About 5 years ago Steve and Cynthia Brouker of Lee, Massachusetts got an idea they wanted an old Chevy truck. Just one of many that have made early pickups about the most popular vehicle now collected and restored in the U.S.A. As most current pickup owners, the Broukers did not require a trailer queen for shows but rather a very nice clean, dependable driver for nice weather days.
The hunt began with local newspapers, in national magazines, and EBay. Many trucks were seen, read about, and considered. After much searching, this 1955 appeared and they looked no further. Everything appeared correct. The color was the big attention getter but this ½ ton had the mechanicals Steve wanted. The original 235 six cylinder engine, a column shift 3 speed transmission, and there had been no changes to the differential system. The Broukers went by appearance and what the person sold it had said. After all, the pickup was in Arizona and they lived in Massachusetts; 2500 miles apart. A trip to see it was not possible.
ALL WAS GOOD EXCEPT
They hired a person from an advertisement with a pickup and a car hauler trailer for the long journey. When the tarp was removed at the Brouker’s home, their newly purchased pickup had water in it. They knew it had been uncovered during the trip. The tarp had probably been added a few miles away. Not what they paid for. The driver cheated them on the high price.
Steve and Cynthia quickly realized, though the pickup looked great in the photos, the mechanicals were another story.
- The engine was noisy and smoked.
- The transmission gears were grinding.
- Differential dripped grease on their driveway.
- A rear wheel seal had leaked so bad, that brake shoes on one side were soaked in this grease.
Steve called the truck soon after they received it, “A Pig with Ear Rings!”
WHAT NOW? Steve retired from a career in the U.S. Navy, could handle most vehicle mechanical problems, but he had no experience with a 60 year old Chevy ½ ton. The hunt began for help.
Luck was on his side! He was told about one of the most experienced 1947-55 GM truck repair persons in the country and only 50 miles away. Well known in his field with over 40 years’ experience is Bob Adler in Stephentown, New York. Bob was just too busy with customers waiting their turn but he stopped his work, told Steve and his brother what to do on the phone, and had some repair parts in stock. Nice guy!
Here are just a few things that were done by Steve and his brother in Lee, Mass.:
- Engine removed, disassembled, sent out for cleaning and reboring. Cylinder head reconditioned, etc. and reassembled. What a job for the unexperienced!
- Transmission: Total disassembly. With a major hunt, almost all new gears and bearings were replaced. It was new again!
- Differential: New gaskets, axle housings removed to add new grease seals. Brake shoes and new hardware added.
- The Big Plus: The body and interior were almost as nice as advertised.
Steve and Cynthia now have a great little ½ ton. It is what they thought they were buying in the first place. It just had cost so much in un-planned expense and time. Far from the “Pig Stage”, Cynthia has named it “Happy”. We hope all of this is in a diary!!
You can contact the Brouker’s at: gunner@102CPOL.com
WHY THE WORDS “FIRST SERIES”
This mid-year introduction is why the hobbyists refer to a First or Second Series 1955 truck. This is a First Series 1955 (A slightly modified 1954) offered for several months until the introduction of the new body style. This First Series 1/2 ton was mostly just a “fill in the time gap” pickup with few changes except the introduction of the open drive shaft.
Cynthia is starting a business called,” HAPPY GO LUCKY”. It will feature oldie “Goodies” to children. Partial proceeds will go to, THE NATIONAL EATING DISORDER FOUNDATION in memory of their middle daughter; Mary, who passed away in 2019 at 35 years of age.