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Posts Tagged ‘1959’

1959 Chevrolet Spartan 100

Monday, October 3rd, 2016
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 Let’s Really Talk Trucks!

Our Feature Truck of the Month series often shows the more unusual GM trucks. Most are rarely seen at special interest car and truck shows. This month is no exception! This ground up restored 2 ½ ton 1959 Chevrolet Spartan 100 is one of the very few (if any) in existence fully restored. It even goes further. It is said to be the “only” big back window cab in any condition that carries this name plate of a Spartan 100. They can’t get more one of a kind than this!

It all began over 40 years ago when Scott Phaneuf of Hatfield, Massachusetts purchased his first 1958 Chevrolet Cameo at 15 years old. This was his regular driver for several years until suddenly into his young life came the opportunity to own a well-cared for 1960 Corvette. If you are about 20 years old, what do you do? Yes, the Cameo was placed in a garage for another time in his life.

His Cameo fever came years later when his prior 1958 was brought out of storage. Scott had begun to have an interest in a major restoration of this rare truck. He wanted it just like it came from the factory.

He kept its original 283 V-8 and 3 speed column shift transmission. It became a real show stopper with its original Cardinal Red and Bombay Ivory trim.

Now, Scott’s 1958 Cameo fever had really begun. Married now, his wife Donna, had begun to like this restored family Cameo. In fact, Scott was impressed with this and he thought it was time to buy a second 1958 for Donna and make it also like a new truck. He found what he was looking for in Georgia. It had a Hydromatic transmission and rare factory power steering that pleased Donna even more. It had a great color combination, Tartan Turquoise with Bombay Ivory trim. The 283 was given a complete rebuilding as did the transmission along with every other part. Donna was a full partner in the restoration of this special Cameo. A great team effort! She now drives it from time to time and loves it, especially when it has won trophies at so many shows. This Cameo is so impressive it was a Feature Truck of the Month on Jim Carters website November 2012. It is still posted there for all to see at www.oldchevytrucks.com.

Two restored 1958 Cameos would be adequate for most, but Scott was on a roll! He had become an expert restoring 1958 Cameos, so he could not turn down the great opportunity to buy one of the rarest of colors: Kodiak Brown with Bombay Ivory trim. Kentucky was a great distance but it was one of the only remaining examples of a true Kodiak Brown Cameo. Scott has it now 90% restored and it will also be just like it left the factory including 283 V-8 and 3 speed overdrive column shift.

One day when Scott’s ‘58 Kodiak Brown restoration days were almost over, he was sitting at home looking through a special interest magazine and there it was! He was shocked with no idea this type 1958 Cameo existed! The sellers describe it as one of the two remaining with factory installed fuel injection and a hydromatic transmission. It even originally came with a great color combination:  Golden Yellow with Jet Black Trim. Yes, he was off to Arkansas and again towed another Cameo back to Hatfield. To date the restoration is 70% complete.

He recently located one other 1958 in Georgia with a very unusual color mix. It’s Bombay Ivory with Cardinal Red trim. Just reverse colors of his first 1958 he bought at 15 years old. It has a 283 with column shift 3 speed transmission. Scott originally bought it just for parts but now has decided to make it a good Cameo. He just found a ½ ton frame to replace the remaining pieces of frame that came with the truck. No formal plans on when it will be completely restored. Scott is fully involved with the other above restoration projects.

NOW FOR THE GRAND FINALE!

When you reach the level of 4 fully restored 1958 show Cameos, you have created a handicap if you enjoy showing them all at early auto & truck events. The time and expense to get them all to a show is a major consideration. Scott saw this problem coming long before all four Cameos were completed. To him it was a “no brainer”. Somehow he needed to find a Chevy tractor of those years with a fifth wheel for towing. Not an easy task! Of course, you must also locate a car hauling trailer used 50 years ago. This was is the big challenge as most older haulers have been sent to the crusher. Their weight value in steel scrap prevents them from sitting long in a salvage yard! He was worried none existed!

The hunt for a tractor continued for several years. It was so difficult to find even one in any condition and it had to be GM. Then one day, there was a 1959 Chevrolet Spartan 100 rated at 2 ½ ton and it was not even in an antique type magazine. It was advertised as in the back row of a small salvage yard in North Carolina. Scott had to have it! Being over 1,000 miles away was not an issue even with pulling it in his old dependable tow trailer.

It was “not” love at first sight but if it is the only one remaining. You cannot say no even if most restoration people would consider it a total loss.

The salvage yard owner did not mention it would be Scott’s job to remove all the tree saplings that were growing around it and through the rusted out floors. Most of the mechanicals were frozen tight from sitting in the timber so many years. The driver’s door was held on with one remaining hinge due to rust. No paint remained. Only primer and surface rust. The snakes would now lose their protection from rains! It is suspected during the 1,000 mile trip back to Massachusetts some on lookers said “why such a small trailer to haul just one vehicle to the crusher”? Once back in Hatfield a full evaluation was made of the Spartan 100. Every part needed major restoration or a total replacement. Later, it was discovered that even the rear brake drums were a total loss and no replacements were on the market. What now? Scott was able to re-drill and lightly trim newer GM truck drums so driving it safely would be possible.

To most, the effort to restore it far excided its value. However, to Scott how do you place a value on the only big back window Spartan in existence? After all, he needed this late-1950’s GM body design to blend with the Cameos he would be hauling. Thus, a total disassembly began. The four Cameos he had restored had given him so much knowledge. To undertake a project of such large proportions, this project would be just the challenge that he lives for.

It was like building a great big model kit and finding that you did not have all the parts. What a challenge! Most salvage yards had no spare used parts. Scott never gives up! With the aid of his computer, he searched over the US for needed replacement items and hoped it was what he needed when it arrived. The bare frame was totally cleaned and painted to make a place for the rebuilt motor, front suspension, 4 speed transmission, differential, brake lines, etc. The cab was totally taken apart nearby and then it also became part of the big model kit.

To make the cab extra special Scott added the exact GM stainless steel window and door trim that is the same on the Cameos. After all, as the “only” Spartan 100 big back window remaining, it should have that extra Chevrolet touch.

The 22.5” wheels are a real eye catcher. The cast iron black factory spokes with what looks like zinc plated rings. They almost look like narrow white walls!

HERE ARE SOME ADDITIONAL DETAILS OF SCOTT’S SPARTAN 100:

Cab: A “Full View” back window cab as on the top of the lines ½ ton pickups during 1955-59

Color: Dawn Blue (GM option # 707)

Engine: 348 cu in big block w/230 hp. 8 to 1 compression ratio. Scott had it totally rebuilt. It now looks and runs better than new!

Gas tank: A 141 gallon factory gas tank sits across the frame rails behind the cab and it fills on right or left side. Behind the seat is a 21.5 gallon tank with left side fill through the cab. It looks like a pickup tank but it is deeper.

Differential: 7.67:1 great for heavy pulling. It makes the Spartan love gasoline.

Tires & Wheels: 22.5” x 7.50” tubeless, cast-spoke

Weights: Curb weight 6,400#, gross weight 25,000#, pulling weight 40,000#

Wheelbase: 132” The shortest of the Spartan truck series. Just right for a 5th wheel connection.

The Nice Extra: This short wheelbase will allow it to sit beside family cars in a shopping center

Brakes: Air and fluid. If there is a fluid or air leak in the system, the brakes lock for safety!

Exhaust: All V-8 Spartans came with duel pipes and mufflers

Options (factory installed): AM radio, fresh air heater, stainless steel windshield and cab trim cab trim. Turn signals, and big back window

Accessories (dealer installed): Behind the seat package tray, outside sun visor, outside duel side
mirrors, cab roof clearance lights, and inside controlled spot lights

Four years later it is now fully restored. Hunting parts, restoring used items not otherwise available, and so much research has gone into this now “work of art”. The big block original 348 V-8 engine, without pulling a trailer, will quickly reach speeds that allows the driver to easily collect speeding tickets!

If anyone thinks Scott has more money than God to create this restored collection, he does not. It all went into one of the most unique truck collections in the world! Our hats go off to such a dedicated hard working individual that is able to follow his dream.

Here is the real surprise!  Scott left his life career job at most people’s usual retirement age about 7 years ago. This restoration hobby is his later in life enjoyment that he does so well!!

WHATS NEXT FOR SCOTT?

We probably can guess. He must also have a mid-1950’s vehicle hauling trailer to carry the Cameos. He reportedly purchased a 1964 Stewart 38 foot, 4 car capacity car hauler just like 1958. After looking at 50 year old trailers for 5 years, he found this one in Minnesota. The others he found were so bad they were not worth the effort to restore! Another rig saved from the crusher! Scott never restored a 53 year old hauler before or anything like it. There is no doubt, with his ambition, on completion it will look like it was put away in storage the day it came out of the factory!

His first trailer project will be to upgrade the brakes to a more modern system for safety. They will be connected to the Spartan brakes. If the tractor or trailer loses its fluid or air both tractor and trailer brakes lock up together.

Until the 1964 Stewart is completed, look at Scott’s rig. The Spartan and two 1958 Cameos are shown on a universal trailer on their way to a show!

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You can contact Scott Phaneuf at keyman4885@yahoo.com

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Chevrolet Accessory Package Tray (behind seat)

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1959 Chevy’s Big Block – 348 cu.in. V-8

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The compressor for the truck’s air brakes.

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The day Scott brought it home!

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Only its mother could love!

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Page from 1959 Chevrolet Salesman’s Data Book showing Scott’s Spartan 100

1959 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton

Friday, April 29th, 2016
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What a Deal! When the term “Only One in the World” is used in the automotive world, this special 1959 Chevrolet ½ ton Fleetside short bed should be near the top of the list. There is none like this one!

The owner and creator is Sam Caudle of Independence, Missouri. Using GM as the original designer, Sam became a subcontractor for its second coming.
Part of its 13 year rebuilding was spent by Sam in researching (GM Manuals, attending early truck shows, subscribing to truck magazines, etc.) on just how it could be made into a pickup he had always dreamed of.

This is Sam’s creation! It is a natural for our Feature Truck of the Month.

The dream began to develop prior to 2003 while he was still on his 40 hour/week job. A 1959 Chevy ½ ton was his daily transportation and he began to get serious on just how he would redesign it when he retired. A life’s dream was in the making!

And then in a split second, it was over. An automobile missed a stop sign and Sam with his truck were almost totaled. Yes, Sam lived. His 59 ½ ton, hit in the side, did not. Usable truck parts were the right door and bedside plus its grill.

While Sam healed he decided this would not stop his dreams. It was too developed in his mind. He would make a comeback and be stronger than ever. Therefore, this is the story of the “next” 1959 in Sam’s life!

This Time a newer more modern vehicle would take him to work. Sam’s next 1959, found locally, was in one way even better than his first. It had a large rear window! This 1959 would now be kept in his home where it was safe.

Thirteen years have passed since he found his second 1959 ½ ton. The disassembly and then careful rebuilding has been his main hobby all that time. If he had to wait to save his money for the next part of his creation he would just wait and study truck manuals and restoration books for the next step. Time was not an issue.

The little ½ ton’s unveiling occurred early this year. What a show it causes! That’s why it just had to be our Feature Truck of the Month! The following is a few of the areas that makes Sam’s 1959 such a real show stopper.

BODY: Basically stock. Emblems removed and a non-lettered tailgate makes many armature onlookers just wonder if its sheet metal has been shaped and formed into a one-off pickup.

SUNVISOR: The outside sunvisor above the windshield looks a little different from those often seen on these years. Then we discovered why. Sam cut the width down almost four inches. It might allow more sun in the cab but so what. It has a new modern air conditioning system from the Old Air Company!

INTERIOR: Passenger car seat allows the back rest to tilt forward. This gives access to the space behind. Late model steering column adds turn signals and tilt wheel.

The special padding throughout the interior reminds one of a deluxe car in appearance.

Look at the dash. A GMC dash perfectly replaces the original Chevrolet. Sam liked the GMC gauge placement so much better. Yes, the original heater control dash panel now operates a new modern air conditioning and heater system. It’s not easy to make the lever connection from an old heater to a new air/heater combination. Much time and planning on this one. Remember, time was not an issue with Sam. He was going to have it finished his way-a tasteful blend of modern and a 55 year old pickup.

BED: Sam’s 1959 is the second year for the GM Fleetside pickup. On the sides he has the bed stainless horizontal strips that were available for only this one year and only the top of the line model.

This bed is 6 foot length which results in the shorter 115 inch wheelbase. Look at that oak bed floor. A piece of furniture!

The mirror polished bed strips, without holes are a recent introduction in the pickup market Nice!

ENGINE: This is one of the top focal points of the truck. Sam’s goal was to get the best performance from a Chevrolet 250 cubic inch inline six cylinder engine. (Used by GM from the mid 1960’s to the mid 1980’s) He had read articles of the high power that is possible from a GM 250 six cylinder so he decided to reach that level.

Some of his six cylinder rebuilding includes a performance cam shaft and milled head to raise the compression ratio to 9.5. Yes, it now likes premium full. Of course, balancing all engine moving parts beyond GM’s specifications was a necessity.

This all blends nicely with a 4 barrel 450 cfm (cubic feet per minute) Edelbrock Performance Carburetor. It attaches to a Clifford intake manifold that is made just for the 250 engine. (Sam is considering adding a 390 cfm Holly carb to eliminate excess gasoline in the engine and losing some unburned fuel) An electronic ignition is pure GM and was a drop-in from an early 1980’s six cylinder 250 engine.

To add another 20 horse power Sam arranged the power steering, air conditioner, water pump, and alternator, to operate on one late model serpentine belt. Of course, some pulleys also needed updating to accept the newer serpentine system.

What is the result of all these engine modifications? When taking a drive with Sam and then returning to home base all that could be said was WOW! This little truck could out run a telegram! Sam was reminded that he needed pads on the rear window to prevent glass breakage when his head hit it during fast acceleration!

FRONT SUSPENSION: The front suspension as well as the frame rails to the pickup body are a transplant from a 1975 Camaro. This “clip” makes lowering it 8 inches not difficult (many aftermarket systems available) and all is factory ready for items such GM disc brakes.

REAR SUSPENSION: Instead of the factory 7 leaf rear spring Sam changed it to 3 leafs. This helped it to lower the bed 6.5 inches.

The big change of removing 4 leafs required another addition. Sam’s pickup has air bags! This catches the frame if the three spring leaves do not. As one change leads to another, the next problem to cover was the width of the air bags. NOTE the 6 inch wider wheel tubs. This makes room for these necessary accessories.

TRANSMISSION: The tried and proven GM 700 R4 automatic overdrive transmission just fills the bill. A nice bolt in with a 250 six cylinder as well as a small block V8.

NOTE: Sam preferred not to have the usual floor shifter used by most street rodders. He created metal arms that could be properly moved by a column shift lever and look more from the 1950’s. This little touch is not often seen with vehicles on this level. Another of Sam’s creations!

BRAKE SYSTEM: All wheel disc brakes! The front easily connected to the front frame rail assembly of the 1975 Camaro front frame section. It was the rear disc brakes that required some extra modification and were not a total bolt-on. Sam used the rear differential assembly from a 1978 Nova and then added to it the disc brake assembly from a 1991 Pontiac Trans-Am.  In that way, all brakes are GM. An extra project was to get the total assembly to attach safely and correctly to the leaf springs. The firewall mounted master cylinder, connected to modern swing pedals, was also a GM unit used from a full disc brake car.

SUMMARY: This is an overview of a few features of Sam’s “one of a kind” ½ ton. Some would say “This Must be the Tip of the Iceberg” in what was done and time spent. After 13 years, he can now enjoy the results of his research and personal involvement in this major project. Now retired, Sam will finally have more time to Have Fun!

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Short and Wide

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Lettering Relates to Sam’s Second 1959

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Big Back Window

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No Tailgate Lettering

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Air Bags Require Wide Tubs

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Deluxe Rear Bed Side Trim, Very Rare!

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Car Seat Forward Allows Extra Space Access

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Trimmed Accessory Sunvisor. Nice!

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Well Done

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Great Two-Tone Combination!

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Cab Steps. Perfect!

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Special Seat Upholstery!

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Modern Gauges & Steering Wheel

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Under Dash Air Outlet Assembly Fits Perfect

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More Dash Views & Modern Carpet

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The GMC Dash. A Perfect Fit into a Chevrolet Cab

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Not One Side of a V-12 Engine. It’s All 6 Cylinder!

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Edelbrook Carb on a Clifford Intake

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Clifford Valve Cover

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All In One Photo

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Air Conditioning. The American Way!

Aftermarket Dual Rear Wheels

Monday, April 18th, 2011

What a unique invention. When you have a 1947 through 1959 single rear wheel 3/4 or 1 ton GM truck and need more pulling power, this is the answer. American ingenuity at its best!

This new steel center hub extension includes eight long bolts to reach the original wheel studs. This holds the factory wheel in place and then provides a threaded end for the original eight lug nuts which are holding another matching wheel.

The buyer of this aftermarket kit just had to be sure his new outer tire was the same height as the original inner tire.

Pictures and data from Scott Golding, Stratton, NE.
email: scottandbetty@hotmail.com

1956-1959 Panel License Plate Bracket

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The rear license plate bracket for the 1956-1959 panel truck-very rare!


For the first time, this body style did not incorporate the tail light into the license light.

When GM designed the body to have two tail lights on the corners, it was necessary to design a license plate light that remained independant on the door position. This small bracket and light has become very rare in recent years.

NOTE: Strange, the first year of this panel truck body style (1955) continued with the combination tail and license light combination as the 1947-1954 design.

1955 1959 panel tail light 2
1956-1959 (above)

1955 1959 panel tail light 1
1955 only (above)

1956-1959 Panel License Plate Bracket
The complete combination – 1956-1959 (above)

1955-1959 GMC Hood Emblems

Thursday, February 11th, 2010


On the task force body style, 1955-1959, the GMC hoods began quite different than Chevrolet. Beginning in 1955 a large opening, 5.25″ x 25″, was used to hold a set of die cast GMC letters attached to a decorative grill.

In 1957 this grill was removed in place of a perimeter ring. Why the less attractive ring was added is a question. Possibly this grill held leaves and restricted some air intake or maybe it was a change just to be change. There was no hood opening in these last two years of this series.

By 1958-1959 GMC and Chevrolet shared the same design hood with only trim differences.

1955 1959 gmc hood

1955-1956 (above)

1955 1959 gmc hood

1957 Starndad (above)

1957 Chrome Hood Emblem

1957 Deluxe (above)

1955 1959 gmc hood

1958-1959 (above)

Floor Shift Foam Collar

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

This drawing is from the 1955-1959 Chevrolet Factory Assembly Manual. We have added our part number ( FL137 ) with an arrow to show the new floor shift foam collar that is now available at Jim Carter’s Truck Parts.

Click to enlarge

Floor Shift Foam Collar

1955-1959 Fan Shroud

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

By 1958 the Chevrolet V-8 fan shroud (not GMC) changed to the more traditional round design. During the V-8 beginning years in 1955-1957, it was little more than four pieces of custom sheet metal that helped pull air through the radiator core.

The enclosed pictures are of an original fan shroud for a 1958-59 Chevrolet 283 V-8. It fits only these two years of light trucks. Dimensions of the barrel is 19 inches in diameter and 20 inches deep.

The other shroud is from a 1958-1959 1 1/2 and 2 ton with V-8. There is a big difference. Be sure you purchase the correct design for the truck you have.

1958 1959 Chevrolet fan shroud 1

1958 1959 Chevrolet fan shroud 2

1958 1959 Chevrolet fan shroud 3

1958-1959 Pick Up (above)

1958 1959 Chevrolet fan shroud 4

1958-1959 1 1/2 – 2 Ton (above)

1955-1959 Starters

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Two totally different 12 volt starters were used on the 235 six cylinder Chevrolet light trucks during 1955-1959. They attach to different bellhousings and are not interchangeable.

1955 1959 starters 1

As shown in the photos, the Hydramatic transmission starter has three bolt holes for securing it to the bellhousing. A solenoid on top reacts to the drivers key switch in the dash.

The starter for the 3 and 4 speed transmission has a top mounted foot start switch. It attaches to its bellhousing with two bolts

1955 1959 starters 2

1955 1959 starters 3

1955 1959 starters 4

1955-1959 Power Steering

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Chevrolet’s linkage-type power steering is available as an RPO (Regular Production Option) on all models except Forward Control Chassis. New ease and fingertip steering control are provided because up to 80 percent of the steering work is done by hydraulic power. Maneuvering a heavily loaded truck in a small space becomes much easier, and straightaway highway travel is less fatiguing. In addition, power steering effectively damps road shock and vibration at the steering wheel.

A hydraulic pump, driven by an extension of the generator shaft, provides hydraulic pressure of 750-900 pounds per square inch. (A 30-ampere or heavy-duty 40-ampere generator is included with the power steering option.) The control valve on the Pitman arm reacts to movement of the steering wheel and regulates the flow of fluid to the power cylinder.

This valve directs fluid under pressure to either the left or right side of the piston in the power cylinder, thus providing assistance for both left and right turns. Manual steering, in case the system is inoperative, is always available.

1955 1959 power steering

Speed Up 1948-1959 GM Pick Up

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

We often get requests for a formula to make the Advance Design pickups more freeway friendly. Their original ring and pinion gears were created to make the truck’s six cylinder work well with a load and also keep up with the 1950’s traffic on gravel roads and two lane paved highways.

Though a higher speed reproduction ring and pinion was introduced several years ago, some owners still ask for another alternative to get in the “fast lane”. One method has been used successfully for several years and requires most parts from local salvage yards. Obtain the Borg-Warner 5 speed overdrive transmission from an S-10 pickup. It must come from an earlier model with a mechanical speed sensor (on the side of the case). It can not have the more high tech electronic speed sensor as used on the later S-10 pickups with computers.

This transmission will bolt against the original bellhousing of a 1948 and newer (a nice surprise). The clutch shaft which extends out of the front of the transmission is usually too long to allow the ears to bolt flat and secure to the bellhousing face. Therefore, if this occurs, shorten the tip of the shaft about a half inch and all will fit together. This is a must. Otherwise you can even break off a transmission ear when you begin tightening the four attaching bolts.

The ears that attach the transmission to the bellhousing are usually drilled for a metric bolt. They will need to be enlarged for a standard 1/2 inch bolt as is threaded into the bellhousing.

The V-8 Camaro 5 speed transmission is also similar to the S-10. It is said to not be as low geared and this makes it more desirable. The Camaro shift lever is too far back for the 1948-59 pickup. The bench seat is in the way. To correct this, use the S-10 tail shaft housing and case top cover. This will allow the vertical lever to come through the original floor in the correct position.

The input shaft of the 5 speed will have either 14 or 26 splines. Therefore, the clutch disc must match the transmission and not the 10 splines from the original 1948-1959 truck.

The attractive S-10 boot is still available from GM and the shift knob of choice is from a late model 5-speed Jeep. It screws on perfectly and looks great! The S-10 shifter clears the seat cushion and looks like it was installed by GM.

The next step is the differential. An open drive shaft style will be necessary to match up with the 5-speed but this is a subject for an totally different technical article.

The result of this change is lower RPM’s and speed to keep up with traffic flow on most modern highways.

After Market Wheels for Older GM Trucks

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

From 1934 to 1959 GM 1/2 tons came from the factory with a tie rod assembly that extended side to side to almost touch the front wheels. With everything stock, the tie rod sits about 3/4 inch from the inside of both original six hole wheels and all fits just right.

A problem exists when someone attempts to add a more modern wheel. For example, the mid 60’s and newer 4×4 wheels have this 6 hole bolt pattern but their width causes them to contact the end of original long tie rod. Changing from the approximate 4-1/2 inch original to at least a 6 inch width just won’t work.

Solutions for adding a more sporty wheel are very limited with the original suspension. One almost unknown method is to replace the original GM multi-piece tie rod ends with the more modern knuckle ends introduced in the 1960’s. There are currently available and are 3/8 inch shorter on the outer end giving that much extra room for a slightly wider wheel. (It is not recommended that flat washers be placed over the stud between the wheel and drum as this can cause breakage.)

This GM six bolt pattern is also shared with several Japanese pickups. Some very attractive more narrow aftermarket wheels have been produced for their imports in past years.

Updating 1955-1959 Seats

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

For those not requiring the original seat cushions on their 1955-59 Task Force truck, a roomy comfortable substitute is available. This unit is from a 1988 body style Chevrolet or GMC truck and is almost a bolt-in.

The legs or side brackets on this newer seat comes attached to the cushions from a used truck and sets nicely by the floor edge of the 1955-1959 cab. It almost looks factory installed! Yes, the cushion edge will slightly touch the doors but cause no closing problems.

The result is a much softer seat and a definite increase in distance between your “middle” and the stock steering wheel. Almost no interference with the in cab fuel tank.

1959 Chevrolet Pickup Deluxe Interior

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

It is sometimes asked by restorers, ‘What is the correct fabric for a 1959 Chevrolet with a deluxe cab?’ Answer: The same cloth material was used on the top of the line seats and door panels throughout.

The following pictures show this interior material on a 1959 door panel in a 1959 Chevrolet deluxe cab with 12,000 original miles [see photo below], and seen on a page from the 1959 Chevrolet Salesman’s Data Book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It appears this material was used one year. Upholstery shops having left-over partial rolls may have this rare upholstery material in storage and not be aware of what it was used for!

1958 1959 deluxe interior 1

1958 1959 deluxe interior 2

1958 1959 deluxe interior 3

1958 1959 Deluxe Interior Informational Chart PDF version. Click Here

1959 Deluxe Trim

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The bed side trim moldings were used on the second year Fleetside Chevrolet deluxe pickups for just one year, 1959. General Motors waited one year after the Fleetside introduction to give their dealers time to sell all their 1958 Cameos (The end of this model) so there was not two deluxe
designs available at one time.

The bed moldings added much to the 1959 deluxe pickup. In addition GM used many trim features that were once on the 1955 and 1958 Cameo cabs. These side moldings came on both 6 and 8 foot bed lengths. Thus, this bed trim was the main new expense General Motors had in creating a 1959 deluxe Fleetside. (And these new Fleetside beds could carry more merchandise than a Cameo!)

Red Marker Reflective Decals Set Behind the Three Vertical Openings.
1959 deluxe trim 3
Front die cast small spear.
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1959 Fleetside NAPCO 4×4 “Better than New”!
The right side bed trim package, (not including the tail light bezel)

1958-1959 Chevrolet vs GMC Trim

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

With the new Fleetside bed design in 1958 the Chevrolets placed a chrome emblem on the bed side with the word “Fleetside”. However, GMC referred to this new bed as a “Wideside” to not copy Chevrolet. A Wideside emblem was never created, thus the GMC bedsides are without letters. (The horizontal bedside trim is a 1959 option).

(images by Ralph Wescot)
1958 1959 trim
1959 Chevrolet
1958 1959 trim 2
1959 GMC

1955-1959 GMC Emblems

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the mid 1950’s, V-8 engines began to gain popularity. Many became an option in full size cars and trucks that normally were provided with a six cylinder. When this occurred, most vehicles were given a body emblem advertising that the larger power plant was under the hood.

1955 1959 gmc V8 emblems

1955-1957 (above left) | 1958-1959 (above right)

GMC trucks were no exception. During the 1955-59 body style, two different shapes of V-8 emblems were used. Both die cast designs were attached to the front fender below the GMC letters. The above picture shows these V-8 emblems and the different GMC letters that appeared above them. If the truck came with a six cylinder, only the letter emblem was used on the fender. Today, as many older trucks are given modern V-8 engines, the original V-8 emblems have become almost impossible to find. The demand for these rare emblems has far exceeded their availability.

1955-1959 GMC Bumper Guards

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

GMC bumper guards during these years were standard equipment and stamped from the same heavy gauge metal as the bumper (a different style and lighter gauge metal were dealer accessories on Chevrolet light trucks).

A slight change in design was made at the end of the 1956 year. A more decorative pointed end was given the guards during 1957 through 1959.

1955 1959 gmc bumper guards 1

1955-1959 GMC (above)

1955 1959 gmc bumper guards 2

1955-1956 GMC (above)

1955 1959 gmc bumper guards 3

1957 GMC (above)

1955 1959 gmc bumper guards 4

1957-1959 GMC (above)

1955 1959 gmc bumper guards 5

1955-1959 Chevrolet (above)

1955-1959 Door Differences

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Though the 1955-1959 GM doors are basically the same and will interchange, there is one noticeable difference. The inside metal door panel (covering window and door mechanisms) is held in place with smaller screws in 1955.

It is assumed these smaller 10 x 24 screws were easier to break or strip when over tightening on the assembly line. By 1956, GM had increased their size to 1/4″ x 20 and this remained through the series.

Radio Trivia

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

  • Push buttons were discontinued at the end of 1953 and did not reappear until 1967
  • Prior to 1959 radios used mechanical vibrator tubes. They would operate with either positive or negative ground. A low buzzing sound could always be heard from the tube area before the radio warmed up, once the sound began, the speaker made the buzzing difficult to hear. In recent years a major change has occurred. Vibrator tubes have been gradually replaced with a modern solid state style These are ruined if the battery is reversed. A positive ground tube cannot be placed in a negative ground vehicle
  • The 1947-1955 four staff cowl mounted antenna could be extended almost four feet. This helped pull in at least one station in rural areas
  • With a totally redesigned dash in 1954, the radio was given a major change. It remained AM only but with push buttons discontinued, it became almost half the size of the previous model
  • From 1959 and older, GM truck radios had two lead wires. One usually attached to the headlight switch so the dial light went on with the dash lights. The other wire attached to a 20 amp fuse and then to the ignition switch “hot” connection
  • The AM-FM radio was first available in GM trucks in 1970, not in 1967. These units have one sound track and are not stereo
  • In 1947, with the introduction of the Advance Design body style, GM trucks for the first time had a place in the dash to install a radio
  • In relation to wages, early radios were very expensive. A 1949 radio had a retail price of about $74.50 when it was difficult to carry $5.00 in groceries
  • The dash on the 1954-1959 GMC and 1955-59 Chevrolet has no place for a speaker opening. Thus, the factory speaker is placed between the sunvisors above the windshield

GMC Ash Remover

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

There are few GM accessories that are more unusual and rare than this item that was seen at a recent truck show. It was offered by GMC dealers in 1958 and 1959.

The item is an “Ash Remover” for the smoking driver and his passenger. With a touch of a small lever, the ashes on a cigarette or cigar is instantly removed from the cab. A rubber vacuum line from the engine manifold pulls the ashes to a small glass jar on the engine side of the firewall Quite a novelty on trucks that were usually bought for work.

Was it worth an extra price over a stock ash tray? Probably not but it appears some found owners. At this time at least two are known to exist.

Even when other “Ash Removers” are seen, they will not be recognized if they have lost their original box. Very few will know what these parts are made to fit.

images by Ralph Wescot

ash 1

ash 2

ash 3

Two Tone Panel

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the 1955-1959 Chevrolet Task-Force truck years, the panel body style remained very popular. To help sales continue to grow, a two tone paint scheme was offered. This option was used for the business customer that planned on having their logo applied to the panel.

A wide band on the sides and back was painted Bombay Ivory*. This two tone paint looked very attractive, as is, when leaving the factory but it also provided the correct background for most company logos. The baked on factory ivory paint would hold up better and did not require sanding and painting by a body shop. Only a sign painter was needed to add the company logo.

two tone panel 1

The above drawing is from a page in the 1959 Chevrolet salesman’s data book. The two-tone paint is Dawn Blue with Bombay Ivory inserts.

The photos are of a local 25,000 mile 1959 panel truck also in Dawn Blue. Note how the white comes to a point at the top and bottom of the side door window opening.

* The Bombay Ivory inset was not offered on panels painted white.

two tone panel 2

two tone panel 3

two tone panel 4

two tone panel 5

two tone panel 6

1959 Chevrolet Deluxe

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

Owner: Don Lowrey

1959 chevrolet pick up truck

1959 Chevrolet Deluxe 1/2 Ton

This cab and early fleetside bed combination was available only during 1958 and 1959 but to get the bedside trim you had to wait with the last year. This was a time when trucks were usually bought for work and styling was far down the priority list. Therefore, one can appreciate the rarity of this month’s feature truck.

This 1959 Chevrolet deluxe ½ ton is owned by Don Lowrey of Lindsay, Ontario. He purchased it over 25 years ago during a visit to the U.S. Though at the time he did not realize its rarity, he knew the various deluxe features and color combination (Tartan Turquoise and Bombay Ivory) made for a very attractive package.

Shortly after the purchase of this, then 20 year old truck, Don decided to bring back the original shine by giving it new paint and re-chroming the bright metal. He was careful not to alter the original color or add extras that were not Chevrolet approved accessories.

The upholstery was kept without any replacing. Thus, we have a perfect example of the fabric Chevrolet used in their most deluxe pickup. Unlike the standard model, matching seat cloth was also placed over the door panels.

Note the untouched wood bed bottom. It still has much of its original black paint on yellow pine. NO, the manufacturers did not sand and varnish the bed floors!

Along with the many features that are standard with the deluxe package, this little ½ ton also has a few dealer installed accessories. The bumper guards, radio, heater, sunvisor, and wheel rings could have been added by the Chevrolet dealer.

Don has a certificate from the State of Pennsylvania that the 12,000 miles on the odometer (at his purchase) is correct. The truck runs like new and is used to drive to occasional Ontario car shows. It has not yet logged 1,000 miles since its purchase 25 years ago. If a show is two days long, Don uses his ½ ton to pull his travel trailer! The stock 235 six cylinder and 3 speed column shift transmission does the job.

1959 chevrolet pick up truck 1959 chevrolet pick up truck 1959 chevrolet pick up truck

1959 chevrolet pick up truck 1959 chevrolet pick up truck 1959 chevrolet pick up truck

1959 chevrolet pick up truck 1959 chevrolet pick up truck1959 chevrolet pick up truck

1959 chevrolet pick up truck

1959 Chevrolet Apache

Wednesday, September 1st, 2004

Owner: Don Wyatt

1959 chevrolet apache

This 1959 Chevy 1/2 ton step-side pickup was purchased in Santa Barbara, California from an estate containing 20+ cars and trucks. It was found sitting behind a 1955 Chevy “business coupe” with cement and old rubble in front of the garage door which had to be removed with a tractor. It was stored for 31 years and has 24,996 original miles on it. The truck was completely restored “off the frame” and is now in perfect showroom condition. It is as original as it gets, with the six cylinder 235 Chevy Engine and 3-speed on-the-column transmission making that “rapp” sound that only a Chevy Six can. The only modifications which have been done are an aluminum head cover, Fenton headers and very nice dual exhaust system. New wheels, stock with Chevy hub caps and mono leaf springs give the truck a much better stance. All of the chrome has been stripped and re-dipped. The truck is an eye-stopper and a jaw-dropper. You won’t find a more pristine Apache with this originality.

The interior is completely original, seat covers and floor mats. The radio head unit has been temporarily removed and replaced to give a new sound but the original radio as well as a few other parts will accompany the truck upon its sale. If you are an old Chevy truck fan, you know this is a real gem.

1959 chevrolet apache 1959 chevrolet apache 1959 chevrolet apache

1959 chevrolet apache 1959 chevrolet apache 1959 chevrolet apache

1959 chevrolet apache 1959 chevrolet apache 1959 chevrolet apache

1959 Chevrolet Fleetside

Saturday, September 1st, 2001

Owner: Olen Moore – Odessa, Missouri

1959 chevy pick up truck

This month’s featured truck is a prime example of how an early Chevrolet Fleetside appeared when new. Few near 100 point restorations of GM’s early fleetsides exist today, so this little truck is a real attention getter. Looking at this like new pickup is as if going back in time. It is even painted the original Galway green, so popular during the late 1950’s.

The owner is Olen Moore of Odessa, Missouri. He has recently completed a detailed three year restoration of this fleetside. It had not been exposed to major abuse during its 42 year life and therefore was an excellent candidate for this exact frame off restoration. Most parts were still in place so there was no guessing as to how the truck should be reassembled. Of course, most parts needed replacing or restoring and Olens skill has made this pickup new again.

To keep it just as it was from the factory, Olen rebuilt its original 235 six cylinder engine and kept the column shift 3 speed. It drives just like new and nicely keeps up with traffic.

1959 chevy pick up truck 1959 chevy pick up truck 1959 chevy pick up truck

1959 chevy pick up truck 1959 chevy pick up truck 1959 chevy pick up truck

1959 chevy pick up truck