For our Feature Truck of the Month series, we try to find trucks just a little different than the usual. This 1950 Chevy ½ ton is certainly a “stand alone”. A seventy year old pickup that looks almost original, however; there are many hidden modern updates that only the most expert Chevy truck perfectionist would notice!
The owner and builder is Deve Krehbiel of Hesston, Kansas. He was first introduced to the famous 1947-55 Chevy / GMC “Advanced Design” pickup about forty years ago and it was “love at first sight”. Next to his loving wife this would soon be the interest he was designed for!
Deve started slow with his new found hobby. He was employed full time in the electronic industry but began to look forward to the weekends when he could go with his mentor; John Erb, who only drove a 1951 Chevy ½ ton that he had restored.
John was a real enthusiast, traveled to opposite coasts (touched each ocean) in the US from mid-America Kansas. He once drove to Fairbanks, Alaska just to see if he could; all in his 1951 ½ ton with a 235 engine.
As Deve got more involved in older Chevy pickups, he decided to follow what he really liked: the Advance Design Trucks (1947-55). Repairing them and his other business-envelope printing for commercial customers- now took all of his and his wife’s time.
About 5 years ago Deve decided it was time to do what had become his life dream! He would build a second personal ½ ton and incorporate all he had learned. It would be a one of a kind special pickup that would drive about once a month drive in the local area. This is our Feature Truck!
It would require a total disassembly. He had never gone into this depth. This would involve parts rebuilding, refinishing, and then assembly on the very detailed restored frame. A major undertaking even for Deve, a self-educated truck restorer of many years. He knew what he was getting into, so 3 ½ years to complete was not a surprise!
To most Advance Design truck people, it now looks like a very original newly restored 1950 Deluxe ½ ton. It is not! We suspect there is almost no ½ tons in the US that have received this level with so many hidden updates. The over thirty years of working with AD trucks have paved the way for Deve to have built a 75 mph fast moving, excellent stopping, fun driving ½ ton that is not like it looks.
It was never designed to be a car! The firm suspension, easy non-power brakes, and Deve’s special built one of a kind 3-speed 1955-59 overdrive with floor shifter plus front straight axle lets you know it is still a truck!
As we will mention in this article! We strongly recommend you get Deve’s books. If you are interested in the workings of AD trucks, the pages will really keep your attention.
You will see so much detail in his books! As a teaser, here are some of Deve’s hidden additions that make this ½ ton what it is:
Cost: Don’t even think about creating this type pickup for less than $30,000 even if you do it yourself! Don’t buy rust to save on the cost. It will cost you much more in the end. To have a new 1/2 ton, there is absolutely nothing you don’t double check.
Engine: Deve obtained the most powerful full oil pressure inline six cylinders of the Advance Design series. His 261 cubic inch engine was once in 2 ton’s and school busses. Major rebuilding of this engine is described in his book.
Therefore, with above being said, Deve has written two detailed books for the 1947-55 Chevrolet trucks! They will really be of great value to you in this hobby.
Transmission: A 3 speed over-drive used in 1955-59 pickups as an option attached to the 261. Deve wanted to keep the feeling of a pickup so eliminated the factory column shift. He spent so many hours creating a method of making it a floor shift that would perfectly fit through the hole in a factory 4 speed transmission floor cover. His invention now operates perfectly!
Differential: Deve preferred to use the 1955-59 Chevrolet ½ ton differential. This provides a slightly higher speed 3.90:1 ratio compared to the closed drive shaft 4:11 to 1 of the 1941 through 1953 closed drive shaft original.
We did not get this drive shaft data direct from Deve but it is said you can use the drive shaft from a 1959-59 ½ ton and it fits with this combination and no cutting to make it shorter.
Brakes: Hidden behind the original 6 bolt front wheels are disc brakes. The master cylinder is dual chamber as must be with drum brakes at rear. The rear brakes were replaced with 1951 new design Bendix system; just a little better braking.
Fact: No master cylinder booster! This is overkill. Remember, in the mid-1960’s when disc brakes were introduced, boosters were not offered on even the new Chevy cars. These older little ½ tons do not need a power booster.
Leaf Springs: Don’t try to use your seventy year olds. Matching new springs is the way to go. This will also make sure your pickup is the correct height on all four corners.
Ignition: HEI modified distributors for the older Chevy engines are available. They look almost original but what a difference for a quick start on a cold morning.
Lighting: The modern LED’s put out great light and the surface and coloring is not noticeable as an addition.
With so many years in the hobby business of 1947-55 Chevy truck restoration, Deve decided to go an additional direction. He knew he had so much experience in even the smallest detail of these special trucks, why not take notes and photos? Later, Deve would put all together into a detailed book that could never be equaled! It would give one additional feature that was close to Deve’s heart. He decided many areas of this coming book would include modern hidden extras that allowed this classic seventy year old to be safer and more enjoyable to drive in today’s traffic. Nothing so radical as a V-8, automatic transmission, or power options. Just make the truck an enjoyable driver; many steps above of originals in the earlier years.
Thus, with each Chevy truck project Deve began keeping a file so no memory fade would happen. This was done for many, many years to create a restoration book just the way he wanted.
He had not yet completed this project when he realized the engine was such a detailed area it would require another book. With Deve’s hands-on experience, he had enough data to fill almost 150 pages like his earlier restoration book.
What’s so great in GM’s wisdom, they made the 235 and 261 as almost an exact fit replacement for the original 1953 and older 216 cubic inch low oil pressure engine. It is as if GM knew this exchange would be of great benefit in the years to come.
You can contact Deve at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each priced at $29.50.