It was over 4 years ago when Vernon Buskirk of Webster, Wisconsin saw an ad on Craig’s list for a restorable 1953 Chevrolet ½ ton. He had been considering a truck like this for rebuilding and when he saw the photos it looked just right!
The all-day project included pulling a flatbed trailer 400 miles and bringing the little ½ ton home that same day. The truck appeared to have everything in place as GM made it so Vernon would have to do no major alterations. Vern said “It was very tired and had not run since 1970”.
The original owner and later the son-in-law had used it for the normal duties on their Iowa farm. When Vernon bought it the original 216 six cylinder engine was badly worn and the valve lifters were frozen in the head. A later model 235 engine was located and fit just right. This gave it that extra horsepower to better move with local traffic.
It was placed in Vern’s garage for 6 months before the total restoration began. He knew he would not be satisfied just making it run and giving it new paint so this was the time to do it all.
Then the big surprise occurred! The more Vern began to disassemble the cab, the more he discovered just how rusty the cab had become. It was not practical to restore. It would be much less expensive to locate another 1953 cab! Even the fenders could not economically be saved.
Once the cab and bed was removed he could more easily restore the frame and all the mechanicals. Reaching these items from the top saves so much effort than doing most of the restoration on the garage floor.
Everything was disassembled to the bare frame and the mechanicals were given a new life. The sheet metal was taken apart down to the rivets.
Norm hired a local body shop to handle the metal repairs and final paint on the replacement cab. Of course, now came the hard part. After the chassis was restored piece by piece and the sheet metal was complete, the very careful assembly begun.
Everything must fit together as when it left the assembly line. What a project! No scratching the metal and all new rubber must lay in the proper place.
The project required 3 ½ years. It is now Vern’s pride and joy. During the final days of last summer this became his drive on nice days. Vern is an example to the neighbors as they saw the parts spread over and around the garage and gradually emerge into a work of art. This little show stopper catches attention everywhere it goes!
For questions on the restorations you can call Vern Buskirk at 1-715-349-7305.
The Replacement Cab Arrives
A Beautiful Dash Restored Just Right
Secured to the new Motor Mounts
Front Fenders in Place