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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


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.


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

Just like Mike found 1936 No.1

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.

Attached Fruehauf Trailer

It was slowly returning to the soil.

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

Front of Fruehauf

Attached 5th wheel on 1936 No. 1

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

1936 No. 2 with 157” wheel base

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

1936 No. 2 with door removed for Sam.

Mike taking measurements before frame shortening on 1936 No. 2

The cut is underway

26” of frame rail removed on 1936 No. 2

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

The 26” frame section removed

Frame shortened to be like 1936 No. 1

Another view of the shortened 1936 No. 2

Rebuilt, cleaned and painted placed in 1936 No. 2

Right Side View

Left Side View

Even has the accessory oil filter

1936 Missouri license below the correct truck taillight

Part of the new exhaust system

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

Close to getting into the cab

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

The young ladies ready to ride!

1936 No. 2 first drive around the building

Restoring the 5th wheel from 1936 No. 1

What a job!

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!

1936 Chevrolet Low Cab 1/2 Ton

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

We just had to make an exception! Normally our monthly feature is to help show our readers what the new truck was when they first left the dealers showroom. However, this unrestored 1936 Chevrolet low cab ½ ton changed our direction. In our 35 years in business we have never seen an 80 year old work truck so unaltered. Yes, used, but almost all parts have remained without later changes.

What a reference vehicle for the restorer! There is almost no trucks of this age that can be used as a restoration example and the owner be so sure everything is right!


It arrived at our shop one morning on a trailer from its prior life’s location near Monument, Colorado. The new proud owners, Bryan and Beth Frogue were taking it to their home in Elkton, Kentucky. They found it on eBay and were very surprised that so many high bids came before they owned it. Others recognized the purity of this old truck. It would require almost no body work and what came with it was correct as installed by General Motors eighty years ago.

Bryan and Beth and their children Van, Madison and Emily are great examples of the old saying, “If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person”. They are avid antique vehicle collectors and enjoy originality so they quickly recognized the unique qualities of this little 1936. Their vehicle collection they have and still display, are at least 5 very early John Deere tractors plus a 1940 Chevrolet ¾ ton pickup and a 1950 Chevrolet 1 ton pickup with a 9’ ft. bed.

Pictured ’46 John Deere H, ’46 JD LI, ’41 JD LA, ’53 John Deere G, ’37 Unstyled John Deere B (Not Pictured)

They own 70 acres that support a stocker feeder cattle operation which they run approx. 150 cattle thru on a yearly basis and raise 40 ac of alfalfa and grass hay. Bryan has a regular day job as a crop consultant and Beth is a Kentucky Tech Area Technology Center school principal. She even drives the 1950 pickup to school!

Their plans for the 1936 is to give it a ground up restoration as time and money permits. At least now they own it and there will be no doubt on what is correct.

During the time Bryan and Beth were at our shop, we took various photos to emphasis the untouched qualities of their 1936. For the perfectionist, these relate to items that will be very important during a full restoration. Check the text under each picture.

You can contact Bryan & Beth at bryan.frogue@att.net

Still shows its Expert Blue. No repaints

Splash apron under grill. Dent free?

Rubber gas grommet still behind right rear fender

Black windshield frame. Saves time on assembly line with just one color.

Left rear fender with some black remaining.

Yes, hole for wiper motor. Drivers side only.

Unbelievable! The 80 year old headliner still in original position.

Spare tire pins to better secure tire in fender well.

Spare tire removed for the long journey home.

Tailgate (dent free?) with its Export Blue paint

Original Taillight bracket (left side only) with 44 year old license.

Slight bend has occurred in taillight bracket
NOTE: Correct metal loom held with clip to non-original taillight.

Wood floor has protective canvas on edges. (See lower left corner for loose piece)

207 engine and 4 speed in pickup bed. Prior owner went no further.

80 year old paint still shines in places.

Only one dash knob has been changed.

Yes, the seat was once recovered.

Hood – All is just right.

Correct 17’ wire wheels wait in towing pickup.

Door rubber bumpers in place.

Crank hole cover still attached. “Amazing”

1936 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Panel Truck

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Where did they all go? Sold in high volume to small businesses for local neighborhood deliveries, these little panel trucks served their purpose well. Merchandise stayed out of the weather and theft exposure was greatly reduced. It has been over 75 years since the last of the series came off the assembly line but here are 10 important factors are why they are now almost non-existent!

  1. Created during our country’s Great Depression. There was limited money to do repairs or preventive maintenance. Owners just did what was needed to keep them on the road.
  2. Bought as a delivery vehicle. Most did not even have the optional right front seat.
  3. Few small businesses had a garage. Most of these panel trucks were stored outside.
  4. Most were thought of as commercial only. They were seen in the neighborhoods making home deliveries by groceries, laundries, plumbing repairs, painters, etc.
  5. Hot in the summer. Door windows in the rear don’t open to help air flow.
  6. Body construction is sheet metal over a wood frame. This is a recipe for disaster over the long term. Deteriorating wood supports, particularly near the floor began to decay from leaks. Even leaking merchandise add to the demise.
  7. As with most early passenger vehicles the top had a non-metal covering over wood frame in their center. It was not if rain water would leak inside, it was just when.
  8. By 1941 our country was in World War II. Factories were converted to make defense products, not these neighborhood panel trucks. The 1934-36 panel trucks just kept working. Wood repairs and top patches gave them just a little more life.
  9. When the original owner put it up for sale or trade for a new vehicle, there were few takers. Not many second owners were looking for a one passenger well-worn panel truck.
  10. When they finally did reach the salvage yard, their weather protection advantage saved some a few extra years. Their bodies became storage. They were set aside to keep more vehicle parts such as mechanicals, gauges, tires, upholstery in a scrap yard! Can you imagine the amount of house roofing tar was used to keep the tops from leaking?

The whole scenario is a recipe for extinction! Most of today’s auto and truck enthusiasts will never see a 1934-36 panel truck in any shape. As an enthusiast once said, “They all went to see God”. We have accumulated these photos over our 35 years. Thought you might be interested in seeing the panel truck that could not survive!

NOTE: The full color photo shows a yellow late 1936 panel truck. When you look carefully you will see the same body as the 1934-early 36.

To save money, General Motors kept the same body on this later 1936 version. Yes, the dash, hood, front fenders and grill are the later design but it all interchanges. It wasn’t until 1937 when the body became all metal including the elimination of the large vinyl patch covering on the top. Our main photo shows a corner of this factory patch.

Owned by Curtis Cole, a retired school teacher, in Anaheim, CA in the year 2000

Oops! Perfect Panel Truck except the spare goes in right front on Chevrolet (Left on GMC)

Lots of Carrying Capacity

Passenger seat was an option

207 engine restored just right

From a 1934 Chevrolet Sales Brochure. The drawing appears to have stretched the body to make it show better.


The following show a 1935 Chevrolet panel truck saved from extinction. It was abandoned in a dry California desert and thus it survived! Owned by: Sean Yellowhorse, Rancho Palus Verdes, California in 2012.

Look at all the wood.

Doors sagging but all there.

1936-46 GMC Taillights & Brackets

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

1936-46 GMC Taillights

Though things were shared between GMC and Chevrolet trucks, General Motors made sure many items remained very different during the early years.  GMC preferred very few things to be similar to Chevrolet. Their customers needed to see an almost stand-alone truck with the higher price of the GMC.

One very obvious difference is the change in taillight and bracket. There is no comparison to Chevrolet. The massive GMC stamped steel one piece bracket combined with a redesigned 4 inch taillight makes the pair a “one of a kind”.  They do not interchange with Chevrolet during these years.

Finding some of these parts during a total 1936-46 GMC pickup restoration has become difficult. The bracket is now produced, however, if that happens the taillight will be a big project to get. The light is not being reproduced.

Hint: This taillight was also used on Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile station wagon tailgates from about 1949 through 1952.  Therefore, you will see more lights than GMC brackets at swap meets.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The 1936-46 GMC taillight brackets are now available for this 1936-46 pickup truck.

1936-46 GMC Taillights






Rear before restoration






Front after restoration

1936-46 GMC Taillights 1936-46 GMC Taillights

Same tail lights on early GM Wagons!

1936-37 GMC Grills

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

What a rare occurrence! At the 2011 America Truck Historical Society Convention in South Bend, Indiana, we found both a 1936 and a 1937 restored GMC truck with the correct grill — each at different booths. You can go to every truck show for many years and never see even one. Therefore, we just had to get a few photos and make some comments. After all, this may never happen again.

The 1936 grill consists of seven vertical .3′ wide hollow chrome bars all the same size. The length is 25 1/4′. The notches in the receiving die cast pieces (hold the verticals in place) in the top and bottom are the same for each bar.

By 1937-38 there was a change in the center vertical bar. It became wider. It changed from .3′ in 1936 to .625′. It was also tapered back to align with the positioning of the other side bars. The overall length was shortened to 24′.

The notches in the die cast top and bottom receiving pieces are therefore different due to the width change in the center bar. They may look the same on the outside but are not where they attach to the vertical bars. See photo. Chrome was not used to add to the appearance. These bars were painted silver.

1936 GMC Grill

1937 GMC Grill

1937 upper grill bar extension front view

1937-38 bottom view

1936 1/2 Ton Wheels

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

General Motors was coming out of the wire wheel era by 1936. This as well as wood spokes had been a standard with most cars and light trucks since the beginning at the turn of the century. The new stamped steel wheels on Chevrolet 1/2 tons were easier to produce, and was less susceptible to side damage on rough terrain or in an accident.

We find that both 17′ design 1/2 ton wheels were available in 1936, the transition year. In 1935 all 1/2 ton used wires and all 1937’s had stamped steel wheels.

The two attached photos are Chevrolet promotional pictures from 1936. These 1/2 tons are the same except for the wheels.

NOTE: GMC’s first entry into the 1/2 ton market was 1936. These used the new stamped steel artillery wheels like the later 1936 Chevrolet.

1936 Chevrolet 1/2 ton Pickup

Monday, February 14th, 2011


I found my 36 Chevy pickup in the 1980’s on highway 41 somewhere south of Chicago. It was running but had a big crack in the block, so to drive it I had to carry a bucket of water with me.
1936 Chevrolet 1/2 ton Pickup
My love of the 36 pickup goes back to 1948 when I was four and my dad (just home from the Navy and WW2) was working as a tenant farmer in east central Illinois. The owner of the farm had a 1936 Chevy pickup which my dad was allowed to drive back and forth from our house to the main farm. It was the “first” pickup I remember riding in and the fascination I had for that old truck stayed with me. Needles to say, when I saw old “Willy” (named after my dad) sitting ‘for sale’ along Hwy 41 many years later, I had to have him.

At that time I lived in Terre Haute, Indiana and had a concrete block company and an excavating business. My intention from the beginning was to restore old “Willy”. However as some of you “old timers” might remember, the early 80’s were tough years for the building industry and a lot of old “Willy” projects got delayed.

In 1986 I packed up my family, a few pieces of equipment, old “Willy” and moved to the Charlotte, NC area. The economy was much better there and by 1988 I started an auto detail and wreck recovery business. Old “Willy” finally was getting some attention. When the work crew had some extra time, we took old “Willy” to the frame.

Another hick-up in the 1989 economy put the project back on hold and old “Willy” was destined to become a “pile of parts”. We had to shut the shop down. A sluggish economy, a divorce and two daughters in college paved the way for old “Willy” to remain a pile of parts for several years.

Not until 1999 did I seriously get back on the project. All the chassis parts were examined and many were rebuilt. New brake lines were installed, king pins, bushings, spring pins; any part worn was replaced. The passing of time and moving things around caused a number of parts to get lost. We found a parts truck in Wisconsin and had it shipped to North Carolina. This provided an engine, transmission and a few other needed chassis parts.

In 2005 I contracted with a small paint and body shop to start painting the sheet metal and body parts. There were some real challenges to return a fairly rough and rugged bed, cab, fenders, doors, hood, etc. to “like new” condition.

In 2009 I was finally able to again open my own shop and begin the reassembly of old “Willy”. After all those years “Willy” was about to be complete. I thank our crew, Chuck (manager), Whit (mechanic) and Steven (painter) for doing a super job getting our beautiful ’36 in show condition.

We also want to thank Jim Carter’s Old Chevy Trucks for helping us with several technical questions we had in the reassembly. We were able to get a number of new and used parts from the Jim Carter catalog.

PS: Over all these years, old “Willy” has finally successfully evolved from a truck in a box to a beauty back on the highway of pride.

1936 Chevrolet 1/2 ton pickup 1936 Chevrolet 1/2 ton pickup 1936 Chevrolet 1/2 ton pickup
1936 Chevrolet 1/2 ton pickup 1936 Chevrolet 1/2 ton pickup

1934-1936 Side Mount Spare Tire Mounting

Friday, December 17th, 2010

During the early years, most roads were not paved and the quality of tires was far from that of today. Thus, tire repair was very big business. It was necessary for vehicle manufacturers to provide the easiest access to the often needed spare tire. Part of driving a car or truck was knowing how to change a tire.

On the 1936 and older pickups, the tire storage space was limited. GM chose to place a dip in the front fender and a 29″ vertical rod from the frame rail to the cowl for the tire and wheel support clamp. A long nut is threaded to the top of the rod and tightens a curved metal over the tire.  No the pickup did not use the chrome “T” handle on the car.

In viewing restored ½ ton pickups at shows it is amazing that most use the chrome die-cast “T” handle that came new on passenger cars. Not correct!  The pickup uses a hexagon securing nut.  It is designed to be turned by the lug nut tire tool usually stored under the seat cushion.

Why the difference is unknown. We assume the “T” handle nut is more convenience to turn.  The car driver would get less dirt or grease on clothes or hands during a tire change, plus the car was usually on smoother roads, not on the rough surfaces of a farm field or back roads that might loosen the securing nut.

Replacement hard parts for most of this side mount system are not being reproduced. Originals usually must be restored. The rubber grommet that protects the cowl and fender metal from the side mount hardware the securing nut and 29″ support rod are available from Jim Carter Truck Parts along with a few other older GM truck full stocking dealers.

INTERESTING: The Chevrolet 1/2 ton (1934-1936) placed the support well in the right front fender. The 1936 GMC (first year for their 1/2 ton) it was in the left front fender. The support hardware is the same. Just another way of the two marquis showing their individuality with limited expense.

1934 1936 side mount spare tire
Pickup inside view. Not quite like a Chevy car.

1934 1936 side mount spare tire

1934 1936 side mount spare tire
The 29″ vertical rod is at an angle, too far through the cab mounted support.  Shown is the top dark threads where this retaining nut fits.

1936-1942 Coupe Pick Up

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the great depression of the 1930’s, almost half of the automakers ceased business forever. Most remaining manufacturers modified their vehicles and advertising techniques to appeal to a very conservative buyer. With limited disposable income the few people willing to purchase a car or truck were very careful.

To help boost or at least hold sales steady, the Chevrolet Division introduced a new model in 1936. It was referred to as the Coupe Pickup. With a small corporate investment a dual purpose vehicle was created to appeal to the buyer with a need for both a car and a pickup.

The new model was a standard coupe with a miniature pickup truck bed placed in the trunk area. This small new bed included wood planks, metal strips, sides, and tailgate much like larger ½ ton pickups. It extended out of the trunk about the distance of the rear bumper. To keep out dust and rain water, a custom made canvas snapped in place between the small bed sides and the coupe trunk edges.

To appeal to the conservative new car buyer during the depression years this vehicle even included a painted coupe deck lid wrapped in several coverings of butcher paper. In this way if the mini-bed was removed, the deck lid could be attached and the owner then had a car.

A popular use was by neighborhood grocery stores.  The coupe express was excellent to deliver grocery items in the neighborhood.  The owner could also use it as his personal car!

This unique model was available each year from 1936 through early 1942 when World War II stopped domestic car production. There is almost no survival of the original coupe pickups. The few that made it even to the 1950’s were almost always given their deck lid to transform them to a pure coupe. Few people wanted an older pickup with such limited hauling capacity when they could have a coupe with a somewhat youthful sporty appearance.

No doubt the major weakness of this model was the canvas between the bed and body. It soon deteriorated when the vehicle set outside leaving the trunk area exposed to rain and snow. This was just the beginning of major rust problems which in time totaled the trunk area and maybe even the complete vehicle!

Today, if one of these beds would appear at an antique auto swap meet, almost no one would remember it’s original application. When the Chevrolet lettering was not on the gate, most would pass by thinking it is probably home made for a forgotten use.

1936-1942 coupe puick up 1

1936-1942 coupe pick up 2

1936-1942 coupe pick up

1936-1942 coupe pick up

Below is an example of an excellent used insert that made the standard coupe a coupe express. Found in Montana in 2013, it is about as pure as one can find of an almost 75 year old Chevrolet accessory. Almost no rust damage and some original paint! It had to be placed in a storage building when the car was made back into a standard coupe.

1936 Oil Tanker

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1936 Oil Tanker

The truck (a 1936 1/2 Chevy high cab) was the very first truck that Mr. Hess himself drove around Woodbridge, NJ in the early days. In those days it was not gasoline he hauled, it was primarily heating fuel oil. The truck remained in service up into the early fifties at which time it underwent a partial overhaul. When I met the truck it had spent the last twenty something years in the HOVIC (Hess Oil Virgin Islands Corp) plant in the US Virgin Islands being used as a prop. The unit, as a result of being subjected to years of salt air and a hurricane or two (one being Hurricane Hugo), was in EXTREME disrepair to say the least. The engine would run, however the poured rod bearings were knocking very bad. When we pulled the truck into the shop for disassembly the windshield and part of the cab just fell into pieces. This was a complete overhaul right down to cutting the rivets, splitting the frame rails, and hand riveting them back together. I feel this is one of the finest restoration jobs I have ever been involved with and I am very proud of it. The truck (fully functional) is now destined to be displayed at the Hess headquarters in Woodbridge, N.J. and could haul fuel today.

Bill Tabbert

1936 Chevy Oil Tanker 1936 Chevy Oil Tanker
1936 Oil Tanker 1936 Chevy Oil Tanker
1936 Chevy Oil Tanker 1936 Oil Tanker
1936 Chevy Oil Tanker 1936 Chevy Oil Tanker
1936 Chevy Oil Tanker 1936 Chevy Oil Tanker
1936 Oil Tanker 1936 Oil Tanker
1936 Oil Tanker 1936 Oil Tanker
1936 Oil Tanker 1936 Oil Tanker
1936 Oil Tanker
1936 Oil Tanker

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

1936 – 1946 Engine Dust Pans…Pure GM

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the 1930’s and 1940’s our Nations roads were dirt and gravel. Paving had been underway for many years but there was still a long way to go.

To protect engine componants from a constant attack of dirt, GM designed metal stamped panels that attached to an area where the engine block and oil pan connect. This slowed dust from collecting on moving parts and for certain around the engine air breather.

1936 1946 engine dust pan 1936 1946 engine dust pan 1936 1946 engine dust pan 1936 1946 engine dust pan
1936 ?
1937- 1938

Over the years, these gradually fell from their attaching fasteners and found their way to the roads. Potholes and ruts were often the culprits. The vehicle owners and even hired mechanics tended to remove them during maintenance. They were rarely paced back into position.

Today finding a pair of these engine dust pans is almost impossible. Newer generations have no knowledge of their existance. These photos of the different years should be about 1936 and 1946.

If someone is in disagreement on the years, email us at info@jimcartertruckparts.com

Artillery Wheels

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The term artillery wheel is a nickname adapted from a scalloped type wheel often seen on US military vehicles in World War I. The similar appearance at a distance to GM’s scalloped steel wheels quickly gave them the name artillery.

On GM trucks, this style was first used during 1934-36 as a stock six bolt 1/2 ton 17 inch wheel. It was much stronger than the existing wire style wheels due to it being less susceptible to bending when hitting a large pot hole or sliding against a curb.

Though this 17 inch unit was discontinued on 1/2 tons for 1937, a redesigned 15 inch artillery began as GM’s stock wheel on that year’s 3/4 ton truck. It was stronger and wider but was still a non-split rim design. This remained the GM 3/4 ton wheel through 1945. By 1946, six bolt wheels on trucks were limited to 1/2 tons. The 3/4 ton would now have 15 inch 8 bolt split rims which remained stock into the 1960’s.

Today, we sometimes see 1947-59 GM 1/2 tons equipped with these early 15 inch artillery 3/4 ton wheels even though they were not placed on factory trucks after 1945. To many, they provide a unique appearance on the later 1/2 tons and will still hold the trucks current hub cap.

atrillery wheel 1

Regular 16″ Wheel (above)

artillery wheel 2

1934-1936 17″ Artillery Wheel (above)

artillery wheel 3

1937-1945 15″ Artillery Wheel (above)

Unique GMC Hood Ornaments

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The big news for GMC in 1936 was the introduction of their first 1/2 ton pickup. Though GMC now shared cabs with Chevrolet trucks, the visual exterior differences were mostly noticeable in front of the hood.

The GMC grill was totally redesigned and did not resemble the Chevrolet truck. This unique grill was modified little between 1936 through 1938 but the top grill ornament was changed with each of these years.

Watch for these ornaments at swap meets, antique shops, and older vehicle trade shows. They are extremely rare! Even locating the real thing for the following photos was very difficult.


hood ornaments 1

The first year for the newly designed GMC 1/2 ton (cab shared with Chevrolet trucks) and the last year for the exterior radiator cap. This example of flowing artwork rivals even nicer automobiles of that year.


hood ornaments 2

hood ornaments 4

The hood must be raised to reach the hidden radiator cap but a fixed die cast logo (similar to 1936) remains the focal point at the top of the grill.


GMC extends the smooth front hood hold down upward several inches and eliminates the die cast letters. This chrome extension (not like Chevrolet) can be just as rare as the early style. Once off the truck at a salvage yard, it soon becomes mixed with scrap iron because of no identifying GMC letters.

hood ornaments 3

Early GMC Hood Side Trim

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Early GMC trucks changed their hood side emblems about as much as Chevrolet, however there is no similarity in appearance. The following shows the GMC changes over 14 years.

1935-36   Anodized silver aluminum with a semi-flat black background. (In 1936, GMC entered the light truck market and carried the emblem from larger trucks of earlier year) Right and left are the same.



1937   One year only! Made just like the 1935-36 except for the short wing extensions on each end.


early gmc hood side trim 1

1937 GMC Hood Side Trim


1938-46   A more streamline design was carried through 1946. Its streamlined rounded point on only the front creates a different part for the right and left.

early gmc hood 2

1938 – 1946 GMC Hood Side Trim

1936 Side Mount Spare Differences

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The 1934-36 half ton Chevrolet truck body style always placed their 17′ spare in the right fender. Even the Chevrolet car normally used the right side when only one side mount was added.

In mid 1936, GMC entered the ½ ton market for the first time. This light truck shared most all sheet metal and chassis components with Chevrolet except for the engine, hub caps, grille and tailgate lettering.

One of the more visual differences between the 1936 Chevrolet and the new GMC 1/2 ton is the location of the side mount spare. The GMC is on the left, not the right as with Chevrolet. This was done with little expense as the mounting brackets will fit the right or left side.

Why did GMC place their spare on the opposite side? The answer 70 years later is not known. We only assume it kept the two marques more individual with no extra expense.

1936 side 1

1936 Chevrolet (above)

1936 side 2

1936 GMC

1936 side 3

1936 GMC

1936 side 4

Mounting Hardware

1936-1946 Seat Adjuster

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Some beginners tend to place 1936-46 cabs in the same category. Don’t do this! The 1936-38 and 1939-46 are a totally different design. Very little interchanges. The early style provided excellent building blocks for the new design 1939-46 trucks.

One major difference (when viewing a base cab) is the placement of the bottom seat cushion adjusters. On the early design a three prong bracket for a seat adjustment is attached in two places to the back of the cab. See Photo.

Seat Adjuster 1

The new 1939-46 design gives a totally different way the lower cushion adjusts. It sits on four front to back above the gas tank strips. Two of these have small pegs which fit into holes in the cushion bottom. In this way the cushion can be lifted at the front and moved forward or backward.

NOTE: On both body designs the lower and upper cushions connect where they meet. Thus, at least the lower part of the back will move with the lower cushion. Unfortunately, your shoulders and arms will always be same length from the steering wheel.

Seat belts? Unheard of in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Seat Adjuster 2

1936-1939 Glove Box Lock

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

This early glove box lock assembly has a weak point that makes it difficult to find complete. Its die-cast vertical pointer is held in place by a small steel tension spring. After the truck sets outside abandoned several years the spring rusts, breaks, or otherwise looses its tension. This allows the pointer to fall out and the glove box lid will no longer stay closed.

Most all locks you find will be without their pointer. The enclosed photos show a complete lock with pointer as it must be to operate.

Glove Box Lock 1

These locks do not have the ‘push button’ mechanism as the later design.  A small spring button attached to the dash moves. With this style, you pull on the key knob in the door when it is unlocked to overcome this spring button.  You don’t have to use the key to open the door.  Just pull the lock knob.  To lock the glove box door, just turn the key and the pointer moves forward.  The door is now locked.

During the beginning months of this 1936-39 lock, a double sided key blank was used. This blank has not been available for many years. If you need the early style your local locksmith may not be able to provide a key! (And the search begins.)

  • Painting your glove box door? You will need to remove this lock assembly. Here’s how: Turn the key to the right while pulling up on the pointer. You may have to jiggle it as you pull. Out it comes including the small tension spring! Now the large retaining nut can be loosened and the remainder of the assembly can be removed.
  • Lock removing tip from Scott Phaneuf, Hatfield, MA.

Glove Box Lock 2

Glove Box Lock 3

1936 Fender Change

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

It is quite surprising to realize that for 20 years auto and truck makers did not make a simple needed change to their vehicle front fenders.

Somehow major car and truck companies picked 1936 as the year it would be introduced. Did they all get together and make the decision, was it government encouragement, or ____?

The addition was side extensions or skirts. Prior to this pedestrians, side walks, pets, and building fronts received more than their share of mud and water from passing vehicles. With more and faster vehicles on the road, the problem must have been very annoying. The greater the speed when you hit mud or a puddle, the further the slop was thrown. No doubt many diaries had a page that described the results of this while walking to church in the Sunday best.

The modification in 1936 was not a cure-all but it did help the problem. The following pictures show the open sided fenders on a 1934-35 Chevrolet truck and the 1936 with the change.

1936 fender change 1

1935 and Older (above)

1936 fender change 2

1936 Fender Change (above)

1936-1938 Cab Windlace

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

It is so unusual to find an unmolested mid 30s truck! When this all original 21,000 mile 1937 GMC appeared at a recent New England truck show, we had to take notice having never seen the correct installation of the small 3/8′ bead cab windlace on an early model. Our camera did some recording.

Left Side Cab Lace

Left Side Cab Lace (Above)

Right Side Cab Lace

Right Side Cab Lace (Above)

Rumors from a few past customers were correct, the attaching position at the upper front door corner changes. Take note of the way the two pointed windlace ends meet when the door is closed. On the top and back side of the door opening the windlace is attached to the cab. At the front, the vertical piece is secured to the door edge

Gap Cab Lace

Note the gap between the two pointed ends of the welt. Some shrinkage after 70 years.

1936 Cabs

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1936 Cabs

Three times during Chevrolet truck history there were mid-year body changes. This was in 1936, 1947, and 1955. These changes involved very few modifications to the bed and mechanical components, but it was the cabs that received the near total facelifts.

In mid 1936 a major cab change occurred. Prior, they are referred to as high cab (mid 1936 and older) and later the low cab (mid 1936 and newer). The earlier style is a more square cab and has few style differences from trucks of the 1920’s. Structurally, they used internal wood frames to which much of the sheet metal was attached with nails and screws. This makes a strong, solid quiet cab when new but often results in a shortened life as dampness, dry rot, and loose fasteners take their toll.

A few other specifics on the 1936 high cab.

  • 3 Door Hinges
  • Rectangular Rear Window Frame
  • Windshield Frame has two lower rounded corners and two upper square corners
  • Windshield Frame is swing out manually with a slide on each side. A hand turned screw tightens down on the side to hold the frame open
  • Built in Body Exterior Sun Visor over Windshield (see diagram)

The newer low cab reflects the modern rounded body, a styling that had been introduced in all mid 30’s cars and most of the competition’s trucks. The only cab wood remaining was two front vertical internal posts and two horizontal side sections to help reinforce the door weight.

A few other specifics on the 1936 low cab

  • 2 Door Hinges
  • Round Corners on Rear Window
  • Windshield Fram opened bt crank handle in center of dash
  • Windshield Glass 12″ high with all four corners rounded
  • No changes in the cream colored dash guages


Early GMC Paint Schemes

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Since the introduction of GMC’s first 1/2 ton pickup in 1936, there has always been a sharing of most sheet metal parts with Chevrolet trucks. This was done mostly for economic reasons. However, when possible, each of the two brands tried to make inexpensive changes to be different than the other.

Some specific examples of this occurred during the Advance Design years (1947-1955). These two marques tried to stand apart from each other on most exterior features when it was financially possible.

Several very visible changes required no extra investment. Only a change in paint colors helped to separate the two trucks.

A. The running board splash aprons are one of the best examples. From 1947 through at least 1951 GMC painted these black. Chevrolet’s were the color of the cab and bed.

B. The front splash aprons on Chevrolets were body color. The GMC’s were black.

C. When the GMC carried a standard non-chrome bumper, it was black. Chevrolet did not offer black bumpers during any of the advance design years.

D. The names and shades of the exterior body colors are different. This was not difficult as Chevrolet and GMC were assembled in different assembly plants.

Note: We now find most restored Advance Design GMC’s have their splash aprons and bumpers painted the same color as the Chevrolets. As there are many more Chevrolets than GMC’s, people must assume that their GMC should be painted like a Chevrolet. The following factory GMC photos show a different story.

These factory photos provided, with permission, from the website www.oldgmctrucks.com

gmc paint 1

A. 1947-1951 GMC (above)

gmc paint 2

B. Front Splash (above)

gmc paint 3

C. Black Bumpers (above)

gmc paint 4

D. Paint Chart (above)

1936 Grille Housing

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1936 grill housing

After seventy years, authentic car and truck restorations are very difficult. With the limited survival of the 1936 GMC (the year of the company’s first ½ ton) this truck is especially difficult to restore just right.

Some literature has survived but what we see is usually in black and white. The question is the grill housing color of this rare truck. Chevrolet trucks and cars in those years have the housing painted body and hood color. We have found more than one GMC with this housing painted fender color. Very unusual! This was not even done on other non Chevrolet cars that are made by General Motors.

At this point we strongly suspect that the 1936 GMC had their shroud painted the color of their fenders. Only if the fenders were body color, would the shroud match the body and hood.

See the beautiful example in the photo above. It belongs to Pat Kroeger in Florida. During the recent restoration he attempted to paint the truck just right.

We hope to hear from you with comments on this difference in paint schemes. Contact us at info@oldchevytrucks.com or Pat Kroeger at du200@aol.com.

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

1936 GMC

Saturday, April 1st, 2006

Owner: Pat Kroeger

1936 gmc pick up truck

I bought my 1936 GMC T-14 from the second owner in Arizona in 2003. It was restored in 1989 by the original owner who bought it in June of 1936 and the truck has been in Arizona since new until I bought and had it shipped to Florida.

I have rebuilt the brake system, replaced the bed wood and I am going to replace the tires this spring. The head has a crack in it and it is going to be replaced in a few weeks.

1936 gmc pick up truck 1936 gmc pick up truck