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.
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!