Owner: David Cross
Have you ever crawled under a pickup for sale looking for damage? You then turned it down because some rust was coming through the floor. Well, check this! David Cross of Stillwater, Minnesota found this 1957 Chevrolet 1/2 ton and ignored the signs of major rust. What is now a show quality truck would normally have been crushed by a recycler.
This 1957’s life began with the highway department of the state of Iowa. When it was retired many years later it was sold to a local farmer who used it only on his property and never titled it. Thus, David can honestly say he is the second owner of record.
When the farmer used up what life was left in the pickup, it wound up in a ravine with occasional flooding and an infestation of mice, snakes and other varmints.
A used car dealer pulled it out of the mud in 2000. His later ad said “The truck is all there and runs”. David, a new person to the truck hobby, drove it home five miles with no brakes, a leaking gas tank, and water running from the radiator. It’s little 235 engine was struggling. We wonder why!
It is now restoration time. David refused to yield to its many problems. Admitting to a mistake was out of the question. David and this body and paint person took the truck apart. They found it much worse than they ever imagined. The small rust holes grew gigantic when even taped with a little hammer.
David’s body and paint person is Kevin O’Brian from O’Brian’s Paint and Body Works in Afton, Minnesota. He did all the metal work and paint. David provided most of the mechanicals and assembly. Kevin is one of the best body persons in the state but he admitted this project stretched him into new territory. David and Kevin saved the frame, running gear, cab, and hood. The rest of the 1957 just was not repairable!
Saving the body was major since the front body mounts were gone. Kevin built a jig to align the cab with the frame. This was necessary while the floor and cab mounts were constructed. The strip across the windshield top was rusted out. New metal had to be shaped and welded in, a major task. To fit the new windshield, the cab had to be just right. No errors allowed. The metal body steps would not hold a person without bending. This total area was taken out from the remainder of the cab.
The following pictures will show the finished product plus what David and Kevin had to work with. The restoration of this derelict 1957 pickup is clear evidence that given time, money, talent, and loving care anything is possible.
You can contact David at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What we started with. Looks much better than it really is.
Bed intact but ultimately useless; fenders creased and serious rust everywhere
Really ugly rust thru inner and outer cab top, big concern about windshield opening.
Cab bottom. ugh! lower hinges not attached to anything solid. door pockets gone, floor boards rusted through. Front cab mount badly deteriorated. Cab corners, inner and outer rusted through.
End panel rusted through but note spare bracket in good shape
Another view of cab doors useless and discarded
Alignment frame to position what’s left of cab on frame. Now the welding can begin.
New cab corners welded in place
Sandblasted and repainted frame before spring and axle assemblies were removed and rebuilt.
Cab bottom with new floor and steps in place. Saturated with POR-15 and seam sealed
Rebuilt cab in primer. Door step and quarter panel is double thickness to stiffen cab
Engine reassembly paint and detail
Engine accessories installed. All hookups done and wiring completed
Out of the paint booth
Bed wood during installation.
Painted. Assembled and ready to push out of shop