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1950 Chevy Half-Ton

This month’s feature truck is a 1950 Chevrolet ½ ton that appears almost identical to the day it left the factory in St. Louis, Missouri about 70 years ago. It is a pure standard cab pickup; the most popular light truck sold that year by Chevrolet or any other make. It was made for work and thus no extras were ordered except a chrome grille (that may have been added later) Even the optional radio and heater are not on this pickup.

The standard features that came with this pickup is the 216 six cylinder engine, column shift three speed transmission, and 4.11 ratio differential behind a closed drive shaft. A nice combination for many, many miles of dependable transportation. Yes, it keeps its original six volt electrical system. Why not? Cars and trucks were sold by the millions each year with 6 volts. The electrical demands were only for the starter, lighting, and ignition system.

When you did not order one of the seven no cost optional colors you always received this Green. The nine wood bed planks “always” came painted in Black. After all, in the early years pickups were for work only. Varnished bed wood was never imagined! Most trucks were placed behind the barn on Friday and the family sedan was for socializing and shopping in town. Many never saw water until it rained!

The proud owners of this part of American automotive history are Gary and Jean Lerno of Independence, Missouri. They purchased it at a specialty auto auction in 2008. Gary’s uncle had a pickup almost exactly like this in the 1960’s and he remembered riding in it so often! Without any plans of actually seeing one like this again, “it was love at first sight”. They had it at their home at the end of the day.

Another reason for the purchase of this ground up restored “new” 1950 ½ ton: The Lerno’s moved to Missouri in 1994 from Orange, CA. due to an excellent employment transfer. They brought with them a rust free unrestored 1930 Model A Ford Coupe they had owned 20 years.

Outside Sun Visor. Added by the Chevrolet Dealer.

With finishing a new house and many hours on the new job position, the restoration on the Ford Coupe was placed on hold. Therefore, they were looking for a specialty vehicle that was ready to drive. This new appearing half ton was just right. It brought back pleasant memories and could be driven immediately. It could not have been better for Gary and Jean. They were very happy with being the new owners.

During the past eleven years this little ½ ton has brought much enjoyment. Almost trouble free, it is ready for fun drives whenever they have a need. Some of their most recent activities have been at participating in many parades with their grandchildren that live close by.

The most memorable parade occurred in mid-June 2020. The Lerno’s granddaughter Caitlee, graduated from a more rural high school about 20 miles away. As the school was closed due to the Corona Virus, no formal graduation plans had surfaced. It was then the student’s parents took over. The students would have a graduation!

The Lerno’s and their 1950 ½ ton participated in the best parade of all! Each student was taken on a long parade through Oak Grove, MO. and its suburbs.

Most easily found a vehicle, some very unusual, with a driver. Yes! Caitlee rode in the eye-catching 1950 pickup. The word got out in the surrounding area and thousands lined the streets to congratulate the graduates. Quite a sight!

The next day the graduates were driven by an outside special built and decorated platform. Their diplomas were handed out while announcements were made to the very large number of visitors.

Gary’s words: “What I like about the truck it’s not fancy or flashy. But when you park it in a car show everyone comes up to say, “I remember someone that had a truck just like this.” Makes you feel good to have others remember the good old days.”

For more information, Gary or Jean can be contacted at:  gjlerno@aol.com

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