ton and passenger car. The only way to find out was to try the transfer on a very tired loaner ½ ton to see if he could make it fit. There was no sense tearing into Dave’s really nice ½ ton and find it was not possible! Dave liked Jerry’s cautious attitude so the agreement was made.

Jerry thought he could do it but locating all Chevrolet car parts would be a challenge. It was agreeable to Dave so they both began the parts hunt. From the first day hunting until the finished product, four months passed. It was really a learning experience for Jerry Rivers even though he had done most anything else to 1947-54 Advance Design trucks.

Here are some facts that were discovered when Jerry (with Dave’s help) finished the very unusual automatic transmission instillation.

The early cast iron Power Glide is the same length as a 1948 pickup 3 speed transmission. This saved them from using an open drive-line and a different differential. The ½ ton closed drive line and all its rear end differential could be used. That included axle housings, brakes and wheels. This had been a real concern. Wow, it fit together. What luck!

Even the rear yolk of the u-joint and the middle cross section was still used from the pickup. Just the readily available Power Glide front u-joint yolk was required to slide in to the transmission.

Jerry used a 1953-54 cast iron Power Glide transmission, bellhousing and flexplace. This is because it has a “kick down” that automatically drops to the lower gear during passing on the highway or other extra RPM requirements. It was discovered that the earliest Power Glide (1950-52) required the shift lever to be manually moved to the next segment by the driver to get the higher RPM’s.

The last year for the cast iron Chevy Power Glide (some were a different design) was 1961. After that an aluminum case was used. Check carefully if you make this change to a Power Glide. We do not know if the later cast iron unit will exchange this well!

Surprise Problem: The steering column on the car is one inch longer than the pickup. This created a problem because the small factory hole in the mast jacket that kept the pickup shift box from moving was no longer spaced correctly. To keep the Power Glide shift rod just like the car in length Jerry made another hole up the mast jacket that would hold the lower shift assembly in just the right position. Thus, the shifting mechanism is now exactly like the Chevrolet car engineers designed it 70 years ago.

New Surprise! It was discovered that because the car steering wheel has a center hub lower than its outer round edge the hand shift lever will not fit the flat pickup steering wheel without touching. What now? No, Jerry would have no part in substituting a with a modern street rod steering wheel! Therefore, the car shift lever was given a cut about 75 % deep and then bent before welding about two inches. The shift knob was now in just the correct place. Genius!

The Chevrolet car column linkage fits just right. Years of linkage use were corrected by welding the wear and grinding to exact dimensions. It now moves perfectly. All were zinc plated to look new.

The Power Glide starter is a perfect exchange on the 235 engine. No foot starter. This starter is now engaged with a button under the headlight switch, just like the car.

The Power Glide fluid is water cooled. Jerry found an original Chevrolet car fluid cooler that connects to the lower radiator horse position and is secured to the timing cover for stability. A perfect match for the 235 transplant engine. The attached photos show how nice the finished product now looks. Unless you are a real 1950’s Chevrolet expert you would think the Power Glide on the ½ ton was a GM assembly line product.

Another Nice Surprise: Top of the line “floor mats” are now produced with markings on the back for pedals and 4 speed transmissions cuts if there is a need. Thus, this ½ ton has no unnecessary visible holes for a clutch pedal!

Yes, the running boards have been painted lower body color by mistake. Dave will soon have them repainted to factory black.

NOW LET’S GET BACK TO DAVE AND JULIE. It was so difficult for Dave to explain to his wife why the pickup was away for 2 or 3 weeks for major repairs. The truth was this “Power Glide Pickup” was to be her surprise Christmas present for 2016. She had no idea and Dave said it was difficult for this to remain a secret until Christmas morning. What a surprise! Julie was overwhelmed. It then all came together why their pickup suddenly needed to be in the repair shop so long. Now this little pickup is driven by her as much as Dave.

It actually required months to get all perfected and gather parts. Jerry had a worn out ½ ton as the test truck to fit the many components. A few weeks before Christmas all the altered parts were then transferred to the McBee’s ½ ton. This is why Julie was told 2 to 3 weeks for “some” type of repair.

You can contact Dave and Julie McBee with questions at dlmcbee@hotmail.com

HINT TO READERS: Here is a thought. If your left leg is tired of the clutch or your spouse says an automatic would make the family Advanced Design pickup just right, contact: Jerrys Chevy Restoration Shop at 816-833-4414. Don’t forget to provide him with the Power Glide Transmission, all linkage, and most related do-dads he needs. (He has only a few extra items for the conversion) jerrysbodyshop@comcast.net

Full side view

Deluxe cab window trim

The 1947-48 Hood Emblem. Only years made of Die-cast

From the rear

Light in bed roll for turn signal plus 1948 truck license plate

Last Advance Design pickup under bed tank

All original dash

Fresh air heater works so good

Two words say it all

New old stock door panels

Fog Lights. Nice Accessory

The Power Glide Transmission after its rebuild

Transmission rear on modified 3 speed cradle

The modified rear transmission cross member

Engine, Bellhousing and Power Glide together

Transmission dip stick tube

Lower shift column linkage control

Transmission dip stick tube beside starter

The Car Power Glide Shift indicator fits correctly

Reshaped shift lever

Starter button below headlight knob

Floor mat with no extra holes

The 1954 high oil pressure engine. Fits perfect

Transmission fluid cooler attached to lower radiator hose (beside front of engine)

Jerry Rivers, The early GM car and truck expert!

1951 Chevrolet Suburban

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017


What a unique 1951 Chevrolet Suburban for our Feature Truck Series! It is certainly a one of a kind. The owners are Jeff & Brenda Kuhn of Plainfield, Illinois. Their dream is now complete after 4 years in the making. The goal was to restore or find a totally original Suburban and then add special performance features that were usually available during the 1950’s and 1960’s with a few modern features. Here are the results. It is not only a “show stopper” where ever it is seen but it easily keeps up with freeway traffic even with its 60 year old inline 6 cylinder engine.

Here is a big plus, Jeff’s wife Brenda is great supporter of his enthusiasm in the old GM truck hobby. She gets involved!

Jeff has been a lover of Advance Design (1947-1955) Chevrolet / GMC trucks most of his life, even long before he married Brenda in his 40th year. At that time his interest was very strong in drag racing late model stocks cars, which he built and raced personally on local dirt tracks. Now the racing has been placed aside and he is totally into the hobby of Advance Design ruck enjoyment. He has owned and rebuilt over 10 of these trucks since he stopped dirt track racing. He puts them together in such a unique way that other truck enthusiasts just want to own them. It was not always the plan but sometimes offers come very difficult to turn down. His last, a 1948 Chevy ½ ton, was quoted to a potential buyer at above the six figure amount just so it would not sell. Well, it sold anyway! Therefore, don’t price your truck unless you really want to sell it. Probably a good selling point for this 1948 pickup was that it had been the feature truck in 8 national automotive magazines! Yes, Jeff knows how to create very special Advance Design trucks.

The dream that had been in Jeff and Brenda’s mind was to rebuild an early Suburban. With the sale of the 1948 pickup the money was available to make a Suburban into the vehicle they had hoped for. He discovered this Suburban 4 years ago. It was found in Wichita, Kansas and had been totally restored over 20 years exactly like it came from the factory. It had the correct Seacrest Green paint, all the seats were covered with the proper brown Spanish Grain vinyl, and even the grill back splash bars had been painted the proper Waldorf white.

Jeff and Brenda had always thought of having a Suburban because they can take other couples to car shows or just go out for fun. The changes Jeff added to this “people hauler” allows it to stay up with traffic at most any speed, and keep the engine at a lower RPM, and have an easy smooth ride.

The interesting surprise: No body cutting or frame alterations: The all stock body, windows, paint, interior, engine block, and most accessories are like it came from the dealership 60 years ago.

Here are some of the Suburban modifications available 50 and 60 years ago and a few that are very modern updates.
Engine: 1957 Chevrolet 235 high oil pressure inline six cylinder, however, there are some changes on the top end. Jeff added Fenton dual intake and exhaust manifolds. The two exhaust and tail pipes plus mufflers are all stainless steel and correctly run along only one side of the frame rail.

The two carburetors on the Fenton intake are early Zeniths from a GMC, not the original type Rochester’s. This provides a lean burn system with the correct amount of fuel to the engine. Thus, no high lift cam shaft required.

To catch more attention at shows when the hood is raised, Jeff found a Wayne polished aluminum valve cover and side plate for the 235 engine. (This was a high performance supply company in the 1950’s) What a nice touch!

Transmission: Jeff discovered this special transmission in his many years of racing and rebuilding Advance Design trucks. This 5 speed overdrive is the main feature that allows this Suburban to stay with fast moving traffic. It is manufactured by the Tremec Company and fits perfectly against the 1951 bell housing. Even the original clutch pressure plate and flywheel are still used. Only its fine spline input shaft requires a different hub on the clutch plate!

Differential: Jeff added a complete drum to drum assembly from a 1958 Chevy ½ ton. (He keeps 6 bolt wheels) This allowed him to remove the stock 3.90 ratio ring and pinion and exchange with a 3.38 ratio system. It gives about a 20% lower engine RPM. Another nice touch! This 1958 differential attaches to an open drive line system that is needed to connect to the above described modern Tremec 5 speed overdrive transmission.

Front Axle: A 4 inch “dropped” axle is just like they did it in the 1950’s. In addition the two leaf springs are multi leaf Posies brand called “Super Glide” and add another 3” drop.

Rear Suspension: By using special 1 ½ inch blocks between the axles and springs plus using Posies leaf springs the total lowering is about 4 ½ inches, not radical, but just right for this Suburban. Original hub caps are still used. The front and rear Posies springs make it ride like a passenger car!

Wheels: The 15 inch artillery wheels are a great copy of the 1937-45 Chevy ¾ ton six bolt units that have become so popular in recent years. However, these are modified so the calipers on the disc brakes do not rub them. Jeff found these at the Wheel Smith in Santa Ana, California.

Electronic Ignition: Here, Jeff went modern. He used a currently popular Pytronics electronic system. It is hidden inside the original distributer. He starts the old 235 engine now in a split second in even the coldest Illinois days.

Outside Trim: This was a major hunt! Originally on the deluxe panel truck as an option, but they fit a Suburban perfectly. A two year search found this set of trims and spears in Hawaii. The panel truck owner on the islands was building a street rod and decided to not use them (Probably because of their high value to a restorer!)

Jeff was soon the new owner and made the repairs to their scrapes and dings. He recalls his nervous feeling while drilling the 68 holes in the Suburban body for the trim clips and hoping they were placed in the correct position.

Fulton Sunvisor’s and Spotlight: Jeff got lucky on the Fulton Sunvisor. The windshield GM accessory is being reproduced just like they were in the 1950’s. The almost impossible item to locate is the Fulton side window visors. What a find for Jeff! Most of us would have no idea what they were if not in an original box. Another lucky find is the amber lens fog lights. They are now being reproduced to exactly copy those sold 60 years ago! They look great on the Suburban.

Interior: Just look at the authentic inside. This Suburban is mid-1951 due to the lack of bright work on the dash. (Korean War Shortages) Some accessories include tissue dispenser below dash, radio, flash light on steering column, right sunvisor and factory fresh air heater.

Front Protection: This single horizontal bar design was a very rare dealer installed accessory offered from 1951 through 1953. Chevrolet defined it as a “Radiator Grill Guard”. Not only attractive, but designed to protect the grill and radiator from minor accidents on or off the road.

Jeff and Brenda Kuhn certainly have a one of a kind Suburban. It’s a mixture of the old and new, and is great fun to drive. There is no doubt, it will be their keeper for many years. For once they have a 60 year old vehicle that does not have to be trailered. Just turn the key and go! It’s a part of automotive history for all to see.
You can Contact Jeff and Brenda at ohsolow48@yahoo.com.

Engine on display

Closed gates

Open Gates

The trim and spears make it complete!

GM’s idea: Lower the mirror arm to protect it’s glass from an open wing vent

Suburban dealer installed accessory rear turn signal light

Side view of dual Zeniths, manifolds, and filters

Wayne valve cover and side plate

Mounted on firewall instead of intake because of the slope of the Fenton manifold

A photo view of front Fulton sunvisor

The left edge of the front Fenton visor

“Very” rare Fulton side window visor

Dual pipes on an inline six cylinder. Side by side just like they should be!

Accessory GM safety treads to prevent slips when running boards are wet

New Spanish Grain brown seat upholstery

Late 1951 dash. The Tremec 5 speed shifter is just right

1967 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Step Bed

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

What an “attitude change” for this ½ ton! It moved from a stock long bed fleetside to a nice custom short stepside ½ ton in about 3 months! The owner and responsible person for the work is John Toon of Sugar Creek, Missouri. As his first major truck transformation, we feel he has created a very different “breed of cat” in record time. It will be his daily driver and certainly a pickup to catch the attention of others.

While having a 1955 Volkswagen Beetle, his first fun car, he began to getting attracted to owning a late 1960’s Chevrolet pickup. So many car and truck magazines gave John ideas on what could be done with a limited budget if you do most of the work yourself.

Here is what happened between about mid-May and late August 2016. John found a 1967 long bed ½ ton fleetside in a local advertisement. This is because he gave up trying to find a 1967-72 Chevy short step bed (what he wanted the most) as they are the more difficult bed to find. He said “I will build my own short step bed! All I need is this long bed to start the project”! This driving white long bed pickup did not last long once John got it home. It was soon disassembled to the bare frame and his major makeover was underway.

Here are some surprises you find when you take apart 50 year old pickup:

1. The fenders and doors were previously repaired and needed to be replaced and the cab corners, rocker panels, and floors were repaired by John.

2. The frame assembly above the rear axle and under the bed was rusted so much a replacement would be required. To John’s surprise, the parts he needed were the same as far back as 1960! He then found a 1963 ½ ton chassis with no bed or cab. John ended up splicing the rear half of the 63 frame with the front of the 67 frame. The replacement included cutting 12” out of the middle and 8” off the rear. Once professionally welded the pickup had the correct 1967 short wheel base length. John says that all fit together perfectly!

3. Half ton long bed. The rust was major all around the bed edges, bed bottom, tailgate, and front bed panel. All was beyond use. John could care less! This problem only allowed him to negotiate a better price when it was bought. His plans were to install a new short step bed (all the parts are now available).

4. Radio Dash Opening. This area had been cut larger to install an aftermarket sound system years ago. No problem for John. He wanted an updated radio so a Pioneer unit fit perfectly.

5. Gas Tank. He removed the behind the seat tank and added one especially for the 1967-72 ½ ton under bed and behind the differential. Advantage: He now had the space to install the many speakers for this new sound system.

6. Paint. Here was a big surprise! The truck’s attractive appearance is from less than $60.00 in Rust-Oleum satin black paint purchased at a local hardware store. With a little thinning, it was sprayed to give this nice look John wanted.

7. The Mechanicals. Here is where John was lucky. The long bed ½ ton had a good running 327 V-8 engine, original 4 speed transmission, and 3.73 ratio ring and pinion in the differential. Extra expense was adding power steering and power brakes. Of course, the driveshaft, exhaust, brake line, and brake cables had to be shortened.

8. Glass. As John got deeper into this big project he decided to replace all the glass and eliminate scratches from the past 50 years. This was made official the day he broke the original windshield trying to install it back in the truck by himself. The new replacement was installed by a glass company!

Yes, what started to be a low cost transformation changed as the need for replacement parts increased. Even so, John Toon now has a short step bed he wanted and at so much less than buying one of the same design on the open market.

Even more amazing is that John, almost with no help, could make his creation in about 3 months.

More about John Toon’s Talents:

John has a metal and wood shop that allowed him to transform his 1967 pickup. However, there is another talent that he has developed over the past 10 years. His other big enjoyment has been the bass guitar. As his talents with this guitar became very advanced, he wanted a certain style of custom made bass guitar that he could not afford. The cost of these custom made guitars is very expensive.

Therefore, he started building his own and now offers them to the general public. This has been his second job for 10 years. He markets hand crafted custom guitars at a price most can afford. The quality of workmanship, the sound and feel of his guitars place this product up with those that advertise high quality.

A touch of John’s wood working talent is also shown in his “shift knob creation” on his rebuild 1/2 ton.   It was made on his wood lathe and is oak with a black ebony center. Nice. Check John’s website for the best in bass guitars and about his 1967 step bed at: www.toonbass.webs.com

New bright work sets off the front



Nice Wheels. John painted the orange

All wood parts created in John’s shop


New power brakes

Replacement Windshield

Completed dash and new carpet

Vinyl dye makes seat a new color!

Speakers in space when gas tank was removed

Last year for 1960-67 design armrest!


Bare cab after new panels

Two frame rails welded together

Extra side plate on frame rails for safety after welding

The short frame completed after changeover to 1963 identical rear assembly

Under bed replacement gas tank


The way John purchased this long bed

Looks good until you get close


Tinted plastic sunvisor “See thru” to lesson glaze

John’s Oak and Ebony shift knob

A bungee cord woven in the chain links

Bungee cord pulls all back in place

John’s new side boards (His creation). He can make them for you!

One little extra John decided he needed. To give him some additional clearance with the steering wheel, he shortened the steering shaft above the “rag joint” 3 inches. Not noticeable to most!

1936 Chevrolet 1 1/2 Ton

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Buy Chevy & GMC Truck Parts only @ Jim Carter's Old Chevy Trucks. 1000's in stock now!

Our monthly feature truck is an 80 year old regular driver! Born in late 1936, it found a great home in mid-Missouri about 10 years ago. It was found in Western Kansas where the low humidity slows rust on metal left outside. To keep it looking much like it was found, the remaining Brewster Green paint was untouched and the surface rust from many years in the elements was also kept as is.

What is interesting is the mechanicals. They have been kept pure 1936 Chevrolet and are restored to perform as they did when they left the factory. Therefore, it cannot be given the title of a “Rat-Rod”. These usually have very up to date hidden mechanicals.

When you know the proud owner, (Mike Russell of Columbia, Missouri) you can understand why he is a real example of what the antique car and truck hobby is all about. There has never been a time since his teenage years that Mike hasn’t owned an early vehicle. In his case they were usually Chevrolets. He even brought his son, Sam, home from the hospital 37 years ago after his birth using the family’s 1935 Chevy Coupe!

This feature truck of the month project was begun because Mike had got an “itch” to have an older 1 ½ ton in about 2005. Therefore, on a Saturday in that year Mike and a friend were driving a distance to evaluate a 1940 Chevy 1 ½ ton that was advertised. During the drive they noticed a farm beside a mid-Missouri rural back road that looked like nothing had been discarded in 60 years including all their past worn out farm machinery. The surrounding grounds were loaded with rusty stuff. They got out to look just because of curiosity.

In 10 minutes looking Mike saw an interesting site in a distant field. It proved to be a 1936 Chevrolet 1 ½ ton (short 131” wheel base with 5th wheel for towing) attached to a long flatbed trailer. Both had sat in that spot for many years! One of the attached photos is just what Mike saw that day!

What became even more interesting to Mike was the attached trailer. It still had its rear gate with the large stamped letters: FRUEHAUF. He thought: It must be about as old as the truck. Could there be any others left in the world?

Mike had to have them both! No doubt the owner was very excited to sell something out of his large junk collection but of course he kept this to himself during the money negations.

So, now Mike is the new owner. The pair are soon at Mike’s business. The Show Me Powder Coating Co. in Fulton, Mo and an evaluation of this new purchase begins.

Sadly, he had to face some financial facts. The truck was too far gone to restore, unless someone was in prison and worked for .25 / hour. Otherwise Mike would have to jack up the radiator cap and place a different truck under it! Yes, at least he still had that rare Fruehauf trailer. That became the high point of the purchase.

So Mike still had his heart set on a 1 ½ ton but the hunt was narrowed to a 1936 so it will be like the one that was not restorable. The hunt begins again!

The diligent hunt ended with a find in Western Kansas where the dry air keeps rust to a minimum. The almost 500 mile one way trip would be worth the effort. This 1936 1 ½ ton had the longer 157 inch wheel base and was previously a farm truck. We will call this 1936 No. 2. It had not run for so many years but Mike knew he could fix whatever mechanical problem it needed.

The restoration of 1936 No. 2 starts. Now the money begins to go out on truck expenses such as a “total” brake rebuilding. The engine head has several burned valves. The lower end of the 207 block required most of the rod shims to be removed to create the proper clearance. The engine is cleaned painted and returned to the truck. Gauges are checked and repaired as needed. Wiring installed. New original tail lights are added. Seat cushion covers need replacements. Windshield and side window mechanisms must be repaired and lubricated, etc. etc.

Because the sheet metal was so straight for an 80 year old it was decided to create a different finished project than most would ever consider. Mike would keep it much like an above average prewar used working truck however all hidden mechanicals would be restored to new condition. He wanted no part of being broken down by the highway! Being at fault in an accident with bad brakes in what appeared to be an unrestored 1930’s truck plus his name and photo in the newspaper would not be apart of this equation.

When we asked Mike why he created a new and old combination he said “Because I wanted to!”

The original transmission and differential had not been put in operation because no running engine existed. Now the rebuilt 207 engine was almost ready and the 1936 No. 2 first drive would be soon.

Mike’s son, Sam, was drivin down from Wisconson to watch the maiden voyage on this special day that had been over a year in coming. Even though Sam had been in a bicycle accident a few years before that left him paralyzed from the chest down, he wanted to be there that day. He had excepted the fact that he would never be able to take rides in pre-war vehicles and being inside this big 1936 would be no exception.

NOT CORRECT!! Mike had other ideas on this special day! The passenger door was removed from the truck. Mike placed a piece of plywood on the forks of his company fork lift truck. Sam was raised in his wheel chair to the perfect height to slide over on the truck seat. Sam said, “I was so proud to take a real ride in the 1936 on its maiden voyage”. They made the trip around the shop in the grass and then it was driven out on the highway. All the gears in the unrestored differential and transmission worked just right!

Soon, Sam’s three young daughters each got to go for a ride, of course with no right door. It was certainly a high point for the Mike Russell family!

Mike has since become quite attached to 1936 No. 2. The weekend before the interview, he had driven it about 150 miles just for fun on the rural roads in the county. He has what he wanted: An old looking big truck that runs like the first day it left the factory.

You can contact Mike Russell by email @ ml.russell@mchsi.com


Mike wanted 1936 No.2 with its 157” wheelbase to be like the original short 131” wheelbase of 1936 No. 1. It could then be given the 5th wheel from 1936 No. 1 and all would be a perfect fit for someday pulling the restored Fruehauf trailer.

This idea worked perfectly! Mike and a friend worked in his shop on a Saturday and the frame shortening was completed in less than 5 hours. Soon the 5th wheel was restored from 1936 No. 1 and all fit in place just right.

A great surprise: The longer section of 1936 No. 2’s drive shaft was easily exchanged with the shorter from 1936 No. 1. A no brainer! What a break from spending more time and money.

A very interesting feature! On the right side frame rail behind the cab is an etching added at the factory 80 years ago. It is a warning on the dangers of cutting the frame to get a longer or shorter length. This is said to still be placed on large truck frame rails today! See Photo.

WHAT ABOUT THE ALMOST ONE OF A KIND REMAINING FRUEHAUF TRAILER? This restoration is planned for the near future now that the 5th wheel assembly has been restored and moved from 1936 No.1 to 1936 No. 2. Mike gave an interesting comment about this trailer (He says this is his personal opinion but he is sure he is correct). To help sales, the Fruehauf Trailer Co. in the early years would provide the wheels and hubs for what the customer requested. Thus, the truck owner did not have to carry a second spare tire and wheel just for their trailer. Good marketing. Very interesting.

So out of curiosity, Mike asked the farm owner, “Any story on the 1936 No. 1 and its attached Fruehauf trailer?” The answer was a surprise. It was used to transport donkeys from city to city throughout the mid-west during the 1940’s and 1950’s. These animals were the center part of interest in the then popular Donkey Baseball. Before television and air conditioning, people were often entertained outside the home for their fun. When the donkeys came to town, local clubs or churches used this to help their group in local fund raising. (The donkey owners shared the gate fees with local groups) Members of the clubs on the local baseball fields were assigned a donkey to ride. Any field movement such as chasing a hit ball or running the bases had to be done while on the back of a donkey! It was great fun entertainment in a bi-gone era.

1936 No. 1 and the Fruehauf Trailer was used to move the donkeys to towns every week and thus high miles were shown on the truck’s odometer. If the wear and tear on the truck did not kill it, the final death was setting beside a fence in a farm field probably 30 years!

In the truck and trailer’s later years the Fruehauf had its sides removed to allow it to be a hay bail trailer for some local farms. The 207 engine finally gave up and the rig was set beside the farm pasture until Mike found it in 2005.

For those interested in more data on “Donkey Baseball”, check Google on your computer. There is so much to see about this game from our nation’s history.


Shortened 1936 No. 2 attached to the Fruehauf. So much better truck than 1936 No. 1 but from a distance they look the same.

Just like Mike found 1936 No.1

The Fruehauf attached to 5th wheel during a turn.  Note the “tow ring” in the middle of the rear cross member on the 1936. Mike says all 1936 1 ½ tons had the bolt hole punched at the factory. If the customer wanted this accessory it would be easy for the dealer to install. Simply a nut and washer to hold the threaded stud.

Attached Fruehauf Trailer

It was slowly returning to the soil.

This is the trailer tailgate on moving day with everything cleared away.

Front of Fruehauf

Attached 5th wheel on 1936 No. 1

Old one-eye 1936 No. 1 ready to leave the field after Mike’s purchase

1936 No. 2 with 157” wheel base

1936 No. 2 with its 157” frame wheel base at a different angle

1936 No. 2 with door removed for Sam.

Mike taking measurements before frame shortening on 1936 No. 2

The cut is underway

26” of frame rail removed on 1936 No. 2

The differential and rear frame rail after the cut on 1936 No. 2

The 26” frame section removed

Frame shortened to be like 1936 No. 1

Another view of the shortened 1936 No. 2

Rebuilt, cleaned and painted placed in 1936 No. 2

Right Side View

Left Side View

Even has the accessory oil filter

1936 Missouri license below the correct truck taillight

Part of the new exhaust system

Sam and his daughters on the day of the Maiden Voyage. Mike on the fork lift.

Close to getting into the cab

Sam’s big smile sitting by Mike. The first ride begins!

The young ladies ready to ride!

1936 No. 2 first drive around the building

Restoring the 5th wheel from 1936 No. 1

What a job!

Installing new cloth hood lace.

ADDENDUM TO MIKE RUSSELL’S 1936 CHEVY 1 ½ TON: Even though Mike really likes his Fruehauf Trailer he could not pull it with such a long length on a daily basis. It would certainly not fit in most parking lots! When he stored the trailer he still had the attached “5th wheel” for towing. Thus, the truck cannot be used for hauling.

So in 2017, Mike’s search for a factory 1936 1 ½ ton flatbed was successful. (an after-market bed was not acceptable) Unfortunately, he found this tired bed in New York State, a long way from Mike’s house in mid-Missouri. However, knowing it might be his last chance to find another, close or far from his home, there was no choice. He saved it from the landfill!

Look at the attached photos after he added replacement wood planks and all were secured to the frame rails. How nice!



1959 Chevrolet Spartan 100

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

 Let’s Really Talk Trucks!
Our Feature Truck of the Month series often shows the more unusual GM trucks. Most are rarely seen at special interest car and truck shows. This month is no exception! This ground up restored 2 ½ ton 1959 Chevrolet Spartan 100 is one of the very few (if any) in existence fully restored. It even goes further. It is said to be the “only” big back window cab in any condition that carries this name plate of a Spartan 100. They can’t get more one of a kind than this!

It all began over 40 years ago when Scott Phaneuf of Hatfield, Massachusetts purchased his first 1958 Chevrolet Cameo at 15 years old. This was his regular driver for several years until suddenly into his young life came the opportunity to own a well-cared for 1960 Corvette. If you are about 20 years old, what do you do? Yes, the Cameo was placed in a garage for another time in his life.

His Cameo fever came years later when his prior 1958 was brought out of storage. Scott had begun to have an interest in a major restoration of this rare truck. He wanted it just like it came from the factory.

He kept its original 283 V-8 and 3 speed column shift transmission. It became a real show stopper with its original Cardinal Red and Bombay Ivory trim.

Now, Scott’s 1958 Cameo fever had really begun. Married now, his wife Donna, had begun to like this restored family Cameo. In fact, Scott was impressed with this and he thought it was time to buy a second 1958 for Donna and make it also like a new truck. He found what he was looking for in Georgia. It had a Hydromatic transmission and rare factory power steering that pleased Donna even more. It had a great color combination, Tartan Turquoise with Bombay Ivory trim. The 283 was given a complete rebuilding as did the transmission along with every other part. Donna was a full partner in the restoration of this special Cameo. A great team effort! She now drives it from time to time and loves it, especially when it has won trophies at so many shows. This Cameo is so impressive it was a Feature Truck of the Month on Jim Carters website November 2012. It is still posted there for all to see at www.oldchevytrucks.com.

Two restored 1958 Cameos would be adequate for most, but Scott was on a roll! He had become an expert restoring 1958 Cameos, so he could not turn down the great opportunity to buy one of the rarest of colors: Kodiak Brown with Bombay Ivory trim. Kentucky was a great distance but it was one of the only remaining examples of a true Kodiak Brown Cameo. Scott has it now 90% restored and it will also be just like it left the factory including 283 V-8 and 3 speed overdrive column shift.

One day when Scott’s ‘58 Kodiak Brown restoration days were almost over, he was sitting at home looking through a special interest magazine and there it was! He was shocked with no idea this type 1958 Cameo existed! The sellers describe it as one of the two remaining with factory installed fuel injection and a hydromatic transmission. It even originally came with a great color combination:  Golden Yellow with Jet Black Trim. Yes, he was off to Arkansas and again towed another Cameo back to Hatfield. To date the restoration is 70% complete.

He recently located one other 1958 in Georgia with a very unusual color mix. It’s Bombay Ivory with Cardinal Red trim. Just reverse colors of his first 1958 he bought at 15 years old. It has a 283 with column shift 3 speed transmission. Scott originally bought it just for parts but now has decided to make it a good Cameo. He just found a ½ ton frame to replace the remaining pieces of frame that came with the truck. No formal plans on when it will be completely restored. Scott is fully involved with the other above restoration projects.


When you reach the level of 4 fully restored 1958 show Cameos, you have created a handicap if you enjoy showing them all at early auto & truck events. The time and expense to get them all to a show is a major consideration. Scott saw this problem coming long before all four Cameos were completed. To him it was a “no brainer”. Somehow he needed to find a Chevy tractor of those years with a fifth wheel for towing. Not an easy task! Of course, you must also locate a car hauling trailer used 50 years ago. This was is the big challenge as most older haulers have been sent to the crusher. Their weight value in steel scrap prevents them from sitting long in a salvage yard! He was worried none existed!

The hunt for a tractor continued for several years. It was so difficult to find even one in any condition and it had to be GM. Then one day, there was a 1959 Chevrolet Spartan 100 rated at 2 ½ ton and it was not even in an antique type magazine. It was advertised as in the back row of a small salvage yard in North Carolina. Scott had to have it! Being over 1,000 miles away was not an issue even with pulling it in his old dependable tow trailer.

It was “not” love at first sight but if it is the only one remaining. You cannot say no even if most restoration people would consider it a total loss.

The salvage yard owner did not mention it would be Scott’s job to remove all the tree saplings that were growing around it and through the rusted out floors. Most of the mechanicals were frozen tight from sitting in the timber so many years. The driver’s door was held on with one remaining hinge due to rust. No paint remained. Only primer and surface rust. The snakes would now lose their protection from rains! It is suspected during the 1,000 mile trip back to Massachusetts some on lookers said “why such a small trailer to haul just one vehicle to the crusher”? Once back in Hatfield a full evaluation was made of the Spartan 100. Every part needed major restoration or a total replacement. Later, it was discovered that even the rear brake drums were a total loss and no replacements were on the market. What now? Scott was able to re-drill and lightly trim newer GM truck drums so driving it safely would be possible.

To most, the effort to restore it far excided its value. However, to Scott how do you place a value on the only big back window Spartan in existence? After all, he needed this late-1950’s GM body design to blend with the Cameos he would be hauling. Thus, a total disassembly began. The four Cameos he had restored had given him so much knowledge. To undertake a project of such large proportions, this project would be just the challenge that he lives for.

It was like building a great big model kit and finding that you did not have all the parts. What a challenge! Most salvage yards had no spare used parts. Scott never gives up! With the aid of his computer, he searched over the US for needed replacement items and hoped it was what he needed when it arrived. The bare frame was totally cleaned and painted to make a place for the rebuilt motor, front suspension, 4 speed transmission, differential, brake lines, etc. The cab was totally taken apart nearby and then it also became part of the big model kit.

To make the cab extra special Scott added the exact GM stainless steel window and door trim that is the same on the Cameos. After all, as the “only” Spartan 100 big back window remaining, it should have that extra Chevrolet touch.

The 22.5” wheels are a real eye catcher. The cast iron black factory spokes with what looks like zinc plated rings. They almost look like narrow white walls!


Cab: A “Full View” back window cab as on the top of the lines ½ ton pickups during 1955-59

Color: Dawn Blue (GM option # 707)

Engine: 348 cu in big block w/230 hp. 8 to 1 compression ratio. Scott had it totally rebuilt. It now looks and runs better than new!

Gas tank: A 141 gallon factory gas tank sits across the frame rails behind the cab and it fills on right or left side. Behind the seat is a 21.5 gallon tank with left side fill through the cab. It looks like a pickup tank but it is deeper.

Differential: 7.67:1 great for heavy pulling. It makes the Spartan love gasoline.

Tires & Wheels: 22.5” x 7.50” tubeless, cast-spoke

Weights: Curb weight 6,400#, gross weight 25,000#, pulling weight 40,000#

Wheelbase: 132” The shortest of the Spartan truck series. Just right for a 5th wheel connection.

The Nice Extra: This short wheelbase will allow it to sit beside family cars in a shopping center

Brakes: Air and fluid. If there is a fluid or air leak in the system, the brakes lock for safety!

Exhaust: All V-8 Spartans came with duel pipes and mufflers

Options (factory installed): AM radio, fresh air heater, stainless steel windshield and cab trim cab trim. Turn signals, and big back window

Accessories (dealer installed): Behind the seat package tray, outside sun visor, outside duel side
mirrors, cab roof clearance lights, and inside controlled spot lights

Four years later it is now fully restored. Hunting parts, restoring used items not otherwise available, and so much research has gone into this now “work of art”. The big block original 348 V-8 engine, without pulling a trailer, will quickly reach speeds that allows the driver to easily collect speeding tickets!

If anyone thinks Scott has more money than God to create this restored collection, he does not. It all went into one of the most unique truck collections in the world! Our hats go off to such a dedicated hard working individual that is able to follow his dream.

Here is the real surprise!  Scott left his life career job at most people’s usual retirement age about 7 years ago. This restoration hobby is his later in life enjoyment that he does so well!!


We probably can guess. He must also have a mid-1950’s vehicle hauling trailer to carry the Cameos. He reportedly purchased a 1964 Stewart 38 foot, 4 car capacity car hauler just like 1958. After looking at 50 year old trailers for 5 years, he found this one in Minnesota. The others he found were so bad they were not worth the effort to restore! Another rig saved from the crusher! Scott never restored a 53 year old hauler before or anything like it. There is no doubt, with his ambition, on completion it will look like it was put away in storage the day it came out of the factory!

His first trailer project will be to upgrade the brakes to a more modern system for safety. They will be connected to the Spartan brakes. If the tractor or trailer loses its fluid or air both tractor and trailer brakes lock up together.

Until the 1964 Stewart is completed, look at Scott’s rig. The Spartan and two 1958 Cameos are shown on a universal trailer on their way to a show!


You can contact Scott Phaneuf at keyman4885@yahoo.com








Chevrolet Accessory Package Tray (behind seat)


1959 Chevy’s Big Block – 348 cu.in. V-8


The compressor for the truck’s air brakes.

The day Scott brought it home!

Only its mother could love!

Page from 1959 Chevrolet Salesman’s Data Book showing Scott’s Spartan 100

1951 Chevrolet COE Tow Truck

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016


This month’s feature truck may be the only COE (cab over engine) short wheel base Advance Design Tow truck in existence! Most trucks that are tow vehicles are doomed to extinction once they begin their job of car and truck moving duties. They are worked everyday sun, rain, or snow to justify their expense of huge insurance, a driver, maintenance of the tow equipment, some jobs at night in dark places (more body damage), city and county license fees, etc.

Sheet metal rust and thus bad appearance develops as well as occasional body damage. By their 10th year most are retired. The later use of an older tow truck is limited! Their extra weight usually makes them a high candidate for the crusher.

The wrecker body on this month’s special truck was manufactured by W.T. Stringfellow Co. in Nashville, TN and installed new on the cab and chassis as received from the GM factory. We checked our computer on Google under W.T. Stringfellow and what a surprise! They show it based in Nashville, Tennessee at 125 North 12th Ave. as a corporation beginning in 1946. The company became inactive in 1987.

This 65 year old 1951 Chevrolet COE series 5100 (short 110” wheel base) is a rare tow truck survivor for one reason; It was owned from the beginning by a small Chevrolet dealership in Lyndon, Kansas. It was always stored inside and kept very clean to make a good impression to their Chevrolet customers. Plus it was only used for towing duties for this dealership, not a full time hauler.

It has been owned by Jim Carter of Jim Carter Truck Parts in Independence, Missouri for almost 25 years. (He found it beside a vendor booth at the annual Lawrence, Kansas Swap Meet and drove it home 60 miles) It has since been kept out of bad weather. Jim said, “We saved this big rig from eventually going to see God”. It is now a little part of our country’s history!

The first 6 months of owning it, Jim, plus the help of nearby Jerry’s Chevy Restoration Shop, stripped out the interior and put back to the new exact factory appearance. They even added the factory radio and fresh air heater. Paint was polished to a high shine and a few appropriate metal repairs were made. The towing rig on the back (yes, it operates like new) was sanded, primed and painted in white as the Chevrolet dealer had it so many years ago. The long decorative stainless rails on each side of the wrecker body were polished to a mirror finish.

Jim used this fancy tow vehicle every few weeks during the first years of owning it. Believe it or not, it was a fun pleasure vehicle but occasionally did a few actual tow duties. Jim says one of the most remembered moments occurred during my “single years” while driving this restored tow truck. On a casual date with ladies for the first time, it created quite
a surprise when this truck drove up to their home. “What is that?” was just the beginning of their comments, especially as they climbed up the steps to reach the cab. They loved it!

Another special memory was the attempt to find a parking space during a major local event. Thousands of cars were there and the closest parking lot to the event was full. “When I drove the tow truck by that full lot, attendants immediately dropped the ropes at the entrance and allowed my truck to enter! Yes, they actually thought I was there to tow a stranded car. What a hoot!”

Driving a COE like this is a real fun experience. Not only is it a great eye catcher but you look down on all the cars that are now smaller in today’s world! We refer to our special wrecker as “The Blue Hooker!”

Get ready for real memories if you drive on a rough gravel or dirt road. Even if you ride over a section of damaged concrete or asphalt on an otherwise smooth surface, the stiff suspension springs give very little movement when not hauling weight so a big bounce can be a part of the action. Wear a pad under your cap if you want to protect your head from the top of the cab!

Before Jim purchased the COE, almost 30 years ago the original low pressure 235 six cylinder engine had been replaced with the next series, a 235 high oil pressure engine. This gives it the additional horse power that makes it better in driving this 6,500 pound short wheelbase COE on the highway. Oh yes, it has a wheel base close to a VW Beetle so you can put it beside other cars in a shopping center parking lot.

One other feature! All the towing controls are in the cab. If you are ask to tow a car by yourself, you must personally climb up into the cab several times to safely and correctly lift the vehicle on its two wheels. Yes, drivers did this many times every day in the 1950’s and earlier. We doubt if there were any complaints. 15 years earlier, drivers would have used a “hand crank” on the side of the wrecker body. Yes, both ways rolled the cable onto the spool behind the cab and lifted a car or truck on its two wheels for towing.

The new “modern” way of lifting a vehicle (using the “Power Take-off on the side of the 4 speed transmission) allowed middle age drivers extra years of work before being forced to retire because of the difficult hand cranking!

The license say it all!

Hood up!

It made the cover of “Pickup ‘n Panels” magazine in August 1996

Split Rims with white painted edges. Looks like whitewalls!

Lay on the ground to get this photo

A close-up of the wrecker body. Even has the “tool box” attached to the floor.



These photos are from the “Salesman’s Data Book” that was issued to all salesman at the Chevrolet dealerships. This page features the 110” wheelbase COE as it would have been received by the Chevrolet dealer in Lyndon, Kansas. A short time later they installed the wrecker body ordered from the W.T. Stringfellow Company. All has remained as a package for 65 years.

Early 1947 Chevy 1/2 Ton

Saturday, July 30th, 2016


What a one of a kind early 1947 Chevy ½ ton! Joe Haney of Independence, Missouri decided to use his skills to create an older Chevy pickup that would be nothing like anyone had ever seen. At the same time he would keep the project to a level that would be within his budget. Fortunately, Joe’s mechanical talents and love of older vehicles allowed him to do so much of his own work over several years. Attending many local car shows gave him numerous ideas to pick from while making plans for his creation.

Joe purchased this little ½ ton in 1993 and then kept it in his large home garage 12 years until the time was right during his retirement. To make it so unique over other modified 1941-1946 pickups, Joe bought a 1985 Chevy S-10 just to get the frame. The only S-10 parts he used from the pickup were the frame, gas tank, master cylinder, tilt steering column, and disc brakes.

Some of the other items used from other sources were a 1991 Chevy 350 V-8, a 1979 350 hydro-matic transmission, and a rear differential assembly from a 1980 Chevelle.

The bed is home built except for the front bed panel and tailgate. At first adding a 1947 bed to an S-10 frame seemed next to impossible but Joe never gives up. Here the old saying applies “If you have lemons, make lemonade”.

The problem with the S-10 frame is the side rail rear hump over the rear axle. They and the shock towers raised the bed too high. Thus, using this S-10 frame raised the bed too high. The appearance made the truck look totally out of proportion. Joe made corrections that gave a great custom appearance. It makes this 1947 an eye catcher at all the local shows. He raised the bed floor almost 40% higher than original to be above these stock towers. The following photos show what makes it so unique.

When the full height tail gate is opened, a horizontal oak plank fills the created opening on the end. Nice touch!

The interior is a money saving creation that looks so good! Joe spent time in local auto salvage yards to find just the right seat cushion that fits correctly in the cab’s small area. He found the answer in the third seat in a 1990 Ford mini-van. It’s amazing how well it connects to the seat riser and is slightly away from the doors. He then found one from Ford’s top of the line mini-van which has a leather pleated seat. All the interior was then coordinated with the color of this seat.

Look at the texture coating on the two-tone door panels. What an excellent idea! Trucks had painted metal interior door panels but not this nice!

The oak bed planks are also a Joe project! And oak overhead and floor custom console he made greatly adds to the interior appearance.

Look at the very dark wood that secures the gauges. Yes, Joe cut and drilled it to just the right size. These later gauges look just like they belong there!


Complete plus the shop where it happened

All fits just right!

Headlight close-up



These Alloy wheels certainly add to the appearance

View from the back


Cab complete

Nice firewall with no extra holes

Fitting the new grill between the fenders



Leather seats do not have to be expensive!

Lower oak console

Upper oak console

Joe’s special made gauge

Insulating the doors

Speckle Paint


Raised bed floor. Its hauling days are over!

The 1947 bed floor was raised because of the S-10 high hump frame

Joe made his own bedsides

Gas add location to S-10 tank

Oak horizontal plank fills the gap


Patching required if you want real metal fenders

More patching. Joe did it all







The end

1953 GMC Deluxe Panel Truck

Thursday, June 30th, 2016


Ever hear of an older vehicle being bought on its way to the metal crusher? Our feature truck this month was one of those saved from the recycler to later become one of the most attractive panel trucks in the country!

The savior of this 1953 GMC panel truck is Max and Margaret Davis of Columbia, Tennessee. They are the owners of Possum Holler Garage one of the premier 1947-55 Chevrolet / GMC truck restoration companies.

Finding this panel truck was a “freak occurrence” while at a special interest vehicle auction. Possum Holler Garage had several of their trucks in line for the bidding, when a person stopped by and asked if they had an interest in a 1953 panel truck that he was taking to be pulverized in a few days. If they did he would sell it for the metal price of $300.00!

Of course, they bought it on the spot! It was soon setting behind their restoration shop with other unrestored Advance Design trucks to be rebuilt. When the right enthusiast asks for a restored truck, Possum Holler will often sell them a truck they have at their shop and then restore it how the customer wants or restore the customer’s vehicle. Surprise, this panel truck was in waiting less than two weeks before a person bought it and requested they rebuild it as a real eye catcher.

Of course, as these photos show, it had to be disassembled to the bare frame and then assembled piece by piece. It is now owned by Larry’s Country Diner in Nashville, Tennessee. Plans are to place it in front of the diner to attract people’s attention. No doubt, it will increase the diner’s walk-in customers immediately everyday it is on display.

Possum Holler Garage used Larry’s color suggestions and a later model drive train. The modern Chevrolet V-8 and automatic transmission even has air conditioning! It can easily get its share of speeding tickets!

A few things that are a real “stand-out” on this panel truck is the two-tone paint, outside sun visor, white wall tires, and all the chrome.

Possum Holler even turned it into a deluxe panel truck by not only having all the chrome but installing the correct 12 stainless steel fender trims and the pair of long front fender spears. (Yes, deluxe panel truck trim is now on the market in limited quantities). The total package is a real “head turner” on the road or sitting beside Larry’s Country Diner.


Established in 2009, their first GM pickup truck was for the famous George Jones, one of the top country singers of the 1960’s through 1990’s. This truck now sits in a country music museum in Nashville, TN.

During the past 7 years they have restored 60 vehicles for customers over the USA. If you want yours or one of their 1947-55 GM trucks restored with top quality, contact Possum Holler Garage. Email @ mxdavis1@earthlink.net

As they bought it


Disassembly Begins

Media-blasing the Insides

Body Complete (What a clean shop)

After Body Painting


Near Completion

Fenders Installed

Detail Work

Checking Door Alignment

Almost Complete

Look at that Trim!

Making it ready for fenders and grill

Front vocal point

One of the best in the Country!

1949 GMC 3/4 Ton Pickup

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

This special Advance Design pickup has come a long way from its early life on a Mid-Missouri farm. Owned and restored by Dale Jacobs of Dallas, Texas, this 1949 GMC ¾ ton has been down to the frame and came out just a little nicer than new.

It’s the old story. It looked very nice and ran just as well but a little extra touch would make it a nicer pickup. Well, the more he got into areas, the more he saw things that just were not quite right. After all it was a farm work truck for so many years. Before long you are tired of seeing so many imperfections, you check your bank account, and say “Let’s just make it a new truck”. It will only take time and money! It was taken down to the bare frame (the easiest part) and the building of the oversize model kit begins.

This four year project involved doing much research, making local new restoration contacts, and learning so much about early GMC’s.

Over the years Dale has owned several “special interest vehicles” including a 1954 Corvette. (Lucky guy!) However, he has always had a hidden desire for a pickup. Thus, this GMC became his project.

Dale’s ¾ ton has the optional 17” split rim wheels instead of the stock 15”. (These were original on the 1 ton pickup of these years). The extra 2” gives the truck a higher top end speed and lowers the engine RPM. Good during daily in-town driving.

Another very unique fixture is the intake manifold, mentioned in Dale’s article below. The original single barrel carburetor intake center hole was blocked off. Then front and rear carburetor receiver openings were installed to hold a pair of two-barrel Stromberg’s. It operates excellent and is probably the only one of its kind in the world! What an eye catcher! He says it easily cruises at almost 70 mph!

The following is a few of the special features Dale wrote about on his GMC. No doubt it is an overview and is the “tip of the iceberg” of all he has done to make it such an attractive well-appointed truck.

Dale’s Personal Story:

A 4 year “frame off” TOTAL restoration of this “numbers matching” GMC 3/4 ton pickup.
The “Ron Kelly Designs” complete rebuild of this original drivetrain and chassis included the GMC 228 engine long block (.08 over rebore), head, flywheel, clutch, 4-speed on the floor transmission with “granny” gear, drive shaft and rear end, all dynamically balanced. Modifications to improve performance include full-flow oil filtering, dual 2-barrel Stromberg carburetors adaptation to original intake manifold with new linkage, and Fenton dual exhaust headers with custom muffler routing.

The chassis rebuild involved frame powder coating, front and rear spring leafs with helpers, Delco lever arm shocks, duel master cylinder brake system, front end and steering linkage with drive box.

The electrical system conversion to 12 volts included the original Delco starter and generator, regulator, new Mallory dual point distributor and coil, new wiring harness, 4 corner lighting with halogen headlights and turn signaling. A new water pump, radiator with expansion cylinder and hoses improve the cooling system.

All body panels were COMPLETELY disassembled and, along with the cab, subjected to a strip and de-rust total immersion process. Reassembly with new fasteners was preceded by extensive applications of epoxy and urethane primers and initial custom lacquer paint then followed by final lacquer paint and clear coatings.

Cab restoration involved new door handles, hinges and panels, headliner with insulation, sun visors, gauge cluster and speedometer, vintage GMC reproduction stereo AM/FM radio and 7 new glass windows allowing a surround view. The air flow heater with control valve and defroster ducts, vacuum wiper motor with linkage, fuel tank with new sender, and all pedal controls were also restored to original specifications. Traversing seat with era appropriate new upholstery allows comfort with a vintage signature. Firewall, roof, floor and doors all received sound deadening applications.

Finishing touches include the re-chromed original grill, badging, radiator fan and added dual trumpet horns. Color coordinated powder coated engine side and valve covers enhance the engine bay. Also evident are new bumpers with valences, vintage Unity spot and fog lights, chromed fuel tank linkage, and powder coated original split rim wheels with new 750-17 tires. An eye-catching top grade oak bed and side rails with stainless linings and fasteners complete this classic restoration.

If you have questions on Dale’s special GMC pickup, his email is drj86wr@aol.com.

Here it Comes!

Open for Viewing

Correct 9 Board Bed

Standing Tall on 17″ Wheels

Even a Right Side Spotlight


Excellent Oak Side Racks

Yes, Dual Exhaust. Neat!

Extra Stake Pocket on 3/4 Ton

150 Represents 3/4 Ton

Good View of Right Side Hardware

Original ID Plate

Door Restored Just Right

Side View of Interior

Nice Dash

Gauge Color is GMC Only

Modern Radio Looks Original

Heater and Spot Light Switch

Like New!

Two Carbs on a Single Barrel Manifold

Dual Horns Will be an Attention Getter for Pedestrians

1959 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton

Friday, April 29th, 2016

What a Deal! When the term “Only One in the World” is used in the automotive world, this special 1959 Chevrolet ½ ton Fleetside short bed should be near the top of the list. There is none like this one!

The owner and creator is Sam Caudle of Independence, Missouri. Using GM as the original designer, Sam became a subcontractor for its second coming.
Part of its 13 year rebuilding was spent by Sam in researching (GM Manuals, attending early truck shows, subscribing to truck magazines, etc.) on just how it could be made into a pickup he had always dreamed of.

This is Sam’s creation! It is a natural for our Feature Truck of the Month.

The dream began to develop prior to 2003 while he was still on his 40 hour/week job. A 1959 Chevy ½ ton was his daily transportation and he began to get serious on just how he would redesign it when he retired. A life’s dream was in the making!

And then in a split second, it was over. An automobile missed a stop sign and Sam with his truck were almost totaled. Yes, Sam lived. His 59 ½ ton, hit in the side, did not. Usable truck parts were the right door and bedside plus its grill.

While Sam healed he decided this would not stop his dreams. It was too developed in his mind. He would make a comeback and be stronger than ever. Therefore, this is the story of the “next” 1959 in Sam’s life!

This Time a newer more modern vehicle would take him to work. Sam’s next 1959, found locally, was in one way even better than his first. It had a large rear window! This 1959 would now be kept in his home where it was safe.

Thirteen years have passed since he found his second 1959 ½ ton. The disassembly and then careful rebuilding has been his main hobby all that time. If he had to wait to save his money for the next part of his creation he would just wait and study truck manuals and restoration books for the next step. Time was not an issue.

The little ½ ton’s unveiling occurred early this year. What a show it causes! That’s why it just had to be our Feature Truck of the Month! The following is a few of the areas that makes Sam’s 1959 such a real show stopper.

BODY: Basically stock. Emblems removed and a non-lettered tailgate makes many armature onlookers just wonder if its sheet metal has been shaped and formed into a one-off pickup.

SUNVISOR: The outside sunvisor above the windshield looks a little different from those often seen on these years. Then we discovered why. Sam cut the width down almost four inches. It might allow more sun in the cab but so what. It has a new modern air conditioning system from the Old Air Company!

INTERIOR: Passenger car seat allows the back rest to tilt forward. This gives access to the space behind. Late model steering column adds turn signals and tilt wheel.

The special padding throughout the interior reminds one of a deluxe car in appearance.

Look at the dash. A GMC dash perfectly replaces the original Chevrolet. Sam liked the GMC gauge placement so much better. Yes, the original heater control dash panel now operates a new modern air conditioning and heater system. It’s not easy to make the lever connection from an old heater to a new air/heater combination. Much time and planning on this one. Remember, time was not an issue with Sam. He was going to have it finished his way-a tasteful blend of modern and a 55 year old pickup.

BED: Sam’s 1959 is the second year for the GM Fleetside pickup. On the sides he has the bed stainless horizontal strips that were available for only this one year and only the top of the line model.

This bed is 6 foot length which results in the shorter 115 inch wheelbase. Look at that oak bed floor. A piece of furniture!

The mirror polished bed strips, without holes are a recent introduction in the pickup market Nice!

ENGINE: This is one of the top focal points of the truck. Sam’s goal was to get the best performance from a Chevrolet 250 cubic inch inline six cylinder engine. (Used by GM from the mid 1960’s to the mid 1980’s) He had read articles of the high power that is possible from a GM 250 six cylinder so he decided to reach that level.

Some of his six cylinder rebuilding includes a performance cam shaft and milled head to raise the compression ratio to 9.5. Yes, it now likes premium full. Of course, balancing all engine moving parts beyond GM’s specifications was a necessity.

This all blends nicely with a 4 barrel 450 cfm (cubic feet per minute) Edelbrock Performance Carburetor. It attaches to a Clifford intake manifold that is made just for the 250 engine. (Sam is considering adding a 390 cfm Holly carb to eliminate excess gasoline in the engine and losing some unburned fuel) An electronic ignition is pure GM and was a drop-in from an early 1980’s six cylinder 250 engine.

To add another 20 horse power Sam arranged the power steering, air conditioner, water pump, and alternator, to operate on one late model serpentine belt. Of course, some pulleys also needed updating to accept the newer serpentine system.

What is the result of all these engine modifications? When taking a drive with Sam and then returning to home base all that could be said was WOW! This little truck could out run a telegram! Sam was reminded that he needed pads on the rear window to prevent glass breakage when his head hit it during fast acceleration!

FRONT SUSPENSION: The front suspension as well as the frame rails to the pickup body are a transplant from a 1975 Camaro. This “clip” makes lowering it 8 inches not difficult (many aftermarket systems available) and all is factory ready for items such GM disc brakes.

REAR SUSPENSION: Instead of the factory 7 leaf rear spring Sam changed it to 3 leafs. This helped it to lower the bed 6.5 inches.

The big change of removing 4 leafs required another addition. Sam’s pickup has air bags! This catches the frame if the three spring leaves do not. As one change leads to another, the next problem to cover was the width of the air bags. NOTE the 6 inch wider wheel tubs. This makes room for these necessary accessories.

TRANSMISSION: The tried and proven GM 700 R4 automatic overdrive transmission just fills the bill. A nice bolt in with a 250 six cylinder as well as a small block V8.

NOTE: Sam preferred not to have the usual floor shifter used by most street rodders. He created metal arms that could be properly moved by a column shift lever and look more from the 1950’s. This little touch is not often seen with vehicles on this level. Another of Sam’s creations!

BRAKE SYSTEM: All wheel disc brakes! The front easily connected to the front frame rail assembly of the 1975 Camaro front frame section. It was the rear disc brakes that required some extra modification and were not a total bolt-on. Sam used the rear differential assembly from a 1978 Nova and then added to it the disc brake assembly from a 1991 Pontiac Trans-Am.  In that way, all brakes are GM. An extra project was to get the total assembly to attach safely and correctly to the leaf springs. The firewall mounted master cylinder, connected to modern swing pedals, was also a GM unit used from a full disc brake car.

SUMMARY: This is an overview of a few features of Sam’s “one of a kind” ½ ton. Some would say “This Must be the Tip of the Iceberg” in what was done and time spent. After 13 years, he can now enjoy the results of his research and personal involvement in this major project. Now retired, Sam will finally have more time to Have Fun!

Short and Wide

Lettering Relates to Sam’s Second 1959

Big Back Window

No Tailgate Lettering

Air Bags Require Wide Tubs

Deluxe Rear Bed Side Trim, Very Rare!

Car Seat Forward Allows Extra Space Access

Trimmed Accessory Sunvisor. Nice!

Well Done

Great Two-Tone Combination!

Cab Steps. Perfect!

Special Seat Upholstery!

Modern Gauges & Steering Wheel

Under Dash Air Outlet Assembly Fits Perfect

More Dash Views & Modern Carpet

The GMC Dash. A Perfect Fit into a Chevrolet Cab

Not One Side of a V-12 Engine. It’s All 6 Cylinder!

Edelbrook Carb on a Clifford Intake

Clifford Valve Cover

All In One Photo

Air Conditioning. The American Way!

1938 GMC Cab Over, Roll-Back

Thursday, March 31st, 2016


Wow! Here’s what you can do with a 2 ton 80 year old truck that has become almost beyond repair! Glenn Garrison of Germanton, North Carolina decided to build a roll back truck that was one of a kind. He wanted something no one else would have and yet could do car hauling duties as well as others.

When he saw this (almost only 1938 GMC Cab-Over-Engine 1 ½ ton survivor) he got very interested. It was so far from his home but he had never seen one before!

This rare 1938 GMC Cab-Over-Engine (COE) was in Kimball Nebraska (over 1,800 miles from his shop). It was once a city work truck and still had their ID plate attached to the door post. He had to have it! After having it transported the long distance to his shop, in Germanton, NC. he began to make serious plans to make a major transition. The badly used bed and mechanicals would be discarded and much money would be spent to bring the sheet metal and interior to new condition. Even the original GMC color, Narva Green (1938-52) was used on the exterior.

During the restoration Glenn found a downer truck to receive the now immaculate cab and front sheet metal. The choice was a 1998 GMC 6500 two ton.  The restoration continued now on the newer vehicle with cleaning and replacing parts plus finding a roll back chassis bed.  It also was restored and finished with shiny black paint.

What a project! Fortunately, Glenn has excellent abilities in repairing vehicles as was certainly needed during this project. Just getting the 1938 cab to align with the 1998 chassis was a real project!

As a part time restoration project (work duties had to continue) it took Glenn 5 years to complete this project.

It is now well recognized in Germantown. For those not acquainted with the mechanical side of trucks, now assume Glenn has come to tow their car with a 75 years old truck! You can contact Glenn by email at skgarrison@windstream.net.

When first received. Looks like someone found some “get-by” headlights!

1998 GMC T6500, 3116 Cat Engine 250hp, 6 Speed Manuel Transmission, Air Brakes

Under Construction!

Look Inside!

The Finished Product.

Still Beautiful, over 10 years later,

1951 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Pickup

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016


One of the lowest mile over 50 year old trucks in existence! A great example of what an older truck was like when it first came off the assembly line. It is owned by Gerald Cooper of Manassas, Virginia. He has almost 50 early vehicles in his collection but this ½ ton is a special vehicle to him. It is so untouched. Few of his collection can come close to being this factory original!

It was bought new by a relative in Pennsylvania and used mostly for hauling trash to a nearby landfill plus a few miscellaneous local projects. When Gerald bought it in 1993 it had 4,620 miles on its odometer. Since then it has mostly been in storage as he has other early vehicles in his collection to drive. It currently shows 6,105 due to taking it to some car shows and very limited pleasure drives. The great condition plus the miles shown on the oil change door post stickers all go along with the odometer being correct.

With these miles, it is understandable that it has the original Swifts Red paint. With polishing and a few touch-ups, the paint looks very good. The wheels were the item needing improvement. They were sanded, repainted and now look as good as the body paint. It is a standard cab (not deluxe pickup) because of no rear corner windows and painted outer grill bars.

One major accessory is the Chevrolet dealer installed heater. Of course, it was certainly needed by the first owner in Pennsylvania with their cold winters. The other accessory is the GM by-pass filter attached to the intake manifold.

Amazing! It still has its factory installed 600 x 16 tires. They are cracked in places but have never gone flat. This explains that the ½ ton was usually in storage and out of the hot summer sun.

Two non-GM accessories are the back-up light and add-on turn signals. These directional lights were added later by the owner to give more ease in driving. (Turn signals were not an option in 1951) However, it was during the late 1950’s that many private companies offered this add-on accessory kit. Usually sold at auto supply stores.

These rare low mileage trucks have a great plus for the perfectionist. If there is any disagreement on what is correct in a total original restoration trucks like this little 1951 ½ ton will give the answers.

You can contact Gerald@thestevepetty@gmail.com.

The 1949 to 1952 standard cabs usually had body color grill bars and white back-splash.
(See our website Grill Restoration tech article at www.oldchevytrucks.com)

Original 1951 tires, 600 x 16. Still no flats!

All original Swifts Red. Note: the GM by-pass oil filter on the intake manifold.

Painted gas cap to match the body. Correct?

The original one left side taillight (as it left the factory)

Maroon door panels to match the seats. Just right!

A perfect example of a factory dash. The horizontal strips are just right.
(See our tech article on this on our website. www.oldchevytrucks.com
Under interior)

Excellent Maroon vinyl seat covering.

All “bone stock” except the accessory turn signal switch.

1953 Chevrolet Canopy Express

Friday, February 5th, 2016

For the First Time – Two in a Row!

While the Feature Truck article for January 2016 was being developed, we noticed an additional very special vehicle in Greg Fanning’s collection. His photos showed another eye-catcher, one of the rarest of the 1947-55 Advanced Design truck series. This is the now almost extinct “Canopy Express”. We doubt if even 100 remain out of thousands that were once produced annually!
After being used several years by their first owner, they had limited value to later buyers. Few used car dealers even wanted them in their inventory. Now the tables are reversed. They have become about the most valuable body style of AD Truck Series!


Check Greg’s Personal Story:

“Did you cut the sides out of your panel truck?”….You can’t imagine the number of times I’ve heard that question. Inevitably, it is usually followed by “I’ve never seen one of those before.”….. A rare, yet very historical fact that comprises this ‘Advanced Design’ Canopy Express from General Motors was, and although preceded by other canopy manufacturers, GM brought this AD line out to facilitate the delivery of consumables to the neighborhood buying public. In the late forties and early fifties the ‘big box’ grocery stores had not yet arrived so ‘hucksters’ as they were called, wanted a vehicle to take the product to the consumer. Hence the open sided panel was designed. However, I have had some very interesting discussions with trades people like plumbers and electricians that used this vehicle because of the ease of compartmentalizing their diverse parts inventory.

This particular vehicle came my way after attending a ‘Utilities’ conference in Denver. A power lineman from Pueblo put me on to a co-worker who had originally secured this Express for his retirement so he and his wife could sell oranges from his groves at various local farmers markets. Sadly, a personal setback caused him to park the truck in his garage as it ‘conjured up bad memories’ as he put it.

I hopped in my truck, hooked up the trailer and left Vernon, British Columbia, Canada and a 2700 mile, three day turnaround to Palisade Colorado and back, I was in my driveway with a new toy. Very quickly, those bad memories of the previous owner have become fond ones for me. Although very drivable, I felt that much work had to be done to bring this fifteen or so year old ‘restoration’ to my standards. If not the condition, at least the ‘Sea Crest’ (gag-me green) color had to go.

One of these plumbers had an interesting story about one of the major drawbacks of this body design. It appears that the front cab floor was particularly subject to extreme rust depending on how you parked at the end of a days’ work. Under each front ‘folding bucket seat’, if you chose both seats, was a tool compartment each with its own cover, not unlike the battery cover lid, only longer. The outer cab floor was contoured to a low point drain hole, but, if you failed to park slightly uphill during rainy periods, the water flowed forward after leaking through the back canvas tent and sides. You may notice the factory tool kit and tools in my picture, the canvas bag, usually wrapped in plastic, would vibrate down predominantly rough roads, slide over the drain hole causing a swimming pool and of course floor rot. This particular vehicles floor was covered in ‘stove pipe tar’ which trapped the moisture but it eventually rusted through as shown, so I did a complete front floor replacement. The rear floor was factory 7/8 in. single piece construction grade plywood, which made it difficult to slide in between the cross members. Single board installation was an option, but, you needed the two outer boards around the wheel wells to be a minimum of 11 ¾ in. wide and 7/8 in. thick. Tough to find or custom cut. As luck would have it, I came upon some African dark mahogany that fit the requirements, and I think spruced it up a bit.

I was especially happy to secure this model with the ‘end board and rear inside cab window’ separator. Although usually a northern (cooler) state option, it is removable if desired and many farmers chose to not have the rear cab divider and optional passenger bucket seat to facilitate hauling more product. You may notice in the pictures, instead of the usual fruit and produce in the bins, I have chosen to display an array of original GM parts that I have managed to acquire over the years. An eye catcher and well received by the old car buffs at the vintage car shows. In its inaugural vintage show, it captured ‘Best Restoration’ from a fleet of 600 plus entries….very satisfying reward for endless hours of enjoyment.

Not quite finished the ‘Resto’ yet, hence the purchase of the 2 ‘Sargent Fender Stripes’ from Jim Carter Truck Parts….as yet I have not been able to muster the courage to DRILL the 36 required holes in my factory flawless fenders…..probably this spring when the weather improves.

There is so much more that could be said about these vehicles, but I’ll leave you with one parting thought. Many theories exist as to the downfall of these unique members of the “carry-all” design. The one that intrigues me, although the saddest for mankind, was referred to me by that plumber I mentioned earlier. It was his recollection that the Canopy Express met its demise because of the ease of access. If left unattended, it was simply too easy to either undo the snaps or as he recalled, cut the tent with a knife to ‘steal’ the contents. A sad testament to humanity on such a beautiful design.

Thanks again Jim, it’s a pleasure participating in your ‘Feature Truck of the Month’ article…….Greg


“Side Canvas Up” with display boxes

Greg’s boxes filled with NOS Chevy Parts

Chevy parts on display

New floor wood


Accessory sun visor

A 235 Chevy six cylinder


Under Construction

Down to the Bare Bones

Tailgate, etc. removed

New Burgundy Maroon Paint



test test
New Floors

Optional Passenger Seat Tipped Up. Note: Tool Box and Nearby Black Lid.

1953 GMC 1 Ton Pickup

Monday, January 4th, 2016


Just a quick note and story for you Jim and a big “thank you” to Jim Carter Truck Parts for all the support while doing my rebuild, couldn’t have done it without you guys…..Greg Fanning, Province of British Columbia, Canada.

Well, I guess I should begin this dialogue by saying what an honor it is to have been asked to contribute a story of one of the vehicles in my fleet.

It all started during my career as a power lineman for the major utility, BC Hydro. The job required that I travel extensively building power lines around the Province of British Columbia, Canada. I began to find various old trucks and numerous parts in remote areas, so during after work hours while away from the family, it became a hobby of sorts.

This particular vehicle, a 1953 one ton dump pickup was brought to my attention by a lineman buddy from Saskatchewan, a couple of Provinces to the east of British Columbia.

One Sunday night after overstaying my welcome at the local watering hole the night before, I called this old farmer that my buddy had told me about. He was an acquaintance of his family and had bought this truck new in 1953 to haul grain. That same Sunday that I called was also Halloween in early 2000. The old boy was home that night and said he was only available the next day, so 2 hours later I was airborne and 3 hours after that I was 770 miles from home in a motel waiting to be picked up the next morning.

The truck was sitting in the field looking so tired after 50 years of hauling grain with its five foot high wooden box sides and end gate with a discharge chute for dumping. Interesting point here, my buddy always told me that if I ever bought an old grain truck in the prairies, be sure to ask about the tailgate and the hubcaps. Why I asked? The reply was instant “The tailgate was always removed to accommodate the built up intake at the grain elevators and the hubcaps were removed because of loss while pounding down the predominantly gravel farm roads….both were usually hung on the BARN WALL”.

After a thorough walk around, oil check, and a fire up, that old 235 cu. in. Thriftmaster, with its 17500 miles just purred to life. People always want to argue, and still say that motor is a 216 cu. in. because of the two “acorn nuts” peering up through the valve cover and that the first “oil pressured” 235 engine didn’t come out until 1954. Actually, in Canada, the first oil pressured 235’s were rolled off the assembly line late in 1953 using the old valve cover and rocker arm posts. Not until the first FULL year in 1954, did they bolt the valve cover directly to the head.

I asked the old boy what he had to have for his “old friend”, and without hesitation he replied “Exactly what I paid for it in 1953, $1,730.00”…. I handed him the money, (never leave home without it) and signed the deal. Then I asked, “What about the tailgate and hub caps?”… “Holy, it’s a good thing you asked” he said, “I took them off brand new and hung them on the barn wall”…..WOW, there they were flawless.

“Will this old girl get me home?” I said, “I have to be at work tomorrow”. His response was “It doesn’t leak, it doesn’t burn oil, and it doesn’t boil over”. Eleven hours and ½ quart of oil later, I was rolling in my driveway with a smile from ear to ear, a new toy and a new friend.
I did a ground up, end to end restoration that spring and still enjoy driving this old girl every summer…….can’t beat a GMC — G-reater M-ade C-hevrolet.

You may contact Greg Fanning @ gmcgreg@shaw.ca


Why a Dump Bed?

These were used by the thousands in wheat country of Canada and the U.S. It is part of our farm history 50 years ago. During the harvest these extended pickups would be in the fields and receive wheat from combines (pulled by tractors) that had gathered a full load of grain. (At one time our feature truck even had tall wood sides that fit in the stake pockets. In this way, even more wheat could be taken to the local elevators during each trip) They then loaded the wheat to haul to local grain elevators and sold. After harvest season, these pickups could be used on farms for other duties.

Manufactures sold kits that could be installed under the truck bed. On Greg’s one ton, it included a hydraulic pump that operated from the “power taken off” of the factory 4-speed transmission. This pump forced the hydraulic cylinders to dump the bed. Of course, the bed used a pivot or hinge on the rear to hold it during its rising and lowering.

Another unique feature of these wheat harvest pickups was their tailgate. Most all original gates were replaced with a custom made grain tight gate that had a small slide-up door for dumping the wheat as the bed raised.

At the end of harvest season the correct tailgate could be placed back on the pickups. In many cases the replacement gate was never removed from the truck once installed!








Greg’s Collection


1952 Chevrolet Tanker Truck

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015


Seeing a small tanker vehicle like our feature truck this month brings back memories from another era in our country’s history. It was a time of smaller family farms that dotted the country by the millions. Usually one medium size tractor was adequate for the planting and harvesting of the numerous crops these farms produced.

Suppliers of petroleum products in the towns soon realized the opportunities that existed when they delivered fuel and oil to small farms. Most farmers had no time or the hauling equipment to drive to town and get fuel and lubricant.

Thus, when horses were replaced with tractors, a whole new industry emerged. The smaller farms delivery tanks trucks became a common site in farming communities and in the country. Their tanks were usually divided into three compartments for fuel oil, gasoline, and motor oil. At the small farm was usually a few 55 gallon drums the farmer used to fill his tractor. The tanker truck from town added the amount of fuel and oil as the farmer requested either by phone or during the shopping day in the nearby community. Even many homes were heated with fuel oil. This gave the petroleum dealers more income with in-town deliveries.

Our December feature truck is just one of these vehicles. Now small tanker trucks are almost non-existent! The owner and restorer of this unusual truck is Charles Shook of North Richland Hills, Texas. His 1952 Chevrolet ¾ ton carries an 8 foot long 390 gallon capacity tank with three chambers.

NOTE: The long tool box on the left side. Every small farm delivery tanker had to have one. It held all basic wrenches and related tools the driver needed to transfer petroleum products through a hose to the farmer’s small tanks. Charles copied the original but used very attractive pecan wood.

This tank was made in 1937 by the Columbian Steel Tank Company in K.C. Mo. (still in business) This older tank would have been correct on a 1952 truck as they outlasted their first vehicle and would be moved to a different chassis over the years. It still fills the farmer’s smaller drums by gravity. No need for a pump if their drums were lower than the delivery tank.

Charles made a hidden change during the tank restoration. The inter dividing walls between the compartments were removed. By opening the two rear doors this exposes the interior of the chambers and allows for carrying lawn chairs and a cooler. These really come in handy during the hours at the car shows!

Charles bought the unrestored tank at a swap meet over 3 years ago and it fit his newly acquired ¾ ton. He suspects it might have originally been on about a 1 ½ ton but being for display it is just right for his small truck.

Charles has spent 3 ½ years making his truck and tank 100% like new. Completion was September 2015 It was disassembled to the frame and then the complete restoration began. During the truck restoration, Charles made it as close to new in 1952 as possible.

Every part was perfectly restored or replaced. It even has the correct Forester Green paint. The original 216 inline six cylinder engine was rebuilt about as GM made it. The exception was using bearing connecting rods to eliminate the softer babbit bearings.

He is the third owner of the ¾ ton. It began its life as a farm pickup near Bridgeport, Texas were it was bought new. He has most all past records including a copy of the original title and the early service data through 1963.

The second owner bought the truck with a restoration in mind however the lack of time and money prevented any of this to materialize. When Charles bought it about 4 years ago a serious restoration began. His grandfather drove a delivery truck for a Sinclair wholesaler in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Already a restorer of farm tractors and stationary engines, having a restored tanker truck fit into his life history. Of course, the Sinclair signage on the “New” tanker goes along with his grandfather’s early days.

The restoration was completed in September 2015. Two local shows were then attended and Charles received Best of Class in both! This is proof of a good restoration by judges and the general public. Hopefully, it will be seen much more in Texas shows in the spring.

You can contact Charles Shook by emailing him at xr25r@yahoo.com.

Sitting at a car show. Note New tool box!

A real attention getter!



Accessory oil bath air cleaner and oil filter are just right.

Ground up rebuilt 216 engine.

Measuring wheel shows sale amount.

1952 Chevrolet 2 Ton Caravan

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015


Here is an example of pure American Ingenuity! Put two things together:

A 1952 Chevrolet 2 ton and an ambitious top quality retired carpenter that wants to travel. These qualifications fit Richard Howe of Trinidad California. (About 300 miles north of San Francisco, California) He built another similar house and truck combination several years ago on a Cab over Engine 2 ton chassis. What he learned on that project will be used to make this unit even better.

He is the only builder of his one of a kind “Caravan “and he had no extra help. After all, Richard has been a professional carpenter all his life!

His current unit is made much of recycled redwood from boards used years ago in other prior construction purposes. Richard lives near redwood country and he suspects the wood is from trees that are 1,000 to 2,000 years old! He has been on this project about 6 years as money and time allows.

A little less than a year is remaining in this project because Richard’s goal is to have his unit completed and roadworthy by the summer of 2016. That will be the time for his high school 50th graduation in Minnesota. This personally built “Caravan” will be his transportation for this over 1,500 miles one way trip.

Even though Richard is a great carpenter, when it came to the mechanicals he needed help. He got the assistance he needed from two excellent skilled workers at Bill’s Repair Shop in Redding, California. Their names are Bill Tuschen and Ed Demoll. Richard would recommend them to anyone needing early truck repairs!

With the help of these friends the “house” may possibly come off once more to restore the truck cab!

The drive-train will include the original 4 speed transmission plus an optional Brownie 3 speed attached at the rear. This rare overdrive unit will provide him a top speed of almost 55 miles per hour. Yes, he will certainly have time to better see the USA. The original differential gears will give the correct ratio to support the speed of this heavy home he has built.

Oh yes! Richard decided to install a Chevrolet 350 V-8 as the power source. With a V-8 bell housing, it perfectly fit the original 4 speed transmission! It just needed some side motor mounts to fit it in correctly. (Available from many suppliers) He feels it will be the best for his long trips, the heavy Caravan weight, and higher speed demands of modern highways.

The enclosed photos show some of the under construction views of Richard’s Caravan. It’s great what one can do with ambition. The finished project will certainly be a “one of a kind”. You can contact Richard Howe at 1-707-273-2742.

We hope to receive photos of the completed unit next year at Richard’s school reunion time. We will post them here!

1952 Cab and Chassis after the frame is extended 4 feet

350 Chevy V-8 replaces the inline six cylinder engine

Stock setup for the carrier bearing needed lowering with the 4’ lengthen
frame. The first trial run quickly wore out the bearing! See next photo!

A 3″ channel is needed to lower carrier bearing due to the lengthen frame.

Hand built new doors before redwood siding

New top almost completed. Just before siding added.

These 5″ redwood planks were on an old construction job and are from trees
1,000 to 2,000 years old.

Lap siding is from the 5″ scrap redwood. 17 operations in each board before
ready to install.

Start of installation of front cab-over windows

Frames for front cab-over finished

Front cab-over almost complete

1/4″ welded steel support brackets on both sides of “cab-over” windows

Corner cab-over brackets in place plus 1,000 to 2,000 year old lap siding

Interior started.
NOTE: The window frames were made from scratch and are to appear as those
from an old hotel transom used in room ventilation.

1953 GMC 3/4 Ton

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Our feature truck article is a little different this month. One of the country’s leading truck restoration shops was ask to pick a favorite of those completed in their many years of rebuilding, General Motors Trucks. They chose this truck as their all-time favorite.

This very special pickup is a 1953 GMC ¾ ton. The restoration company is Possum Holler Garage owned by Max and Margaret Davis in Columbia, Tennessee. They only restore the 1947-55 Advance Design trucks, probably the best know trucks ever produced by GM. One of the enclosed photos shows our feature truck and seven others in various stages of restoration. (Their shop is as clean as most people’s personal homes)

This restoration shop purchases their trucks from all parts of the country. The employees are capable of repairing most any damage or worn out part of these trucks. Parts are available with a little research as over 5 million AD trucks were sold during the seven year production run. These years were truly the “Heartbeat of America” in trucks!

This GMC pickup was purchased from an estate sale in Colorado and transported to the Possum Holler Garage.

As with all their completed trucks, it was rebuilt from the bare frame. It is now new! All worn parts were repaired or replaced. Its 228 cubic inch inline six cylinder engine has been the same during it’s over 60 years. The 4-speed transmission is what was in most of these ¾ tons when they left the factory.

During the final stages of restoration it was discovered by the current owner, the A.J. Walker Co. of Matoon, IL. This is a ready-mix concrete company begun in the 1950’s by the current owner’s grandfather. It was love at first site! This little pickup was almost identical to granddad’s original (the company founder). The deal was made with the final color being Omaha Orange just like that first company pickup. Even the door lettering is just like an early photo.

The pickup now sets in a temperature controlled garage in Illinois. It is often seen in local parades and even shows. The company founder A.J. Walker would be proud!

Looking for an expert in Advance Design truck restoration?

Contact Possum Holler Garage at www.possumhollergarage.com

The Feature Truck with Seven Others in Process

Chassis Completed

Just Before the Tailgate and Lights

The Finished Product

As Purchased in Colorado

1946 GMC 1/2 Ton EC101

Monday, August 31st, 2015

When we saw this beautiful restored 1946 GMC ½ ton EC101, we were really impressed. It just had to be our September 2015 Feature Truck of the Month! After all, we had not had a 1946 GMC in this section since 2001.

The proud owner and restorer is Larry Dessenberger of Parsons, Kansas. Why did Larry pick this year GMC to complete a frame off restoration? His comment: “I wanted to restore a vintage truck, had a very nice 1996 GMC, so a 50 year older GMC pickup would be perfect to show the old vs the new”.

The hunt finally ended in Buffalo, Missouri when Larry found a 1946 GMC that had been in storage 25 years. The restoration then became a serious project that required almost 3 years with very few days off! The result is a factory fresh GMC now 70 years old.

It has its restored original full pressure 228 cubic inch inline 6 cylinder engine, 3 speed transmission, with the correct 6 volt electrical system. Even the wiring harness is cotton cloth covered as are vehicles of the pre 1950’s.

To be sure the restoration would be done only once, the mechanicals were replaced including kingpins, brakes, clutch assembly, fuel system, spring pins and shackles, transmission internals and drive-line bearings.

The color is Bamboo Cream, with Butterscotch fenders. Certainly bright for 1946, however still seen occasionally in 1946.

The painted interior is silver brown. Slightly different than the hammered silver brown used on that year of Chevrolet trucks. One of the special GMC standard items (not available on a Chevrolet) is the metal ribbed bed bottom. Larry found one and it fits just right! Even the GMC lettering is correct on the tailgate (Chevrolet used no lettering). Look at the round taillight. It is GMC only!

A very unusual GMC accessory that Larry found and restored is the correct GMC dealer re-circulator heater. What a rare find!

He felt this would allow more comfortable driving on cold dry Kansas winter days.

Point of Interest: Take a look at the GMC horizontal bar grill. General Motors found another way to save money between GMC and Chevrolet trucks. Though the fenders and hood are the same, GM created a grill the same size but with a very different appearance from the vertical bar grill of Chevrolet! It allowed the GMC dealer to have a truck that did not so much as the Chevrolet.

The GMC inline six cylinder engine has a full pressure oil system. Thus, the dash oil gauge reaches 80 pounds. Chevrolet stops at 30 pounds.

Since the restoration completion in about early 2013, this little GMC has won a wall full of trophies and is one of the top attention getters at any show. What a great example to those considering a correct restoration!

Surprise to all of us! Larry is considering the sale of his special GMC due to some developing health issues. It is now posted on a very popular antique vehicle website: Old Ride.com.

This GMC was also given a nice right up in the May/June magazine issue of Vintage Truck Magazine on page 12.

You can contact Larry Dessenberger at his email larrylindadess@gmail.com.

Not a Chevy but Close


Right Side. Correct Olive Color

Left Side

Silver Brown Interior Color

There is that Rare GMC Re-circulator Heater

Pure GMC Round Taillight

Bringing it Home! As Found in Buffalo, Missouri


1957 GMC Napco

Friday, July 31st, 2015


WOW! What an unusual totally restored truck. When we were first shown the photos of this step side pickup, we saw this was special. No one we knew could recall anything quite like this.

The pickup is a 1957 GMC Napco ½ ton (Factory 4 wheel drive) with 125 inch wheel base. Not only is this an almost 60 years old unusual pickup but then add an original Pontiac V-8 as its engine. (Chevrolet did not offer a V-8 on their early Napco 4 wheel drive pickups).

When the demand for V-8 engines began to develop in the mid 1950’s, GMC had none to offer! Their answer was to use the 347 V-8 used in the Pontiac car. Thus, such a large cubic inch for a ½ ton pickup. Of course, no Pontiac logos were shown. GMC decals were placed on the valve covers.

The proud owners are David & Julie Bailey of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. David found the GMC on the internet and Julie encouraged him to own it. It would be an excellent replacement for their specialty car, a 1992 Pontiac Trans Am. The pickup was in Salmon, Idaho. Quite a long distance from their east Oklahoma home. They quickly recognized the unusual qualities of this pickup and bought it! What a long drive to Idaho with a flatbed trailer, however the GMC was just as good as they had hoped. It fit nicely on their trailer and off David & Julie went on their long trip back to Oklahoma.

They are members of the Pontiac Oakland Club International which has now welcomed all GMC owners to be part of the fun. The club has over 9,800 members in the US and other countries. You can contact the club website at: www.poci,org. David belongs to the local chapter, The Indian Nations Pontiac Car Club with 60 members. He is also president of the local GMC chapter with 100 members.

This Idaho GMC was in such good mechanical shape, David drove it almost daily in his home town for 6 years. Brake problems began to develop in the last year and repairs seemed to be temporary at best. Therefore, the long distant plans for a total restoration was moved up. It was decided to disassemble it to the bare frame and start back like it left the factory in Pontiac, Michigan almost 60 years ago. The Baileys even did the frame better than new. It was sand blasted and given a powder coating!

Finally four years later David & Julie had a new 1957 GMC Napco. Julie even helped install the new windshield among so many other things. At least an extra year was spent waiting for more skilled people such as a body shop and upholstery to find time to work on it. All body parts were restored and painted individually. It was the Baileys that had to assemble the parts without chipping the paint. What a job! The original colors were used, Seminole Brown and Panama Cream. The other factory option is a fresh air heater and side mount spare tire.

Also included is the factory 2 barrel carburetor, 347 cubic inch V-8 with dual exhaust, 4 speed transmission, and Spicer transfer case.

The Bailey’s current project is building a new home in Broken Arrow, however this time a separate 30 x 50 garage will be included. We wonder what specialty vehicle will be placed in all the extra space this building provides.


Prior to 1957 the four wheel drive system used on General Motor’s trucks were provided and installed by specialized independent firms not connected with GM. These “kit” companies included American-Coleman, NAPCO, Marmon-Herrington, PABCO, etc. and made assemblies for many truck manufacturers. Beginning with 1957, General Motors selected NAPCO as their first official supplier of 4 x 4 units placed on Chevrolet and GMC trucks. Now dealers could sell factory-ready units as well as provide replacement parts listed in the GM Master Parts Catalog. GM used the NAPCO system exclusively between 1957 and 1959, however this name is not found in GMC or Chevrolet data books! Independent local NAPCO franchise dealers continued to install these units thru at least 1963. NAPCO’s can be identified by the raised N-A-P-C-O lettering on the forward side on the front axle housing.

You can contact David & Julie Bailey at: david.beetle@cox.net

One of So Many Awards!

Excellent From the Back Forward

The Long “M” Continued in 1957

Nice New Interior

Just After the Final Paint

New Seminole Brown Paint

The Upper Hood Says it All

Bed During Assembly

The Pontiac 347 V-8 gets David & Julie’s Touch

Bringing it Home Before the Restoration

Close View of it Arriving in Oklahoma

Not Bad for 45 Years and No Restoration

Everyday Work Truck Engine

Napco Transfer Case Made by Spicer

Caulk Letters Showing 4WD from the GM Factory

Grandson, Ian, in the Driver’s Seat

1936 Chevrolet Low Cab 1/2 Ton

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015


We just had to make an exception! Normally our monthly feature is to help show our readers what the new truck was when they first left the dealers showroom. However, this unrestored 1936 Chevrolet low cab ½ ton changed our direction. In our 35 years in business we have never seen an 80 year old work truck so unaltered. Yes, used, but almost all parts have remained without later changes.

What a reference vehicle for the restorer! There is almost no trucks of this age that can be used as a restoration example and the owner be so sure everything is right!


It arrived at our shop one morning on a trailer from its prior life’s location near Monument, Colorado. The new proud owners, Bryan and Beth Frogue were taking it to their home in Elkton, Kentucky. They found it on eBay and were very surprised that so many high bids came before they owned it. Others recognized the purity of this old truck. It would require almost no body work and what came with it was correct as installed by General Motors eighty years ago.

Bryan and Beth and their children Van, Madison and Emily are great examples of the old saying, “If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person”. They are avid antique vehicle collectors and enjoy originality so they quickly recognized the unique qualities of this little 1936. Their vehicle collection they have and still display, are at least 5 very early John Deere tractors plus a 1940 Chevrolet ¾ ton pickup and a 1950 Chevrolet 1 ton pickup with a 9’ ft. bed.

Pictured ’46 John Deere H, ’46 JD LI, ’41 JD LA, ’53 John Deere G, ’37 Unstyled John Deere B (Not Pictured)

They own 70 acres that support a stocker feeder cattle operation which they run approx. 150 cattle thru on a yearly basis and raise 40 ac of alfalfa and grass hay. Bryan has a regular day job as a crop consultant and Beth is a Kentucky Tech Area Technology Center school principal. She even drives the 1950 pickup to school!

Their plans for the 1936 is to give it a ground up restoration as time and money permits. At least now they own it and there will be no doubt on what is correct.

During the time Bryan and Beth were at our shop, we took various photos to emphasis the untouched qualities of their 1936. For the perfectionist, these relate to items that will be very important during a full restoration. Check the text under each picture.

You can contact Bryan & Beth at bryan.frogue@att.net

Still shows its Expert Blue. No repaints

Splash apron under grill. Dent free?

Rubber gas grommet still behind right rear fender

Black windshield frame. Saves time on assembly line with just one color.

Left rear fender with some black remaining.

Yes, hole for wiper motor. Drivers side only.

Unbelievable! The 80 year old headliner still in original position.

Spare tire pins to