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Safely Changing Tires on Split Rim Wheels

Monday, September 9th, 2019

Split rim wheels were used over 30 years on larger trucks with inner tubes. They were the only method of keeping the tube within the tire under air pressure and to allow for easy removal of the tire from the rim by tire repair shops and individuals in home garages.

An over view of tire removal was to remove the air pressure, push the top bead of the tire down to release pressure from the small circular lock ring. This ring must be rotated several degrees until it can easily be removed from the wheel. This allowed easy access to the tire and tube to be removed.

The big danger is when a more unskilled person replaces the lock ring without fully turning it to its correct position. Unfortunatly, the tube will still take in air pressure when the lock ring is not fully secured into the proper position. It is then when what happens that has given split rim wheels such a bad reputation of permanently damaging a tire repair person, so many did not live to see the next day!

General Motors was well aware of dangers of not completely turning the lock ring into the required position. Thjis recommendation applies today just as it did in the early years.

The following shows a diagram from a 1959 GMC operation manual. To prevent a major accident, simply place 4 chains around the tire and rim and fastener. In case the worst happens while adding air, the lock ring stays within the retainer chains! (How many small shops and farm owners took this precaution?)

1936 GM Oldsmobile Truck

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018
Here is a page from an 80 year old automotive magazine. It appears the General Motors Truck Division made a slightly different truck for the country of Mexico.

Seven dealers in Mexico are listed. Whether the trucks were just assembled in Mexico is unknown.

It appears the Oldsmobile trucks are almost like the 1936 Chevrolet in the USA with the modified grill and emblems as the exception. The Great Depression in the US was at its height in 1936. Could it be that General Motors was looking at different venues to try to slow the gradual decrease of automobile and truck sales?

The advertisement that benefits dealers in Mexico are all in English and the measurements are in the metric system as used in Mexico. Strange!

Another Surprise!

When “1936 Oldsmobile Trucks” is typed on Google Search, it brings up this truck with the same grill and it can also be found in Australia. It can be traced to the years 1936 through 1938. All had the flathead 230 cubic inch engine that was in the Oldsmobile passenger car.

It is doubtful that the trucks were transported by boat between Mexico and Australia, could be, but it seems expensive. Was there an assembly line in each country OR…….?

The New 1955 Chevrolet Truck

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

The 1947 through early 1955 Advance Design Chevrolet Trucks were great sellers however General Motors realized that a changed body style would soon be in order. The competition was strong and if Chevrolet was to stay “Number One” in truck sales, a new planned body style would be necessary.

It all came into existence in mid-1955. The totally new cab and front sheet metal was introduced as “The Task Force Trucks”.

There was even a slight resemblance to the new totally redesigned 1955 Chevrolet cars. The Chevrolet truck design was so different than the Advanced Design body style America was accustomed to seeing. It certainly out dated the Advance Design truck. Sales continued strong and kept the mid 1955 Chevrolet trucks “Number One” in the nation.

By this time US citizens had a little extra disposable income. GM had seen this coming as more options and accessories were sold in 1954 than ever before for the Advance Design trucks.


For almost all of 1954, GM had been heavily advertising the coming of the NEW 1955 Chevrolet passenger car. It would be a totally different vehicle. Even a V-8 came optional and a 12 volt electrical system was standard! The new Chevy trucks would also offer an optional V-8 engine and standard 12 volt electrical system. GM spent so much money to make people aware of what was coming! They used television, local newspapers, radio, magazines, mail-outs, posters in dealerships showrooms etc. to keep these new coming Chevrolet cars in the minds of the American public.
General Motors decided the way to get the very most for their advertisement dollar was to hold back the introduction of the coming new 1955 Chevrolet Task Force Trucks. These were not to compete with the new Chevrolet cars. Some smaller Chevrolet dealers could just get one or two vehicles in their showroom and GM wanted it to be passenger cars in early 1955. GM would wait for the 1955 Chevrolet Task Force truck showing until after the show room car introduction and the crowds slowed.

Then the new 1955 Chevrolet truck advertisements were started and a totally different group of customers were expected to be in the showrooms. Their many passenger car ads they had used for the new 1955 car were GM’s guide on how to do it again but this time for trucks.

The dealers loved it! They never had so many people looking at cars and trucks in one year. If a dealer did not make more money in their history during the 1955 year, they just were not trying! (and GM might find someone else to own their Chevrolet dealership!)

The Demise of 1935 High Cab Pickups

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

The Great Depression has reached a level not ever expected. About 25% of the country’s work force is without income. The Chevrolet Motor Company introduces a less expensive automobile (The Standard) to try to stop vehicle sales from their gradual downward spiral.

The 1935 1/2 ton pickup is kept as basic as possible to still be rated as a 1/2 ton and continues to have an actual bed with sides and a tailgate. In some countries, to lower costs, only a flat wood deck was provided on the new pickups. In the US, competition prevented the pickup from being this basic. Manufacturers were concerned not to go quite that far for fear of losing sales. The cab continued to be sheet metal nailed to a wood frame to create the body’s framework. At that time it was the less expensive method of cab construction.

The 1935 cabs were so basic they offered no place for a glove box, heater, or radio.  Even the grills were black and not chrome.  If you bought a pickup in 1935 it was because you had a hauling need as they were not a weekend pleasure vehicle. From the very beginning, during the Great Depression, and even later they were for work responsibilities.

Their hauling ability was the factor. The Chevrolet dealers understood during the depression years not to stock miscellaneous non-essential replacement parts for pickups. Owners would not purchase them. If a pickup rear fender was bent against a tire by a farmer backing into a low stump, it was hammered away from the tire. It may result in just a welded crack. If a hubcap was lost, it was not replaced. These problems did not affect it hauling ability and money during the depression was in short supply! It was the repair of mechanical items that was the priority. So these everyday 1935 workers continued their daily tasks on farms and for small businesses in towns and cities even with body damage, broken glass, noisy exhaust, leaking radiators, etc.

Then the worst thing happened! The United States entered World War II in 1941 and almost all small truck production stopped. Yes, these little basic 1935 1/2 ton’s continued to do their daily work. No replacement pickups were there to allow them to be just a replacement standby. If major body damage occurred, they were sent to a salvage yard and soon became recycled for the metal needed for the war effort. Of course, their rubber tires were always kept from salvage and could be quickly sold to waiting buyers. New tires were not available.

During years after WWII, the returning veterans demanded new and more modern houses, appliances, cars, and trucks. It became the largest boom time in our nation’s history. Many older material things reminded the middle age generation of the prior hard times in the country. The new was in! More disposable income in the US was available than ever before. Factories found it difficult to keep up with the demand for new cars and pickups. What did this do to the little 1935 1/2 ton? It was the end for most of the remaining survivors! If they could drive it, it could at least be the down payment on a new pickup and the dealer would probably scrap them.

Another item that created the death of even a better 1935 was the wood frame that held their cab together. Most of these work trucks had no garage or barn for protection from the weather. To replace the rotting wood in a 15 year old cab was not a consideration.

It gets worse! As the price of scrap increased, those searching for metal looked for anything available. When you need money and have no appreciation of a very tired 1935 1/2 ton, it becomes a prime candidate for the crusher.

It gets even worse! If somehow an actual real 1935 is found by an excited restorer years later, his high hopes for its rebuilding fades away. He discovers the price of a cab wood kit can be near $3,000.00 and replacement metal body parts usually must be handmade.

The following photos show a few of the remaining survivors. The owners of their ground up restoration will assure you the expense and time to make them correct far exceeds even a pickup two years newer with its all metal body.

Owner: Roger Sorenson La Crosse, Wisconsin
Owner: Richard Wright Westtown, New York

Owner: Jim Johnston Springfield, Oregon

American Ingenuity

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Needed are some logs without bark and a table saw. Cut in half and add tongue and groove. You have a truck flat bed!

Solving Bad Gasoline Problems

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Leaving your truck, car, or most all gasoline operated equipment in storage is asking for trouble!  Many of us, as hobbyists, collect more cars and trucks than we will drive at least monthly.  They sit in the back of your garage or are stored across town in a friend’s garage, barn, etc.

Three to five years later when it is time to move them, they usually won’t start.  You find in some cases, you cannot even get fuel to the carburetor.

After placing the blame on the carb, fuel pump, or filter, you finally (after hours of work) it comes down to bad gasoline.  How did this happen?

The answer is simple.  In today’s world ethanol is added to some gasoline as much as 10%.  It gives more fire power to the gasoline that has been reduced in octane partially with additives that help lower air pollution.

This ethanol (alcohol) is damaging to many rubber and neoprene seals in your fuel system.   Even worse, with the formula of modern gasoline plus ethanol, it will even change to sludge in your fuel system including the tank during long storage.  Additives placed in ethanol gas to prevent fuel deterioration is said to be effective not more than about 1 ½ years.

All this spells “Big Money” to clean your fuel system. Just taking your fuel tank out of your vehicle, having it cleaned at a radiator repair shop (there aren’t many of these businesses anymore) will cost a minimum of $300.00.

We recently visited a small engine repair shop where 30 hedge trimmers, chain saws, and weed whackers were waiting to be repaired.  The shop owner said 95% were there because of using gasoline with ethanol.

The answer to prevent this problem may be easier than you think.   If possible STOP using gasoline with ethanol in your vehicles that are rarely driven or started.  In our state, Missouri, there is no ethanol at many of the premium grade gasoline pumps http://e0pc.com/MO.php.  This maybe the answer in your area.  Check the gasoline pumps in your state and see if your premium gas is ethanol free.

Some of you may remember the days prior to the 1970’s when you bought a vehicle that had been sitting 5 to 10 years.  The gasoline smelled terrible but the motor would start.  If it had brakes, you could even drive around the block.  There was no alcohol in the gasoline.

Use premium gasoline in your stored vehicles or any yard equipment with limited use if it is without ethanol.

In Missouri, the approximately .20¢ extra per gallon for premium fuel far outweighs the headaches later!!

Solving Bad Gasoline Problems

1947-53 Gauge Mystery

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

We ask our readers: What is the correct color for the letters and numbers for the 1947-53 Chevrolet truck dash gauges? Were they white? Have they slightly yellowed after 50 years and now have a more cream color?

Our company has made the decals both with white and slight yellow hue. We had assumed the originals have slightly yellowed with age. See photo.

I welcome your opinions at jcarter@oldchevytrucks.com

1947-1953 Guage Mystery

Clearance Light Mystery

Friday, April 20th, 2012

During the April 2012 Portland, Oregon swap meet, we noticed a very unusual feature on a 1972 Chevrolet ¾ ton. Five GM optional clearance lights were set on the front of the cab above the windshield. The surprise was the inverted dimples stamped at the factory. Amber plastic lenses are secured here. See photo.

Could this mean you received a different cab when you ordered the clearance light option? It seems unlikely these relatively inexpensive plastic lenses would result in the production of a special ordered cab. Could this be? What happens years later when the plastic is sun baked, broken, and GM has discontinued these lenses? Does the truck then run with just the dimples?

We request your help. Can someone explain the story on the 5 raised metal dimples? Email your comments to: jcarter@oldchevytrucks.com.

Amendment to above article:

We appreciate the visitors to our website tech article on the 1971-72 cab clearance lights. Their comments have helped clear the mystery of whether a different cab was required if you ordered the five lights on the top of the cab.

The answer is: “Yes, a different cab roof was made just for these lights”. The answer to the question even goes deeper. The pictured clearance light lenses were offered from 1971 through 1991 and are often referred to as “firemen hats”.

Earlier in 1969-70 the lenses were more rounded and collectors referred to them as “hockey pucks”. It is not yet known if a different cab roof was offered in 1967-68.

We recently found an original 1972 Chevrolet Truck Data Book. Under options they show the 5 roof marker lights as number U01 at a list price of $26.00. It does not go into the requirement of Chevrolet using a different cab. We suspect this was GM’s concern and not the retail buyer.

Our thanks for much of this data goes to Trevor Keiffe in Kansas and Chris Welch in Yukon, Oklahoma.

1972 Chevrolet
1972 Chevrolet 1972 Chevrolet
1972 Chevrolet 1972 Chevrolet
1972 Chevrolet

1958-59 GMC Economy Pickup

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

There is certainly truth in the statement:  Auto and truck manufacturers are in business to show a profit!  Based on this, the General Motor’s truck division made a decision for 1958 that sales could be increased in an area that had been mostly ignored in prior years.
1958-59 GMC Pickup

The GMC division found they were weak in commercial truck sales and yet the market was there!  The large quantity buyers were commercial fleet and government agencies.

In fact, even the smaller towns in America use at least a few trucks for daily maintenance responsibilities.  General Motors wanted more of this high volume business for their GMC division.

There was one problem.  The lighter GMC’s were known for extra trim and larger engines.  The pricing separated them more from being sold to volume customers.  The truly big buyers usually wanted more bare bones, lowest price transportation.  Chrome and engine size had limited interest.  A person in an office buying fleet vehicles for a company is usually told to obtain the best price and stay within a budget.  The make of a car and truck was not as important as the price.  This was costing GMC a very large number of sales.  It appears they could not compete when price was the first criteria.

Behind closed doors, steps were taken to increase volume but not lower GMC’s profit line. Thus an economy model was introduced in 1958.  A few of the changes are as follows:

1)      Gone was the expensive chrome grille with the attractive multi-piece park light assemblies.

2)      Even single headlights reduced the price.

3)      One piece stamped steel bumpers were painted black.

4)      The full inside metal dash is replaced with less expensive 1955-59 Chevrolet design.

5)      The small Chevrolet bowtie at the bottom of the 1955-59 Chevrolet gauge face was replaced with GMC letters.

6)      The seats were non-pleated vinyl.

7)      The smaller inline six cylinder engine was standard equipment.

8)      Hubcaps and emblems were painted.

9)      Extra cost options would be rear bumper, radio, heater and 4 speed transmission.

Do any of these GMC economy trucks exist 50 years later?  Most second owners bought them from the fleet owner with only work in mind.  Few restorers today will look twice at these ultra economy trucks when deciding on a project to build.  However, if you want a truck that is almost one of a kind in today’s world, find a 1958-59 GMC economy model!

1968-72 Blazer Seat Belt Storage

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012


To correct the concern about seat belts not being readily available, GM added a few extras during these years.

On the outer side of bucket and bench seats a sheath and spring operated roller kept the belt clean and out of sight when not being used. It kept this belt always in the same place when needed. On the center of the bench seat, the passenger and driver is expected to have the belt beside them on the cushion and ready for use.

On trucks with bucket seats and no console, GM added small non-metal pockets for the buckle on the inside of the seat. They were attached to the edge of the bucket seat with two fasteners. It’s very rare to find these seat belt pockets in trucks today.

With the accessory console in place, these two pockets cannot be on the side of the seat cushion. The seat belt buckle fits into a rectangular metal pocket in the top of the console.

1968-72 Blazer
Seat Belt Pocket, No Console
1968-72 Blazer
Seat Belt Pocket, With Buckle
1968-72 Blazer
Seat belt pocket in accessory console

1939-46 1/2 Ton Suburban/Panel Gas Tanks

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011


The gas tanks are totally different on the more common pickup versus the panel truck/suburban body, though the two frame rails, drive train, and front sheet metal are the same on each 1939-46 ½ ton.

On pickups the 18 gallon tank sets comfortably and safely within the seat riser and below the seat cushion. Over a million of these pickups were sold during this production period.

The panel truck and suburban were totally different animals. They had no protective seat riser. In fact, there was not even a passenger seat in most panel trucks. For protection, their 16 gallon gas tank was placed inside of the right frame rail and under the body. This gives the tank the safety of the frame rail and being in front of the rear axle. In the attached photos, the totally different shape of the panel and Suburban is quite obvious.

Gas tank removed from a 1941 panel truck.

1939-46 1/2 Ton Suburban/Panel Gas Tanks 1939-46 1/2 Ton Suburban/Panel Gas Tanks
1939-46 1/2 Ton Suburban/Panel Gas Tanks 1939-46 1/2 Ton Suburban/Panel Gas Tanks

Under the seat tank (usually on smaller trucks)

Mice Love Old Chevy Trucks

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011


Short of cats? When older vehicles are left unattended, mice find a way to get inside. It’s their natural instinct! The damage they do with their families over a few years is a disaster to metal. They don’t seem to leave the nest when their bladder says “it’s time”.

This nest was recently found inside a 1941 Chevrolet ½ ton door when the inside panel was removed. There it was as you see it, the past home for many generations of mice.  It appears they removed much padding from the adjacent seat!

Mice Love Old Chevy Trucks Mice Love Old Chevy Trucks

See below this 1940 Chevy upper air dam under the hood.  What a perfect place for a mouse house. Out of the reach of cats, hawks, snakes, wind and rain! The little guys just keep bringing in more nesting materials. They make more and more babies and of course we know what else they do that rusts out the sheet metal.
Mice Love Old Chevy Trucks

1960 – 1966 GMC V-6 EMBLEMS

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

During these years, GMC’s claim-to-fame motor was their V-6. In fact, from 1960 through 1964 this is the only engine they offered in their vehicles. The emblem on each side of the hood showed the world the truck had the V-6. A strong large cast-iron block had a two-barrel Stromberg carburetor. The spark plugs in the head were above the exhaust manifold, quite different than the Chevrolet V-8 design (even today) with the plugs below their manifold.

In 1965, GMC began to also offer an inline 6-cylinder, which was the first time ever that GMC and Chevrolet shared motors. It was actually the great little 250 6-cylinder that Chevrolet introduced earlier in 1963. As their base motor, it had a lower price point, provided better gas mileage, and required less expense when repairs were needed.

GMC held strong to this V-6 motor design. It was offered through 1969, even after they began also using the Chevy V-8 in 1967. The V-6 emblems were not displayed at the end of their 1966 body style.

1960 - 1966 GMC V-6 EMBLEMS
1960 - 1966 GMC V-6 EMBLEMS

Cab Over Engine “COE” Scrapbook Page 2

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

One of the most unique GM body styles is the famous COE (Cab Over Engine) design. By placing the cab over the engine of a large truck the wheel base could be shorter. This allowed the same maximum payload to be carried in a shorter truck.

These became quite popular in crowded downtown deliveries. The COE truck could turn in a shorter radius, on tight corners, iin narrow alleys, and still carry the same payload.


  • rougher ride for drivers
  • engine maintenance more difficult
  • cab interior was hotter in summer with engine under the cab
  • The driver and a passenger did not slide on the seat to get into the cab. They used two steps and a special hand grip to climb up and gain access to the cab interior

Back To – Page 1 COE Trucks

Click images to enlarge

Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE 1946 Chevrolet COE
1946 Chevrolet COE Owned by: Jim Cadorette 1946 with 2000 6.5 turbo diesel with 4 speed Over Drive

1948 COE 1948 COE 1948 COE coe steps
1951 COE 1940 COE 1940 GMC COE 1947-1955 Fender Pad

1948 COE 1939 1946 COE Grab Handle 1939 1946 COE mirror red coe
Owner: Koos Diedel from the Netherlands…1950 Red, 3 years to make it more “Freeway” friendly. Buick V-8, Air ride & so much more…”1951 Black – Bone Stock” 1939-1946 COE grab handles (to pull yourself up into the cab) 1939-1946 The left 2-leg mirror arm attached to the door. 1941-1946 Close Up – COE Grill

red COE 1939 1946 COE Grab Handle 1939 1946 COE Grab Handle coe steps
1947 – 1950 GMC COE 9 foot 1 ton 1947- 1953 pick up bed on a modern chassis. 1947 – 1953 COE 1941-1946 COE Steps, To get into the Cab…

1941 COE 1949 COE 1940 COE
1941 COE
1949 COE
1939 COE
Starting a COE restoration from the ground up.

1940 COE 1949 COE 1950 COE 1941 COE
1940 Chevrolet COE
Looks Expensive
The Restoration Begins 1950 COE
1941 Chevy COE

1950 Suburban COE COE
Combine a COE and the same year Suburban
Look what you can do in your backyard

Stubby Gus

Bet you never saw one of these! A 2 ton truck you can park alongside all the automobiles in a shopping center parking lot.

This one of a kind 1952 COE truck is owned by Tim Tawney of Emmett, Idaho. He found it for sale three years ago and it was love at first sight. Its frame had been shorted to an unbelievable 91”. This is about the size of an early Volkswagen Beetle. Though 60 years old, it still has its correct wheels and 235 low pressure six cylinder engine. The paint, believed to be about 30 years old has the aged patina look that only time can create.

One of the trucks most unique features is the tow rig secured to the small frame extension behind the cab. It was manufactured by the Weaver Tow Company in 1918. This is a “2 speed hand crank” unit so the driver must manually operate the lever to lift the auto before it is pulled. Those were the days!

Tim is only the fourth owner. Fortunately, the 12’ door on his home garage allows for a place it can be kept in very bad weather. Where does he use this COE? Of course, Tim drives it to work every day at a local auto parts store. It must attract more attention than the sign on the building.

The Tawney Family has a name for most of their vehicles and this COE is referred to as “Stubby Gus”. You can contact Tim by email at: Tims70@hotmail.com or Facebook at: Stubbygus@facebook.com.

Back To – Page 1 COE Trucks

Cab Over Engine “COE” Scrapbook

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

One of the most unique GM body styles is the famous COE (Cab Over Engine) design. By placing the cab over the engine of a large truck the wheel base could be shorter. This allowed the same maximum payload to be carried in a shorter truck.

These became quite popular in crowded downtown deliveries. The COE truck could turn in a shorter radius, on tight corners, in narrow alleys, and still carry the same payload.


  • rougher ride for drivers
  • engine maintenance more difficult
  • cab interior was hotter in summer with engine under the cab
  • The driver and a passenger did not slide on the seat to get
    into the cab. They used two steps and a special hand grip to climb up and gain
    access to the cab interior

Go To – Page 2 COE Trucks

Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE
1946 Chevrolet COE, Billy Marlow (all above) Read Billy’s Story..click here

1948 COE 1954 COE 1954 george coe 1951 Jim Carter coe
1948 Owner Ken Wedelaar, Midland Park, NJ
1954 Owner George Coe
1951 …Owner Jim Carter, Independence, MO

1940 COE 1946 chevrolet COE 1946 chevrolet COE 1946 chevrolet COE
1940 Owner, Unkown
I found this 1946 COE in Fall City, WA and it is now in Soldotna, Alaska. I shipped the truck From Tacoma Wa to Anchorage Alaska on Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE). I have driven it about 500 miles since I bought it.
Jim Fassler
Soldotna, Alaska

1948 COE 1948 COE 1948 COE 1948 COE
COE Salvage Yard
1941 – 1946 for Parts
1946 for Parts
1940 Unknown Owner

coe three headlights
coe red truck
coe red truck
coe red truck
Three clear seal beams on a 1946! What could have been the purpose? 1941-1946 GMC owner unkown 1938 GMC COE… Owner Jim Raeder Altoona, PA.
1954 Chevy COE

big ugly cab over engine cholly coe
Cab Over Engine….Chevrolet Ugly Truck
Owner Unknown
Look to the right! 1948 GMC Crew Cab Owned by Cholly Nachman Could this be your Grandfather?

If you would like your Chevrolet or GMC Cab Over Engine featured on our website, please send us an email along with your name, year, make, and model of your truck along with your photos. You can email your information by using our contact email form…click here

We don’t care if they are Ugly!!!

COE Cover Photo

Another fine example of an old
Chevrolet Cab Over Engine Truck…

NOTE: You can make a beautiful COE from misc. parts. This truck has a 1954 cab (one piece windshield), 1947-1953 grill and 1954 parking light housings in the fenders.

Go To – Page 2 COE Trucks

Lost Engine Numbers

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

GM trucks titled prior to the mid-1950’s were usually registered using the stamped engine number not the body digits pressed in the door ID plate. This practice has created many problems in later years as states became stricter in titling.

Unfortunately, many older vehicles outlast their engine and owners rarely rebuild the originals. To save time and certainly expense, a rebuilt unit or a used one from another vehicle would often be installed. This worked great until years later when state safety inspections began or the vehicle was sold out of state. With a prior engine transplant, there was no ID numbers that would match the title.

Even today, this problem occurs as older trucks with different engines are pulled out of barns and from the property line of a farmer’s back field.

Demise of the GM Panel Truck

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Even before the 1920’s, light commercial hauling using panel trucks had found a loyal growing customer base. With increasing numbers of small businesses and the population gradually moving to the cities, the panel truck found a place in our society. By the 1930’s, most all truck manufacturers had designed a panel body to fit on their existing pickup truck chassis.

Advantages of the panel over other trucks for small business are numerous. Their weather-tight body protects cargo from rain, snow, driving wind and summer sun. Very important is the security feature. Merchandise is out of sight and can be locked. They are economical over big trucks and much more maneuverable than the larger commercial vehicles. Panel trucks are just right for moving in crowded streets and narrow alleys.

demise panel truck 1

Retired panel trucks used for storage (above)

Even at the end of the panel truck’s life, auto wrecking yards often kept a few for storage. The bodies were excellent for protecting used parts (starters, generators, bearings, clutches, etc.) from the weather.

During the mid 1960’s, a major drop in panel truck popularity began. The vehicle that was once wanted by most every business in America was now being overlooked because of a ‘new kid on the block.’ The General Motors G-series van had arrived! This new van with short nose, had better turning radius, more cargo space on a like wheelbase, and a side freight door. It was the truck to buy. On most models the price was even lower.

The panel truck could not compete! It’s sales began dropping almost every year. Their popularity became so low that GM discontinued the vehicle even before the end of the 1967-1972 body style. This tells how the sales had dropped. Production was stopped even though the assembly line was operating and the tooling was able to continue stamping the body panels. In 1970, General Motors called it quits. The panel truck was history!

demise panel truck 2

1970 G Series Van (above)

With the major sales decline during the final years, you will see less of the 1967-70 units than of the earlier designs.

Even finding a rough final series panel is a rare occurrence. The newest is now over 30 years old. They were built for work responsibilities. Few were kept out of the weather. Most were owned by companies and driven by their employees.

demise panel truck 3

Trees and Trucks

Thursday, February 11th, 2010


tree trucks 1


tree trucks 1



There couldn’t be an easier place for a tree to grow. If you don’t move your truck for a few years, trees will find it. As they grow wider, the truck bends to fit!






trees trucks 2



Here livestock cannot eat the first growth.  Lawn mowers can’t reach it.






trees trucks 3




It’s free to grow.





trees trucks 3

The Finale

In this example this small young tree sensed the light coming through the square bumper bolt hole and grew in that direction. It went on through the hole and continued it’s growth. All was growing good until a weed sprayer came on the scene.

Compliments of Jerry’s Chevy Restoration Shop. Independence, Missouri.



Wider Wheels on 3/4 Tons 1946-59

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

When you need more room for wider 8 bolt non-split rim wheels on your stock 1946-1959 Chevrolet or GMC ¾ ton, there is a solution. (The long tie rod ends prevent the use of wheels much wider than the original split rims.) Customers have given us an answer! It is not difficult and uses all original GM parts.

After the left and right tie rod ends from a 1 or 1-1/2 ton. They are about one inch shorter. As their threads are reversed from the ¾ ton design (these replacement ends have male ends), you will need a tie rod from a 1 or 1-1/2 ton with female ends. Yes, they fit into the original arms beside the ¾ ton backing plates.

The tie rod ends are still available new, however, the long tie rod will need to be from a used truck. If you are lucky, the tie rod with ends will come together from the older truck. There is even a good chance the ends will be in great shape and won’t need replacing. If so, mark the position of the ends on the tie rod if you remove them. Another end can be replaced in the exact prior position. In this way your front suspension should stay in alignment and save you money and time in an alignment shop.

Note: If the used tie rod ends are good, remove the old grease. It probably contains road grit and will cause premature wear. Put some heat on the ends before adding new grease through the zirk fitting. This will soften the old grease. It will then come out when new lubricant is added under pressure.