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1936 Chevrolet 1 1/2 Ton

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

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Our monthly feature truck is an 80 year old regular driver! Born in late 1936, it found a great home in mid-Missouri about 10 years ago. It was found in Western Kansas where the low humidity slows rust on metal left outside. To keep it looking much like it was found, the remaining Brewster Green paint was untouched and the surface rust from many years in the elements was also kept as is.

What is interesting is the mechanicals. They have been kept pure 1936 Chevrolet and are restored to perform as they did when they left the factory. Therefore, it cannot be given the title of a “Rat-Rod”. These usually have very up to date hidden mechanicals.

When you know the proud owner, (Mike Russell of Columbia, Missouri) you can understand why he is a real example of what the antique car and truck hobby is all about. There has never been a time since his teenage years that Mike hasn’t owned an early vehicle. In his case they were usually Chevrolets. He even brought his son, Sam, home from the hospital 37 years ago after his birth using the family’s 1935 Chevy Coupe!

This feature truck of the month project was begun because Mike had got an “itch” to have an older 1 ½ ton in about 2005. Therefore, on a Saturday in that year Mike and a friend were driving a distance to evaluate a 1940 Chevy 1 ½ ton that was advertised. During the drive they noticed a farm beside a mid-Missouri rural back road that looked like nothing had been discarded in 60 years including all their past worn out farm machinery. The surrounding grounds were loaded with rusty stuff. They got out to look just because of curiosity.

In 10 minutes looking Mike saw an interesting site in a distant field. It proved to be a 1936 Chevrolet 1 ½ ton (short 131” wheel base with 5th wheel for towing) attached to a long flatbed trailer. Both had sat in that spot for many years! One of the attached photos is just what Mike saw that day!

What became even more interesting to Mike was the attached trailer. It still had its rear gate with the large stamped letters: FRUEHAUF. He thought: It must be about as old as the truck. Could there be any others left in the world?

Mike had to have them both! No doubt the owner was very excited to sell something out of his large junk collection but of course he kept this to himself during the money negations.

So, now Mike is the new owner. The pair are soon at Mike’s business. The Show Me Powder Coating Co. in Fulton, Mo and an evaluation of this new purchase begins.

Sadly, he had to face some financial facts. The truck was too far gone to restore, unless someone was in prison and worked for .25 / hour. Otherwise Mike would have to jack up the radiator cap and place a different truck under it! Yes, at least he still had that rare Fruehauf trailer. That became the high point of the purchase.

So Mike still had his heart set on a 1 ½ ton but the hunt was narrowed to a 1936 so it will be like the one that was not restorable. The hunt begins again!

The diligent hunt ended with a find in Western Kansas where the dry air keeps rust to a minimum. The almost 500 mile one way trip would be worth the effort. This 1936 1 ½ ton had the longer 157 inch wheel base and was previously a farm truck. We will call this 1936 No. 2. It had not run for so many years but Mike knew he could fix whatever mechanical problem it needed.

The restoration of 1936 No. 2 starts. Now the money begins to go out on truck expenses such as a “total” brake rebuilding. The engine head has several burned valves. The lower end of the 207 block required most of the rod shims to be removed to create the proper clearance. The engine is cleaned painted and returned to the truck. Gauges are checked and repaired as needed. Wiring installed. New original tail lights are added. Seat cushion covers need replacements. Windshield and side window mechanisms must be repaired and lubricated, etc. etc.

Because the sheet metal was so straight for an 80 year old it was decided to create a different finished project than most would ever consider. Mike would keep it much like an above average prewar used working truck however all hidden mechanicals would be restored to new condition. He wanted no part of being broken down by the highway! Being at fault in an accident with bad brakes in what appeared to be an unrestored 1930’s truck plus his name and photo in the newspaper would not be apart of this equation.

When we asked Mike why he created a new and old combination he said “Because I wanted to!”

The original transmission and differential had not been put in operation because no running engine existed. Now the rebuilt 207 engine was almost ready and the 1936 No. 2 first drive would be soon.

Mike’s son, Sam, was drivin down from Wisconson to watch the maiden voyage on this special day that had been over a year in coming. Even though Sam had been in a bicycle accident a few years before that left him paralyzed from the chest down, he wanted to be there that day. He had excepted the fact that he would never be able to take rides in pre-war vehicles and being inside this big 1936 would be no exception.

NOT CORRECT!! Mike had other ideas on this special day! The passenger door was removed from the truck. Mike placed a piece of plywood on the forks of his company fork lift truck. Sam was raised in his wheel chair to the perfect height to slide over on the truck seat. Sam said, “I was so proud to take a real ride in the 1936 on its maiden voyage”. They made the trip around the shop in the grass and then it was driven out on the highway. All the gears in the unrestored differential and transmission worked just right!

Soon, Sam’s three young daughters each got to go for a ride, of course with no right door. It was certainly a high point for the Mike Russell family!

Mike has since become quite attached to 1936 No. 2. The weekend before the interview, he had driven it about 150 miles just for fun on the rural roads in the county. He has what he wanted: An old looking big truck that runs like the first day it left the factory.

You can contact Mike Russell by email @ ml.russell@mchsi.com

FOR MORE DATA ON MIKES 1936 NO. 2 READ ON:

Mike wanted 1936 No.2 with its 157” wheelbase to be like the original short 131” wheelbase of 1936 No. 1. It could then be given the 5th wheel from 1936 No. 1 and all would be a perfect fit for someday pulling the restored Fruehauf trailer.

This idea worked perfectly! Mike and a friend worked in his shop on a Saturday and the frame shortening was completed in less than 5 hours. Soon the 5th wheel was restored from 1936 No. 1 and all fit in place just right.

A great surprise: The longer section of 1936 No. 2’s drive shaft was easily exchanged with the shorter from 1936 No. 1. A no brainer! What a break from spending more time and money.

A very interesting feature! On the right side frame rail behind the cab is an etching added at the factory 80 years ago. It is a warning on the dangers of cutting the frame to get a longer or shorter length. This is said to still be placed on large truck frame rails today! See Photo.

WHAT ABOUT THE ALMOST ONE OF A KIND REMAINING FRUEHAUF TRAILER? This restoration is planned for the near future now that the 5th wheel assembly has been restored and moved from 1936 No.1 to 1936 No. 2. Mike gave an interesting comment about this trailer (He says this is his personal opinion but he is sure he is correct). To help sales, the Fruehauf Trailer Co. in the early years would provide the wheels and hubs for what the customer requested. Thus, the truck owner did not have to carry a second spare tire and wheel just for their trailer. Good marketing. Very interesting.

So out of curiosity, Mike asked the farm owner, “Any story on the 1936 No. 1 and its attached Fruehauf trailer?” The answer was a surprise. It was used to transport donkeys from city to city throughout the mid-west during the 1940’s and 1950’s. These animals were the center part of interest in the then popular Donkey Baseball. Before television and air conditioning, people were often entertained outside the home for their fun. When the donkeys came to town, local clubs or churches used this to help their group in local fund raising. (The donkey owners shared the gate fees with local groups) Members of the clubs on the local baseball fields were assigned a donkey to ride. Any field movement such as chasing a hit ball or running the bases had to be done while on the back of a donkey! It was great fun entertainment in a bi-gone era.

1936 No. 1 and the Fruehauf Trailer was used to move the donkeys to towns every week and thus high miles were shown on the truck’s odometer. If the wear and tear on the truck did not kill it, the final death was setting beside a fence in a farm field probably 30 years!

In the truck and trailer’s later years the Fruehauf had its sides removed to allow it to be a hay bail trailer for some local farms. The 207 engine finally gave up and the rig was set beside the farm pasture until Mike found it in 2005.

For those interested in more data on “Donkey Baseball”, check Google on your computer. There is so much to see about this game from our nation’s history.

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Shortened 1936 No. 2 attached to the Fruehauf. So much better truck than 1936 No. 1 but from a distance they look the same.

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Just like Mike found 1936 No.1

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The Fruehauf attached to 5th wheel during a turn.  Note the “tow ring” in the middle of the rear cross member on the 1936. Mike says all 1936 1 ½ tons had the bolt hole punched at the factory. If the customer wanted this accessory it would be easy for the dealer to install. Simply a nut and washer to hold the threaded stud.

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Attached Fruehauf Trailer

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It was slowly returning to the soil.

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This is the trailer tailgate on moving day with everything cleared away.

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Front of Fruehauf

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Attached 5th wheel on 1936 No. 1

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Old one-eye 1936 No. 1 ready to leave the field after Mike’s purchase

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1936 No. 2 with 157” wheel base

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1936 No. 2 with its 157” frame wheel base at a different angle

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1936 No. 2 with door removed for Sam.

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Mike taking measurements before frame shortening on 1936 No. 2

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The cut is underway

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26” of frame rail removed on 1936 No. 2

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The differential and rear frame rail after the cut on 1936 No. 2

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The 26” frame section removed

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Frame shortened to be like 1936 No. 1

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Another view of the shortened 1936 No. 2

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Rebuilt, cleaned and painted placed in 1936 No. 2

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Right Side View

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Left Side View

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Even has the accessory oil filter

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1936 Missouri license below the correct truck taillight

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Part of the new exhaust system

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Sam and his daughters on the day of the Maiden Voyage. Mike on the fork lift.

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Close to getting into the cab

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Sam’s big smile sitting by Mike. The first ride begins!

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The young ladies ready to ride!

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1936 No. 2 first drive around the building

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Restoring the 5th wheel from 1936 No. 1

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What a job!

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Installing new cloth hood lace.

ADDENDUM TO MIKE RUSSELL’S 1936 CHEVY 1 ½ TON: Even though Mike really likes his Fruehauf Trailer he could not pull it with such a long length on a daily basis. It would certainly not fit in most parking lots! When he stored the trailer he still had the attached “5th wheel” for towing. Thus, the truck cannot be used for hauling.

So in 2017, Mike’s search for a factory 1936 1 ½ ton flatbed was successful. (an after-market bed was not acceptable) Unfortunately, he found this tired bed in New York State, a long way from Mike’s house in mid-Missouri. However, knowing it might be his last chance to find another, close or far from his home, there was no choice. He saved it from the landfill!

Look at the attached photos after he added replacement wood planks and all were secured to the frame rails. How nice!

1941-1946 1 1/2 Ton Front Bumper

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

A major change in large truck Chevrolet front bumpers occurred during there years. Prior to 1946 the 1 1/2 ton bumpers and braces were little more that a heavier guage design of the smaller 1/2 ton.

The big bumper change was in 1946. (Possibly this was because Chevrolet introduced its first 2 ton model that year.) Now it was nothing like those on the 1/2 and 3/4 ton.

This new heavier, stronger bumper design continues on GM’s larger trucks to this day.

1941 front bumper

1941 Front Bumper (above)

1946 front bumper

1946 Front Bumper (above)

1939 Chevrolet Tow Truck

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Year/Make 1939 Chevrolet
Owner: John H. Sheally II

1939 Chevrolet Tow truck

What do you tow your Morgan with ?

Story and Photographs by John H. Sheally II

So you wish to hear about my 1939 Chevrolet, grain bed, ton and a half tow truck. Well folks it is what I call a ‘REAL TRUCK’. This baby was built to work and be tough. Quality was important to vehicle builders of the pre-war era. Trucks of that period were built to be strong and simple. There is no plastic parts or paper fender wells held in with paper clips in this machine. Plenty of nickel was used in the steel bodies thus they did not rust out and as a result trucks like mine can be rebuilt, restored or refurbished very easily. Mine was a one owner (same family its whole pre life) from an estate sale in Charlottesville , Virginia . It was a very ugly faded green (original color) and had been worked hard all its years on that farm thus it was an 80% restoration for me. It started with bodywork, paint, new interior, engine work as well as brakes on all four corners and enclosed drive-shaft joints.

My ‘Heavy Chevy’ has been on the road since that restoration 15 years ago, I have done some 10,000 miles a year with it towing to 30 to 40 competition events per year as well as meets and concours. I have competed with several different Morgan Models over these years as well as Cobra, Saab Sonett and two formula cars which have been towed with this dependable machine.

This truck quite often is also entered in shows and wins along with the Morgan being shown for a double header at the show or concours.

The truck is perfect for the job it does. Most of these big Chevy trucks were built as Stake body or flat bed models but mine was one of the rare grain bed model which is like a big pickup bed truck except the beds were built to haul grain and not spill out through openings in the bed. As a result I can carry my tools, spares, tires, air bottles, jacks, generator, etc. The addition of a Tonneau makes it all come together for a nice competition tow package.

The engine was a ‘stove bolt’ straight 216 cubic inch six cylinder referred to as a Thriftmaster Six. When I went to rebuild it two years ago I realized that I would like to have a few more ponies coming out of it because when I hit the mountains with it I would have to really work the four speed gearbox to pull up the steeper slopes. As a result I rebuilt it to a 261 stroker which amounted to a larger bore, longer rods and I drilled a couple of extra weep holes in the head for more cooling. The final package ends up being a Jobmaster Six with 24 more horses on the bottom end resulting in great torque and I can forget the gearbox when I hit the mountain ranges.

The Chevy is sprung stiff and required no special springs or helper shocks as it was built to handle heavy loads when built by the General Motors factory.

I cruise at 55 mph all day long and can hit 75 on a down hill run. I have put Carbon-Kevlar brake shoes on it on four corners and it stops well. It’s a great truck with great working ability and a firm ride.

This black beauty just became a Movie star, making her film debut in the Steven King feature ‘Hearts in Atlantis’, which is produced by Dreamworks.

There is something special about driving a sixty-two year old truck, which was built with purpose and pride four years before I was born.

1939 Chevrolet Tow truck

1939 Chevrolet Tow truck

1939 Chevrolet Tow truck

1939 Chevrolet Tow truck

1939 Chevrolet Tow truck

1939 Chevrolet Tow truck

1946 Chevrolet Dually 1 1/2 ton

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1946 Chverolet 1 1/2 Ton
Owner: Jim Carter

1946 chevrolet 1 1/2 ton

1967 Chevrolet Heavy Hauler

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
1967 Chevrolet Heavy Hauler

Wow! Now this is a real work truck. Used almost daily, it was bought from the original owner in 1985. This 1967 Chevrolet 1 ½ ton is a true heavy hauler. It’s original 283 V-8, 4 speed transmission, single speed rear end, and high output heater remains in place.

Home has always been Green Bay, Wisconsin. It’s first owner, a masonry contractor, used it for transporting bulk sand. Garaged in the winter, it stayed out of the snow.

Then 18 years later, it’s current owner, Mark Weidner., bought this 28,000 mile truck to help be part in his earth, rock and snow removal business. The truck was then given some upgrading to add to it’s appearance. This included new 8.25×20 oversize tires, new wheels, a replacement metal bed floor, white ash bedsides and fresh red paint of the original color. It then looked like new and nicely represented his company.

Mark’s company continues to use this 1967 on almost a daily basis. During about 8 months a year it hauls dirt, gravel, old concrete, etc. This truck becomes a snow hauler during the harsh Green Bay winters. The snow from cleaning local parking lots is loaded at night and dumped at a distant location.

The odometer has gone from 28,000 miles in 1985 to the current 156,000. It still looks great after the 22 years with Mark’s company. The secret is maintenance. Every 2 weeks it is water sprayed on the underside. On a 30 day schedule it gets a hot steam cleaning to remove more salt and road dirt. It’s original 283 V-8 has been given one rebuilding.

1967 Chevrolet Heavy Hauler

1967 Chevrolet Heavy Hauler

1942 Chevrolet Deland Fire Truck

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
1942 Chevrolet Deland Fire Truck 1

Our 1942 1 1/2 ton Chevrolet Fire Truck Was delivered to the DeLand Naval Air Station, February, 1942.

Served during WW II as the crash truck during navy pilot training. When the war was over, it was given to the City of DeLand, Florida. It was painted OD green and had about 3,000 miles on the odometer. It ran as a first line truck for City for many years and then was parked at the airport in a an old hanger. It was in pretty bad shape by the time I got evolved. We raised money to have it restored by the auto shop at the local State Prison. They did a beautiful job and is now used in public relations and giving local children rides during the Christmas parade and during the annual Veteran’s Day Parade. The mileage today just topped 11,000 miles. The engine has NEVER been apart and runs just about as well as it did when issued. The system has been converted over to 12 volts. The fire department has maintained ownership and we all try to keep up with the overall maintenance.

After the great fire storm of 1998, my wife and I were invited to the Daytona International Speedway to participate in the appreciation day and make a blazing lap round the 2.5 mile track at 40 MPH.

Thanks for looking.
Dave Sutherland / Captain
City of DeLand Fire Department
n4gmu@bellsouth.net.

 

1942 Chevrolet Deland Fire Truck 2

d1942 Chevrolet Deland Fire Truck 3

1936 Chevrolet Open Express

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Owner: Lee Hobold

1936 chevrolet open express

Just imagine a truck designed strictly for work duties that has survived almost 70 years! In 1936, our country was still feeling the effects of the “Great Depression”. When you spent your money for a 1 1/2 ton truck, it had to pay it’s way. Therefore, few big trucks like this 1936 have survived. They were worked from the first day of delivery!

Lee Hobold of Carson City, Nevada, found this special Chevrolet truck a few years ago about 60 miles from his home. It had been setting outside almost 20 years. Not only was it basically complete but the truck had an unusual look. It’s factory bed was 9 foot long and there were small wood covered “tubs” attached to the inner bed sides.

The original tailgate was hinged with three unusual metal straps. It was a pickup yet it had 20″ wheels. Certainly this was not an ordinary truck. Lee became so intrigued with this vehicle that he soon had it bought and in his garage. Later research found this truck in a 1936 Chevrolet Sales Brochure. It was referred to as an “Open Express”.

He has been able to trace it’s history to just after World War II. It was used by the L. Pristone and Sons Plastering Co. of Reno, Nevada. This type truck would have been just right for a plastering contractor. Several thousand pounds of bagged plaster plus necessary tools and equipment could be taken to a job site at one time.

This body style was created by modifying a 1 1/2 ton chassis using two rear 20″ wheels instead of the usual four. Dual rear wheels will not fit below the narrow pickup fenders of the Open Express. Note the long rear axles due to no outer dual wheels.

Because the inner tires are too close to the bedsides, inner tubs were necessary. Maybe it was to save tooling costs that GM used oak wood to fill the gap in the arch of the bedside tubs. See Photo.

Owner Lee Hobold and his 1936 Chevrolet Open Express have been a match made in heaven. Lee is a perfectionist in restoration and he realizes just how rare the Open Express has become. Thus, he decided to rebuild this truck with the quality equal or better than when it was sold new at the dealership. No doubt it will be the only restored Open Express in existence! The main difference from it’s 1936 beginning is a later model 235 engine. This extra horsepower will help overcome the low geared differential of a 1 1/2 ton.

The first attached photos are of the truck when it was found near Yerinton, Nevada. The remaining pictures show various steps in the current restoration. Lee has now taken it down to the frame and it is going together like a big model kit. The difference is each part must be rebuilt. Locating new old stock parts for the 70 year old 1 1/2 to truck is almost impossible.

Look at the workmanship. Even the interior sheet metal has been baked in a drying oven after painting to give the surface the correct brown wrinkle texture. The Apple Green exterior color is authentic for 1936 Chevrolet trucks. The truck’s dash gauges probably look better than in 1936.

The original covered securing wire has been correctly placed down the center of the seat just like Chevrolet did in 1936.

Note the new leather door hold open straps. This was the last year GM trucks used this method of containing the open doors.

For questions or comments, Lee may be contacted at olhobo@charter.net

The completed product ready for occasional shows in 2006. Truly a work of art!

1936 chevrolet open express

1936 chevrolet open express

1936 chevrolet open express

1936 chevrolet open express

1936 chevrolet open express

1936 chevrolet open express

1936 chevrolet open express

1936 chevrolet open express

1936 chevrolet open express

1936 chevrolet open express

1936 chevrolet open express

1936 chevrolet open express

Difference – 1947-55 GMC Grilles

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the Advance Design years, 1947-55, Chevrolet and GMC each changed their grille designs twice. GMC made the change at the end of the second year and Chevrolet made the change at the end of the seventh year.

Possibly to save tooling cost GMC, not Chevrolet, always used the same grille on all truck sizes in any one year. As Chevy used a similar but slightly larger grill on their 1 1/2 and 2 ton. GMC did not change the size on trucks between 1/2 and 2 tons.

In 1947-48 GMC used a three bar heavy gauge chrome steel grille. Actually, it was for the heavy weight for the 2 tons but fit in the 1/2 ton by using a smaller grill surround.

The big grille change for GMC was in 1949 when it was made as a four bar design. To the non truck enthusiast, it looked somewhat like the earlier years which is probably what GMC designers planned.

Current GMC grille reproductions are often sold as 1947=55. Actually they are the four bar type for 1949-55. The 1947-48 GMC owners get a surprise due to the modifications needed to fit the later reproduction grille into their early housing!

Click on images below to enlarge

1947-1948 Three Bar Grille 1947-1948 Three Bar Grille C.O.E Four Bar Grille
Three to Five Ton Four Bar Grille
Half Ton to One Ton Four Bar Grille
Half Ton to One Ton Four Bar Grille

1936 Chevrolet

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

Owner: Leo Stokesberry

1936 chevrolet pick up truck

A one of a kind truck! Yet, it is displayed regularly and is a part of local parades and drives.

This unusual 1936 Chevrolet 1 1/2 ton has been owned by Leo Stokesberry of Filer, Idaho for 28 years. With it’s original 34,000 miles it has required only fresh paint, tires, and a general detailing. It even still has it’s original 207 cubic inch six cylinder.

Because Leo lives in Idaho sugar beet country, he decided to add an original used side dump bed that was so popular may years ago. Yes, he certainly made this 1936 a part of history. These sugar beet trucks aren’t raised by a hoist on the front, the beds only are tipped to the side to easily remove the contents. The delivery terminals had a special lift that raised the side of the bed to unload the beets. See Photos!

Note the very rare accessory white turn signal arm on the left side of the cab. This is operated mechanically by the driver to tell a following vehicle that a left turn is coming. It is extended horizontally before the turn!

Leo trailers this 1936 to many distant shows and then it is driven throughout these local areas. He is a member of the American Truck Historical Society and has attended all of their annual conventions with his special truck since 1995. These shows have taken him from Baltimore, MD to California and many cities in between. This 1936 just keeps running with little maintenance.

Many of the enclosed pictures are from the 2007 ATHS convention in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Leo’s 1936 is shown during a sponsored day trip to the top of Pike’s Peak – elevation 14,110 feet. It climbed the hard surface and gravel road with little problems. Note the remaining June snow drifts in the background.

Obviously Leo Stokesberry loves using his truck. He maintains it properly and enjoys using it on local roads through the U.S.A.

1936 chevrolet pick up truck 1936 chevrolet pick up truck 1936 chevrolet pick up truck

1936 chevrolet pick up truck 1936 chevrolet pick up truck 1936 chevrolet pick up truck

1936 chevrolet pick up truck 1936 chevrolet pick up truck

1934 Chevrolet

Tuesday, November 1st, 2005

Owner: Steve Sickler

1934 chevrolet truck

I would like to submit a picture of my 1934 Chevy 1 1/2 ton truck for your feature trucks gallery. It has been a Pennsylvania truck since new. It started life as a produce truck in Dallas Pennsylvania, about 6 miles from where we live. After 72000 miles and a couple of owners I purchased the truck about 3 years ago. My son and I have the 1934 to where it road worthy and looking look. A number of parts for the work came from Jim Carter.

Steve Sickler