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Posts Tagged ‘1952’

1952 Chevrolet Tanker Truck

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Seeing a small tanker vehicle like our feature truck this month brings back memories from another era in our country’s history. It was a time of smaller family farms that dotted the country by the millions. Usually one medium size tractor was adequate for the planting and harvesting of the numerous crops these farms produced.

Suppliers of petroleum products in the towns soon realized the opportunities that existed when they delivered fuel and oil to small farms. Most farmers had no time or the hauling equipment to drive to town and get fuel and lubricant.

Thus, when horses were replaced with tractors, a whole new industry emerged. The smaller farms delivery tanks trucks became a common site in farming communities and in the country. Their tanks were usually divided into three compartments for fuel oil, gasoline, and motor oil. At the small farm was usually a few 55 gallon drums the farmer used to fill his tractor. The tanker truck from town added the amount of fuel and oil as the farmer requested either by phone or during the shopping day in the nearby community. Even many homes were heated with fuel oil. This gave the petroleum dealers more income with in-town deliveries.

Our December feature truck is just one of these vehicles. Now small tanker trucks are almost non-existent! The owner and restorer of this unusual truck is Charles Shook of North Richland Hills, Texas. His 1952 Chevrolet ¾ ton carries an 8 foot long 390 gallon capacity tank with three chambers.

NOTE: The long tool box on the left side. Every small farm delivery tanker had to have one. It held all basic wrenches and related tools the driver needed to transfer petroleum products through a hose to the farmer’s small tanks. Charles copied the original but used very attractive pecan wood.

This tank was made in 1937 by the Columbian Steel Tank Company in K.C. Mo. (still in business) This older tank would have been correct on a 1952 truck as they outlasted their first vehicle and would be moved to a different chassis over the years. It still fills the farmer’s smaller drums by gravity. No need for a pump if their drums were lower than the delivery tank.

Charles made a hidden change during the tank restoration. The inter dividing walls between the compartments were removed. By opening the two rear doors this exposes the interior of the chambers and allows for carrying lawn chairs and a cooler. These really come in handy during the hours at the car shows!

Charles bought the unrestored tank at a swap meet over 3 years ago and it fit his newly acquired ¾ ton. He suspects it might have originally been on about a 1 ½ ton but being for display it is just right for his small truck.

Charles has spent 3 ½ years making his truck and tank 100% like new. Completion was September 2015 It was disassembled to the frame and then the complete restoration began. During the truck restoration, Charles made it as close to new in 1952 as possible.

Every part was perfectly restored or replaced. It even has the correct Forester Green paint. The original 216 inline six cylinder engine was rebuilt about as GM made it. The exception was using bearing connecting rods to eliminate the softer babbit bearings.

He is the third owner of the ¾ ton. It began its life as a farm pickup near Bridgeport, Texas were it was bought new. He has most all past records including a copy of the original title and the early service data through 1963.

The second owner bought the truck with a restoration in mind however the lack of time and money prevented any of this to materialize. When Charles bought it about 4 years ago a serious restoration began. His grandfather drove a delivery truck for a Sinclair wholesaler in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Already a restorer of farm tractors and stationary engines, having a restored tanker truck fit into his life history. Of course, the Sinclair signage on the “New” tanker goes along with his grandfather’s early days.

The restoration was completed in September 2015. Two local shows were then attended and Charles received Best of Class in both! This is proof of a good restoration by judges and the general public. Hopefully, it will be seen much more in Texas shows in the spring.

You can contact Charles Shook by emailing him at xr25r@yahoo.com.

Sitting at a car show. Note New tool box!

A real attention getter!



Accessory oil bath air cleaner and oil filter are just right.

Ground up rebuilt 216 engine.

Measuring wheel shows sale amount.

1952 Chevrolet 2 Ton Caravan

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

Here is an example of pure American Ingenuity! Put two things together:

A 1952 Chevrolet 2 ton and an ambitious top quality retired carpenter that wants to travel. These qualifications fit Richard Howe of Trinidad California. (About 300 miles north of San Francisco, California) He built another similar house and truck combination several years ago on a Cab over Engine 2 ton chassis. What he learned on that project will be used to make this unit even better.

He is the only builder of his one of a kind “Caravan “and he had no extra help. After all, Richard has been a professional carpenter all his life!

His current unit is made much of recycled redwood from boards used years ago in other prior construction purposes. Richard lives near redwood country and he suspects the wood is from trees that are 1,000 to 2,000 years old! He has been on this project about 6 years as money and time allows.

A little less than a year is remaining in this project because Richard’s goal is to have his unit completed and roadworthy by the summer of 2016. That will be the time for his high school 50th graduation in Minnesota. This personally built “Caravan” will be his transportation for this over 1,500 miles one way trip.

Even though Richard is a great carpenter, when it came to the mechanicals he needed help. He got the assistance he needed from two excellent skilled workers at Bill’s Repair Shop in Redding, California. Their names are Bill Tuschen and Ed Demoll. Richard would recommend them to anyone needing early truck repairs!

With the help of these friends the “house” may possibly come off once more to restore the truck cab!

The drive-train will include the original 4 speed transmission plus an optional Brownie 3 speed attached at the rear. This rare overdrive unit will provide him a top speed of almost 55 miles per hour. Yes, he will certainly have time to better see the USA. The original differential gears will give the correct ratio to support the speed of this heavy home he has built.

Oh yes! Richard decided to install a Chevrolet 350 V-8 as the power source. With a V-8 bell housing, it perfectly fit the original 4 speed transmission! It just needed some side motor mounts to fit it in correctly. (Available from many suppliers) He feels it will be the best for his long trips, the heavy Caravan weight, and higher speed demands of modern highways.

The enclosed photos show some of the under construction views of Richard’s Caravan. It’s great what one can do with ambition. The finished project will certainly be a “one of a kind”. You can contact Richard Howe at 1-707-273-2742.

We hope to receive photos of the completed unit next year at Richard’s school reunion time. We will post them here!

1952 Cab and Chassis after the frame is extended 4 feet

350 Chevy V-8 replaces the inline six cylinder engine

Stock setup for the carrier bearing needed lowering with the 4’ lengthen
frame. The first trial run quickly wore out the bearing! See next photo!

A 3″ channel is needed to lower carrier bearing due to the lengthen frame.

Hand built new doors before redwood siding

New top almost completed. Just before siding added.

These 5″ redwood planks were on an old construction job and are from trees
1,000 to 2,000 years old.

Lap siding is from the 5″ scrap redwood. 17 operations in each board before
ready to install.

Start of installation of front cab-over windows

Frames for front cab-over finished

Front cab-over almost complete

1/4″ welded steel support brackets on both sides of “cab-over” windows

Corner cab-over brackets in place plus 1,000 to 2,000 year old lap siding

Interior started.
NOTE: The window frames were made from scratch and are to appear as those
from an old hotel transom used in room ventilation.

1952 Chevrolet UTE

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

WOW! What is this? It is a car or a truck? Surprise. It is neither.

This is an “American made” 1952 Australian UTE!

It’s probably the only one of its type in the world. The owner and restorer is John Smith of Tonganoxie, Kansas.

We first saw this special vehicle displayed at the Mid-West All Truck Nationals on September 6, 2014. What an attention getter!!

This all began in the 1960’s when John drove a much worn 1952 Chevrolet Sedan for almost 10 years. He was personally involved in all the repairs that were required. He knew all the in’s & outs of the 1952. Now fast forward more than 50 years. John is nearing retirement and keeps thinking about the 1952 he once owned. Wouldn’t it be great to own another 1952?

He could restore it just like the one in his memories of the 1960’s. So he spent much time searching.

And then it happened. In an Australian movie, John saw a 1952 Australian unibody UTE used as their regular transportation. It was love at first sight! The front and mechanicals were all the 1952 Chevy car he remembered but the rear was a pickup truck.

Soon frustration began when he could not find a 1952 UTE imported from Australia. The time and money required to visit that country, buy a UTE, have it delivered to the USA, and change it to left hand drive was beyond consideration. Therefore, the next step is called by many “American Ingenuity”. John would make his own UTE in his own garage in the Heart of America!

Thus, many hours were spent just planning how this could be accomplished. It finally began to come together when he saw an original unrestored 1952 Chevrolet with a US made sedan delivery body and chassis. This is like a Chevy car station wagon without quarter panel windows. They also have a side hinge single rear door for easily loading merchandise. Most were for commercial use.

He said “I think I can make this into an Australian UTE”. It took three years in uncharted waters (not been there before) to create the show truck in the following photos. He started with a 1952 sedan delivery and restored most of it (similar to a sedan). The rear suspension was upgraded and the front mechanicals now have Mustang II suspension which allows for power steering and disc brakes.

The engine is from a 1989 Chevy Camaro I-Rock 350 cubic inch V8. Transmission is the very popular 700-R4 with overdrive. Of course, the UTE now has air conditioning, cruise control and power brakes.

The above updated mechanicals he used are not easy to install however, the availability of these parts are not difficult to locate from street rod suppliers. It was the creation of a UTE from the sedan delivery body that was the automobile challenge of his life! So carefully the body panels had to be cut and welded. No mistakes allowed. Compared to the Model A Fords he had once restored this was over twice the project.

The most difficult project was making the tailgate. Sedan delivery bodies have a single door that opens sideways. This door had to be shortened and hinged at the bottom to the body floor to transform it into a useable tail gate. Even the original wood floor in the sedan delivery (now the truck bed) is a ribbed metal creation. What a project! This would be impossible for most. Here, John received assistance from a very talented body expert, Carey Ditty near his town.

Another very big challenge was to make the back of the cab from the top of the sedan delivery door. The sedan delivery rear window and surrounding metal was moved forward to become the stationary rear cab window used in John’s Australian UTE. Not for the average body person’s talents. John had to have some help on this major project from a very skilled “metal bender”.

To keep it looking 1952 on the outside, John used the original 15” wheels which hold pure Chevrolet hub caps. Note the original factory side trim. It certainly makes it appear like a nice restored 62 year old deluxe Chevrolet.

So there you have a basic overview of three years of major challenges for John Smith. Look and admire a one of a kind 1952 Chevrolet. For our Feature Truck of the Month, we will call it a truck just like the Australians do.

We understand the Aussies made these in their own General Motors assembly plant from 1936 through 1952.



All new chrome!

Nicely Restored Emblem

Correct trim, wheels and hubcaps





The most difficult to make!

Floor mat over new floor


Spare tire behind passenger seat

Power windows and no wing vents (Big Job)



The Beginning!

It’s mostly there except front metal!

You may contact John Smith at nstarrsmith@gmail.com

Suburban Rear Quarter Panel Holes

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

The full rear quarter panels for the 1947-55 Chevy/GMC Suburban were made all the same at the metal stamping manufacturer.  To save money these panels were not made different if the Suburban was to have the double doors or the tailgate style opening in the rear.

Thus, when the Suburban was provided with a lift and tailgate combination the 4 holes for the “double barn door” hinges in the quarter panels were filled with rectangular rubber plugs.  This was not just for appearance but prevent rain water from reaching the body interior.

These photos show the plugs painted in body color; however it is questioned if this is correct.  By 1950, Suburban buyers had the choice of the 12 pickup colors.  It would have been more economical for all to have black rubber plugs instead of 12 boxes with the optional color prepainted plugs on the assembly line.

The other thought:  These plugs were painted when the full body was given its final color.  This would mean GM planned on the enamel body paint being of the quality that would successfully adhere to rubber over the years.  We don’t usually see this combination in other GM vehicles.  Special paint for rubber only is used!

Comments on how it really occurred:  Email us at jcarter@oldchevytrucks.com

New 1952 Vacuum Advance

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

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On the new 216 six cylinder engine, introduced in 1937, the vacuum advance was placed on Chevrolet trucks and cars at the right side of the engine below the distributor. A small metal vacuum line across the front of the engine connected to the carburetor base.

This vacuum advance design continued on trucks through the end of this family of six cylinder engines in 1962, however, on cars a change occurred in 1952. For cars, their engines began with new side motor mounts, not at the front of the block. For the vacuum line to get around this side mount the advance assembly changed position. See photo.

Note: When you see a parts book showing the vacuum advance changes in 1952, they are describing a car not a truck.

Using the 1952-1962 car vacuum advance on a truck will require modification on the vacuum line to a different bend. It will definitely not look correct!

new 1952 vacuum advance

1937-1951 Car and 1937-1962 Truck (left) | 1952 -1962 Car – (right)

Proper 3100 Hood Side Emblem

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the Advance Design years no less than four different Chevrolet hood side emblems were used on 1/2 tons. Each of their two mounting pins are in the same place so the punched hood holes were unchanged during these years. All were chromed die cast even during the 1952-1953 Korean war chrome shortage.

The following pictures show the correct emblem for each of the years. Beware, some vendor’s catalogs do not list them correctly.

Note: Between mid-1949 through 1951, a separate small 3100 emblem was placed below the Chevrolet letter plate. Therefore, hoods during these years will have two additional factory punched holes. The longer Chevrolet emblem used between 1949-1952 are the same.

proper 3100 1

1949-1951 3100 Emblem (above)

proper 3100 2

1955 First Series (above)

proper 3100 3

1952 (above)

proper 3100 4

1953-1954 (above)

proper 3100 5

1947-1949 Thriftmaster (above)

1952 Chevrolet

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Owner: Jim Swing

1952 chevrolet

This is my original 1952 Chevy truck with only 83,783 miles on it. The truck was sold in Rush City, Minnesota at Schneider Chevrolet, which is no longer in business. It was kept in the area by Leroy Lindstrom. I bought it at a garage sale in 2007, just the way it sits, for $2500.00. I had to redo the box wood and put on a new muffler but every thing else is original. It still has the 6 volt system, six cylinder, and three on the tree.

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1952 Chevrolet

Sunday, June 1st, 2003

Owner: Dirk Van Den Bergh Belgium

1952 chevrolet truck

These are two Chevrolets panel trucks that we use for the club meetings of our Belgian club “Forties and Fifties American Cars Enthusiasts”. Both are manufactured in Antwerp at the General Motors Continental plant and have 6 in line engines and speedometers in kilometers. The green one is equipped with for loudspeakers and the flags of Belgium, the city of Antwerp, the European Community and of course the Stars and Stripes of America! We use it to open our meetings and U.S.-car parades. The parking lights and the turn signal lights on the green one are not correct and has to be removed one day and replaced with the originals. At the side of this panel truck, my 1954 Chevrolet Highway Patrol car.

The dark red panel truck is also mine but I use it for our club meetings as the last car to close the car parade. He will need some more parts of Jim Carter classic truck parts!

Best regards,

Dirk Van den Bergh
President 40’s & 50’s A.C.E.
E-mail: forties-fifties@skynet.be

1952 chevrolet truck