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1938 Chevrolet ¾ Ton

Friday, May 1st, 2020

Thirty six years by the same owner! Mike Odom of Kingston, Illinois purchased this 1938 Chevy 3/4 ton at a farm auction about 1985 for $1275.00. Why? It was the beginning of the pickup craze in the U.S. that still is alive and well. Mike wanted an older pickup long before he had the money to buy one, much less the finances to make it road worthy.

In his research, he decided the 1938 front grille treatment is what he wanted most. He would wait for a 1938 to come along and not buy a second choice in his 20”s. Employment at the young age usually does not pay too well to go beyond a daily driver.

During his 29th year of age is when he found it. He wasn’t quite ready to spend his savings but it might be many years if ever, to find a 1938 in his price budget. He was able to “limp” it home under its own power, but money to make it safe for the road was out of the question. He set it back in a storage building and put it on his future wish list.

A few photos of the 1938 after Mike purchased it at the farm sale.  One can see it had been strictly a rural farm truck.  Having a flatbed allowed for hauling more than a pickup with sides only about 47” apart.

The following tells so much that was done during this seven year restoration. As he spent so much time preparing for this major undertaking, Mike studied what would be best for this type and age of pickup.

Was this project expensive? Your guess! Just the red paint was from what Mike says is the best paint made today. The name is Sikkens, from Germany. This and the interior paint was $4400.00. Total restoration cost? We did not ask. We just kept thinking of the $1275.00 investment at the farm auction.

THE FOLLOWING ARE MIKE’S WORDS and shows he really knows what his more street rod truck is all about.

This truck was built “frame off” with every nut and bolt changed by me and a small amount of help from friends to assist here and there over the last seven years to be a driver, not a show car! Aside from short runs for exhaust, front end alignment and two indoor car shows this past winter, It has never been trailered anywhere. The only other work that was not done by me was the significant welding on the frame for the suspension changes, the stainless steel exhaust, the cutting of glass, and had help with some of the finishing and spraying of the Chevy “Red Hot Red” paint with buffing by Jay Meuser.

It has: “Fatman…stage 3” front suspension with QA1coil over adjustable shocks, power Chevy disc brakes, rack and pinion power steering, Chevy 350 crate engine, air conditioning, rebuilt 700R4 automatic overdrive transmission, rebuilt Nova 10-bolt posi rear end, Chasis engineering rear end mounting kit with springs, and Ride tech adjustable rear shocks.

In addition: Custom “under the body/bed” 18 gallon stainless steel fuel tank, chrome tilt column, OEM style cruise control, custom interior wrapped in leather, and lastly, auto meter gauges and tachometer; except the rebuilt original speedometer.

Next: Custom stereo with equalizer, an amp with tweeters in the upper front roof panel with the mid-range speakers in the doors, and the 10” bass speaker enclosure under the seats, dual intermittent wiper system from Newport Engineering, sequential 6-light turn signal system LED lights throughout.

Further: Custom “side mirrors” with LED turn signals on the inside, custom roll-pan, upgraded spare tire mount with a modern cable hoist that is accessible behind the fold-down rear license plate, classy old vintage metal trunk that has been restored with black crinkle finished “powder coat”; housing the battery, tool kit, electric jack kit, two Pico chairs, cleaning supplies, etc.

Lastly: It has a 1941-46 Chevy bed box as original that is wider than the 1938 rear fenders were. The smooth-sided 1941-46 rear fenders were hammer formed by me to appear like they were made by GM, because of the wide bead character lines appeared like the 1938 front fenders. Also, I hammer formed the rear fender edges around the wheel opening and around the box underneath the rear fenders to match the appearance of the 1938 rear fenders. Custom “Smoothie Fabrication” smooth running boards were custom finished and fitted by me to fit the ’38 front fenders, and reformed in the rear to fit the 41-46 fenders (1938 in front to the 1941-46 rear fender “wider shape” in the rear).

What a job

All in all, the frame remains unmolested, as I built this to be a nice driver not a race car. I only boxed in the frame from the cab forward to accommodate the “Fatman front suspension system” to upgrade the safety and drivability of this truck.

Things not included when originally built in 1938:

  • 350 V8 engine
  • Extra cooling capacity aluminum radiator w/ trans fluid cooler Auto transmission P/SP/B Electric cooling fan
  • Turn signals
  • Radial tires and mag rims
  • Under the body fuel stainless steel tank
  • Stainless steel exhaust
  • Three horns
  • Modern fuse panel and wire harness
  • Emergency flashers
  • Sequential turn hazard/ lights
  • Third brake light
  • Rear license plate light
  • Billet aluminum license plate frames
  • Stainless steel Bed strips and polished stainless steel bolt kit
  • Interior and exterior door locks on both doors
  • 12 volt electrical system
  • Tachometer
  • Tilt chrome steering column with shift indicator Gm style cruise control
  • Stereo with AM/FM/Bluetooth with amp and bass speaker
  • Leather interior bucket seats with head rests
  • Carpeting on center console with drink holder: center console base with two recessed tray areas and two power points and fire extinguisher pocket with door arm rests
  • Internal door crash beams
  • 3 point seat belt system
  • 4 interior lights which is door opening and light switch activated
  • Glove box light
  • Sun visors
  • Defrosters
  • Air conditioning
  • Side mirrors with LED turn signals inside
  • Insulated cab and doors
  • Chrome windshield and back window moldings
  • Head lamp assemblies
  • Hood hardware
  • Bumpers
  • Tailgate hinges
  • Cowl vent lever
  • Numerous stainless steel fasteners inside and out as well as underneath the truck
  • Tinted side and rear windows
  • Custom headliner
  • Extra door weather stripping
  • Bear claw type door latches
  • Cable hoist spare tire mount
  • Extra thick rubberized material applied to the bottoms of the fenders and running boards for rock damage
  • Fully enclosed sheet metal floorboard

People to be mentioned in the order they helped!

Chris Odom: Much all around help/console building/assembly/encouragement

Roger Odom: Dis-assembly/stripping and assembly help

Jimmy Odom: All around and stereo help

John Marshall: Major welding/brake/gas line bending/all around help

Dave Burke: Front suspension placement/trans mount/rear end help

Brad Driscoll: All around and encouragement help

Frank Krumweidte: Rear end placement help

Mike Corson: All around help

Dave Adams: Mechanical/all around help

Jay Meuser: Finish work/painting assy

Harold Hardy: All around guidance

Bob Durham: Electrical/stereo help

Tim Chapman: Auto meter gauges

Chuck Cradduck: Wiring/mechanical help

Jason Withers: Help

Jarrett and Ryan Marshall: Exhaust

Dierdre Kerr: Well, she seen me through!

And last but not least!! My heartfelt thanks to Jim Carter for his help and especially, Jimmy Jones! He was instrumental with guidance and instruction on a ton of things, and has been so great with helping me get through this build. It would have been so much harder without his knowledge and willingness to help whenever I got into a jamb ! ! !

As well as the friendly help that I always have received whenever I have called the store…in my book Jim Carter Truck Parts stands on top of the hill alone as the best place to obtain parts and info when building a vintage truck! While building this truck I have dealt with many other company’s but none offered the products for a very reasonable price with fast friendly service like JIM CARTER TRUCK PARTS!!

If I can help anyone with info about this truck I would be more than happy to help!

Thank you,

Mike Odom – Kingston, Illinois – email: modom6499@gmail.com

For the Serious 1938 Enthusiast:

If you have an interest of how Mike’s 1938 looked over 80 years ago and why this year is so rare, check our January 2020 Feature Truck of the Month. Owned by Glen Andrews of Raleigh, NC.

RESTORATIONS & REPAIRS 2020 – 2015

Monday, April 13th, 2020

Chevrolet and GMC Featured Stories

If you have purchased parts from Jim Carter Truck Parts to restore your truck, we are ready to accept your photos and narrative about your restoration. Please click here to submit your photos along with your story about your truck restoration and or repair project. Sorry, we can only take on 12 per year for Featured Truck of the Month.


2020 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
June 2020 1953 GMC Canadian Built ½ TonAllan Fisher
May 2020 1938 Chevrolet ¾ Ton Mike Odom
April 2020 1955 Chevrolet ½ Ton Steve & Cynthia Brouker
March 2020 1959 GMC ¾ Ton 4×4 Max & Jacob Berry
February 2020 1954 Chevrolet ½ ton Calvin Weaver
January 2020 1938 Chevrolet ½ ton Glen Andrews

2019 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
November/December 2019 1951 Chevrolet Suburban Tim Plake
October 2019 1942 GMC 1½ ton Flatbed Bob Combe
September 2019 1947 Chevrolet Deluxe ½ ton Pickup John Welsh
August 2019 1961 GMC Suburban Joe Disanti
July 2019 1954 Chevrolet Deluxe ½ ton Pickup Byron & Eleze Fuller
June 2019 1957 GMC Palomino and More! Ralph Wescott
May 2019 1972 Chevrolet Cheyenne Super Dave & Donna Field
April 2019 1946 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Stephen Caudill
March 2019 1955 GMC Suburban Carrier Larry Koochel
February 2019 1935 Chevy 1/2 Ton Jim McCoy
January 2019 1951 Chevy Suburban Mike & Tyler Chance

2018 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 2018 1957 Chevy Cameo Louie Hinojosa
November 2018 1961 GMC 3/4 Ton Jan & Ross Gale
October 2018 1937 GMC T-14 ½ Ton Larry Shisler
September 2018 1958 Chevrolet ½ Ton Short Bed Dick & Dolores Diestel
August 2018 1949 GMC ½ Ton Long Bed Steve & Patty Briand
July 2018 1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Funeral Hearse Rob Webster
June 2018 1956 Chevrolet Cameo plus Topper Bill Steeley
May 2018 1951 Chevrolet ¾ ton pickup Dr. Fred Young
April 2018 1969 Chevrolet Short Fleetside David Griffin
March 2018 1939 Chevrolet ½ Ton (Australia) Colin Carvolth
February 2018 1942 Chevrolet ½ Ton Bill Sanders
January 2018 – 18 years! 1966 GMC Ed Snyder

2017 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20171942Chevrolet 3/4 TonRoger Dunford
November 20171957Chevrolet CameoJohn Wazorick
October 20171939Chevrolet 1/2 TonRobert Bratcher
September 20171965Chevrolet 1/2 TonVinny Tumminia
August 20171941Chevrolet 1/2 TonJim Shaw
July 20171953GMC Long Bed 1/2 TonBill Miles
June 20171939Chevrolet COE 108″ WBJohn & Lisa Milton
May 20171948GMC COE Deluxe Crew CabCholly Nachman
April 20171937Chevrolet Panel TruckBurt Fulmore
March 20171948Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Deluxe PickupDave and Julie McBee
February 20171951Chevrolet SuburbanJeff & Brenda Kuhn
January 20171967Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Step BedJohn Toon

2016 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
Dec 2016 / Jan 20171967Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Step BedJohn Toon
November 20161936Chevrolet 1 1/2 TonMike Russell
October 20161959Chevrolet Spartan 100Scott Phaneuf
September 20161951Chevrolet COE Tow TruckJim Carter
August 20161947Early Chevy 1/2 TonJoe Haney
July 20161953GMC Deluxe Panel TruckMax & Margaret Davis
June 20161949GMC 3/4 TonDale Jacobs
May 20161959Chevrolet 1/2 TonSam Caudle
April 20161938GMC Cab Over, Roll-BackGlenn Garrison
March 20161951Chevrolet 1/2 Ton PickupGerald Cooper
February 20161953Chevrolet Canopy ExpressGreg Fanning
January 20161953Chevrolet 1 Ton PickupGreg Fanning

2015 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20151952Chevrolet Tanker TruckCharles Shook
November 20151952Chevrolet 2 Ton CaravanRichard Howe
October 20151953GMC 3/4 TonPossum Holler Garage
September 20151946GMC 1/2 Ton EC101Larry Dessenberger
August 20151957GMC Napco 1/2 TonDavid & Julie Bailey
July 20151936Chevrolet Low Cab 1/2 TonBryan and Beth Frogue
June 20151935American DoodlebugMr. & Mrs. Steve Mosley & Family
April/May 20151934-36Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Panel TruckUnknown
March 20151947Chevrolet 1 1/2 Ton Pickup-Open ExpressJim Carter
February 20151946Chevrolet Ice Cream TruckDon Ranville
January 20151953Chevrolet 1/2 TonVernon Buskirk

1955 Chevrolet ½ Ton (First Series)

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

About 5 years ago Steve and Cynthia Brouker of Lee, Massachusetts got an idea they wanted an old Chevy truck. Just one of many that have made early pickups about the most popular vehicle now collected and restored in the U.S.A. As most current pickup owners, the Broukers did not require a trailer queen for shows but rather a very nice clean, dependable driver for nice weather days.

The hunt began with local newspapers, in national magazines, and EBay. Many trucks were seen, read about, and considered. After much searching, this 1955 appeared and they looked no further. Everything appeared correct. The color was the big attention getter but this ½ ton had the mechanicals Steve wanted. The original 235 six cylinder engine, a column shift 3 speed transmission, and there had been no changes to the differential system. The Broukers went by appearance and what the person sold it had said. After all, the pickup was in Arizona and they lived in Massachusetts; 2500 miles apart. A trip to see it was not possible.

ALL WAS GOOD EXCEPT

They hired a person from an advertisement with a pickup and a car hauler trailer for the long journey. When the tarp was removed at the Brouker’s home, their newly purchased pickup had water in it. They knew it had been uncovered during the trip. The tarp had probably been added a few miles away. Not what they paid for. The driver cheated them on the high price.

Steve and Cynthia quickly realized, though the pickup looked great in the photos, the mechanicals were another story.

  • The engine was noisy and smoked.
  • The transmission gears were grinding.
  • Differential dripped grease on their driveway.
  •  A rear wheel seal had leaked so bad, that brake shoes on one side were soaked in this grease.

Steve called the truck soon after they received it, “A Pig with Ear Rings!”

WHAT NOW? Steve retired from a career in the U.S. Navy, could handle most vehicle mechanical problems, but he had no experience with a 60 year old Chevy ½ ton. The hunt began for help.

Luck was on his side! He was told about one of the most experienced 1947-55 GM truck repair persons in the country and only 50 miles away. Well known in his field with over 40 years’ experience is Bob Adler in Stephentown, New York. Bob was just too busy with customers waiting their turn but he stopped his work, told Steve and his brother what to do on the phone, and had some repair parts in stock. Nice guy!

Here are just a few things that were done by Steve and his brother in Lee, Mass.:

  • Engine removed, disassembled, sent out for cleaning and reboring. Cylinder head reconditioned, etc. and reassembled. What a job for the unexperienced!
  • Transmission: Total disassembly. With a major hunt, almost all new gears and bearings were replaced. It was new again!
  • Differential: New gaskets, axle housings removed to add new grease seals. Brake shoes and new hardware added.
  • The Big Plus: The body and interior were almost as nice as advertised.

Steve and Cynthia now have a great little ½ ton. It is what they thought they were buying in the first place. It just had cost so much in un-planned expense and time. Far from the “Pig Stage”, Cynthia has named it “Happy”. We hope all of this is in a diary!!

You can contact the Brouker’s at: gunner102@AOL.com

WHY THE WORDS “FIRST SERIES”

This mid-year introduction is why the hobbyists refer to a First or Second Series 1955 truck. This is a First Series 1955 (A slightly modified 1954) offered for several months until the introduction  of the new body style. This First Series 1/2 ton was mostly just a “fill in the time gap” pickup with few changes except the introduction of the open drive shaft.


Cynthia is starting a business called,” HAPPY GO LUCKY”. It will feature oldie “Goodies” to children. Partial proceeds will go to, THE NATIONAL EATING DISORDER FOUNDATION in memory of their middle daughter; Mary, who passed away in 2019 at 35 years of age.

2014 – 2009

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020
2014 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20141962Chevrolet 1/2 Ton 4×4Nelson Good
November 20141941Chevrolet COEEarl Burk
October 20141952Chevrolet UTEJohn Smith
September 20141950GMC 1 Ton PickupJohn Lesmeister
August 20141954Chevrolet 3/4 TonTerry Millsap
July 20141950COEKent Zimmerman
June 20141946Chevrolet Panel TruckJim Winters
May 20141935Chevrolet ½ TonRichard Wright
April 20141942Chevrolet 1½ TonHerman Pfauter
March 20141949Chevrolet ½ TonRandy Priebe
February 20141948Chevrolet ½ TonTad Shadid
January 20141946Chevrolet ½ TonPaul Owsley

2013 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20131950’sCars of CubaAnonymous
November 20131958Chevrolet CameoAnonymous
October 20131969C-10 PickupMitch Jarvis
September 20131936GMCPat Kroeger
August 20131946Chevrolet 2 ton with Thornton DriveHoward Jones
July 20131947GMCJoe Miller
June 20131939Chevrolet ½ TonSteve Jones, New Zealand
May 20131946COE PickupBill Knoernschild
April 20131961GMC SuburbanClyde McKaba
March 20131939Chevrolet 1 ½ Ton PickupJohn H. Sheally II
February 20131961Deluxe ChevroletPaul Bremer
January 20131934Chevrolet Canopy ExpressKevin Koch

2012 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20121951Chevrolet School BusButch Voigt
November 20121958Chevrolet CameoScott Phaneuf
October 20121935Chevrolet SuburbanEd Brouillet
September 20121951Chevrolet 3/4 Ton PickupRichard and Delores Diestler
August 20121940GMC 1 1/2 Ton TruckMike Reese
July 20121953Chevrolet Canopy ExpressJohn and Michele Dunkirk
June 20121937Chevrolet Canopy ExpressRoger and Ginny Schuyler
May 20121947-55Chevrolet Panel/PickupRod Lentz
April 20121957Chevrolet SuburbanNorman Smith
March 20121953Chevrolet ½ TonUnknown, Chile, South America
February 20121971Chevrolet BlazerRussell Penniston
January 20121948Chevrolet “Heartbeat of America”Luke Stefanovsky

2011 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20111937GMC T-16 Cab Over EngineGary Witmer
November 20111959Chevrolet ½ TonCecil White, South Africa
October 20111935Chevrolet ½ TonRoger Sorenson
September 20111954Chevrolet Deluxe ½ TonPat Jackson
August 20111936Chevrolet ½ TonPat O’Brien
July 20111942Chevrolet Canopy ExpressScott & Betty Golding
June 20111945Chevrolet 1 ½ TonDirk Spence
May 20111946Chevrolet ½ TonJohn Thompson
April 20111953Chevrolet ½ TonDave & Pat Moore
February/March 20111936Chevrolet ½ Ton PickupDon Shew
January 20111950Chevrolet Truckstell OverdriveJim Brallier

2010 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20101956OpelJan van Bohemen, Belgium
November 20101946Chevrolet ½ TonDennis Odell
October 20101955Chevrolet Suburban NAPCOGeorge VanOrden
September 20101948Chevrolet SuburbanJerry Rivers
August 20101946Chevrolet ½ TonJim Adams
July 20101953Chevrolet ½ TonColin Murphy
June 20101938GMC COEJim Raeder
May 20101949Chevrolet SuburbanRoy Asbahr
April 20101949Chevrolet PanelUdi Cain, Israel
March 20101964Chevrolet ½ TonMike Light
February 20101948Chevrolet SuburbanUnknown
January 20101967Chevrolet 1 Ton PickupDan Kosteiny

2009 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20091946Chevrolet ½ TonTommie Jones
November 20091938Chevrolet ½ TonDon Cotrona
October 20091952Chevrolet ½ TonJim Swing
September 20091967Chevrolet ½ TonDennis Wegemer
August 20091951Chevrolet ½ TonJim Streeby
July 20091947Chevrolet Suburban WoodyDon Bryant
June 20091957GMC Panel NAPCORalph Wescott
May 20091946GMC 1 ½ TonCharlie
April 20091948- 49COE & Chevrolet ½ TonKen Wedelaar
March 20091939Chevrolet Model XHJCBrian Robinson
February 20091951GMC ½ TonTom Pryor
January 20091948Chevrolet 3100Scott Scheibner

2008 – 2003

Monday, February 17th, 2020
2008 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20081937GMC TrailaboutRon Loos
November 20081972Chevrolet ¾ TonEdward Eckel
October 20081948Chevrolet ½ TonRoger Darrow
September 20081940Chevrolet ½ TonJohn Buhr
August 20081949Chevrolet ½ TonSteve Jones
July 20081953GMC ½ TonJerry Willis
June 20081957Chevrolet CameoKen McCarty
March/April/May 20081954Chevrolet ½ TonAngus McDougald and Linda Challand
February 20081941Chevrolet ½ TonJeff Lewis
January 20081955Chevrolet ½ TonMarty Bozek

2006 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20061946Chevrolet COEJim Fassler
November 20061935Chevrolet SuburbanEd Brouillet
October 20061964Chevrolet ½ TonGene Satterfield
September 20061955Chevrolet ½ TonTim Etes
August 20061951GMC ¾ Ton TonThomas Albers
July 20061941Chevrolet ½ TonJim Arrabito
June 20061972GMCJohnny Patterson
May 20061954Chevrolet ¾ TonRichard and Lorie Baranek
April 20061936GMC ½ TonPat Kroeger
March 20061955Chevrolet Deluxe ½ TonTravis Goggans
January 20061949Chevrolet PanelMark Esposito

2005 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20051940Chevrolet ¾ TonClyde Johnson
November 20051934Chevrolet 1 ½ TonSteve Sickler
Sept/Oct 20051969Chevrolet ¾ TonGlenn Sexton
August 20051939Chevrolet 1 TonWill Perterson
July 20051938ChevroletDan Sauter
June 20051928Chevrolet PanelSpike and Donalda
May 20051955ChevroletJohn Carlton
March/April 20051954Chevrolet ½ TonDale Current
February 20051939Chevrolet ¾ TonSergies Lucas
January 20051950ChevroletTim Kane

2004 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20041955Chevrolet CameoJames Whalen
November 20041954Chevrolet ½ TonChuck Sanchez
October 20041950Chevrolet ½ TonPaul Frey
September 20041959Chevrolet Apache ½ TonDon Wyatt
August 20041968Chevrolet ½ TonTerry Green
July 20041955Chevrolet ½ TonKim Cooke
June 20041950GMC ¾ TonRoger Uttecht
May 20041953GMC 2 TonRob English
April 20041957Chevrolet ½ TonEric Davis
March 20041954Chevrolet ½ TonSteve Daily
February 20041956Chevrolet ½ TonDenny & Bonnie Wegemer
January 20041946Chevrolet ½ TonDenny & Bonnie Wegemer

2003 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20031955Chevrolet ½ TonIsmael Perez
November 20031956Chevrolet ½ TonGreg Sanders
October 20031946Chevrolet SuburbanJohn Hart
September 20031937Chevrolet ½ TonAl Lopez
July/August 20031950Chevrolet ¾ TonDusty Destler
June 20031952Chevrolet PanelDirk Van den Bergh
May 20031948Chevrolet ½ TonMike Klepp
April 20031955Chevrolet ½ TonBud Jones
March 20031953Chevrolet PanelJack Minton
February 20031955Chevrolet ½ TonMike Harness
January 20031955Chevrolet ½ TonMike Cargill

2002 – 2000

Friday, January 17th, 2020

2002 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20021955Chevrolet ½ TonKeith Gunn
Oct/Nov 20021963GMC ½ TonGary Ameling
September 20021953GMC ½ TonClyde Treser
August 20021951Chevrolet ½ TonDave Hinegardner & Billie Heaton
July 20021935Chevrolet ½ TonJim Johnston
June 20021953Chevrolet ¾ TonDennis Oland
May 20021954Chevrolet ½ TonRudy Parmenter
April 20021950Chevrolet ½ TonMark DeMonaco
March 20021941Chevrolet ½ TonTom Bollinger
February 20021969Chevrolet ½ TonDanny Curran
January 20021954Chevrolet ½ TonJ.A. Ceschin

2001 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
Nov/Dec 20011951GMC ½ TonPaul McGarr
Sept/Oct 20011959Chevrolet ½ TonOlan Moore
July/Aug 20011950Chevrolet ½ TonJoe Clark
May/June 20011950Chevrolet ½ TonDon Forbes
March/April 20011946GMC ½ TonEugene Von Gunten
Jan/Feb 20011946Chevrolet ½ TonBruce Pile

2000 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
Nov/Dec 20001953Chevrole ½ TonBob Tucker
Sept/Oct 20001951GMC ½ TonRob English
July/Aug 20001966GMC ½ TonEd Snyder

1934-36 and 1937-38 Chevrolet Horn Wire Conduit

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

There are two electric wires to the intake manifold mounted horn in the mid-1930’s. They are protected by a zinc plated conduit between the two horn contacts and where they connect to the main wiring harness beside the six cylinder Chevy engine.

The 1936 and earlier 207 engine manifold does not have a connection for the conduct from the horn. Therefore, it leaves the horn and runs beside the engine valve cover forward and down to the main wiring harness. A clip stabilizes the conduit by using a bolt on the water pump.

The first two years of the 216 engine [1937-38], this conduit also extends between the horn and wiring harness. It lays over the intake and then vertically down to the main wiring harness. A clip now secures the conduit to the new manifold horn extension bracket.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:

If it seems confusing, these photos should make it much easier to understand. In summary, the two different ways the horn mounts to the intake manifold results in the 7/16th conduit protecting the two wires from accidental damage over the years.

1938 Chevrolet ½ Ton

Wednesday, January 1st, 2020

In our 20 years posting Featured Truck series we have only listed one 1938 Chevy USA made ½ ton. (November 2009) The 1938 Chevy trucks are much rarer than the other two years in this series, the 1936 and 1937. This is due to 1938 labor strikes that at times stopped production in most of the GM plants. It was toward the end of the Great Depression and the recently formed United Auto Workers demanded more benefits for plant employees.

Our special truck this month (probably the nicest 1938 in existence) is owned and been personally restored by Glen Andrews of Raleigh, North Carolina. When we first saw a photo of Glen’s 1938, we knew it had to be a very authentic restoration. It had only one taillight! This was just like all early GM trucks when they came from the factory. Most current restorations differ. Correct or not, today’s owners prefer two taillights.

History:

Glen’s ½ ton was originally bought by the father of his then father-in-law. When new it was immediately placed in use to transport heavy equipment for a water well digging company in North Carolina. It was retired 12 years later. By then there was just too many areas that required fixing. The cost would be much less to just by a good used pickup than to correct the aging problems of this 1938 ½ ton. After all, it had been a pure “work truck.” Only absolute necessary mechanicals were updated. It saw water only when it rained! No garage.

The ’38 pickup was placed in a one-car shed near the house where various business and household items were placed on it. Worn out items were kept with the idea that they may still have some value. As more items were placed on the truck and as time passed the old truck was forgotten. The original owner’s son told Glen about this pickup in 1978. It was very difficult to see because of many household items being stored in and on it for 28 years. Glen was able to get in the shed and looked at the cab and engine bay, and then told his father-in-law that one day “I’ll bring it back to life.”

By 1986, older trucks were beginning to gain much popularity and Glen always remembered this rare stored 1938. He decided to take a closer look and then he bought it.

He too stored this pickup but by now he had disassembled most of it. Glen moved the pieces with him during two job transfers. The actual restoration began in Raleigh, NC, in June of 1994 and required four years, finishing it in Pittsburgh, PA. It was then he created this show truck as you see it. Truly a “Work of Art”, identical to the day it left the Maryland assembly line in mid-1938. It is now back in Glen’s adopted home town of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Specifications:

Original colors: Brewster Green with Black fenders, running boards, and wheels; and Gigolo Green pinstripes, which were hand painted to the original pattern. Wrinkle Brown interior panels, and Brown leatherette non-pleated seat cushions. Such a nice combination!
Chevrolet used the 216 cubic inch engine in both trucks and cars; which was a great engine for the types of roads of that era.
This floor shift 3 speed transmission is synchronized in second and third gears. What an improvement over using the clutch pedal twice (double clutching) between each shift.
The rear axle ratio is 4.11 (the engine rotates 4.11 revelations while the wheels rotate one revelation; which allows a comfortable cruising speed of 40mph.
This truck does not have a heater, dome light, cigarette lighter; and, only has one windshield wiper, as well as only one taillight.

Pin Stripe Trivia:

The standard exterior color (Brewster Green) during 1936-38 was given a pin stripe referred to as Gigolo Green.

On Glen’s 1938, he could look very close and make out almost all the outlined factory striping. Photos were taken before the total paint was removed so a hired artist could perfectly replace the color and size. Another work of art in this major restoration!

Why the name Gigolo on the stripe color? This is lost in history. The 1995 Webster Dictionary describes Gigolo as –
⦁ A man who is paid to be a dancing partner or escort for a woman.
⦁ A man is the lover of a woman and is supported by her.

In about 1940 Chevrolet changed the name to Apple. Thus, all new truck shoppers would know the color.

What’s happening now?

As most serious restores know, when you really want it to be factory original, you often find subtle mistakes. The more you place it in shows, read factory original data, and talk to others in this field; the more little things are discovered to correct.

Glen is no exception! In the last 20 years, so many surprises have surfaced. His 1938 truck hobby has been just that, a continual upgrading. A big help has been joining two major early vehicle clubs. The Antique Automobile Club of America & The Vintage Chevrolet Club of America. Their help has been great in guiding this project to fruition.

The largest and oldest, The Antique Automobile Club of America, has presented Glen’s 1938 awards over the years. In June 2019, this 1938 was given their top honor with a “Grand National” in Auburn, Indiana. (This is a serious judging club)

Note:

Glen’s 1938 was assembled in June 1938 at the GM assembly plant in Baltimore, Maryland. This was shown in code on the ID plate on the body of the engine compartment. We also know it is at least made in mid-1938 because of the right outside gas add spout.

Therefore, 1938 and all of the 1937 required raising the right ½ seat cushion to expose the gas tank and threaded “bung” that is on it’s top.

 

you can contact Glen Andrews at gandrews5@nc.rr.com

1972 Chevrolet Cheyenne Super

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

Our Featured Truck of the Month (a 1972 Chevrolet Cheyenne Super) is the final year of this classic body design. It has never lost its popularity! The 1967-72 GM pickups are the ultimate result. GM began the transition of a farm truck to some luxury trucks in 1955 with the introduction of the Chevrolet Cameo. This was GM’s test to see if some American buyers would pay more for a full dress pickup. Yes, they did! GM then began to gradually add more deluxe features to their top of the line pickups. These fancy trucks just kept selling! So GM went all out in the 1967-72 pickups with more extras each year. The grand finale was the 1971-72 Chevrolet Cheyenne Super pickup.

The owners of this special 1972 ½ ton are Dave and Donna Field of Greenwood Missouri. They have always been avid car collectors. They also own a 1966 (Corvette Convertible and 1967) Corvette Coupe and a 1965 Chevelle Super Sport L79 with 4 speed transmission. With one extra space available in their garage, Dave and Donna have always been on the watch for another vehicle that would be as enjoyable the other three they have.

Their pickup purchase happened about 6 months ago. An old friend a hundred miles away called them to say his neighbor would be selling his Cheyenne Super. As lovers of special interest vehicles, this rare pickup caught their attention. They had seen it when visiting their friend in the past. Yes, Dave and Donna now have it in their garages to fill the vacancy.

This ½ ton had been driven occasionally by a nurse to a local hospital in nice weather four years. With various repairs soon needed and winter months ahead, it was just the right time for them to sell. A few things that needed to be repaired or replaced was a leaking front engine main bearing seal, carpet, padded dash, fuel tank, taillight trim and adding a chrome grill. It now certainly keeps up with the reputation of the Fields other three special interest Chevrolets.

The shorter 6’ bed and automobile like deluxe interior does not relate to a truck for carrying heavy merchandise. Even the name “Cheyenne Super” says what so many non-hauling pickup buyers wanted to see.

In addition to standard equipment on a Cheyenne Super, the Field’s pickup has factory options that more pleasure truck buyers required (GM knew to make some popular items optional so they could make a more profitable sale). On the Field’s Cheyenne Super this includes: 350 V-8, Turbo-hydromantic transmission, in dash air conditioning, power brakes, power steering and tilt steering wheel. Two very unusual options on the dash cluster is the tachometer and vacuum gage. This midnight black ½ ton is a real eye catcher even to the non-truck people.

Missouri (like some other states) allow the use of original older license plates. The Field’s took advantage of this and located a nice 1972 plate. It is now registered with the state!

Notice the wheels with chrome centers and stainless steel rings. These were on the top of the line 1973 and newer. In todays’ world they are almost always seen on 1967-72 GM pickups that are being made as attractive as possible. (Originally GM used full wheel covers) This is the second year Chevy and GMC ½ tons changed to 5 bolt wheels from over 45 years of 6 holes.

This little ½ ton is the ultimate pleasure truck and designed to be more at home parked near a golf clubhouse rather than hauling hay on the farm. Dave is now proving this is true. He drives it almost weekly with his golf clubs to a special golf course to meet with his friends.

To the Field: Welcome to the world of Chevrolet Trucks!

You can contact Dave and Donna at davidfield5555@icloud.com

 

Few photos of this special truck most like Chevrolet offered it.

1946 Chevrolet ½ ton

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

In the family so many years! This little ½ ton spent most of its life in North Carolina where it was first used on a farm and did the required hauling duties. Now owned by Stephen Caudill of Wichita Kansas about 6 months ago. He purchased it from a family member in North Carolina after the immediate owner had passed away.

            Stephen has since done several requirements such as all new wiring, a major break overhaul, and a modern electric wiper motor. The bed wood was removed and refurbished to look new and then sealed. Over the years the original 216 engine has been replaced with an updated 235 six cylinder. Nice easy replacement.

            The original 4.11 ring and pinion remains and holds this ½ ton to about 55 MPH. It also has the same factory non-synchronize 4-speed it had during its beginning years on the farm.

            To give his truck a little extra, he has placed the name “Bird’s 46 Chevy” on the grill. This is because his nickname is Big Bird.

            Note the 15’’ wheels. They are from a 1937-41 Chevy ¾ ton when those heavier pick-up, still had 6 bolt wheels. Nice touch! They’re are very popular and difficult to find.

            Stephen regularly drives this 1946 in the Wichita area. Very dependable as it was when it came from the dealership over 70 years ago.

 

The recent trophy for “Owners Choice”
(Includes an eyeball!!)

In Mid-March 2019 Stephen entered his ’46 ½ ton in a car and truck show in his home town of Wichita, Kansas. He took home the “Owners Choice” award. The public certainly were impressed with the special pick-up.

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

1939 – 1946 Grilles

Friday, August 10th, 2012

To keep General Motors truck costs down, Chevrolet and GMC ½ through 2 ton shared many components during the late 1930’s through the 1950’s. However, when it came to the grille, the focal point of the truck, changes had to be very noticeable.

The truck designers were limited in creating a new grille as both makes would still have the same front fenders and hood. For these limitations, the designers actually did quite well. They almost made them able to be exchanged from one make to another. On the 1941-46, only the small filler panel between the grille and fender top had to be slightly modified.

The attached photos show how two grilles can be different and yet fit in almost identical sheet metal areas of the trucks.


1939-40 GMC

1939 Chevrolet

1940 Chevrolet

1941-46 GMC

1941-46 Chevrolet

1953 Advanced Design Canopy Express

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Owners: John and Michele Dunkirk1953 Advanced Design Canopy Express

We have always assumed that less than 100 Advance Design Canopy Express trucks remain. If you ever see one restored or not restored, you should stop and take note. They are a part of our nation’s history. They carried groceries in neighborhoods with one car families during the years they were built. The husbands drove the family car to work and the ladies were housewives. Grocers knew if they were to stay in business they must drive their Canopy Express to housing areas displaying and delivering food. Our feature truck is probably the most complete and perfect restored example in existence!

It is owned and has been restored by John and Michele Dunkirk of Southampton, New York. His desire to have a Canopy Express was because his first vehicle was this body style. In the 1960’s few people had an interest in this unique older body design as a used vehicle! Thus, it was the least expensive vehicle John could buy during his later high school years. After 2 years of use he sold it to an auto junk yard for $15.00.

After completing restoration on a beautiful 1954 Chevrolet ½ ton about 15 years ago, (they still have it) John continued to think about his first vehicle in high school. The restoration bug had now bitten John and he wanted to do another Advance Design truck. Yes, he decided it had to be a 1947-53 Canopy Express. The problem, there were none! They were built for work and a first owner wanted them to look their very best doing neighborhood grocery marketing. Sad but true, there was almost no interest in a second hand Canopy Express. Within 5 years the wood and canvas side curtains began deteriorating. The wooden rear floor now stayed wet from rain and snow and mechanical maintenance requirements were beginning. The Canopy Express had reached the end of a short life.

John’s several year hunt ended in Florida from a small magazine advertisement. The way the owner described it, made the truck sound like a real one! He drove almost 800 miles one way to see it. A great surprise, it was the real thing and a 1953. As he looked at the total package, it seemed so deteriorated! It would need it all and a little more. At the time, John thought this must be about the only one left in the world so the damage from age and abuse was overlooked.

The restoration went “full steam ahead”. No nut or bolt would be left untouched. It was like building a large model kit after the parts were restored. They soon realized what a big project they were into, however there was no turning back. Otherwise only a pile of parts would remain for salvage.

After almost 5 years including 500 hours in bodywork and painting plus another 1,000 hours in all the other parts of the restoration, the 1953 Canopy is now a “Work of Art”. It is one of the top attractions at all shows! The finished vehicle is now basically as it was when new. A great inline six cylinder motor is just broke in. Of course, the 4 speed transmission was a necessity on a Canopy Express. The low speed first gear was for slow moving through the neighborhood while displaying grocery products. The paint is a correct 1953-55 Chevrolet truck color, Transport Blue. John added one change to the restoration, it originally had a single bucket seat. He used a full pickup seat, so he and Michele could attend distant shows together. The white wall tires were a non-GM accessory but local tire shops could have installed them after the canopy was bought. This would make the truck more of an attention getter when selling merchandise in the neighborhoods.

There are several large expenses “not” mentioned that aren’t included in the 1,500 hours restoration time. The most costly expense was the acquisition of a Canopy Express tailgate. John’s Canopy Express came with the tailgate missing! How could he spend so much time and money on this project and then be stopped without a tailgate? He had no idea this part would be so difficult to locate. He continued with the restoration assuming the gate would be found by the end of the project. It wasn’t. The Dunkirk’s hauled it to New England shows for 2 years after completion with no tailgate! No matter how hard he researched, there was no gate to be found. They even took it to Stowe, Vermont twice for the most attended antique car and truck show of the summer. It received second place in the commercial class for both years. Still no tailgate!

On one summer weekend it was taken to the large monthly Hemming’s Car Show in Bennington, Vermont were it was placed in the top ten vehicles.

Numerous local shows on Long Island, NY also saw this little canopy for the evening. Actually, part of the reason for many of the shows was to try to get a lead on a tailgate.

Finally, a few years later another small magazine advertisement led to a tailgate. An un-restored complete Canopy Express with a tailgate was for sale in Southern California. The problem: John and his wife, Michele were in Southampton, New York. There was no choice. They flew across the country to see it! It was found to be well worn as John’s had been but it had a tailgate. As they arranged commercial transportation to New York, we assume John remembered he sold his first canopy to a salvage yard for $15.00. When it reached New York a few weeks later, John and his body man finally agreed and accepted the bad news. The inner tailgate panel had been beat so bad that the dings, tears, and holes made it un-restorable. Without this inner panel, there could be no tailgate. What a disappointment! What happens next?

One day a lucky thing happened! With research John discovered the tailgate from a 1947-55 Suburban is the same in the lower 2/3 as a Canopy Express. With almost as much effort as finding the Canopy gate, John finally traded for a damaged Suburban tailgate. A restorable inner panel was now in his possession. He could cut it shorter and make a new inside gate panel for his Canopy. The truck could be completed!

Next project; Finding the artificial fruit and vegetables to display were the easy part. Locating mint condition grocery boxes of the 1950’s was another story. John and Michele attended many flea markets and garage sales. The boxes had to be of wood of the 1950’s and their colorful paper labels perfect. They soon found the best sources were estate sales. Most wood boxes and labels had survived because they had been put in attics and basements 50 years and used for storing merchandise. At these sales, John and Michele bought the boxes when they could and not the miscellaneous items they contained.

Now that the total restoration is completed a big appreciation for help go to Trevor and Stephanie Mercer that worked side by side with the Dunkirk’s during the 500 hours spent. Gene “The Tool Guy”, handmade the many panels (body, tailgate repairs, and floor) to replace those so badly rusted. Reproductions were not available.

During the 3 years it has been totally restored the Dunkirk’s are occasionally asked “What does it take to build a truck like this”. They quickly say “Just the money invested is over $50,000. This does not include the tailgate trip to California with return truck line freight, the drive to Florida to find the Suburban,  plus finding the many distant flea markets while on a “grocery box hunt”. Then we come to the value of their time in the 5 year ground up restoration. Just make a guess of the investment! It all started with John’s first truck in high school.

You can contact John and Michele at : micheleant@hotmail.com

1953 Advanced Design Canopy Express 1953 Advanced Design Canopy Express 1953 Advanced Design Canopy Express
1953 Advanced Design Canopy Express 1953 Advanced Design Canopy Express 1953 Advanced Design Canopy Express

1947-55 Suburban/Canopy Express Tail Light

Monday, June 25th, 2012

What an ingenious way to keep a tail light in view! General Motors realized that with the tail gate in the lowered position the center tail light still had to be seen by the following traffic. At times the gate will stay lowered when longer freight is carried.

Therefore, the 5” round light is attached to a swing bracket. This bracket is moved by a ¼” vertical rod inside the tailgate. As the gate is lowered, the rod is moved by a hidden attachment on the edge of the body. Thus, the light is always visible!

These photos are of a 1953 Canopy Express owned by John Dunkirk of Southaven, New York.

1947-55 Suburban/Canopy Express Tail Light 1947-55 Suburban/Canopy Express Tail Light

1971 Chevy Blazer

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Owner: Russell Penniston

1971 Chevy Blazer
A one family owned 4×4 Blazer bought new in 1971! George Penniston purchased it to drive to the various job site locations of his construction company. This go anywhere vehicle was necessary to reach off road job sites through mud and snow.

George bought it at Parrish Chevrolet in Liberty, MO. It lacked only one option he required which was air conditioning. George had this installed a few weeks later. The Blazer served him well for many years and nothing was changed in the appearance or mechanicals. After years in construction, George retired and so did the Blazer. It sat for years in the corner of the large construction business shop, later to be owned by his son Russell.

Russell’s hobby was always large antique trucks which he had collected and often restored to new appearance. Therefore, it was many years before he put the little Blazer in line for restoration. In fact it was when he retired that the Blazer project began. It was so untouched over the years that to complete it, Russell only had to add new trim paint, upholstery, tires, body mounts, and the usual restoration done on 35 year old vehicles. Even a pair of 1971 Missouri license plates are attached. The mechanicals were excellent, so cleaning and painting made them just like it was in 1971. Working on it for several years, it was finished about 2005. It’s now like a magnet with people at auto shows. The awards are many.

It still has the original double stripe white wall spare tire in its correct position. The rubber rear floor mat came with the Blazer when new. The under hood mechanical parts are so original that local restorers have used it as a guide to build their same year trucks.

A few items of interest to the new enthusiast of early Blazers:

The dash has no speaker slots at the top like the conventional trucks. GM knew with a removable top, there would be a chance of it being caught in the rain. This would ruin a speaker. Therefore, GM placed the speaker and a protective grille at the bottom of the dash. With Russell’s Blazer this was moved to the hump in the floor because of the aftermarket air conditioning system.

The in-cab spare tire is secured to a special floor bracket.

The bucket seats are not like those on the more Deluxe pickups of the same years. In fact, the optional right seat totally tips forward to provide access to the optional rear seat.

Without the optional console, the factory seat belt buckle is placed in a non-metal pocket attached to the inner side of the seat.

Yes, the tailgate is also used on the Fleetside pickups; however a narrow horizontal metal strip is screwed to the top to allow for a weather seal on the lift gate of the removable top.

As a non-smoking family, there was never an accessory factory cigarette lighter. Note the black original blank out beside the heater control panel. Very rare!

The first year for disc brakes. GM added a decal only this one year to advertise this feature.

Russell’s 1971 Blazer continues to be one of the most popular vehicles at local car shows. He still remembers a friendly teasing comment “If your Blazer wasn’t here so often, someone else could have a chance at an award”.

1971 Chevy Blazer
Front w/ 1971 License
1971 Chevy Blazer
350 V-8
1971 Chevy Blazer
Blazer’s are rated K/5
1971 Chevy Blazer
350 V-8 w/ after market air
1971 Chevy Blazer
Original Spare Tire & floor Mat
1971 Chevy Blazer
Tailgate w/Blazer Air Seal Strip
1971 Chevy Blazer
Lift Gate
1971 Chevy Blazer
First Year For Disc Brakes
1971 Chevy Blazer
Cigarette Lighter Plug
1971 Chevy Blazer
Unrestored Door Panel
1971 Chevy Blazer
Rear Seat w/ Some Awards

1948 Chevy Truck – Heartbeat of America

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

1948 Chevy Truck –“ Heartbeat of America”
Owner: Luke Stefanovsky
1948 Chevy Truck
This was my 1st project of this sort after dreaming about it for years. I did not start the restoration, but have finished the interior, exterior, the engine bay, and performed some undercarriage work. Once starting the restoration, I was “all in”! It became a great stress-reliever from the daily responsibilities of being a middle school principal in a state hard-hit by the Recession. I spent more time in my waking hours thinking about the truck that I should; it occupied my dreams as well! The truck was back on the road August 2009, and it now has approximately 1600 miles on the completely rebuilt 235 c.i. 6 cylinder engine pulled from a 1955 Chevy. It has a 4-speed stick (floor) with a 4:11 rear. The truck is now my summer daily driver in West Branch, Michigan (approximately 90 miles from my home in Alma, Michigan).

The truck was in the service fleet for the Road Department in Mineral County, Nevada (county seat is in Hawthorne) sometime until the mid/late 1960s. I have corresponded with the man who purchased it from them; it has had multiple owners since then. The truck was originally purchased by the Road Department from the Chevy dealership in Hawthorne, which is no longer in existence. The Mineral County seals on the door sides were compliments of the current Road Department supervisor. I purchased the amber Federal service light and mounted it on a pole in the front-left of the truck bed; the switch is now under the dash. The patched holes from a roof-mounted service light were clearly visible before the headliner was replaced. I’d love to find a rare 1948 Nevada “highway exempt truck” license plate to mount on the front of the truck, which would replace the standard 1948 Nevada truck plate.

Evidence of the truck’s past includes “cleats” of some sort, which can be seen below the tailgate area and the various holes on the side-rails. Holes in various other locations around the truck where unknown items were mounted can be seen. One such set of holes on the upper left of the dashboard were for a small rubber-bladed electric fan. I found a rare N.O.S. Casco rubber-bladed fan and installed it in that very same location! Another hole on the dashboard was where the wiring for the vintage N.O.S. illuminated Hull compass is now located. I completely restored the original Harrison heater that came with the truck, which must have come in handy on cold Nevada mornings/evenings out on the Mineral County roads. IF THESE OLD TRUCKS COULD ONLY TALK!

Amongst a very long list of things done to this truck, I’ve added vintage Guide turn signals, a horn, amber Guide 5-3/4” fog lights, a rear passenger tail light, Guide back-up lights, the side-mounted spare tire, decorative hood ornament, a restored radio/antennae, under hood lamp (a rare accessory), refinished the bed, and added seatbelts (the only way my wife and son were going to ride with me!). A N.O.S. Casco cigar lighter was installed. New wheels were painted/striped and mated to a new set of tires, along with new hubcaps. The cab was striped. The driver’s side inner door panel, the driver’s side upper hinge detents, hinge pins, and the passenger side door latch were replaced. I had to also replace the driver’s side stainless steel window trim. Original “high dome” bumper bolts, along with Marsden nuts, were restored and used on the bumpers. An original jack/handle and complete tool set were also placed under the bench seat. A finishing touch was finding and mounting a GM accessory chrome grille guard. The truck was completely rewired, maintaining the original 6 volt electrical service. Instrument gauges were also restored.

New friends have been made through the project the past few years—some over the phone, others via the Internet, and many in person. The information, help received, and locating miscellaneous parts from the Stovebolt, H.A.M.B., V.C.C.A., and Chevy Bomb forums has been much appreciated. I also found eBay a good place to find parts.

Younger brothers Joe and John were a big help on the project. Joe was a huge help on the electrical side of the project, as well as the body finish. John completed the restoration by building a set of bed racks/rails out of red oak left behind by our deceased Grandpa K.—“the Judge”—who ironically retired from the Bay County, Michigan Road Department.

Driving the “Heartbeat of America” on a regular basis and attending classic car shows has validated for me that completing this restoration was a very worthwhile project to others as well. Attending the 50th V.C.C.A. Anniversary meet in Flint, Michigan July 2011 sure was quite an event! The truck has appeared in two calendars and has been featured in the V.C.C.A.’s Generator and Distributor monthly magazine. A newspaper article was also written on it in the Mineral County Independent-News. The “Heartbeat of America” has come back to life and lives again, 63 years after its creation in Oakland, California. At age 50, I see this restored ’48 Chevy truck as a tribute to the rich auto heritage of our great state of Michigan—which has fallen on hard times recently. Like this truck, we will survive to thrive once more some day again.

1948 Chevy Truck 1948 Chevy Truck
1948 Chevy Truck

If you wish to contact Luke, please send him an email at: lstefanovsky@mtpleasant.edzone.net

1936 Chevy Half Ton

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Owner: Pat O’Brien


This rare little ½ ton survived its 75 years mostly because it stayed with one family; it probably never ventured beyond the city limits, and was used mostly by a mechanic that lived in an area of dry air that discouraged metal rust. For the trucks first two years, it was driven by Virginia Swaim to high school each day in Prescott, Arizona.  After graduation her father used it as a shop truck in his auto repair business until he retired. Then, Virginia kept it mostly stored in a backyard garage until she passed away in 2002.

The new owner and restorer is Pat O’Brien also of Prescott, Arizona. He discovered it in the same closed garage where it had spent all of its later years. Virginia sold it to Pat several years after he discovered it by accident as he drove by the garage door that was open for a few minutes. Maybe this second ownership was meant to be! Pat was even given the pickups entire history in receipts from the day it was purchased. A box of so many receipts; from tires, gasoline, batteries, radiator hoses, and any other little repairs that needed during so many years.

Of course after all those years as a shop truck and many more sitting in the daughters garage, it was in need of so much more than a surface cleanup. Pat was ready for this challenge. His goal was to have his 1936 look bone stock on the outside with a change to most of the running gears that only the more knowledgeable truck person would recognize. Keeping an inline six cylinder was a must! He added a 292, the larger of the 1963 through 1972 design. The 4 speed was replaced with a Chevy car full synchronized floor shift 4 speed from the 1960’s. This floor shift system was almost a natural for the 1936 pickup.

The differential rear end was a great find. Removed from a 4 x 4 S-10 pickup, it matches the original 6 bolt wheel pattern and the distance between the rear wheels is just right for this 1936 ½ ton. Pat only moved the axle saddles slightly to the side and the original 1 ¾  wide rear leaf springs connected perfectly!

Keeping the 1936 front axle was important. He wanted it to keep the non-lowered original appearance. The front end difference is the hidden 6 bolt disc brake system fitted to his 1936 axle. Yes, the original 1936 lever action shock absorbers were rebuilt. They really are an excellent shock – just expensive!

The real creation was keeping the new dual chambered master cylinder under the floor between the original clutch and brake pedals.  Most people give up here on 1936-46 brake modifications and attach swing pedals to the firewall. Not Pat! He did it like the 1936 design. A bracket to support the pedals was attached to the transmission case much like GM did it. The opposite bracket on the original frame rail could then be utilized with the pedal shaft as from the factory.  Even the hand brake lever is attached to the newer 4 speed transmission like it was in 1936.  It comes through the floor in the correct position.

The 6 hole wire wheels are another eye catcher. To keep it like GM made it, Pat found these new US handmade wires to look original. Not cheap! They really help it keep its 1936 look and hold the radial tires well at any speed.

Pat O’Brien has created a total package that is one of a kind. We call it his little original speed machine!  No, we didn’t say inexpensive.  People are drawn to it at car shows or just moving in traffic. Virginia Swaim and her father would be proud!!

To contact Pat, email at: professorpat@hotmail.com

1941-1946 Park light and Headlight Assemblies

Monday, June 20th, 2011

At the beginning of the 1941 Chevrolet and GMC truck body style, the parking light assembly was placed on top of the headlight bucket.  This was the first time both were placed on the fender as a pair.  All worked well together.  To save tooling costs, GM chose to add a pre-existing assembly from the year before on the 1940 Pontiac car.  No changes were made from this Pontiac park light assembly except its long sheet metal top was now painted and not chromed.

Overseas during World War II, when civilian front fenders were used on GM military trucks (instead of the more famous flat fender ‘army truck’ style) General Motors created a parking light that emitted a small strip of light to be seen at a shorter distance.

Beginning in 1942 and continuing through mid 1947 (when this body design was discontinued), GM used a much less expensive park light housing on civilian trucks.  A one piece stamped metal cover was attached to the headlight bucket for a fraction of the cost as in 1941.  This also used a smaller less expensive glass lens.

Therefore during this 6 ½ year truck production (1941-Mid 1947) the same headlight buckets were on Chevrolet and GMC trucks.  The difference was their hole punching which adapted to changes in parking light assemblies.

1942-45 Military

1942-45 Military

NOTE:   THE 1941 PHOTO WILL FOLLOW SOON

Nuts Molded from Epoxy Cement

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011


The next time you can’t find a nut to fit a special bolt, try making your own by filling an oversized nut with epoxy cement and molding the threads. Seat the nut in modeling clay before pouring in the epoxy. Grease the bolt, then screw it down through the epoxy into the clay. Wait a day, unscrew the bolt from the hardened epoxy, and you will have a perfect fitting nut for moderate duty.

1945 Chevrolet House of Magic

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Owner: Dirk Spence

A magic show unlike anything you’ve ever seen! Equally important to GM truck people is that all of this has been totally transformed on a 1945 Chevrolet 1 1/2 ton truck.

The truck owner and professional magician is Dirk Spence of Tinley, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago). It all began in 1980 when Dirk was given a dilapidated 1945 Chevy truck with a ruined engine, broken glass, and four flat tires. Since his youth, Dan had a strong interest in magic and with this truck, he quickly envisioned a traveling magic show that would set him apart from all others.

Once completed, this unique, self-contained 1945 Chevrolet ˜Magic House™ contains sound, lights, and a one-of-a-kind museum. Dirk has even rigged his truck to spit flames when he fires up the engine- just for added effect. His one hour magic show has been in the Chicago area for many years.

This has been quite a project considering the truck only has a 134″ wheel-base. Audiences love Dirk’s magic wagon because it is a touch of old Vaudeville with a splash of 1990’s humor. Dirk has definitely found a niche that draws “oohs and ahhs” when he arrives in his in his gypsy green truck with wood shingle sides at festivals, corporate picnics, and schools.

If you would like to contact Dirk or experience “Mr. D’s Magic and Illusion Show”, please call 708.532.0827 or visit his website at www.mrdsmagicshow.com.

1946 Chevy Short Bed Pickup

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Owner: John Thompson

This 1946 Chevy short bed from Pittsburg, Kansas, may look stock, however, it’s anything but! It is a blend of the character of the pre-war vehicles mixed with today’s technology. When I bought the truck it was almost all stock but it was in pieces strewn between 3 garage stalls. The truck is all steel and had virtually no rust on any of the body panels, but it was missing almost every trim, handle, lamp, chrome, interior, etc. Thank goodness for Jim Carter catalogs! The build began in January of 2008 and was completed in June of 2010. Modifications include the front suspension and frame rails from a 1970 Chevelle giving the truck independent front suspension, power steering, power disc brakes, sway bar, etc. The engine, transmission, rear differential, fuel tank, gauge cluster, seats, and more are all from a 1995 Camaro Z28. Several thousand hours went into the build with a lot of custom work including shaved drip rails, smoothed and reshaped lower grille panel, shaved front turn signals, rear roll pan, fuel tank relocated behind the rear axle and fuel door added to the left rear fender, custom door panels, console (with cupholders), customized yet original looking dash panel, and many other subtle mods. The paint finish is Dupont base coat/clearcoat and the interior is finished with genuine leather.

Other features include: power steering with tilt column, Hotrod Air Conditioning system, power windows, keyless power locks, 8-way power driver seat, 4 wheel disc brakes, rear air shocks, in-dash JVC with DVD player, power antenna, billet & leather steering wheel, composite headlights with integral turn signals, 3rd brake light, Haywire engine management and body wiring harnesses (all wiring was soldered and heat shrink wrapped), 17 inch aluminum wheels, one-piece V-glass windshield, billet drivers wiper, dual electric fans that turn on at 185o or when the a/c is on, and more. The interior was lined with Dynamat before finished and features full instrumentation including tachometer, and seatbelts. The bed is white oak with 10 coats of varnish.

1947-54 Radio Antenna Installation Warning

Friday, April 15th, 2011

It is very important where to drill the hole for the new radio antenna. The results of making a slight mistake will stay in your mind for many years to come!

Radios during these 1947-54 Advance Design years were never installed at the factory. This was done by the authorized GM Dealer. In the box that contained the new radio was a paper template that prevented mistakes when drilling the antenna hole. This hole in the cowl was so close to the belt line that the body to the antenna seal gasket even lacked an edge where it touched this body belt. Even with GM moving the antenna so close to the belt line there is still only about 1/2″ clearance to the hood when it is open. See photo.

The sad realization occurs later when a new radio antenna is installed by an amateur. He drills the hole in the cowl (correctly on the driver’s side) about another 3/4′ forward. He smiles as the radio works great. He doesn’t smile a week later when he tries to raise the hood to check the oil. It won’t raise! The rear hood edge hits the antenna. A rubber plug later put in the new hole is always a reminder of what a 1/2′ can do.

Hood Closed Hood Open Hood Open

1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Year/Make 1953 Chevrolet
Owner: Dave and Pat Moore

1953 Chevrolet

This month’s feature truck is a 1953 Chevy ½ ton by Dave and Pat Moore of
Kansas City, KS. Dave is our company technical advisor and talks to hundreds of
people each week helping with the many questions that come his way.

Dave is a ‘hands-on’ person and has personally done repairs and upgrades on
many mid-50’s GM trucks.  His own pickup is a prime example.  He and
his wife, Pat, have owned this little ½ ton 43 years (is that a record?) and
have continued to add upgrades over the years.  It is now better than ever
and ready for another 43 years

It all began in 1968, when Dave traded a 1961 Chevy “409” Impala for this
1953 pickup.  It had an Oldsmobile drivetrain and it became a driver for
his wife, Pat for several months.  While talking to Dave about this ½ ton,
he recalled the many mechanical changes in the 43 years.  This has included
5 engines, 7 transmissions, and 5 rear ends.  It is now in the last stages
of its current frame off upgrade.

Dave actually bought a complete, not wrecked, 1986, C-4 Corvette several
years ago to get straight suspension parts for this upgrade including the total
front end and rear end.  A 700R4 transmission from an Astro Van and has
been rebuilt.  The engine is a ’93 350c.i. Chevy crate motor using Jim’s
motor and trans. mounts.  The body work and custom paint was done in
’97 and still looks great!  Two other major changes have been the addition
of a powder coated 1954 frame and the deeper 1954 bed that matches these lower
frame rails.  The truck is so dependable that Dave and Pat have been part
of the “Long Haul Gang” on the Hot Rod Power Tour 7 times where it has averaged
22.12mpg.

In the first photo, note the new Peterbilt tractor beside Dave and Pat’s
1953.  The owner said surprise me on the paint; Clint (Dave’s son) who
works selling new Peterbilt’s had the factory paint the truck the same special
green!   If you would like to contact Dave about his 1953, his email
address is dmoore5356@aol.com

1953 Chevrolet
1953 Chevrolet

1953 Chevrolet

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Year/Make 1953 Chevrolet
Owner: Richard & Lorie Baranek




On my side of the story! from “Broadway Bob” at Auto Rehab. It was a project that took almost 1 1/2 years to complete. I started working on it from in a small 20×20 garage attached to my house . I was in the process of building a new 40×50 garage ! Most of the first few months were doing the work on it in my driveway, including disassembly, paint stripping, metal finishing, some bodywork and painting parts, etc. Due to no room in garage for the whole truck, it was quite a juggling show. The truck was in good restorable condition and thanks to Jim Carter parts! the job was possible to complete with new replacement parts. It was a complete frame off restoration. I reconditioned most of the parts that were in good shape and replaced everything that wasn’t. I made parts that weren’t available yet !! Every nut, bolt, screw, was reconditioned or replaced if bad ! I think it was my most enjoyable restoration in the past 5 years. Everything was taken apart, refinished and reassembled back to new. I was amazed at the quality of the vehicle construction when new . GM did an excellent job on design of this model truck. I think “that made it a thrill to work on”!! it was simple and effective, not cluttered like cars today!!

This truck was bought back in 1955 by the Baranek family in Crivitz Wis. This is the third generation of Baranek’s to own it and it has been in the family for 50 years along with the history and war stories told by son, grandson & great grandson, The truck was in good restorable condition considering it spent all its life in Wisconsin. I have had it for 1 1/2 years doing an extensive restoration of the vehicle and it was a pure joy to work on. It is currently owned by Richard & Lorie Baranek of Crivitz, Wisconsin, who are the 3rd generation owners of this restored 1953 Chevrolet 3600.

Submitted by Bob Thompson
Auto Rehab & Restoration
Wabeno, Wisconsin.
Additional comments from the owners:

Sorry we haven’t gotten back to you in so long. We have a daughter getting married tomorrow so things have been a little hectic. Our truck is a 53 Chevy I remember riding in it with my grandfather as a chilled. When my grandfather passed away the truck was handed down to my uncle who took over the farm . I thought he sold the truck until one day I discovered it in his barn and there it was sitting for 45 years. Now my uncle is 80 years old and it took me a whole year to try to convince him to let me buy it from him. I bought the truck for 100.00 dollars we got it running and used it just to bomb around in the back 40. After we were all done having fun the truck sat in the shed for 3 years and we finally found Bob to restore it. He worked on that truck for 2 years, then we went to see it. It was immaculate we’ve never seen something more beautiful. Bob did a great job on the truck!!!!!

Rich and Lorie written by son (Brad)

1953 chevrolet pick up truck 1953 chevrolet pick up truck 1953 chevrolet pick up truck
1953 chevrolet pick up truck 1953 chevrolet pick up truck 1953 chevrolet pick up truck
1953 chevrolet pick up truck 1953 chevrolet pick up truck 1953 chevrolet pick up truck

1936 Chevrolet 1/2 ton Pickup

Monday, February 14th, 2011

WILLY THE 36 CHEVY


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.

1934-1936 Vacuum Wiper Motor

Friday, December 17th, 2010



This little vacuum wiper motor has such a unique appearance! They have become quite rare in recent years.

Manufactured by Trico for just this truck, it fits above the windshield frame on the left side of cab. A dealer accessory for the right side.

They have sometimes been called a “sweetheart” wiper motor due to their strange appearance.

1934-1936 vacuum wiper motor

1934-1936 vacuum wiper motor

1946 Chevrolet

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Owner: Dennis Odell

1946 Chevrolet

This month we feature a pick up that is used just the way GM intended.  It is still a work truck and at 65 years old it is used daily in the greater Kansas City, Missouri, area.  The owner is
Dennis Odell of Independence, MO.  The truck is a 1946 Chevrolet half ton.

Dennis now stays busier than on prior career job with the telephone company.  He can repair most anything ( including his 46) and thus is a natural with home repairs.  His little half ton is his daily work truck and hauls materials and himself for his many remodeling projects.

Dennis found it for sale 25 years ago beside a country road at the edge of town and had to have it!  He then personally did the restoration including the painting.  Dennis said he made it above average but not for shows.  After all, he planned on driving it to work daily.  About 12 years ago he retired and now  he and his 46 keep busier than past full time job.

The drive train is a 1977  250 cylinder engine  with a modern floor shift 3 speed and a 1955-56 Nomad rear end. All wheels are 5 bolt.  An under dash radio is his entertainment and the heater is from a 1950 car.  The body is all GM as are the seats, grill, bumpers, and bedstrips.  Yes, he did replace the bedwood.

With it being used so often in all its years Dennis says it has to have over 250 thousand miles and is still going strong!!

1946 Chevrolet 1946 Chevrolet 1946 Chevrolet
1946 Chevrolet 1946 Chevrolet

A New Truck – 55 Years Old!

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Year/Make 1955 Chevrolet NAPCO Suburban

Owner: George VanOrden

1955 Chevrolet Suburban

During the recent Mid-West All Truck National’s in Riverside, Missouri, a very special truck was on display. It had been brought to the show in an enclosed trailer from Virginia.The owner is George VanOrden of Fulks Run, Virginia and the vehicle is a 1955 Chevrolet Suburban with a NAPCO 4×4 system. His personal history, leading to this restored Suburban, is a story by itself. He spent his youth in this mountain section of Virginia only 10 miles from his current home. The interest in 4×4 trucks was early in life as these type trucks were regularly seen on the rough mountain roads in his county. It is not surprising George decided to restore a 4×4 after his retirement after 20 years in the U.S. Marines.

The first candidate he bought to restore was a late 50’s GM 4×4 pickup. His high hopes slowly dropped as his wife explained “Where will you put the whole family in a truck cab as the children grow?”

A new hunt began for a 4×4 Suburban which would just “fill the bill” for a medium size family hauler. This want proved a very difficult task. Few 4×4 Suburbans were sold in the 1950’s and most were later junked or used beyond restoration by off road owners.

A year of patience and a continued search finally met success. George’s wife found an ad from a Colorado owner that described a very used but not abused 1955 Suburban 4×4. It was first owned by the Colorado Forest Service and George was to become its third private owner. Rust was limited and all mechanicals could be rebuilt or replaced.

Once back in Virginia, the surface restoration began but soon went further than new paint and a clean-up. Each part to be restored opened even deeper needs. Suddenly, George was down to the frame rails. After all, with whole family to ride in the Suburban, he needed no future problems.

A nearby professional restoration shop was hired to lift the body from the frame and restore the sheet metal. George took the chassis home. That would be his project, however the 4×4 system proved to be a real challenge. As he slowly found new NAPCO parts to make the system perfect, the remainder of the chassis needed equal treatment. Then it became a must to make it all new! He just could not go this far and not make it all perfect.

The restoration shop was contacted, “Don’t just fix the dents and paint the body. I want it new!”. Compromises were not acceptable. George’s passion became research on what the 1955 was like the day it left the Chevrolet factory. Hours of collecting literature, talking to collectors, and using his computer brought out the answers and this was followed “to the letter”. There was no turning back. The Suburban was in hundreds of pieces. Even the grain, color, and seams of the new seat material came from the samples that was on the original seat upholstery.

A set of 5 bias ply 17.5 tires was the real challenge (does any factory still make them?). George located a truck for sale that had been in storage many, many years. It had new tires with even the dimples on the tread. He bought the truck just to get the tires.

George rebuilt the Suburban’s original 235 cubic inch six cylinder engine. All parts had to be new GM. Another hunt. The differential and 4 speed transmission received the same treatment.

The above is the “tip of the iceberg” of what George did to create a new 1955 Chevrolet Suburban. The restoration time was three years, completed September 2008. It is now how it came from the factory: 235 engine, 4 speed, fresh air heater, no radio, dealer added turn signals and the NAPCO installed 4×4. Ocean green paint was found under the mirror arms so George knew the correct color.

A new enclosed car trailer was a necessity. (Even more money in the project!) As a member of the Antique Auto Club of America -AACA, George thought he would see how the Suburban would do in serious judging competition. It started in the world famous Hershey PA. Fall Show. Surprise, it received a “Junior” award, the highest for a first timer. The next spring, it won the “Senior” award at the Charlotte, NC AACA show. The same year it was given a second at the AACA “Grand Nationals” in Newburn, NC.

George’s finished product has certainly attracted the attention of even the most qualified judges. He and his Suburban can’t receive honors much higher than this!

And what happened to the thought of having a clean Suburban for the family? Well, that will be the next project.

Note: Only if you are a real “die hard” NAPCO fan should you read this part of our month’s feature truck.

The 4×4 system was made by the Northwestern Auto Parts Co. of Minneapolis, MN. -NAPCO-. Of the many 4×4 add-on companies at that time, this was by far the most popular. Most medium size hill and mountain country cities had a NAPCO dealer. (GM’s factory assembled 4×4 trucks were not available until 1957).

George’s NAPCO was the last year for the Rockwell transfer case (pumpkin on the left of center). By 1956 NAPCO transfer case was made by Spicer (pumpkin on the right of center).

The Chevrolet GMC 1/2 tons were never given a 4×4 prior to 1955. Their closed drive shaft prevented a position for a transfer case. Thus, NAPCO in the early models began with a 3/4 ton which had enough of the drive shaft open to make room for this case.

When GM introduced the open drive shaft 1/2 ton in 1955, NAPCO jumped at the opportunity to offer a 4×4 for the light trucks. A redesigned 1/2 ton NAPCO system was not ready until 1956 and would include the Spicer transfer case. Therefore, the 1955 1/2 ton like George’s Suburban, plus 1/2 ton pickups were provided with the currently used 3/4 ton front end with 8 bolt wheels but internally used the 1/2 ton ring and pinion. This gave the higher speed 1/2 ton, 3.90 ratio. On the rear, 6 bolt axle spacers adapters allowed 8 bolt wheels to match the front. Very unusual but it got NAPCO quickly into the 1/2 ton 4×4 market. The 1955 1/2 ton NAPCO’s are one year only design. They really stand all with their 17.5 tires that were actually used on most 3/4 tons.

1955 Chevrolet Suburban 1955 Chevrolet Suburban 1955 Chevrolet Suburban
Interior Engine
1955 Suburban Taillights

1948 Chevrolet Suburban

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Year/Make 1948 Chevrolet Suburban

Owner: Jerry Rivers

1948 Chevrolet Suburban

It’s a great day for a car show! This is one of those rare Saturday cruise shows when the temperature, a light breeze, and no rain make it a picture perfect day. A few hundred vehicles, antique and street rods, fill the parking spots gather around the old city square.

The display overflow extends onto connecting side streets. Vehicle owners have gathered to enjoy a common interest, a love of special interest and restored cars and trucks.

As the day continues spectators are outnumbering the vehicle owners 3 to 1 as they stroll among the special cars of all early ages and marquis. However, it is obvious that one vehicle is attracting more than the usual passing interest. A constant flow of onlookers are staring at a large blue car or is it a truck. We wait for a place to get a better view of this “large people hauler”. It’s a beautifully rebuilt 1948 Chevrolet Suburban! The color, workmanship and engine bring most people to a stop as they are walking by this display.
The owner is Jerry Rivers of Independence, Missouri. The interest from the crowds prevent our questions but Jerry agrees to allow us a later interview for pictures and questions.

In a week we are at his small antique Chevrolet parts store with all his attention. The more we looked and discovered the truck’s special features, the more it was important to place this vehicle as our monthly truck of the month section.

Jerry bought this Suburban 13 years ago from the original owner in North Missouri. A friend was hunting and noticed the tired body in a back field along a fence row. Rusted out floors, broken glass, and a totaled engine was the package. Jerry saw the great potential plus he had always wanted an old Suburban. He is a retired body man, so to him the challenge was not so threatening. He began the rebuilding after a total disassembly. His parts business requires much time but he allowed himself one night each week for Suburban duties. Thus, thirteen years for restoration! It’s unveiling was June 2010.

He wanted an original appearing 60 year old vehicle but added many special accessories plus additions to make it freeway friendly. Jerry has no concerns about driving a long distance. It’s built as a driver but, of course, it gets extra care as one would with a collector vehicle purchased from a new car dealer.

Jerry provided us two pages of extras he carefully added during the 13 year rebuilding. These are items you may not notice as you view the final product. We list them here as he did for us.

Accessories

  • Guide back-up Lamp and Shift Box Switch
  • 15″ Wheels
  • Wheel Trim Rings
  • Bumper Guards
  • AM-FM Radio
  • Oil Bath Air Cleaner
  • Right Hand Rear View Mirror
  • Right Arm Rest
  • Glare Proof Inside Rear View Mirror
  • AC Oil Filter
  • Rear Turn Signals
  • Guide Traffic Viewer (prism)
  • Fulton Outside Sun Visor
  • Right Hand Inside Sun visor
  • Guide Turn Signal Switch on Steering Column

New Old Stock Parts

  • Left Front Fender
  • Both Inner Fenders
  • Front Lower Grill Baffle
  • Core Support
  • Hood Emblem
  • Complete Hood with Center Strip
  • Upper and Lower Hood latch
  • Rear Splash Apron
  • Front Splash Apron
  • Upper Gate Hinges
  • Right and Left Latches
  • Inside and Outside Door Handles
  • Steering Wheel
  • Radiator
  • Shift Box
  • Misc. Mechanical and Suspension parts

Up Grades

  • 1954 “261” Engine
  • HEI Electronic Ignition
  • Alternator
  • All 12 Volt Electronics
  • 3.55 Differential (replaces original 4.11)
  • Radial Tires
  • Tinted Windows
  • Custom Rear Lower Tailgate
  • Bucket Seats
  • YF Carter Lean Burn Carb
  • Heavy Duty 10 3/4″ Clutch and Pressure Plate
  • Electric Wiper Motor
  • Rear Dome Light
  • Seat Belts
  • Air Conditioning and Heater Combo
  • Special Paint Color Combo in Centari Acrylic Enamel

Parts Suppliers

  • Jim Carter Classic Truck Parts
  • Bowtie Bits Truck Parts
  • Tom Myers Truck Parts

We should note three very special extras that make the Suburban even more of a real show stopper.

The Tailgate opens to the side and operates as if GM did it. (This is a Jerry Rivers Creation). No leaning over in the rear just to reach the body.

Its Power Plant is a pure 261 six cylinder from 1954. They were originally in school buses and 2 tons only. It was a drop-in and moves the Suburban easily to 70 mph. (Of course the high speed 3.55 ring and pinion helps too) Many don’t know this 261 engine even existed. It really steps out in today’s traffic!

Cold Air Conditioning? Certainly. The custom made system is for the 1947-53 Chevy truck with a 261 engine. No cutting on the body. Note the concealed two control levers in what was once slots for the original factory radio speaker. Yes, it keeps the large body Suburban comfortable during Missouri days of high humidity and temperatures.
Jerry has had the Suburban completed and at car shows for only three months. Two trophies and so much public interest! It attracts so many he calls it his “Magnet”. His last show required a 400 mile drive. Did he have any mechanical problems? Of course not! He made it to be a new 60 year old Suburban.


1948 Chevrolet Suburban

1948 Chevrolet Suburban

1948 Chevrolet Suburban
1948 Chevrolet Suburban
Here He Comes! Custom Tailgate Accessory Back-Up Light Jerry’s Grand Daughters
1948 Chevrolet Suburban 1948 Chevrolet Suburban
1948 Chevrolet Suburban
1948 Chevrolet Suburban
Factory Dash Smooth Headliner Accessory Taillamp Prism
1948 Chevrolet Suburban 1948 Chevrolet Suburban 1948 Chevrolet Suburban 1948 Chevrolet Suburban
261 Engine Power Plant A/C Items Bucket Seats with New Covering
1948 Chevrolet Suburban 1948 Chevrolet Suburban 1948 Chevrolet Suburban 1948 Chevrolet Suburban
Pickup Dome Light New Carpeting Interior There He Goes!

1950 Chevrolet 2 Ton Delivery Truck

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Year/Make 1950 Chevrolet 2 Ton
Owner: Coca Cola

1950 coca cola delivery truck


Coca Cola’s big yellow delivery truck can been seen for a long way.

1946 Chevrolet

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Owner: Jim Adams

1946 chevrolet

The owner is Jim Adams of Pleasanton, California! He has carefully rebuilt this 1946 Chevy 1/2 ton as one that would have been seen in the 1950’s. The big difference is that he created it as a high-performance vehicle of 50 years ago during his high school years. For the few that had money in those more difficult times, this is what many wanted to build.

This little 1/2 ton spent its early life in Hayward, CA as a fruit and vegetable delivery truck. Jim, about the fourth owner, bought it six years ago in a storage lot mostly as a cab and chassis. The tired bed nearby had numerous removed parts of questionable value.

At the beginning of the restoration, stock and reproduction parts were not too difficult to find. It was the high performance equipment that was the real challenge. They were gradually found with much time researching.

A few era additions used during the complete rebuilding  are: A 3″ dropped front axle, Edmonds water warmed intake manifold, Fenton headers, 1957 Chevy 235 engine with 1/4 race camshaft, chrome valve cover, two Carter YF carbs, and a high speed ring and pinion. Jim went modern on the brakes using disc on the front as well as a vacuum power brake booster under the floor. Even the seats are in a black vinyl roll and pleat design with a correct rubber floor mat.

The completed package is just right., an excellent restoration, early year high performance, and modern stopping ability. If it was in the 1950’s this little pickup would surely not take second place among any 6 cylinder or flathead V-8 cars or trucks.

When in any car and truck show, this truck is the one that gets the crowds! It is so unusual in these days of modern V-8’s and high tech add-ons.

1946 Chevrolet 1946 Chevrolet 1946 Chevrolet 1946 Chevrolet
1946 Chevrolet 1946 Chevrolet

1953 Chevrolet 2 Ton Moving Van

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Year/Make 1953 Chevrolet 2 Ton
Owner: Unkown

1953 chevrolet 2 ton

1953 chevrolet 2 ton

1953 Chevrolet

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Owner: Colin Murphy

1953 Chevrolet

A recently restored 1953 Chevrolet 1/2 ton! This is a perfect example of a “good old truck”, brought back from the dead. The owner is  Colin Murphy of Summerset, South Dakota. he had an interest to restore an older GM pickup for years. It all came together when a friend offered Colin this little 1/2 ton that was setting behind a storage building in Cheyenne WY.Because of the dry air in Wyoming, even an older vehicle never in a garage has limited body rust. The picture of when he found his truck, six years ago, shows it disassembled but its solid cab had great potential. Colin says he still found two other pickups to use as parts donors.  We might say three made one!

His many, many hours in the evenings paid off. It really turns heads in his town. The original 216 engine, 4 speed transmission,  and closed driveshaft rear end, makes it perform just like GM designed. Colin comments are ” I think it is pretty well done, so here it is. After six years and a gazillion dollars, I have a truck that tops out at 50 miles per hour. I have enjoyed working with Jim Carter Truck Parts on this project. Now, all I have to do is find another one…”.

1953 Chevrolet 1953 Chevrolet 1953 Chevrolet

1949 Chevrolet Suburban

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Owner: Roy Asbahr

1949 Chevrolet Suburban

One of Roy Asbahr’s most special and unique vehicles is a just completed 1949 Chevrolet Suburban. After a 1 1/2 year restoration, it looks showroom new. Roy is a perfectionist in vehicle restoration and this is one of his best yet! The body and paint work was performed by Larry Swiggart.

This Suburban brings special childhood memories to Roy as it is like the 1949 his father bought-same year, color and accessories. It was the family car for many years and was even driven a few times on fishing trips to Canada and the Yukon.

Roy watched for many years for a restorable Suburban that could be made like the original family vehicle. He discovered this Suburban several years ago in Sioux City, Iowa. The prior owner had reached the age of 92. Little had been changed from the factory except a bargain paint job years before. Amazingly it was rock solid, rust free, and only 55,000 original miles.

Nothing was spared in the body off restoration. The factory exterior colors for Chevrolet Suburban’s, 1947-1949 was Channel Green-lower body and Fathom Green- upper body. This is just the colors of Roy’s father’s Suburban when new in 1949.

The seat upholstery is the ‘real thing’. It was carefully removed from the cushions, dyed, given new padding, and then put back in its original place. The seats now look as though they are just out of the factory!

Lucky for Roy the windlace surrounding the two doors was in excellent condition. He very carefully removed it, dyed it the color of the back side (never exposed to daylight) and placed it in its correct position. It appears new and with the unique Suburban only color. No tears or cracks!

The five piece headliner was not torn but had sagged and faded. This too was removed, re-dyed, and contacted to a piece of formica on the back side for strength. All were put in place with a new appearance.

There is gloss black paint on the inner fenders and upper radiator sheet metal. The shine in this area is often debated during a complete restoration. Roy remembers cleaning his father’s new 1949 regularly and has no doubt that it was gloss black, not flat or semi-gloss. However, all other items painted black are semi-flat black.

A final decision was made to add two hidden changes during restoration. To increase the speed on modern highways, Roy replaced the 4.11 ratio ring and pinion with a 3.55 gear ratio. All outside appearance is unchanged, except radial tires.

To also give extra highway speed, Roy installed a 1958 Canadian Pontiac inline 261 six cylinder which has hydraulic lifters and the 848 higher compression head. It is an excellent fit and even uses the same motor mounts. The original 216 valve cover is added on top to give an authentic look and an adapter was used to enable an early style 1954 water pump to be installed. The engine is the correct grey color and even the spark plug wires have the unprotected metal ends.

Little was ignored in this ground up restoration. Dealer installed accessories include fresh air heater, grill guard, radio, and rear turn signals lights, running board step plates and a GM locking gas cap.

This Suburban is an excellent addition to Roy’s fine collection of restored vehicles.

1949 chevy truck 1949 chevy truck 1949 chevy truck

1949 chevy truck  1949 chevy truck

1949 chevy truck 1949 chevy truck 1949 chevy truck

1951 Chevrolet Tilt A Whirl

Friday, April 16th, 2010
1951 Chevrolet Tilt a Whirl

Listed on Ebay during April 2010.
It sold for $3,495.00…
What a bargain for this piece of American History!

1951 Chevrolet Tilt A Whirl

This is a very unique one of a kind 1951 Chevrolet Tilt A Whirl style Carnival Amusement ride. This vehicle was used back in the day to go around the streets of New York to give rides for 5 cents to the kids who could not afford to go to a regular carnival or amusement park. Unbelievable history for what this truck represents. Basically it rode around and stopped for kids just like the ice cream trucks of today do.

This is a very rare vehicle that less than a handful were produced with only two that I know of, exist today. This is the true collectors vehicle. A one of a kind!!! Based on a 1951 Chevy Chassis with a 15,000lb GVWR this truck was built to be safe. Powered by a 6cyl straight engine and a manual shift transmission. The truck is in non running condition. This truck was stored for years and never started. The drivetrain will need to be completely gone through. The Ride portion is an actual amusement type Tilt A Whirl style ride with 6 cars a canopy, fence with an entrance and exit. This unit is 100% intact and fully operationable once the truck is running again to engage the PTO. The ride portion is in great shape and will need painting to put it back into shape. The truck itself will need to be restored to its former condition. The truck itself is very solid but will need some patches, repairs and mechanical work. The time, effort and money spent on this investment will pay off.

This truck is a true part of American history and is a sure bet high dollar collectable when completed. A true one of a kind….Everything is complete with the truck it will just need totally redone. The tires are all new, balanced and sealed holding air with no issues. If you are in the market for a rare one of a kind collectable look no further…A real head turner…

I believe the right person or Company could restore this vehicle relatively inexpensive. It will be more labor than anything. A very solid truck that is all there. Seems this could be a heck of a vehicle going across the Barrett Jackson Block…I truly had full intentions of redoing this vehicle. It could only bring fond meemories, smiles and happiness when completed and that is all few and far between today. The sky is truly the limit with this truck….In the right hands, redone this really could be the buy of the century!!! It would be impossible to measure the exact value of this collectors vehicle when completed. I have seen nothing like this to date. I believe restoration should be relatively easy, just bulky. Once the ride portion is removed you are looking at a cab and chassis to redo. the ride is 100% and will needs some repairs to the outside construction but the ride itself is all there and ready to function. It truly would be wonderful to see this vehicle up and operating once again….This world does need some joy and hapiness and nothing is like old times!!! This vehicle is 9’2″ tall 8′ wide and 24’10” wide.

  1951 Chevrolet Tilt a Whirl 1951 Chevrolet Tilt a Whirl 1951 Chevrolet Tilt a Whirl

1946 Chevrolet COE

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Year/Make 1946 Chevrolet COE
Owner: Billy Marlow

1946 chevrolet coe

1946 Ownerd by Billy Marlow Dayton, MD

By Billy Marlow

Although my family was in the coal business in Washington,D.C. for many years, and for a brief time I drove a tow truck for a living, my truck passion didn’t bloom until after I restored my 1946 Chevrolet Cab-Over (COE) and joined ATHS (American Truck Historical Society).

Always a bit of a gear-head and into anything with a motor, I saw the 1946 Cab Over in a truck trader publication in September 2000 and fell in love with its Art Deco grill. The truck reportedly spent much of it’s life on a farm in Oklahoma, most likely with a grain body on it. I bought the truck sight unseen and had it shipped to Maryland with the intention of fixing it up a little and having fun with it.

As many of these stories go, the next thing you know the truck was in a million pieces and a complete restoration had begun. I felt that it would be kind of nice to see this truck restored to near original condition. In doing so, however, I knew this would limit travel speed and distance. The chevy has the famous 235 inline stove bolt 6 cylinder engine. It is a 2 ton truck with a two speed vacuum rear, with 6.03 and 7.99 ratios, which means it tops out comfortably around 43 miles an hour.

I’m not exactly sure how I came up with the color combination, but I knew that is what it was going to be before I even took delivery of the truck. The paint scheme is definitely not stock, but folks seem to approve of my choice.

I am a building engineer at a country club near my home in Dayton, MD. and have worked there for 28 years. A lot of what I do from day to day helped in my first attempt at truck restoration. I did a lot of restoration myself, but had a hand with the engine, paint and body work. I spent many hours in front of the sand blast cabinet. Some of my best memories of the restoration were the days like the first time we started the engine, the day we set the cab back on the frame and the best of all, the first time I eased the clutch out and drove the truck out of the barn.

1946 Chevy coe

Right after the truck came home I realized I was going to need every resource I could to learn about my new project and to locate parts. One of my first tools I bought was a computer, and without the internet I don’t think I could have finished the truck. There are some great websites out there and folks who are more than willing to help.

I quickly learned that there are many parts on a cab-over that are shared with a conventional truck. After a little time on the keyboard, I was finding parts and pieces all over the country. Finding the grill bars proved a challenge. It took about two years to find enough to make a fairly straight set.

The truck was almost done around the summer of 2003-and six years later it is still “almost done” – when John Milliman twisted my arm to get me to come to an ATHS Baltimore-Washington Chapter truck show in Waldorf, Maryland. It was my very first time out with the truck and I had a great time. I filled out my ATHS membership application that day and also joined the chapter. I felt a little out of place at first among all the bigger trucks, but all that changed after our chapter hosted the ATHS National Convention in Baltimore in 2006. That was the first really big truck show I ever attended and it left a lasting mark on me.

I have had a wonderful time taking my truck to many shows, and have even brought two more trucks that I am working on now: a 1972 GMC 9500 and a 1964 B-61 Mack. My wife, Jennifer, is a huge supporter of my truck hobby, and I couldn’t enjoy all these fun events without her.

Jennifer brought her mother to the convention in 2006, and she was overwhelmed by the passion that the truck owners had for their beautiful vehicles. My mother-in-law is also a big supporter of my little hobby, and is responsible for having the beautiful signs made for the truck. The signs were made from the original Marlow Coal Company logo and letterhead, and its history is very dear to my heart.

People always ask me if my truck is for sale. After all the fun I had restoring it, all the fun I have had taking it to different events, and all the great people I have met becuase of it, I don’t think I could ever sell it. I guess there are some things you just can’t put a price tag on.

1946 chevrolet coe

Billy Marlow’s 1946 Chevrolet Cab Over is almost unrecognizable from the rusty hulk that he bought in 2001. A member of the Baltimore-Washington Chapter, Marlow brought his truck to the ATHS national show in Huntsville this past May.

1947 chevrolet coe

What started as something to fix up a little and have some fun with soon turned into a complete restoration. Billy Marlow saw the 1946 Chevrolet Cab-Over truck for sale in a trucker trader magazine and fell in love with its Art Deco grill. He used his skills as a building engineer to do much of the restoration work himself. (photo above by John Milliman, photo below by Kurt Lengfield)

Wheels of Time July/August 2009
www.aths.org
American Truck Historical Society

 

1949 Chevrolet Panel

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Owner: Udi Cain

1949 chevrolet udi cain

I am Udi Cain, a war veteran from Israel. I love the USA and feel that Israel and USA are like one.

I was born in 1949 and loved drawing cars since age almost zero.

I bought a 1949 Ford F1, renewed it and drove it daily until the head of the Tel Aviv museum bagged me to donate it to the “Post Museum” in Tel Aviv museum, as it was used as the first post car in Israel. http://www.eretzmuseum.org.il/main/site/index.php3?page=24

After giving the vehicle to the museum I searched for another nice car to use daily.

I found the 1949 Chevy Panel that someone in the past had opened windows in it to make it function like a suburban and it was red which I didn’t like.

It took few months to renew it, and I’ve ordered many parts from the US through eBay; until I bought few parts from Jim, and here I am.

1949 Chevrolet Panel 1949 chevrolet udi cain 1949 Chevrolet Panel

1949 Chevrolet Panel truck 1949 Chevrolet Panel 949 Chevrolet Panel truck

1964 Chevrolet

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Owner: Mike Light

1964 chevy truck

Strange but true! This 1964 Chevy 1/2 ton is a rolling autograph book. Due a patriotic feeling, owner Mike Light of Independence, MO decided to use his primered truck to collect the signatures of war veterans and active military.

He currently has the names personally signed of 151 veterans from WWII through the Iraq conflict. A few businesses help fill in some open spaces. Mike has gathered this data in only three months.

What an eye catcher when you see this truck beside your vehicle at a stop light!

1964 chevy truck 1964 chevy truck 1964 chevy truck

1964 chevy truck

Spring Noise

Thursday, February 11th, 2010



The 1967-1972 – What’s That Noise? Gaining speed after you turn onto the highway, your GM truck (1967-1972), moves toward a cruising speed equal to the surrounding traffic. As your engine reaches about 2,000 rpm you suddenly hear a low hum up front. It does not stop as the truck speed increases. If you lower the windows, play the radio, or turn up the fan blower, this hum is not so noticeable but it is still there. How will you locate this noise source when the truck is stopped?

No problem. Others have researched this mystery noise, discovered the source, and stopped it. Who would have thought the culprit is the hood springs? It appears that on many GM trucks of this body style, the two coil hood springs develop this hum (like a tuning fork) as surrounding air speed increases. The sound becomes magnified as it transfers to the large sheet metal hood.

This noise is easily stopped by filling the coils of the hood springs with a towel or carved piece of foam. To produce what a difference this makes, tap your hood spring with a hand tool and listen to the echo. It does not occur when the coil is filled with material.

Who said automotive engineers walk on water?

spring noise

Birth of the Blazer

Thursday, February 11th, 2010



The debut of the famous 4×4 Chevrolet Blazer was in 1969. It had little competition and stood alone as a combination off-road and daily driver utility vehicle. Chevrolet truck dealers were taken by surprise! Waiting lines soon occurred requesting this new and unique car/truck vehicle.

By 1970, production was in full swing. GMC also entered the project this second year by replacing the Chevrolet and Blazer insignias with GMC letters and a “Jimmy” emblem. A major addition in 1970 was the introduction of the two wheel drive Blazer and Jimmy. This was partially due to commitments by the U.S. Postal Service. Fewer than 1,000 of these were produced or less than 10% of overall production. Most government orders were in six cylinders though some V-8 two wheel drive models found buyers in the private sector.

Sales of this unique vehicle spiraled. By 1972, production had increased the volume of the introduction year. It was named, Motor Trend’s “Utility Vehicle of the Year.” In the April 1970 issue of Car and Driver magazine, they said “The drivetrain pieces are well designed, rugged, and long proved by use in Chevy’s light trucks.” GM referred to it as their do anything, go anywhere vehicle.

The demand for these car/truck vehicles today is stronger than ever. Its short 107″ wheel base, ease of handling, and many parts interchanging with pickups, make it an excellent investment vehicle to drive daily or keep in storage.

birth of the blazer 1

birth of the blazer 2

 

1972 Suburban Highlander

Thursday, February 11th, 2010


During the late 1970’s, trucks accelerated their change from a more commercial work vehicle to one desired by the family as their everyday transportation. During 1967-1972, Chevrolet and GMC introduced names such as CST, Cheyenne and Sierra Grande to show buyers that their trucks were no longer just for work. Options that rivaled cars could now be ordered for their vehicles.

Surprisingly, the Suburban was held back as the trend toward very deluxe trucks continued. This vehicle was not given the top of the line appointments as the trucks. The middle series in the pickup line was the ‘best’ in the Suburban. Though this was changed in the new 1973 body style, the 1972 Suburban lacked wood grain trim, bucket seats, and the more deluxe door panels. The rubber floor mats were colored to match the interior but carpet was not an option.

The following pictures are of a totally original 1971 deluxe Suburban. Note the door panels. They are almost identical to the Cheyenne pickup but lack the horizontal wood grain strip at the top. Outside lower moldings have satin black inserts, not wood grain. The seat covering is the Custom Deluxe style found on middle series pickups. The blue floor mats are rubber, not carpet. There is, however, a unique upper trim molding used only on Suburbans when you ordered the more deluxe unit.

To get the most sales from the special Scottish Tweed used in the 1972 Highlander, GM used it in one other application. The special Highlander seat covering could be obtained with the 1972 Suburban. It, like the Highlander truck, had lower side trim with satin black inserts. The special wheel covers were not used on this Suburban body.

1972 Suburban Highlander

1972 Suburban Highlander

Mr. Lynes also furnished the two photos of the Hawaiian blue Suburban showing a great color view of the Scottish Tweed. (Frederick Lynes can be contacted at stingrayl82@comcast.net)

The enclosed pictures are from Frederick Lynes who has these pictures of his 1972 avocado green and white Suburban the day it was bought new. Note the Highlander seat coverings.

1972 Suburban Highlander

1972 Suburban Highlander

1968-1972 Longhorn

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
1968 Chevrolet longhorn 3


In recent years seeing the unusual Chevrolet Longhorn or similar GMC Custom Camper (1968-1972) has become a very rare occurrence. These oversize pickups, with 8 1/2 ft. bed floors, were built for work and thus there is a very limited survival rate. Most seen today started life as they were advertised carrying a vacation camper. They were usually more taken care of during their beginning years and the camper protected their wood bed from weather. Later in life, their heavier rear suspension caused them to be used more as a work truck.

The creation of this large pickup relates to GM’s trend of keeping down costs on what they suspect will be a low volume vehicle. With limited parts investment and by using pre-existing components, this new model was born in mid 1968.

The chassis had already been in existence since the beginning of the body style in 1967. It’s 133″ wheelbase was used under the 1967-1968 1 ton stepside pickup with leaf springs. Most of the components of this new Longhorn fleetside box had also been used on the earlier pickups. To create this new longer fleetside bed, GM simply produced a pair of six inch vertical bed extensions to place between the pre-existing sides and front bed panel. This filled the gap created in front of the bedsides when the 127′ wheelbase chassis was extended to 133 inches.

An expensive metal floor was not a part of this new longer fleetside pickup. A traditional wood plank floor with metal bed strips kept GM’s cost at a minimum.

To draw attention to this larger pickup, the Chevrolet division included ‘Longhorn’ die cast chrome letters secured at the rear of the sides. GMC’s designation was ‘Custom Camper’ and these letters are on each door above the chrome handle, not on the bedsides. To make it a little confusing, GMC also used these Custom Camper emblems in the same location on their heavier 3/4 ton, 127″ wheelbase pickup, with leaf springs. This shorter long bed could be obtained with either a wood or metal bottom bed.

When the optional deluxe upper trim was ordered on this long bed, it’s new six inch extension was placed to the rear of the bed. The resulting trim joining point was therefore not in line with the vertical bed extension joint at the front.

By altering suspension components both the Chevrolet and GMC 133 inch wheel base pickup could be ordered with either a ¾ or 1 ton rating. These special trucks were available from mid year 1968 through 1972. They were not continued with the introduction of the new 1973 body style.

1968 Chevrolet longhorn 1

Upper trim joint at rear of bedside. (above)

1968 Chevrolet longhorn 2

1968 Chevrolet longhorn 4

1968 Chevrolet longhorn 5

1968 Chevrolet longhorn 6

1968 longhorn 7

The Following is reprinted from the May 1969 issue of Motor Trend

Article byV. Lee Oertle

Why would anyone lay down $4,549.45 for a slick-looking pickup truck, even if they do call it the Longhorn? That kind of money will buy a Chevrolet station wagon, or an Impala or an SS Chevelle. That question nagged me the day a Chevrolet official handed me the keys and turned me loose in a new Longhorn pickup. When I asked a Chevrolet truck salesman the same question a few days later, he replied:

‘You’re talking about a window-sticker price, buddy. The actual base of a Longhorn pickup is $2,738 plus destination charges. The rest of it is locked up in accessories and quite a bit of optional equipment. Look at the list ‘ air conditioner alone is $392.75. Then the Turbo Hydra-Matic adds another $242.10, and the Custom Sport Truck package jacks it up another $247.50. And then; At that point, I waved him away, ‘Yeah, yeah ‘ I got eyes. I just didn’t read the fine print.’ I said, testily.

The salesman’s lips tightened a little. ‘The time to read fine print is before you buy ‘ not after.’

Good advise. Further down the sticker price list I noted that power steering on the Longhorn was $113.50. Another stopper was the $80.40 for a spare tire and wheel. On a deluxe pickup, I sort of, well, expected that a spare tire and wheel would be standard equipment. But then, I hadn’t really done my arithmetic. A quick refresher course proved that of the original sticker price of $4,549.45, a staggering $1,811.45 of it covered extras, accessories and options. Freight, license, sales taxes, carrying charges on the loan and insurance might easily push the final tally over the brink of $5,000. That’s an expensive neighborhood no matter where you live, and if anyone is tired of reading about the prices before he hears about the performance, he’ll know how I felt when I finally got behind the steering wheel.

As I rolled off the Chevrolet lot, the salesman parted with the words, ‘who buys the sticker price, anyway?’ I suppose that’s true.

IT’S DIFFERENT

From the moment a shopper takes his first walk around a Longhorn, he’ll know it’s not just another pickup. As a matter of fact, he’ll notice that it’s a longer walk. The wheelbase is up to 133 inches on this model and the cargo box is a full 8 ½ feet in length. For those not familiar with pickups, the standard pickup (any brand) has an eight-foot cargo box. The extra half-foot was added by shoving the regular cargo box along the frame ‘ and then by inserting a short panel at the forward end of the box where it intersects with the cab.

Why all the noise over a slightly larger pickup? In order to understand the significance of this, remember that any change to basic dimensions on a truck involves tremendous expense and/or ingenuity on the part of cost-cutting engineers. It’s bigger, yes, but the clever way the job was done probably hasn’t increased its construction cost very much. The next logical question would be, why? Why a longer wheelbase, for example? Anyone knows that the longer the wheelbase trucks require more turn-around space.

But, looking at it from the Chevrolet viewpoint, a longer wheelbase also improves the ride, offers a more stable platform, and makes a much better carrier for all kinds of loads. This obviously affected Chevrolet’s judgment. For instance, a suburban home owner will like the big cargo box for hauling a variety of material. The tailgate drops down to provide about 10 ½ feet of load length platform.

In case anyone wonders about how the suspension system can handle the extra length, here is the message printed in Chevrolet literature on the subject: ‘Because it’ll be carrying larger loads than other pickups, it’s been especially engineered for extra support and better balance all along its 133 inch wheelbase. Its rear suspension, for instance, is built around tough two stage leaf springs for steadier going and surer handling.’ (Coil spring front suspension teams with the rear leaf springs.)

POWER TEAMS

The Longhorn is available with five different engines and several different transmissions. Our test truck was equipped with a 396 cubic inch V-8 rated at 325 horsepower. (the other engines include the standard 250 cubic inch 6, a 292 cubic inch 6, a 307 cubic inch V-8 and a 350 cubic inch V-8.)

PERFORMANCE

The Longhorn bench seat is a firm, comfortable, non-slip type that gives the driver a feeling of command. It is neither too high for comfort nor so low that shorty-drivers have to stretch their necks. The instrument panel includes a tachometer, speedometer and functional oil and temperature gauges.

Start the engine and a muffled growl, low and strong, comes lightly through heavy cab insulation. Step on the accelerator and the Longhorn instantly takes hold. While 325 horsepower doesn’t sound too exciting in a passenger car, in a pickup it can be hairy under a lead foot driver. Lightly loaded, the Longhorn still hangs on tight right up through the gears. Surprisingly, there was little wheelspin except on wet streets after a rain.

I had no stop-watch with me but I know that the Longhorn will probably be the first pickup up a steep hill. Meant more for power than speed, the 4700-pound Longhorn nevertheless comes on strong in situations where it really counts. A pickup with a smaller engine, for example, often has a difficult time entering freeways. But the Longhorn gets right out there despite a ton of hay riding the cargo deck. In the hands of an amateur an empty pickup would be a handful. Crank it on too fast, too often, and the rear wheels will chirp or slip-grab as they try to deliver traction faster than the lightly-loaded rear tires can bite the pavement.

Our particular test truck had the optional three speed Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission. As far as I’m concerned, no other transmission makes sense with this combination of truck, engine and load ability. Shoving a stick-shift unit into the Longhorn makes about as much sense as hitching up an elephant to a pony cart.

Underneath, our test unit was wearing a Maximum Traction differential and an axle ratio of 3.07:1. Chevy rates this combo good up to about 7000 pounds. For loads over 7000 pounds, they suggest the optional ratio of 3.54:1. Though we didn’t tote anything exceptionally heavy, we found the 3.07:1 ratio an excellent choice for normal driving.

HANDLING

In this department, the Longhorn gets unusually high marks. It has a square-cornering ability few sedans can match and a sure-footed stance that keeps it straight when braking or lane-changing. By adding just 200 or 300 pounds of weight near the rear of the box, the pickup handles even better. )Extra weight cuts down on wheelspin.) Overall, the Longhorn is a solid-feeling pickup that any driver will appreciate.

There’s more than enough power for any load situation. The 396 is currently the largest engine available in a factory pickup (in any brand). The Longhorn should make a great carrier for a half-dozen trail bikes, for towing a boat, or for hauling a rented coach now and then. The luxury interior and comfortable cab will probably lure many new buyers away from station wagons and sedans. If you haven’t tried the new breed of pickups, you’re missing a most versatile family vehicle. The Longhorn is a smooth newcomer that undoubtedly will spark a host of imitations. It offers the longest wheelbase and largest cargo box of any two-door pickup, plus larger engines than competitors. As for the price? Well, like the man said: ‘Who pays sticker price, these days?’

PROBLEMS

Lest anyone suspect that I’ve been on the Chevy payroll, I have a few reservations about the Longhorn. For one thing, window glass on the driver’s side liked to slip sideways and climb up outside the channels every now and then. My guess is that the glass is a little too small for the track, or the channels were misaligned. On cold mornings, I’d climb into the cab and then, with one breath, all the windows frosted over. The longhorn is one of the few truck-cabs I’ve tested that would not clear up with the vent-windows cracked open. Steamy vapor clung stubbornly to the inside of the windshield. The only way to clear it away was to turn on the defroster full force, roll down one window, or both. On a cold morning, neither method pleased us very much.

From a purely personal viewpoint, I found it strange that Chevrolet would spend so much on interior design, but so little on panel coverings. The cab ceiling and much of the door panel areas were bare metal. Now, in a work-duty pickup that might be practical. Metal is more durable than plastic coverings, obviously. But in a class-type pickup, which the Longhorn most definitely tried to be, I found it objectionable. (There, it’s off my chest.)

1967-1972 Truck Tech

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1967-72 Chevy Truck Model I.D.



We hope the following information on Axle, Transmission and Model identification will help many of you with your questions. Accuracy was a concern as we compiled this information. Because GM made so many scheduled as well as unscheduled changes, there is much discussion about these changes.

The following is used by permission from Pickups and Panels Magazine and artist Bryant J. Stewart

1967-1968

1967 1972 truck tech 1

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
13380 115 ½ ton El Camino (6 cylinder)
13480 115 ½ ton El Camino (V-8)
13580 115 ½ ton Custom El Camino (6 cylinder)
13680 115 ½ ton Custom El Camino (V-8)
C10 115 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup
C10 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup
C20 127 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban, 8′ stake
C30 133 1 ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, 9′ stake rack
K10 115 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup
K10 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban
K20 127 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban

1969-1970

1967 1972 truck tech 2

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
13380 115 ½ ton El Camino (6 cylinder)
13480 115 ½ ton El Camino (V-8)
13580 115 ½ ton Custom El Camino (6 cylinder)
13680 115 ½ ton Custom El Camino (V-8)
C5 104 ½ ton Blazer 4×2 (1970 only)
C10 115 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup
C10 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban
C20 127 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban, 8′ stake
C30 133 1 ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, 9′ stake rack
K5 104 ½ ton Blazer 4×4
K10 115 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup
K10 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban
K20 127 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, Suburban

1971-1972

1967 1972 truck tech 3

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
13380 115 ½ ton El Camino (6 cylinder)
13480 115 ½ ton El Camino (V-8)
13680 115 ½ ton Custom El Camino (V-8)
C5 104 ½ ton Blazer 4×2
C10 115 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup
C10 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup
C20 127 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, Suburban, 8′ stake
C30 133 1 ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, 9′ stake rack
K5 104 ½ ton Blazer 4×4
K10 115 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup
K10 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, Suburban
K20 127 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, Suburban

Disclaimer: This truck I. D. information is correct and complete to the best of our knowledge and is only to be used as a guide. Pickups ‘n panels and/or the National Chevy/GMC Truck Association, and Jim Carter Truck Parts, make no guarantee of accuracy, and disclaim any liability incurred in the use of this information.

1967-1972 Panel Trucks

Thursday, February 11th, 2010


These years are the ‘last of the breed’! Due to the increasing popularity of the new G-series van, panel truck sales had continued to suffer since the mid 1960’s. By 1970, General Motors panel truck production came to a halt. GM did not even wait until the end of the body series in 1972! This ‘enclosed body on a pickup truck chassis’ (used over 50 years) was now history.

If you ever see a 1967-1970 Chevrolet or GM panel truck, tip your hat. You are looking at one of the few survivors that were once seen everyday in residential neighborhoods making deliveries.

1967 1972 panel trucks

 

 

 

 

The Final Blow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rear Bumpers

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

GM step beds during 1955-1966 are almost the same. They even use identical tailgates. Thus GM did not find it necessary to change the rear bumper stamping during these 12 years. However, there is one important difference which distinguishes the 1955-1959 from 1960-1966 rear stepbed bumpers.

 rear bumper plate

During 1960-1966 GM placed two stamped square holes (not in 1955 through 1959) on either side of the center dip below the license plate. This is because the later series had their license plate bracket attached to this bumper, not to the rear bed cross sill as in the earlier 1955-1959

Introduction of the GM Fleetside

Thursday, February 11th, 2010


Though fleetside pickups are the common style today, they certainly had a unique appearance in the late 1950’s. Until then, the stepside body style with outside rear fenders was the norm. With smaller horsepower from available engines, the limited hauling capacity in the stepside box was well matched to the existing power plants.

If the customer required a pickup with more hauling volume, the stepside was simply made longer. To compensate for the extra gross weight, the manufacturer lowered the differential gearing. Thus the small engines continued to serve well but the result was a slower highway speed.

With the introduction of the Chevrolet high oil pressure 235 six and 265 small block V-8 engine, power was now available to allow for a radical new bed change. Pickup bed dimensions would be increased side to side in addition to length. Extra hauling capacity on the same wheelbase could be now handled by the additional horsepower. With the same wheelbase, an approximately 50% increase in bed capacity was created with GM’s new fleetside.

Both Chevrolet and GMC introduced the same fleetside in 1958. It came in both six and eight foot lengths on the 1/2 ton chassis. The eight foot box could also be ordered on the 3/4 ton frame. (If you needed a 1 ton pickup the prior long stepbed model still remained the only choice.) No doubt, these new fleetsides created much notoriety in a world of stepside pickups. To draw even more attention GM placed chrome die cast “Fleetside” lettered emblems toward the rear of each bed side.

This first GM fleetside box style was offered only two years until a redesigned side was introduced in 1960. The early bed 1958-1959 sides can be easily recognized due to their long 5″ wide horizontal spear stamped in the middle. These terminate at a unique round rear taillight which is also special to just this bedside.

A very deluxe optional model of this new fleetside was introduced in 1959. Some feel it was to replace the recently discontinued Cameo Carrier. It featured additional bed trim, stainless window moldings, chrome grill and bumper, plus a nicer interior. Its sides came with long stainless steel strips and die-cast ends beside the horizontal bed spears. This bed trim is very rare today! Unfortunately, the few original beds remaining make reproducing these horizontal trim strips financially impractical.

introduction gm fleetside 1

introduction gm fleetside 2

The featured early fleetside for this article is a 1959 Chevrolet short bed. Its owner is Olen Moore of Odessa, Missouri. He recently completed a three year ground up restoration to exact factory specifications. Olen even used the correct Galway Green, a very popular color during that era. Notice the stamped side spears and upper rear fleetside chrome emblems.

introduction gm fleetside 3

introduction gm fleetside 4

introduction gm fleetside 5

1955 1966 Truck Tech

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1955 Second Series-66 Chevy Truck Model I.D.

We hope the following information on Axle, Transmission and Model identification will help many of you with your questions. Accuracy was a concern as we compiled this information. Because GM made so many scheduled as well as unscheduled changes, there is much discussion about these changes.

The following is used by permission from Pickups and Panels Magazine and artist Bryant J. Stewart

1955 2nd Series

1955 truck tech 1

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
H 3100 116 ½ ton shortbed pickup, panel, Suburban
H 3124 116 ½ ton Cameo pickup
M 3200 123-1/4 ½ ton longbed pickup
F 3400 104 ¾ ton longbed pickup (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis)
G 3500 125 ¾ ton pickup (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis)
J 3600 123-1/4 ¾ ton longbed pickup
K 3700 137 ¾ ton pickup (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis)
L 3800 135 1 ton longbed pickup, panel, flatbed, stake
N 4100 130 1-½ ton flatbed, stake rack
P 4400 154 1-½ ton flatbed, stake rack
R 4500 154 1-½ ton school bus chassis
S 5100 112-5/8 2 ton low cab forward
T 5400 136-5/8 2 ton low cab forward
U 5700 160-5/8 2 ton low cab forward
V 6100 130 2 ton flatbed, stake rack
W 6400 154 2 ton flatbed, stake rack
X 6500 172 2 ton truck
Y 6700 194 2 ton school bus chassis
Z 6800 220 2 ton school bus chassis

1956

1955 truck tech 2

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
3A 3100 114 ½ ton shortbed pickup, panel, Suburban
3A 3124 114 ½ ton Cameo pickup
3B 3200 123-1/4 ½ ton longbed pickup
3C 3400 104 ¾ ton longbed pickup (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis)
3D 3500 125 ¾ ton longbed pickup (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis)
3E 3600 123-1/4 ¾ ton longbed pickup
3F 3700 137 ¾ ton pickup (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis)
3G 3800 135 1 ton pickup, panel, flatbed, stake
4A 4100 130 1-½ ton flatbed, stake rack
4B 4400 154 1-½ ton flatbed, stake rack
4C 4500 154 1-½ ton school bus chassis
6A 6100 130 2 ton flatbed, stake rack
6B 6400 154 2 ton flatbed, stake rack
6C 6500 172 2 ton
6D 6700 194 2 ton school bus chassis
6E 6800 220 2 ton school bus chassis

1957

1955 truck tech 3

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
3A 3100 114 ½ ton shortbed pickup, panel, Suburban
3A 3124 114 ½ ton Cameo pickup
3B 3200 123-1/4 ½ ton longbed pickup
3C 3400 104 ¾ ton longbed pickup (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis)
3D 3500 125 ¾ ton longbed (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis
3E 3600 123-1/4 ¾ ton longbed pickup
3F 3700 137 ¾ ton pickup (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis)
3G 3800 135 1 ton pickup, flatbed, stake rack
4A 4100 132-1/2 1-½ ton truck
4B 4400 156-1/2 1-½ ton truck
4C 4500 156-1/2 1-½ ton school bus chassis
6A 6100 132-1/2 2 ton flatbed, stake rack
6J 6200 129-5/8 2 ton truck (forward control chassis)
6B 6400 156-1/2 2 ton flatbed, stake rack
6C 6500 174-1/2 2 ton truck
6K 6600 153-5/8 2 ton truck (forward control chassis)
6D 6700 196-1/2 2 ton school bus chassis
6E 6800 222-1/2 2 ton school bus chassis

1958

1955 truck tech 4

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
3A 3100 114 ½ ton shortbed pickup, panel, Suburban
3A 3124 114 ½ ton cameo pickup
3B 3200 123-1/4 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup
3E 3600 123-1/4 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, stake
3G 3800 135 1 ton stepside pickup, panel, stake rack

1959

1955 truck tech 5

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
11/1280 119 El Camino L-6/V-8
3A 3100 114 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban
3B 3200 123-1/4 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup
3E 3600 123-1/4 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, stake rack
3G 3800 135 1 ton stepside pickup, panel, stake rack

1960

1955 truck tech 6

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
11/1280 119 El Camino L-6/V-8
C/K14 115 ½ ton 4×2/4×4 shortbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban (Apache 10)
C15 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup (Apache 10)
C/K25 127 ¾ ton 4×2/4×4 longbed step/fleetside pickup, 8′ stake bed (Apache 20)
C36 133 1 ton longbed stepside pickup, panel, 9′ stake bed (Apache 30)

1961-1963

1955 truck tech 7

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
C10 1404-34 115 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban
C15 1504-34 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup
C25 127 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, Suburban, 8′ stake bed
K14* 1404-34 115 ½ ton 4×2/4×4 shortbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban
K25* 2504-39 127 ¾ ton 4×4 longbed step/fleetside pickup
C36 1404-34 133 1 ton longbed stepside pickup, panel, 9′ stake bed

1964-1966

1955 truck tech 8

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
A5380 115 ½ ton El Camino (6 cylinder)
A5480 115 ½ ton El Camino (8 cylinder)
A5580 115 ½ ton El Camino Custom (6 cylinder)
A5680 115 ½ ton El Camino Custom (8 cylinder)
C10 115 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban
C10 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup
C20 127 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, Suburban, 8′ stake bed
K10 115 ½ ton 4×4 shortbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban
K20 127 ¾ ton 4×4 longbed step/fleetside pickup
C30 133 1 ton longbed stepside pickup, panel, 9′ stake

Note” The vehicle serial number on 1963 Four Wheel Drive models may be used to determine if the model is a First or Second Series Design. The following chart indicates each assembly plant and the sequence of vehicle serial numbers which apply to First Series or Second series.

*1st Series up to and including # *2nd Series including and begining wit # Assembly Plants
106084 106085 A= Atlanta
106732 106733 B= Baltimore
106559 106560 F= Flint
110340 110341 J= Janesville
112645 112646 N= Norwood
125965 125966 O= Oakland
118544 118545 S= St. Louis
109948 109949 T= Tarrytown

Disclaimer: This truck I. D. information is correct and complete to the best of our knowledge and is only to be used as a guide. Pickups ‘n panels and/or the National Chevy/GMC Truck Association, and Jim Carter Truck Parts, make no guarantee of accuracy, and disclaim any liability incurred in the use of this information.

First Series Chevrolet

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The 1955 year put Chevrolet on top! All stops were removed in announcing and continual advertising of the totally redesigned passenger car and their first V-8 engine. Television, radio, news papers and dealers regularly told the public that Chevrolets best year had arrived.

It was not good timing to also begin an equal advertising campaign for the totally new truck that was ready for manufacturing. A good business decision by GM was to wait about six months until the car ads had slowed, then advertising could begin again for their redesigned trucks. This would hit the customers twice in one year on major changes in the Chevrolet market.

It was unheard of for GM to not introduce a new Chevy vehicle each year, therefore at least something had to happen with trucks at the beginning of the 1955 model year. The answer was later called a “First Series 1955”. Chevrolet would introduce the 1955 truck by making several changes to their pre-existing 1954. With the new “Second Series” only months away, little investment was made to the early 1955 trucks.

First Open Drive Shaft

First Open Drive Shaft

The most noticeable change on the popular 1/2 ton was the first open drive shaft in Chevy’s truck history. This was actually created for the later 1955 trucks but with dealer demand it was moved up to be in the early body style. This major drive line change required a different 3 speed transmission, rear leaf springs, shift linkage and shift box.

1955 Hood Side Emblem

1955 Hood Side Emblem

The outside visual changes were minimum. During the about 5 months production, the 1955 early truck was given totally different hood side emblems. However, to reduce costs the number portion of the emblem could be changed depending on the size of trucks. Example: 3100 on 1/2 ton, 3600 on 3/4 ton and 3800 on the 1 ton.

Vertical Stripes

Vertical Stripes

A no cost difference was changing the vertical stripes on the front hood emblem from red on the 1954 to white on the 1955

Non-Chrome Grill

Non-Chrome Grill

The paint arrangement on the non-chrome grill was also a non cost change for Chevrolet. The grill bars were changed from body color to white.

Dash Color

Dash Color

Interior paint (again a no cost change) was slightly modified from a pearl beige color 1954 to a light metallic brown.

Thus, with little extra investment Chevrolet had a new truck for the beginning of 1955. This was the final offering of this body style that began in 1947. GM referred to it as the “Advance Design”. It has become one of Chevrolet’s all time greats. It’s popularity today is as strong with hobbyists as it was with new buyers 50 years ago.

Then came the totally re-designed trucks in mid-year 1955. That will be another story!

Accessories vs Options

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

As per GM, accessories during the 1930’s through mid 1960’s were the extra cost items sold and installed by the approved dealer. The truck was prepared for these during production so the dealership could later add them with less effort.

As much as possible GM would punch holes, attach removable plates, press in dimples, etc. to help the dealership in placing the accessory in just the right position. Several accessories using the pre-placed holes or dimples in these early Chevrolet and GMC trucks are the right side taillight bracket, fresh air heater, radio, front bumper guards, cigarette lighter, arm rest, glovebox light, and windshield washer.

Options were added at the factory. They were more difficult to install by individual dealerships and were therefore placed on the vehicle during production. This included items such as a chrome grille, 4 speed transmission on 1/2 and 3/4 ton chassis, double action shocks, tinted windows on 1953-55, two speed rear axle on larger trucks, double action fuel pump, hydrovac power brake, etc.

Demise of the GM Panel Truck

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

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

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

demise panel truck 1

Retired panel trucks used for storage (above)

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

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

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

demise panel truck 2

1970 G Series Van (above)

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

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

demise panel truck 3

1937-1938 Australian Half Ton

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The Australian 1937-38 Chevrolet trucks are much like those in the U.S., however on close observation, one can certainly see unique differences. This United States relative is obviously GM but not quite the same.

These Down-Under truck’s final assembly point was in the Holden plant in New South Wales, Australia. (Holden is a branch for GM in that country.) Much of the sheet metal was stamped at the GM Canadian plant in Oshawa, Ontario. Most all the GM trucks in the 1930’s and 1940’s that reached overseas assembly plants were from this Canadian location but unassembled.

In Australia and even in nearby New Zealand, local governments required a certain percentage of truck parts to be manufactured in those countries. This provided jobs for the local population. Parts supplied in Australia would be wiring harnesses, glass, tires, seats, a different design bed, etc.

The current photos we have of Australian 1937-38 1/2 tons are these furnished by Luke Randall from auto gatherings in Eastern Australia. He owns a 1938 to be restored so he has an interest in others of this design. You can contact Luke at lukerandall@hotmail.com.

Items of special interest on these 1937 and 1938 Australian trucks are:

  • The 3 stamped ribs on the can roof
  • A different bed design
  • The wide horizontal panel below the door
  • The double stamped belt on the cowl and door stop near the handle (In the U.S. the belt continues around the cab behind to the rear under the window)
  • The windshield is two a piece not like the one piece 1937-1938 in the U.S.
  • Doors are more rounded at the top
  • Right hand drive

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton 2

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton 3

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton 4

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton 5

Luke and passenger

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton 6

Luke’s 1938 to be restored

It’s finally complete! Luke’s many hours has paid off. What a special “one of a kind” 1938.

As the beds from the Australian factory were usually a flat deck to lower retail costs, Luke added an all wood bed in the shape of a US designed bed. Very nice!

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.

1918-1933 Truck Tech

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1918-33 Chevy Truck Model I.D.

We hope the following information on Axle, Transmission and Model identification will help many of you with your questions. Accuracy was a concern as we compiled this information. Because GM made so many scheduled as well as unscheduled changes, there is much discussion about these changes.

The following is used by permission from Pickups and Panels Magazine and artist Bryant J. Stewart

1918-1933 truck tech

1918

Series 490…Wheelbase 102…1/2 ton light delivery chassis, wagon

Series T…..Wheelbase 125…1 ton worm drive chassis, flare board and curtain top express


1919

Series 490…Wheelbase…102…1/2 ton light delivery chassis, wagon.

Series T…..Wheelbase…125…1 ton worm drive chassis, flare board and curtain top express


1920

Series 490…Wheelbase 102…1/2 ton light delivery chassis, delivery wagon 1 and 3 seat

Series T…..Wheelbase 125…1 ton chassis and cowl, flare board and covered flare express


1921

Series 490…Wheelbase 102…1/2 ton chassis and cowl, open express, covered express 3 seat

Series G…..Wheelbase 120…3/4 ton chassis and cowl, open express, canopy express

Series T…..Wheelbase 125…1 ton chassis, open express, canopy express, canopy express 3 seat


1922

truck tech 1922

Series 490…Wheelbase 102…1/2 ton panel delivery, station wagon

Series G…..Wheelbase 120…3/4 ton cowl cab chassis, express, canopy express

Series T…..Wheelbase 125…1 ton chassis, open express, canopy express, canopy curtain express


1923

Series A/B…Wheelbase 103…1/2 ton chassis, canopy express, panel, station wagon

Series D…..Wheelbase 120-5..1 ton chassis, stake, utility express, delivery, cattle body


1924

Series B/F…Wheelbase 103…1/2 ton chassis, light delivery, panel

Series D/H…Wheelbase 120…1 ton chassis, stake, flare board express, dump, enclosed cab


1925

Series F…..Wheelbase 103…1/2 ton chassis, light delivery (early 1925)

truck tech 1925

Series H…..Wheelbase 120…1 ton chassis (earlt 1925)

Series K…..Wheelbase 103…1/2 ton chassis, light delivery (late 1925)

Series M…..Wheelbase 120…1 ton chassis (late 1925)


1926

Series K…..Wheelbase 103…1/2 ton chassis, light delivery (early 1926)

Series R…..Wheelbase 124…1 ton chassis (early 1926)

Series V…..Wheelbase 103…1/2 ton chassis, light delivery (late 1926)

truck tech 1926

Series X…..Wheelbase 124…1 ton chassis, springfield suburban, screenside, stake rack (late 1926)


1927

Series V…..Wheelbase 103…1/2 ton chassis, light delivery (early 1927)

Series X…..Wheelbase 124…1 ton chassis, springfield suburban, screenside (early 1927)

Series AA….Wheelbase 103…1/2 ton chassis, light delivery (late 1927)

Series LM….Wheelbase 124…1 ton chassis, panel delivery, stake bed (late 1927)


1928

Series AB….Wheelbase 107…1/2 ton chassis, pick up, canopy, panel, screenside and sedan delivery, roadster pick up

Series LO….Wheelbase 124…1 ton panel delivery, stake bed, chassis


1929

truck tech 1929

Series AC….Wheelbase 107…1/2 ton chassis, pickup, canopy, panel, screenside and sedan delivery

Series LQ….Wheelbase 131…1 and 1 1/2 ton chassis


1930

Series AD….Wheelbase 107…1/2 ton chassis, delivery, canopy, deluxe, panel, roadster, screenside, sedan

Series LR….Wheelbase 131…1 1/2 ton truck 1st half

Series LS….Wheelbase 131…1 1/2 ton truck 2nd half


1931

truck tech 1931

Series AE….Wheelbase 109…1/2 ton open/closed cab chassis/puickup, panel, canopy express

Series LT….Wheelbase 131-157…1 1/2 ton truck-single and dual wheels 1st half

Series MA/B…Wheelbase 131…1 1/2 ton truck-single and dual wheels 2nd half

Series MC/D…Wheelbase 157…1 1/2 ton truck-single and dual wheels 2nd half


1932

Series BB….Wheelbase 109….1/2 ton closed cab pickup and canopy top pickup, panel,open and closed cab canopy express, spc. sed. delivery/panel/chassis

Series NA/B..Wheelbase 131….1 1/2 ton truck- single/dual wheels

Series NC/D..Wheelbase 157….1 1/2 ton truck – single and dual wheels


1933

truck tech 1933

Series CB….Wheelbase 109….1/2 ton pickup and canopy top pickup, panel, open and closed cab canopy express, special pickup/panel chassis

Series OA/B..Wheelbase 131….1 1/2 ton truck – single and dual wheels

Series OC/D..Wheelbase 157….1 1/2 ton truck- single and dual wheels


Disclaimer: This truck I. D. information is correct and complete to the best of our knowledge and is only to be used as a guide. Pickups ‘n panels and/or the National Chevy/GMC Truck Association, and Jim Carter Truck Parts, make no guarantee of accuracy, and disclaim any liability incurred in the use of this information.

White Wall Tires

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Prior to the 1960’s, trucks were used as work vehicles. On Friday nights, most were parked for the weekend and the family sedan was the transportation vehicle.

It was a conservative era when you bought only basic necessities. A $5.00 grocery purchase was more than most could carry. Finding white wall tires on a truck (even a car) would have been a rare sight, indeed. Very few cars, except for most luxurious models, would have had white walls even as an option. It should be remembered, that most roads, except highways and those in the main part of town were gravel, dirt, or sprayed annually with tar.

Of course, a dealer would have been happy to install aftermarket white wall tires, if the customer made a specific request. For a price, the dealer would provide any option to keep a satisfied customer and make a few dollars.

On GM trucks, white walls became a factory option in mid-1955, partially because of the introduction of the Chevrolet Cameo and GMC Suburban carrier and also due to more roads becoming paved. These very deluxe pickups, as well as several of the other well appointed 1/2 tons justified a white wall tire for those wanting it all!

Almost none of these deluxe models would have been given their second set of white wall tires. By then, the pickup was older and being used more as a hauler, not for appearance.

Buy Parts for 1934 to 1946 Trucks

 

Right Mirror Arm

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The 1947-1955 Chevrolet and GMC came from the factory with left mirror arms on left hand drive trucks. This was particularly important if the truck was to have a large bed that covered the rear window.

To keep sale price low, the right mirror arm was an accessory (dealer installed). It was very important that the dealer place the mirror just right so the actual mirror was viewed by the driver through the lower right corner of the windshield.

To prevent dealer mistakes, GM placed an inner panel in all trucks covering the area were the two holes would be placed. This panel had factory holes, showing the mechanic where to drill. Thus, two exterior holes could always be in the proper place. Yes, the glove box liner would be removed to make room for the drilling.

right mirror arm 1

Inner panel guide for drilling (above)

right mirror arm 2

Outer panel before drilling (above)

1947-1948 Recirculator Heater

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The Chevrolet and GMC dealer installed recirculator heater was much different in 1947-48. In 1946 and older plus in 1949 through 1957, they sold the traditional round core design but for 1947 and 1948 it was all different.

The attached photos show the 1947-48 GM recirculator heater. Its rectangular core and vertical mounting studs are reserved for just these two years.  Except for the logo plate they are the same for GMC and Chevrolet. To be sure the dealers mechanic installed these accessory heaters correctly, holes were placed in the firewall during the trucks construction.

In this photo of a 1948 firewall, arrows point to the factory holes to make sure the heater is installed just right.

An additional point of interest on this 1947-48 heater:

The defroster appears to be an extra cost item. Note the picture of the truck with the side mounted defroster. Also see the separate heater with a round factory plate covering the defroster position. It appears you could order a style of recirculator heater depending on the climate in your area.

1947 heater 1 1947 heater 2

1947 heater 3 1947 heater 4

1947 heater 5

1937 Chevrolet Logging Truck

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Year/Make 1937 Chevrolet
Owner: Unkown

Look what a 216 six cylinder can do with a low speed rear end!

1937 logging truck

 

1951 Chevrolet Wrecker

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Year/Make 1951 Chevrolet
Owner: Jim Carter

Jim Carter, Independence , MO

Life for this 1951 Chevrolet Model 5100 began at the GM assembly plant in Kansas City . Soon after, it was delivered to its new home at a small Chevrolet dealer in Lydon , Kansas . About this time it was also equipped with a new wrecker body (manufactured by W.T. Stringfellow and Co., Nashville , Tennessee ) and made ready for duties as a GM dealership tow truck.

This dealer use is probably why it has survived and remains as a solid example of an original style 1950’s tow truck. Whereas, most wreckers are used continually by tow companies, an auto dealership is more limited in the needs for moving vehicles. Usually they are only needed for bringing in customer’s cars for repairs. They are kept nice to give a good dealer image.

Possibly because of its good condition, it appears that the second and third owners also gave it more respect during its occasional use in towing. It was purchased in 1992 at a swap meet by Jim Carters Antique Truck Parts Co. and is currently their mascot. This rig is sometimes taken to antique auto shows as well as just cruising on a Saturday night. Its short wheelbase allows it to easily maneuver in traffic and park in a standard space.

She is referred to as the ‘Blue Hooker’ and can match the power of any 2 ton wrecker. She has and can ‘Hook’ the best.

1951 chevrolet wrecker blue hooker

1939 Chevrolet Tow Truck

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

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

1939 Chevrolet Tow truck

What do you tow your Morgan with ?

Story and Photographs by John H. Sheally II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1939 Chevrolet Tow truck

1939 Chevrolet Tow truck

1939 Chevrolet Tow truck

1939 Chevrolet Tow truck

1939 Chevrolet Tow truck

1939 Chevrolet Tow truck

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

1947 Laundry Truck

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1947 Laundry Truck

Its early 1947 and the U.S. has been struggling over a year to get factories back to producing domestic goods for the new post World War II economy. Car and truck hungry customers are expecting a year’s wait for each new vehicle ordered.

In Lowell , Mass. , the Centralville Laundry is struggling with the daily use of their seven year old pre-war ½ ton panel truck. Unexpected break downs and parts shortages create havoc with necessary daily pickup and delivery of their customer’s laundry.

The laundry business was good. Since the U.S. entered the war in 1941, a large percentage of housewives entered the job market both for financial reasons and keeping the factories producing. For the Centralville Laundry Company, this was great for business. After working eight hours at the factory and managing a family, the last thing the lady of the house needed was to come home to hours of laundry. Home automatic washers were almost unheard of and most of the clothing was washed by hand.

On a March 1947 Saturday night, Jim Nigzus, the laundry owner, spotted the back of a shiny panel truck through an open door of the town’s Chevrolet dealer’s rear storage building. He called the dealer at his home at 9:30 p.m. ‘What have you got in that building? Is it for sale?’

What a surprise! The local furniture dealer had just rejected this new panel truck because it was a 1 ton and not the ½ ton that had been ordered the year before. Jim Nigzus couldn’t believe his eyes. He not only could buy this panel truck, but it was new. He cared less about it being a large body 1 ton. His company needed a panel truck now. The vehicle was bought verbally on the phone and the Centralville Laundry had a new panel truck the next Monday afternoon.

That day began a relationship with this 1 ton that has lasted 55 years and over 500,000 miles! Jim is now retired but keeps the old company panel looking just like in its working days. A coat of company blue paint, some bodywork and new side business logos have helped slow the rust that is so determined to keep attacking this worker of over 40 years on Lowell, Mass. city streets. The truck has its original 17′ split rim wheels and an optional passenger seat. Extra lights were added 50 years ago to make the panel more visible in the evenings while delivering during the shorter winter New England days.

This one ton has had almost no modification and is powered by the proper low oil pressure 216 cubic inch six cylinder in front of the correct non-synchronized 4 speed transmission. The panel truck’s size and extra hauling capacity proved to be an instant advantage over ½ tons in the needs of the early laundry business. As money was limited during these years, families would save a great deal by having their wash delivered wet! The laundry was then line dried by the customer and ironed at home. The heavy weight of ‘wet wash’ deliveries made a 1 ton a success not only on weight capacity but more stops could be made for each run from the laundry building.

1947 Chevrolet Laundry Truck

1947 Chevrolet Laundry Truck

1947 Chevrolet Laundry Truck

1947 Chevrolet Laundry Truck

1947 Chevrolet Laundry Truck

1948 Chevrolet Dump Truck

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Year/Make 1948 Chverolet 6100
Owner: Herb Bliven

1948 chevrolet dump truck

This is my 1948 Chevy 6100 Series, 2 ton short dump truck. I used it for remodeling business in Ledyard, CT. The truck has been in use by me for 8 years. After purchasing it, I have sought to keep her looking as original as possible. This is a long term project. This truck has earned its keep and then some. I love the attention my truck attracts ever where I go. I have purchased many parts from Jim Carter Antique Truck Parts. Thank you for helping me keep this work horse on the road where it belongs.

1948 chevrolet dump truck

1948 chevrolet dump truck

1948 chevrolet dump truck

1946 Chevrolet Dually 1 1/2 ton

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1946 Chverolet 1 1/2 Ton
Owner: Jim Carter

1946 chevrolet 1 1/2 ton

1953 Chevrolet Ambulance

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Owner: John Heller
South Pasedena, Ca

1953 chevrolet ambulance

Almost unchanged in 45 years! The second owner repainted the two doors to cover the town lettering, then added the “Moblegas” decals. Yes, the hubcaps, bumpers, and grill back splash bars are still the correct gray color due to 1953 Korean War shortages.

An Economical Ambulance

This 1953 Chevrolet Suburban was bought new by the City of Lamont, Illinois and was used as their fire department ambulance. It was for occasional medical emergencies but was usually found inside the town fire department building. This unusual work vehicle was taken out of service five years ago and had logged only 23,000 miles during its 45 years.

The original ambulance conversion in 1953 consisted of painting white over the original Juniper green, removing the middle and rear seats, adding red lights and a siren, plus attaching miscellaneous small extras that are part of ambulance necessities.

The Suburban interior (dash, front seats, side panels, headliner, floor mat, etc.) is probably the finest example of unchanged originality. This is the way General Motors sent it out from the assembly line. Inside storage and limited use has kept the interior colors just right including the maroon plastic handle knobs. Note the original tan floor mat to match the interior. (This colored mat was discontinued by GM’s parts department about two years later.) The dash lacks the stainless glove box door and trim as was normal during the Korean War shortages. Even the inside window frames (painted separately from the body) are a different shade and shine.

In May 2002, this gem was purchased from the second owner by John Heller of South Pasadena, CA. He recently completed the trip to his California home after driving it from Chicago on the famous Route 66.

His plans are to keep the excellent interior and mechanics unchanged. Only the ambulance white color will be removed. John is historian and curator of the once 1,200 mile Pacific Electric Railway Company that served Los Angeles communities in at least the 1940’s and 1950’s. Therefore, he will paint the vehicle railway colors (red with black fenders) and letter the doors just like in company pictures of the 1950’s. It will appear as a work vehicle just like you would have seen during the classic times of the Pacific Electric Railway. You will almost see a work crew being taken to a job-site in the Los Angels area

1953 chevrolet ambulance

Passenger jump seat including original brown floor mat and rear floor linoleum covering.

1953 chevrolet ambulance

Original untouched five piece headliner. Note: Rear dome light is the same as above the drivers seat.

1953 chevrolet ambulance

The 1953 dash! Red brown paint and gray brown steering wheel paint are just right.

1953 chevrolet ambulance

Minor damage for almost 50 years as a work vehicle.

1967 Chevrolet Heavy Hauler

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
1967 Chevrolet Heavy Hauler

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

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

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

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

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

1967 Chevrolet Heavy Hauler

1967 Chevrolet Heavy Hauler

1942 Chevrolet Deland Fire Truck

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

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

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

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

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

 

1942 Chevrolet Deland Fire Truck 2

d1942 Chevrolet Deland Fire Truck 3

GM Vintage 1950 Overdrive

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Chevrolet’s 1/2 ton and car overdrive 3 speed transmission was optional equipment installed on the assembly line during the 1950’s. The reduction of engine RPM’s in high gear resulted in less wear on the drive train as well as additional speed on level roads. Today, this is still important but of increased importance is better fuel economy.

The standard 3 speed transmission gives a 1 to 1 ratio in high gear. The overdrive is rated .7 to 1. The case and main gears are identical in both transmissions. The difference is in the rear extension tail. Here, the Borg-Warner gears electrically drop the RPM’s in the output shaft. GM’s wisdom created the 3 speed overdrive to be the same overall length as their standard transmission. This makes transmission exchanges very uncomplicated. There is no modification in the shift linkage rods or drive shaft.

With several basic tools a person can remove a standard 3 speed and add his overdrive in an hour! No problem if you don’t have the factory dash levers. Simply connect two insulated wires from the solenoid to a small dual position flip switch you add to the end of the shift lever. (It can be bought tat a local auto parts store and taped in place.) The driver can then shift in and out of overdrive using his thumb.

These overdrives were Chevrolet optional equipment from 1955 through the early 1960’s. Though they are becoming difficult to find, they do surface at swap meets, older salvage yards, and from owners totally modernizing their older vehicle. Find one and give your car or ½ ton a different personality!

Exploded View of GM 1950 Overdrive Transmission…PDF Click Here

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

First Year Oil Filter

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

It’s the first year for the successful Chevrolet V-8. (This basic small block design continues even today over 50 years later.) One very unique characteristic of this first year V-8 is the lack of a traditional block connection for a positive flow oil filter. For this one year, this 265 engine carried the by-pass oil filter system much like the standard 235 six cylinder. It was dealer installed!

The filter canister has a welded on right angle bracket that is secured under the thermostat housing at the front of the engine. The supply and drain lines are small like the 235. If the filter becomes clogged and the oil stops flowing into the cartridge, the engine continues to run with good lubrication. These photos show an excellent example of the 265 V-8 accessory oil filter system, with it being a dealer accessory, it probably was placed on few engines when they arrived at the dealership.

first year oil filter

1963-1966 Power Steering

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Chevrolet linkage-type power steering is now available optionally on Series C10, 20, 30 models. This was formerly a dealer installed item. The equipment consists of a hydraulic pump, power cylinder, control valve, relay rod and hoses.

The power cylinder is mounted to the frame and is connected to the control valve through the hoses. The control valve is mounted on the steering drag link between the knuckle arm and the steering arm and it serves to control the flow of pressurized power steering fluid to either side of the power cylinder piston. This in turn pushes or pulls the tie rod as required for easier steering.

Power steering helps to combat driver fatigue and aids maneuverability. It also dampens road shocks and vibrations at the steering wheel and provides extra comfort and ease of handling.

1963-1966 Chevrolet Power Steering 1

1955-1957 Radiator Shroud

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

With the introduction of the new small block V-8’s in 1955 Chevrolet trucks, modified sheet metal was created to help in cooling. The new truck design came standard with the proven 235 inline six cylinder but when an optional V-8 was added, cooling modifications were necessary.

The short length V-8’s cooling fan was too far from the radiator and could pull air from above and below the engine and less through the core. To prevent this, all V-8 trucks came with an upper and lower metal baffle plate to help better pull air through the radiator.

These metal plates have become very difficult to locate in recent years. The lack of these two plates on (restored?) V-8 trucks are usually a strong indication the vehicle has been converted from an original six cylinder. The mechanic was either not aware these plates existed or had no idea of where to locate them.

During 1958-1959 the shroud was redesigned. It became a more traditional metal circle as is found on more modern vehicles. This allowed even more air to be pulled through the radiator core.

The following photos show original Chevrolet radiator cooling sheet metal from 1955-1957 V-8 trucks. The dark lines on the drawing relates to how these plates fit in the original vehicle.

1955-1957 Chevrolet Radiator Shroud

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

1934 Chevrolet Panel Truck

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Owner: Richard Leier

1934 chevrolet panel truck

What a rare panel truck! This little 1934 Chevrolet is almost a “one of a kind”. With it being under construction, we just had to share these pictures.

You can see it was originally assembled from metal sections. A wood framework secured the metal panels to make a solid usable vehicle. As long as the wood remained strong, it served it’s purpose. Unfortunately, the enemy was leaking canvas top plus rust and wood rot on the lower level. The cost of replacing the canvas top was probably close to the panel truck’s value in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Thus, this panel truck is one of the last of thousands sold that year.

1934 chevrolet panel truck 1934 chevrolet panel truck 1934 chevrolet panel truck

(left-right) Leaning against the left side | The four doors | Hood not yet removed

1934 chevrolet panel truck 1934 chevrolet panel truck 1934 chevrolet panel truck

(left-right) New wood door parts and top support | Wood makes left door complete | The rear floor is started

1957 Chevrolet from David Cross

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Owner: David Cross

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

Have you ever crawled under a pickup for sale looking for damage? You then turned it down because some rust was coming through the floor. Well, check this! David Cross of Stillwater, Minnesota found this 1957 Chevrolet 1/2 ton and ignored the signs of major rust. What is now a show quality truck would normally have been crushed by a recycler.

This 1957’s life began with the highway department of the state of Iowa. When it was retired many years later it was sold to a local farmer who used it only on his property and never titled it. Thus, David can honestly say he is the second owner of record.

When the farmer used up what life was left in the pickup, it wound up in a ravine with occasional flooding and an infestation of mice, snakes and other varmints.

A used car dealer pulled it out of the mud in 2000. His later ad said “The truck is all there and runs”. David, a new person to the truck hobby, drove it home five miles with no brakes, a leaking gas tank, and water running from the radiator. It’s little 235 engine was struggling. We wonder why!

It is now restoration time. David refused to yield to its many problems. Admitting to a mistake was out of the question. David and this body and paint person took the truck apart. They found it much worse than they ever imagined. The small rust holes grew gigantic when even taped with a little hammer.

David’s body and paint person is Kevin O’Brian from O’Brian’s Paint and Body Works in Afton, Minnesota. He did all the metal work and paint. David provided most of the mechanicals and assembly. Kevin is one of the best body persons in the state but he admitted this project stretched him into new territory. David and Kevin saved the frame, running gear, cab, and hood. The rest of the 1957 just was not repairable!

Saving the body was major since the front body mounts were gone. Kevin built a jig to align the cab with the frame. This was necessary while the floor and cab mounts were constructed. The strip across the windshield top was rusted out. New metal had to be shaped and welded in, a major task. To fit the new windshield, the cab had to be just right. No errors allowed. The metal body steps would not hold a person without bending. This total area was taken out from the remainder of the cab.

The following pictures will show the finished product plus what David and Kevin had to work with. The restoration of this derelict 1957 pickup is clear evidence that given time, money, talent, and loving care anything is possible.

You can contact David at davidlcross@yahoo.com.

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

What we started with. Looks much better than it really is.

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

Bed intact but ultimately useless; fenders creased and serious rust everywhere

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

Really ugly rust thru inner and outer cab top, big concern about windshield opening.

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

Cab bottom. ugh! lower hinges not attached to anything solid. door pockets gone, floor boards rusted through. Front cab mount badly deteriorated. Cab corners, inner and outer rusted through.

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

End panel rusted through but note spare bracket in good shape

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

Another view of cab doors useless and discarded

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

Alignment frame to position what’s left of cab on frame. Now the welding can begin.

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

New cab corners welded in place

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

Sandblasted and repainted frame before spring and axle assemblies were removed and rebuilt.

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

Cab bottom with new floor and steps in place. Saturated with POR-15 and seam sealed

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

Rebuilt cab in primer. Door step and quarter panel is double thickness to stiffen cab

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

Engine reassembly paint and detail

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

Engine accessories installed. All hookups done and wiring completed

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

Out of the paint booth

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

Bed wood during installation.

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

Painted. Assembled and ready to push out of shop

1957 chevrolet pick up truck

Interior installed

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.

1937 Chevrolet from Tim Koch

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Owner: Tim Koch

This mid-Missouri 1937 Chevrolet 1/2 ton is owned by Tim Koch of Jefferson City. He chose this restoration shop to do the total project because of their reputation for quality as one of the best! The name Herrons Customs Paint is mentioned at so many local shows, it was worth Tim Koch talking to the owner and viewing his shop. The vehicles under rebuilding convinced Tim this was the company to do the restoration of his 1937 Chevy truck.

The following pictures show an excellent step by step procedure from the frame up! You can contact the shop at www.herroncustompaint.com or the truck owner at 573-636-5678, cell 573-619-3104.

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1951 Chevrolet from The Mense Family

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Owner: The Mense Family

Here is a great example of a ground up restoration of a 1951 Chevrolet 3/4 ton. The project is being done by Line Creek Restorations in Northmoor, Missouri near Kansas City, 1-816-946-6000. When the project is finished, it will be a new truck!

The shop is doing this project at the request of the three sons of the owner. (It was actually bought new, by the grandfather, for the farm in 1951.) The completed project will be a gift from the three sons to their father who learned to drive on this ¾ ton. They hope to have it complete for their home town 4th of July parade in Lenzberg, IL. Few vehicles have stayed in the family for three generations.

This 1951 had normal abuse for a truck on the farm 50 years ago. Few repairs were done if it still was able to haul a load. On one occasion during a very rainy season, Mr. Mense was driving the truck to town. His wife was the passenger. The truck got off the concrete highway and the soft soil on the shoulder gave way. The little 1951 with it’s cargo laid over on it’s side. No passenger injuries! When it was pulled back on the road, it still ran excellent but always carried a damaged door and running board plus two flattened right fenders.

The enclosed photos show areas during disassembly. There is typical dirt, grease and rust build up during it’s over 55 years in Southern Illinois. All parts will be totally cleaned and checked for wear. It will be reassembled like an over sized model kit after the parts are restored or replaced.

Future additions to this article will show the ¾ ton as it begins being placed back together.

Photos by Dan Hall of Line Creek Restorations

1951 chevrolet pick up truck

1951 chevrolet pick up truck

1951 chevrolet pick up truck

1951 chevrolet pick up truck

Progress Addendum One

Progress on the total restoration of this 1951 Chevy continues as scheduled. The bare frame was recently returned from a local company that did the sand blasting and then given a professional black powder coating. This is the ‘back bone’ of the truck, so now assembly can begin. Also sand blasted and sprayed with black enamel are the leaf springs, rear axle housing, front suspension and radiator support. Each item looks equal or better than new. The correct 216 six cylinder has just returned from a rebuilder and now Line Creek Restorations is giving it some assembly and the proper gray engine enamel. The attached photos show several of these items as they are setting in the shop after restoration and await assembly.

1951 chevrolet pick up truck

1951 chevrolet pick up truck

1951 chevrolet pick up truck

1951 chevrolet pick up truck

1951 chevrolet pick up truck

1951 chevrolet pick up truck

Progress Addendum Two

Items restored at other locations are mostly back in the Line Creek Restoration Shop. Assembly now continues at a faster pace. The project is beginning to look like a truck!

1951 chevrolet pick up truck

1951 chevrolet pick up truck

1951 chevrolet pick up truck

1951 chevrolet pick up truck

1951 chevrolet pick up truck

1951 chevrolet pick up truck

GMC 302 Install in Old Chevrolet

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The Trials and Tribulations of Installing a GMC 302 engine into a 1950 3/4 ton Chevrolet Pick Up

by Joel Baumbaugh

Background: About 5 years ago I “upgraded” the engine in my truck from a 216 to a 235. Lately I have felt that I wanted/needed a little more torque (especially while the bed is full of something heavy) and while one option was to rebuild and re-cam my 235 and another was to install a Chevy 350/400 (or 700R), the “popular” literature said that I could also install a GMC 270 or 302. Just to be “different”, I decided to go the latter route.

The Source: I wanted a “running” engine that I could just drop in with a minimum of trouble. The engine I found for my project was a 1959-1962 GMC engine from a School Bus. The bus had been converted into a “camper” and had then caught on fire and burned beyond repair. At first glance, the outside of the engine looked kind of rough. I checked the compression (all cyls. were at 160 lbs./sq.in), looked at the plugs (all light brown), listened to it run (no strange noises) ‘ the oil pressure was 55-60 lbs./sq.in. at idle and the rocker arms/valve area was pretty clean of sludge. Short of pulling the pan, this was as far as I could go. I bought it, brought it home and cleaned it up.

Problems/Solutions: The engine had a LOT of bus-type accessories that I did not want/need. The “massive” front Crank Pulley (the damper pulley assay) had a three-groove pulley ‘ “way” too long! After careful measurement I found that I was able to replace it with a single groove pulley off of a 235 (I replaced the front seal at this time). The water pump shaft was “very” long as well and sported a 2-groove pulley. I removed the pulley and ground/cut the pulley shaft back. The water pump on this engine did not seal against the block and/or head. This one was bolted to a thick steel plate which held a tensioner (for a double groove pulley) which weighed about 30 lbs. (weight I did NOT want) and was bolted to the front of the block. I found a rear plate (and gaskets) for the water pump from a place here in town that rebuilds water pumps. Bolting the water pump directly to the block saved me another ½ inch in engine length. The owner also sold me a flange to press on to the shaft so that I could bolt a new water pump pulley onto the pump (the original Chevy is shaft diameter is ½ inches and the 302 is 3/l8 inches). To find a pulley which would align with the bottom crankshaft pulley required a number of trips to local junk/wrecking yards. I finally found one that was the perfect depth (I’m not sure if it was originally from a Chevy or not). I had to enlarge the center hole to make it fit the GMC shaft.

The 302’s “bus” generator weighed about 80 lbs. I found that the 235’s generator mounting flange’s bolt-holes fit perfectly! However, I “did” need to reverse it and then elongate the mounting holes so that I could slide it forward to align the generator pulley groove with the crank and water pump pulleys.

The carburetor that came with the engine was a joke. It even had a governor on it. I had the option to purchase a better 2-barrel carburetor or to step up a little bit and buy a 4-barrel manifold. I did the latter. I had a (gasp) Ford ‘Autolite’ carburetor in my garage (about 400 CFM) from a ‘289’ which I bolted up to the manifold and it works GREAT! – Especially with the stock low-performance camshaft. I also at this time “upgraded” my carburetor linkage. I went to an off-road dune buggy place and purchased a new accelerator pedal and a push-pull cable. Configuring the carburetor linkage from the stock pedal to the new manifold/carburetor would have been a nightmare otherwise.

Radiator: The 302 engine “is” 1 1/2 to two inches longer than the 325 (which is longer than the 216). This means that the radiator no longer fits into its original location. I tried to modify the radiator mount to put the radiator inside. Don’t even try. The radiator needs to mount on the front of the mount. This means that you will have to borrow your neighbor’s “Saws-All” with a metal cutting blade and cut away the top and front cross bracing on the radiator support, the lower front wind deflecting metalwork at the bottom (behind the grill) and drill 6 new holes in the mount for the radiator. The upper support that contains the hood latch will need to have a rectangle cut in it to fit the top of the radiator in it as well. I now have about 2 inches clearance between my water pump pulley and the radiator. I use an electric thermostatically controlled (pusher) fan in front of my radiator. It’s quieter, doesn’t rob the engine of power (better mileage) and the water pump may last longer without the fan blades. Note: My friend and neighbor has a 1951 GMC. I have measured his engine compartment. From his bellhousing to the radiator flange he had 4 more inches to play with, so I’d bet that he originally had a longer GMC engine (he runs a Chevy 235 now), and that he could make the conversion to a 270 or 302 without any cutting being necessary.

Front Mount Yes the 302 engine “is” 1 1/2 to 2 inches longer than the 235. The front mount on the Bus’ 302 was a weird set-up which caused the engine to sit at an angle (like a Chrysler slant 6). This saved some height in the bus’ engine compartment. However, after removing the bus setup spacers, I found that the two bolt holes on the mount (on the bottom of the timing cover/block) were at right angles to the block and aligned perfectly with my truck’s original 216 mount so I was able to exchange them and everything was level ‘ no oil pan removal required! I then drilled two (new) holes through the truck’s cross member, put in longer frame-mounting bolts and added some extra rubber padding (cut from a truck mud-flap) to keep the mount from rubbing on the frame and so far its worked ok.

Rear: The bus engine I purchased was coupled to an automatic transmission. That meant that it had a flex plate (that the converter bolted to) instead of a flywheel. The flex-plate (with the old ring-gear) was MUCH larger than the flywheel I would need. I found a flywheel from a GMC 270 that fit. Although the flywheel’s diameter and the number of teeth are the same as the 1955-1959 Chevrolet, the crankshaft bolt pattern is different between the GMC’s and the Chevrolet’s. The flywheel bolts are different as well (1/2 inch dia. instead of 3/8’s”). Although I tried using an impact wrench, a gorilla on steroids must have put on the old flywheel bolts. I broke a socket and finally had to remove 3 of them with a chisel. The 3/8″ GMC flywheel bolts are not available ANYWHERE. I went to an industrial bolt supply place and bought six more grade 10 bolts. I had the heads machined thinner (like the originals) as otherwise they protrude into the pressure plate/clutch plate area and will cause binding problems. I then carefully shortened the bolts (watch those threads ‘ I put a tap on the inside of the bolt and then backed it off to remove the burrs) to match the original length as they otherwise hit the block behind the flywheel (close tolerances here…).

The pressure and clutch plates and throw-out bearing match those of a Chevy 1955-1959 10- inch set. The 302 had a roller bearing pilot bearing instead of a oillite bronze bushing. I replaced it with another roller bearing and the transmission (its a Saginaw off of a 1969 Camaro) fit in just fine.

I used my original bellhousing off of the 1950 Chevy. The old GMC one was slanted to match the front motor mount. The starter location in the GMC bellhousing was for a larger diameter flexplate and would not work. The GMC starter had the wrong number of teeth to work on the 10″ flywheel. The starter which (I found) works, was a 12 volt 9 tooth (for a 164 tooth flywheel) from a 1955 Chevrolet and works great.

Oil and Water lines: There is an oil line on the front of the block up to the head. This supplies the oil to the rocker arms. Leave it alone. I tied (T’d) into it and put on a 100 PSI oil pressure gage as my Chevy gage only goes to 30 lbs. This engine NEEDS an oil filter. If you block off the oil supply line on the driver’s side of the block you will not get ANY oil pressure in the engine. I “T’d” into the pressure side and connected up my original oil pressure gage (it’s a stretch, but it reaches). Yes, it’s always pegged on 30 lbs., but gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when I look down. The head has an external water line that goes to the thermostat housing. Leave it alone. You can put a “T” in and hook up your temperature gage (with an adapter), but I put mine further down on the block (there’s a fitting there), because it was always showing “cold” on the gage. Be careful of that temperature gage line. It cost me close to $50.00 the last time I had to replace it. The radiator hoses clamped right up although the GMC diameter on the lower radiator hose is one step smaller.

The 302’s distributor had a governor on it and was centrifugal advance only. The bottom of the distributor was different than the Chevy, but my Chevy distributor “guts” bolted right in. I was able to put in a spring kit (the GMC centrifugal advance springs were so thick that they could have been used for front struts on a Honda) and I now have vacuum advance as well.

The GMC fuel pump leaked so I replaced it with a Pep Boys electric fuel pump. I couldn’t find a replacement anywhere locally, so I guess I’ll have this one rebuilt for a “spare”.

I had a split cast-iron exhaust manifold on the Chevy 235. I “may” get a header for this motor in the future, but in the mean time I had the muffler shop split the 302’s three-inch header pipe into the two existing exhaust pipes.

And, how is it?

Well, pretty good. I have a LOT more torque. This means that I can get up to freeway speeds without wishing for bike-pedals for a little more push. I have 36″ tires on 6″ Chevy rims on the back so I’m only turning 2,800 RPM at 60 mph. The larger tires had made the truck a little “logy” getting started with the 235 ‘ now it “steps right out” from a light. I haven’t checked the gas mileage yet. I was getting 17 mpg City and 20 mpg highway with the old 235. I’d guess that I’ve lost about 2 mpg with this engine/carburetor combination.

Future When this old engine is due for a rebuild, I’ll probably buy some “lighter” pistons and a little hotter (than stock) cam. The pistons will help the engine “rev” faster, be easier on the bottom end and will probably result in higher gas mileage due to their weight difference and the higher compression. The cam will help volumetric efficiency and give me a little more torque and higher end. Of course I’ll have everything balanced ‘ IMHO it’s worth the extra money.

I hope that this story helps someone else. Remember the 270 and 302 are “basically” the same engine so I imagine that your situation will be pretty similar to mine no matter what you find. It took “6 hours” using hand tools to remove the old engine and 4 days to put back in the new.

Joel

UPDATE

Since the project above, I decided to rebuild the 302 as it was burning a little oil. I bored the cylinders out .125 thousands (it’s now 320 cubic inches), put in a “Patrick’s” M4F camshaft, and put in “Venolia” 10.5×1 forged pistons. I had everything balanced of course. I had to find and purchase another head as the old one had a crack in it (hence the oil burning). When I got the new (used) head, I pulled out the valves and cleaned/smoothed up the intake and exhaust ports/passages which were pretty rough castings, and then put in new late-model exhaust valves (I went to 1.5″) and hardened seats for unleaded gas, and I’m using Chrysler “440” valve springs. I’m now running a “Holley” 600 CFM carburetor (vacuum secondaries) with “Fenton” cast-iron headers. When first started up on a dyno (and not really broken in yet) it recorded 286 hp and 362 ft/lbs torque; not bad for a “street” engine; At this time I also put in a T-5 GM transmission from a ’91 V-8 Camaro (the V-8 transmission has better bearings to handle the torque) with a tail-shaft from a S-10 Pick-up (the shifter was almost in the same place) – so now I have a 0.74 overdrive. At 75mph (a fender-slapping speed for the old pick-up) I’m only turning 2,100 RPM; I had a new driveshaft made as the transmission yoke splines on my old one looked worn.

So far, I’m pretty happy with my set-up. Happy “wrenching” everyone;. ..jb

Joel Baumbaugh

1946 Chevrolet from Tommie Jones

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Owner: Tommie Jones

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

I am glad that you have shown an interest in my pickup. It was purchased from a local theater in 1964 they used it to carry a billboard in the back. After purchase it was used to carry feed and seed on the farm. After purchase of a newer pickup my Dad’s employee used it to carry fuel and supplies to a bull dozer until the engine was beginning to fail. At that time it was parked on blocks with wheels removed in about 1970. Had thought about working on it on and off occasionally, but never did. I retired from the Texas Department of Transportation in 2007 after 26 years. Did some fence building, built a hay barn and added a room on my shop which was useful when I started on the project.

On the first of November last year put two of the tires that had been originally on it when parked and brought it to the shop. Spent about a week taking it apart and checking the condition of the parts. Saw that all the brakes and drums would need replacing. Had read it was best to get the frame and body worked first so removed everything from the frame and started sand blasting. After sand blasting everything was treated with Ospho and primed and stored inside. The battery box was replaced and the front springs which were broken. After this was together and painted checked the engine out. It had frozen where it couldn’t be repaired so decided to go with a 235. Didn’t find one, but did find a useable 261 from an old truck. Carried the head to the machine shop to be worked. Ordered parts and did the other motor work myself. The head was the only thing that I didn’t do myself. Had worked on the farm and Highway Department so experience on mechanical work. Now started on the body, had to replace windows, door handles, fuel tank and floor board. Only rusted out places were where varmints had piled dirt between front fender and cab. This was my first major body work and painting so that was a learning experience. Fenders were rather rough so had to do quite a bit of work on them. Looked at bed kits, but was in Home Depot one day and saw some wood I liked so bought. Cut to fit and grooved for bed strips. Had joined a local car club the first of this year and they were having a car show the last of September. Was close, but was able take it to it. Wanted to use original Chevy colors so checked paint chips and found the Suburban colors I liked. Left the grille painted because it was originally and chrome was so expensive. The colors are top Airedale brown and bottom Cireassian brown and interior the hammered tan. Again want to thank you for your interest for it was a very interesting project. All parts were purchased from Jim Carter except a few on e-bay.

Tommie Jones
401 CR 115
Comanche, TX 76442
254-842-5863

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

1946 chevrolet pick up truck

Early Chevy and GMC Engine Trivia

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Though the major cab and fender sheet metal change began in mid 1947 (Advance Design), both the Chevrolet and GMC trucks kept their same proven six cylinder engines as used in prior years.

The base engine in GMC light trucks was the 228 cubic inch inline six cylinder introduced in 1939. This overhead valve unit had a full pressure oil system with its rod and main bearings lubricated from drilled lines within the crankshaft. Their high oil pressure is reflected on the dash gauge reading 0-50 pounds.

This family of engines during the Advance Design years also produced the 248 and 270 cubic inch units. The cylinder diameter in their main difference. They all share the same overhaul gaskets, water pumps, oil pans, distributors and side plates. On GMC, not Chevrolet, the cubic inch is the first three digits of the stamped serial number on the flat surface behind the distributor.

Chevrolet’s six cylinder used during most of the Advance Design years was very different from the GMC. Its standard 216 cubic inch engine was a result of continual improvements since the first Chevrolet six cylinder began in 1929. The 1940’s 216 truck engines were almost identical to that in the Chevrolet car. Therefore, millions of 216’s were on the road by the beginning of 1947. Their basic design and easy maintenance made them one of the greats in lower priced vehicles. When used on the roads of that era, they provided dependable service both on the farm and in the city.

The 216 engine was the standard power plant in the 3000 and 4000 series trucks. Its big brother, the 235 was optional on the 4000 series and standard on the 5000 and 6000 series. It is almost identical to the 216 but the increased displacement gave the needed extra power to work trucks. The 235 truck engine was not used in pickups, however, was matched to the Powerglide transmission cars with some modifications between 1950-53.

These 216 and early 235 are designed to operate without oil lines drilled in the crankshaft to lubricate their bearings.

The early 235 should not be confused with the more famous later 235 full pressure engine first introduced in Powerglide Chevrolet cars and the Corvette in 1953. During this transition year trucks continued to have the lower pressure design. By 1954 the full oil pressure 235 became the standard of the Chevrolet fleet. It was modified for trucks by using solid valve lifters in place of the hydraulics in cars. The camshaft gear was changed from fiber to aluminum.

1937 or Older Chevrolet Pressure Plate

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Rebuilding the 1937 and older pressure plate can be a little tricky. The early design (activated with a carbon throw out bearing under pressure) requires extra steps when being rebuilt. With the help of an older shop manual (see below) the final details can be successful.

The personal letter is from Richard Wright of Westtown, NY. He did not receive the necessary final touches in the rebuilding procedure and he made the final adjustments. Fortunately, the 1935 Chevrolet shop manual has a description of how to complete this procedure. The following letter, pictures and shop manual page should be of help in the rebuilding procedure. A more advanced pressure plate was introduced in 1938. A new diaphragm design then became a standard in Chevrolet for 30 years.

NOTE:

The “X” mark on the clutch cover should be lined up as near as is possible with the “X” mark on the flywheel. These “X” marks are balance marks.

Place clutch pilot tool, Fig.99 into position. This tool properly lines up to the disc so that when the transmission is assembled the splines on the main drive gear shaft will line up and enter easily the splines in the clutch disc.

Assemble the nine cap screws holding the clutch cover to the flywheel, tightening each one , one turn at a time until the cover is assembled into position. Remove the clutch disc aligning tool. Assemble throwout bearing sleeve.

CLUTCH LEVER HEIGHTS

It is very important that the clutch levers be of the same height to assure correct clutch operation. In addition to the clutch levers being the same height, the maximum run-out of the clutch throw-out bearing plate should not exceed .020″ when measured with an indicator guage placed on the clutch housing.

clutch adjustments 1937 chevrolet

The checking and correcting may be done after the transmission and clutch throw-out collar have been removed.

To check run-out, place the indicator guage on the clutch housing through the transmission hole as shown in Fig 100. Set the dial guage at zero and check run-out while turning engine. If run-out exceeds .020″ the high lever plate should be shimmed-up by placing a shim under each side of the plate at the attaching bolts, which will result in dropping the high finger. Connecting rod shims with the ends trimmed may be used.

REPLACEMENT OF TRANSMISSION

These operations are just the reverse of the removal operations. The tool shown in Fig 101 can be used to hold the universal joint rings in position while assembling the nuts.

1937 clutch adjustments chevrolet

CLUTCH PEDAL ADJUSTMENT

There are two very important adjustments to the clutch pedal. The first is for obtaining the proper clearance between the clutch pedal and the floor board and the second for obtaining 1″ of the pedal travel before the clutch begins to disengage. These two adjustments compensate for wear of the clutch parts, and if these two operations are performed when necessary, long trouble free clutch operation can be expected.

1937 clutch adjustments chevrolet

To obtain 1/2″ clearance between the clutch pedal and the floor board, loosen nuts “A” and “B” in Fig 102 and move the pedal stop either forward or backward until the clutch pedal clears the floor board 1/2″


1937 Chevrolet 1

1937 Chevrolet 2

1937 Chevrolet 3


Below is a letter from Richard Wright of Westtown, NY.

1937 Chevrolet 1937 Chevrolet

1938-1953 Clutch Disc

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Chevrolet introduced their basic nine inch single disc clutch and corresponding diaphragm pressure plate in 1938. This pair was used in their cars and most 1/2 ton pickups with three speed transmissions through 1953. With about one million of these vehicles sold annually, one can quickly realize the high numbers of this clutch system that was at one time on the highway.

Even in 1954 with the introduction of the larger 10 inch clutch disc and modified pressure plate on the new 235 six cylinder, the original design continued to sell very well as aftermarket replacements. Today, they still have a strong demand even though the majority of these over fifty year old vehicles are history. Most auto part stores now keep a pair in inventory for their walk-in customers.

1938-1953 Clutch

To add even more validity to this clutch’s durability, GM reintroduced it in the late 1960’s. General Motors was a major producer of full size passenger buses and the demand for most having the optional air conditioning was becoming strong. Almost all new buses would now be equipped with the option. The original small nine inch clutch was combined with the newly engineered large bus AC compressor. Once again, this proven clutch was serving automotive needs!

Therefore, if you find a source for new or core clutch assemblies used from the late 1960’s to at least the mid 1970’s in GM buses, they will also fit 1938-53 cars and small trucks.

Ghost Windows

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The door window is cranked up tight in the cloth channel and off you go on your daily errands. Suddenly, the glass begins to slowly lowers as you drive over side roads or contact a rough surface. In comes cold air, rain, and wind! Even the window handle turns. What’s this all about? Do you tape the window closed or wire the handle so it will not turn?

You have a window regulator spring problem! This large 2″ diameter round spring has either broken or become disconnected.

With no spring tension on the regulator, the weight of the glass creates the lowering of the support arm and window. Sorry, there is no good fix other than removing the regulator from inside the door. The picture below shows this circular Clock spring. It must be large to hold the weight of the glass panel.

ghost window

1939-1946 Electric Wiper Motor

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

electric wiper motor 1

Even if you prefer an original vacuum wiper motor for these years rebuildable cores have become very rare and most New Old Stock units are just not obtainable. Even new ones have their lubrication dry after 70 years.

For those that won’t except a slow moving or non-working used vacuum unit, an alternative does exist. New electric motors are now on the market in both 6 and 12 volt styles. The above photo shows a new unit before installation.

You will no longer need the original inside wiper cover plate with the indention. Replace it with the included non-indented style which gives a smooth finish.

The electric wires can be run inside the windshield post to a switch of your choice under the dash.

These kits can be obtained from Jim Carter Truck Parts at 1-800-842-1913.

Swing Out Military Windshield, 1936-1946 Chevrolet and GMC

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the early years of auto and truck design, most vehicles came with their windshields capable of tipping outward. This helped poorly insulated cabs to be more bearable during hot weather. Extra outside air would be forced into the cab and replaced some of the hot air radiating from the bare sheet metal firewall.

This idea was good but not without a few problems. Unfortunately, air movement depended on the speed of the vehicle. The faster the driving, the more air circulation. Too bad for the driver in stop and go city traffic during a hot summer day.

In GM trucks, water leaks into the cab developed as the rubber edge seal began to age. The under dash crank-out gear assembly (1936-46) was not easily reached and therefore almost never received lubrication. The gear would wear and later most became non-usable. It was then necessary to close the windshield frame permanently and the cab lost a major method of getting air flow on hot days.

The system was expensive to produce! A pair of swing hinges, a crank-out assembly, and two windshield halves added to production costs.

This windshield vent system was stopped with the introduction of the 1947 Advance Design cab. The two piece windshield now became permanently sealed. An insulated interior fire wall pad was standard. A left side cowl vent intake door forced outside air over the drivers feet and lower legs. (Of course, this was also when the truck was moving.)

A top cowl vent door (also on earlier trucks) now had a screen to prevent entry of insects. Thus, this was the end of the swing-out windshield. They were a great help on hot days when the vehicle was moving, but inevitable gear wear began a new set of problems for later years.

NOTE: During World War II, the military using civilian cabs on their larger trucks had no patience for this crank-out assembly. They wanted no malfunction in the open position while being in a Russian or German winter. They even placed the windshield hinges on the roof for less complicated repairs in the field.

Therefore, the military went back to the swing out windshield frame design that opened manually by the driver. This system was used on all 1936 and older High Cab Chevrolet trucks, Model A Fords, and so many other early automobiles that needed more ventilation. See Photos.

WWII Cab 9

WWII Cab 5

WWII Cab3

1939-1946 Door Windows

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During 1939-40 Door window breakage on truck cabs became a problem. As the cloth fabric in the door window channel became worn, the large and now loose fitting side windows were susceptible to cracking when the door was slammed. Complaints from dealers resulted in an improvement on 1941-46 doors. A one piece metal frame was placed around the edges of the top and sides of the glass and the breakage was greatly reduced. To make room for these new metal frames, the glass on the 1941-46 doors was now slightly smaller.

Therefore, the 1939-40 door glass and 1941-46 with metal frame will interchange in total in all 1939-46 doors. The smaller 1941-46 door glass can not be used without it’s frame or it will not seal into the cloth channel at the top of the window opening.

1939 door window

Chevrolet Cameo GMC Suburban Wheel Trim

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

With the introduction of the new Cameo in 1955, GM added their most deluxe features as standard equipment. This “Boulevard Pickup” was to stand out above all others.

The wheel covers were not like that on the more standard pickup. To save tooling costs on this limited production model, GM used the wheel cover on the 1955 Chevrolet Belair car. Both vehicles had 15″ wheels so the top of the line car wheel cover was chosen for the new Cameo.

cameo wheel 1

1955 Wheel Cover (above)


The same procedure occurred in 1956. The Cameo carried the 1956 Chevrolet Belair full wheel cover, not the same design as 1955.

cameo wheel 1

1956 Wheel Cover (above)


The big change in Cameo wheel trim occurred with the 1957 model. This was the first year for the 14″ wheels on the passenger car. The Belair cover was no longer a fit for the Cameo 15″ wheels. GM’s answer was to chrome the standard white 1/2 ton hub cap. To add more to the appearance, a Cameo trim ring was created to cover the outer edge of the wheel.

cameo wheel 1

1957 1958 Hub Cap and Trim Ring (above)


With the limited Cameo production in 1958, the same wheel trim was used this final year.

The 1955 year was the first for factory installed whitewall tires. It made an excellent combination with the wheel trim. This is another major change in the GM deluxe 1/2 tons looking less than work trucks. The 15″ wheels remained the same during the four years of the Suburban Carrier. GM just chromed the small standard hub cap.  No wheel ring was used as standard equipment, however the wheel was given a contrasting light color.

cameo wheel 1

1957-1960 Hubcaps

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the early years of GM truck production, many examples exist which relate to their vehicles being designed more for work. Changing a trim part for appearance reasons was usually secondary if it resulted in unnecessary expense. Often parts were used that had already been on GM automobiles. This eliminated expensive new tooling costs and kept GM truck prices in line with the competition.

An excellent example of this type thinking is shown with the 1957-1960 hubcaps. Even though the 1960 pickup was a totally redesigned vehicle, GM carried their older hub cap on this new pickup. The reasoning goes back to keeping truck prices low. The 1960 1/2 ton wheel was to be the last carrying the inside spring clips to secure the hub caps. As truck hub caps were used several years, it was not likely a new 1960 design would be created for only one year. GM held off from using a redesigned hub cap until 1961 so that it would fit on the new non-clip wheel. To stay with tradition, this new 1/2 ton cap was then used three years.

To keep the 1960 3/4 and 1 ton hub cap appearances similar to the 1/2 ton, GM again retained the earlier style. This occurred even though the larger truck inside clip split rim wheel design was basically unchanged between 1946 and the late 1960’s.

Chevrolet and GMC each had their own different hub cab design during this time, however, they both changed styles at the same time. A full Chevrolet or GMC wheel cover was unavailable for the deluxe 1957-59 truck models. GM simply chromed their standard caps that were otherwise painted white. An optional chromed GM wheel ring could be added on the 1/2 ton series in 1957-1959 Chevrolet but not during 1960. These trim rings were stock on the 1957-1958 Cameo but dealer installed on other 1/2 tons.

In 1960, a full wheel cover was introduced on the Deluxe 1/2 Ton Package. Actually, it was from a 1956 Chevrolet Belair car and 1956 Chevrolet Cameo. Once again, GM used this stamping from five year old tooling and saved production costs.

1957 1960 hubcaps 1

1960 Wheel Covers (above)

Stainless Steel on the Deluxe 1/2 Ton Pickup. 15″ Wheels only.


1957 1960 hubcaps 2

1957-1959 Wheel Rings (above)

Chromed steel wheel rings that blend with optional chrome hub caps to give appearance of full-chrome wheels. 15″ wheels only.


1957 1960 hubcaps 3

Wheel Striping

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the 1940’s through 1950’s placing pin stripes on automobile wheels occurred on most all brands. It was an inexpensive touch that added a little flair to the appearance of a new wheel. The stripe could be added quickly with a machine on a rotating wheel. The factory didn’t need a human as on the body stripes.

GM was no exception. They had been striping most new car wheels for almost 10 years. Beginning with the 1947 Advance Design trucks, this striping even was used on ½ tons that had the deluxe package (not the standard models). This extra was continued through the 1947-1955 body style.

The attached photo shows a used original never repainted 16″ 1/2 ton deluxe wheel. Note how perfect the 3/4″ stripes are applied. With the addition of the small chrome hub cap, the wheel drew attention

wheel striping 1

wheel striping 2

Sloppy Floor Shift Lever

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

sloppy floor shift lever

Problem: Slop in the shift pattern on 1947 Chevrolet & GMC 3 speed transmissions.

On the first year of the 1947-55 Advance Design trucks, their 3 speed transmission was a carryover from the prior years. It remained a floor shift unit, not a column shift as 1948 and newer. When shifting into 2nd gear finds your knuckles contacting the glove box door, repairs are needed and available.

 

Repairs:

Chevrolet did not plan on these 3 speed transmissions to be in use over 50 years so repairs in this area were not often discussed by GM. You can fix it anyway!

Remove the flat plate with the shift lever from transmission by taking out the 4 retaining bolts. (Be sure to replace this plate with cloth or cardboard so no foreign object falls inside.) Take the shift tower from the flat plate top by removing four retaining bolts. The shift lever and its 2 1/4 inch tension spring can now be taken from the tower.

Inside the top of the tower is the worn brass bushing causing most of the shift lever slop. A replacement with tension spring can be obtained from Jim Carter’s Truck Parts and most of their full stocking dealers.

1937-1947 3 Speed Shift Repair

Shift Pin

Sorry, exchanging the brass bushing will not solve all the problem. The long horizontal pin, through the shift lever ball, needs to be replaced. The pin will probably be worn on each end and needs replacement.

Using a drill bit is a good option for a new pin. If a 1/4 inch drill bit easily moves into the shift lever ball, move up to the next size. (Maybe as much as 9/32 inch drill bit). Use it to drill the hole oversize, then use this same drill bit as the new pin. After drilling, remove the drill portion on the bit, and you have a nice hardened pin! Note: do not cut the drill bit until you know the exact length needed. Get a correct size by turning the shift tower upside down and measuring the distance between the two notches to the tower walls.

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)

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.

1967-1968 Buddy Seat

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

BUDDY SEATS 1967 1968 CHEVY

What an unusual seat on the 1967-68 Chevy/GMC pickups!  It was standard equipment on the “top of the line” Chevrolet CST and GMC Super Custom pickups.

The seat consisted of two bucket seats and a much smaller center cushion referred by many as a Buddy seat.  It allowed for a third passenger or the back cushion could be lowered horizontally to give an oversize arm rest.  When you lift the lower cushion there is a large storage area. All are covered with pleated vinyl.  Yes, three pair of seat belts were included.

The three cushions contained extra foam and better springs to give the owner a more comfortable ride.  These seats were part of a more deluxe cab that had not been available in prior years.  We have no documentation that they could even be special ordered on the larger 1 ½ and 2 tons.
BUDDY SEATS 1967 1968 CHEVY

1946-1972 3/4 Ton and 1 Ton Ring and Pinion

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

One series of the famous “drop out” GM differentials was used between 1946 and 1972 on 3/4 and 1 tons. The complete assembly (often called a pumpkin) will interchange during these years with no alteration.

The highest gearing in this series is the 4.10 ratio and is found in most 1967-72 3/4 tons with automatic transmissions. Therefore, those “low gear blues” often associated with 3/4 and 1 tons during the late 1940’s and 1950’s can be greatly improved with no visible exterior changes. Originally these older trucks had a ratio of 4.57 in the 3/4 tons and 5.14 in the 1 tons.

Once a 4.10 pumpkin is located (usually in a local wrecking yard) it is a basic interchange requiring little more than new gaskets and gear grease. Your truck’s personality is now changed!

This interchange will fit perfectly if the “complete” pumpkin is used.  The 1963-1972 carrier is necessary and it will be part of this total assembly.  The change-over will not work if you only use the ring and pinion.

The only negative to this changeover is if you are hauling a ton of gravel up a mountain road with the original smaller six cylinder!! In this example a lower geared differential is best.

Dim Lights

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

When you notice your head, tail and dash lights are often dim, sometimes even flicker on a rough road, check your cab to frame ground cable

Because the 1967-1972 cab and radiator supports are seperated from the frame by rubber mounts. GM used a small mount woven wire ground strap that by-passes one cab mount. This insures electrical flow even if the cab mount bolts become rusted and electrical current can not flow properly.

You must be under the cab to see this by-pass cable. Yes, GM planned for the trucks later years when rusty mounting hardware caused the lights to dim

dim lights ground strap

Suburban Back Up Lights

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

For those on a quest for near unobtainable GM options, this one will provide years of searching. During the mid 1950’s, backup lights began to show growing popularity and were occasionally seen on pickup trucks near each rear fender.

The limited production 1955-56 Suburban was no exception but the location for its backup light was unusual. Their single center tailgate running light was given this attachment on its right side. The foot on this small backup light was curved to secure just right to the round tail light housing. The photo below shows this option as it was installed by GM.

Activating the light on a factory column shift three speed or Hydramatic was relatively easy. The switch attaches to the shift linkage levers on the steering column.

The 4-speed transmission backup light switch must be totally different as there is no external linkage. This photo is of this very unusual switch attached to the base of the floor shift lever.

suburban back up light 1

suburban back up light 2

suburban back up light 3

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

1939-1946 Replacement Seat Cushions

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Locating a pair of seat cushions for the 1939-46 truck has become very difficult in recent years. These early trucks increased popularity is the main reason for the shortage. Even when a pair of cushions are located the asking price often does not justify the purchase because of the age damage to the springs and frame of the lower cushion.

It is this lower cushion that has received the most wear in its 60 years. In a salvage yard the door or window left open for even a year allows rain water to soak the seat padding and hasten the damage.

As your hunt continues, here is a practical substitute that fits the cab well and gives the appearance of a re-upholstered original. Locate the common rear seat (not the middle) in a 1984-90 Dodge Caravan or Plymouth Voyager mini-van. You can even pull the factory levers on the back and the seat is quickly removed. Most salvage yards have many extras and their pricing should be under $50.00. You will even get the seat belts!

With less use of this rear seat in the van, you can find one with no tears or permanent stains.

The next step is cleaning. Simply place it in the bed of your late model pickup and find a coin operated wand car wash. The hot soapy water will make the cloth covered cushion like new for less than $5.00. Leave it in your truck for a few hours until the water drip stops. Then place the cushion where it can dry. In about 24 hours, the job is done! The padding is closed cell foam and does not absorb water.

You won’t need most of the lower metal attaching brackets. Remove them and attach the remaining metal and cushions to your trucks original seat riser. Here is where you can be creative but it is done and the remaining metal will not be visible.

For the perfectionist, the cab tapers inward as it reaches the cowl. Thus, the two doors are slightly closer to each other at the front in a standard cab. This new van cushion will touch the front of the doors because of this taper. If you don’t like this contact with the door, an upholstery shop can place a taper in the lower cushion to parallel the inside door panel. A small portion of the foam edge can be removed from the front sides of the lower cushion.

Continue to search for the original 1939-46 seat cushions. In the meantime, you have very comfortable clean cushions with seat belts. Most people will think you had your originals reupholstered.

The following article and pictures were received from Brett Courcier. He personally used this type seat and is very satisfied.

My name is Brett Courcier. I live in Fremont Nebraska. I own a 1946 Chevy pickup street rod. I wanted to take a few pictures of how my seat fit in my truck. I was trying to find a seat for my truck. I found a Plymouth Caravan minivan rear seat. It fit great. I cut off the latching pieces that go in the minivan floor and welded on a piece of 2″ square tubing to the front legs and a piece of 1″ square tubing to the rear legs. The pictures show them. My upholsterer added lumbar support to the lower back area and also added 2″ in heigth to the back of the seat. The seat comes with three seat belts and folds forward from the back of the cab. We added a full length pouch across the back of the cab for storage. I hope the pictures show enough for you. If you have any questions please contact me.

Brett Courcier

402-727-7127 or e-mail baccourcier@team-national.com

NEWS FLASH!

We just had an email showing another excellent seat for a 1939-46 Chevy / GMC cab. This photo is of a rear seat cushion from a 1990 Ford mini van. Nice fit. This person found a top of the line leather seat in a local salvage yard. A good cleaning made it a very nice inexpensive seat that fit really well!

seat 1 seat 2 seat 3

1984-1990 Dodge Caravan or Plymouth Voyager

test

1990 Ford Mini Van

1947-1955 Tail Lights

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The Chevrolet and GMC left commercial taillight used during 1947-1953 is an excellent example of GM’s conservative thinking towards trucks. The number one purpose for trucks was work! Therefore, if a part had been very successful on a prior body design, it just might be adapted later as a part in some new styling. Savings were in production costs and tooling. The results were still a good practical part for a working vehicle.

This type of thinking it shown in the Advance Design 1947-1953 pickup taillights. The same light assembly had not only been in use on trucks since 1940 but the red lens and chrome bezel was first used in all taillights on the 1937-38 Chevrolet passenger cars.

With the introduction of the new 1947 body style, this same six volt light continued to be used. It was now turned 180 degrees, so that the clear license light lens was at the bottom, and did not shine upward as in prior years. This allowed for a smaller taillight bracket with low mounted license plate. On earlier models the high positioned license caught the wind. This plus the use of trucks on rough terrain often caused bracket failure. With the left light illuminating the license plate, the optional right taillight did not have or need this lens opening.

Because the same lens was used on the 180 degree reversed taillight in 1947-1953, the red lens letters were now upside down. This was not a problem to GM as trucks were for utility purposes. Changing the lens tooling just to make the cast letters show upright was not a consideration. The red lens sold by authorized Chevrolet or GMC dealers normally had STOPRAY block letters at the top and either GUIDE letters in script or “STIMSONITE” in block letters at the bottom. In 1949 GM changed the red lens from glass to plastic. This thinner material reduced overall weight and gave a brighter red when light passed through. The various aftermarket lens manufacturers also followed GM’s procedure. Even their lens lettering is reversed when placed on the 1947-53 trucks. It appears they also designed this lens with the 1937-1938 car in mind.

The light on the pickup and larger truck has a rectangle shape with dimensions 4 inch high x 2 1/2 inch wide. An authentic 1940-1953 GM light bucket will have the block letters GUIDE-MADE IN USA stamped on the back. These letters are not visible when attached to the factory taillight bracket. In 1947-1953 the 1/4 inch block letters STOPRAY were stamped in the top of the light bucket. These letters, prior to 1947, had been stamped in the area at the rear of the license lens on the opposite end when the bucket was reversed. In this way “STOPRAY” is always seen on the top in this series of taillight. The running light bulb (illuminating both the license and red lens) is three candle power. The stop light bulb, positioned behind the center of the lens, is 21 candle power. The bezel was chrome over the black bucket until copper shortages occurred in 1952-1953 due to the Korean War. The bezel then became black.

One minor change in this design over its early years was the reversing of a very small water drain hole in the lens retaining bezel. Engineers knew this water escape hole would be needed for drying and to drain moisture from within the bucket as the cork bezel gasket began to deteriorate within several years. This drain hole was centered in the bottom of the original light bezel; however, between 1947-1953 when the light was reversed, the bottom drain went to the lower right. This was due to an internal securing bracket welded the middle of the bezel and preventing there being a place for a center drain hole.

This taillight as used on pickup and larger trucks is mostly unprotected from the elements when located beside or under the bed. Tests quickly showed that some type of seal would be necessary in the hole where the two light wires from the bulb exited the taillight. As a modern rubber seal had not been perfected, GM skillfully came up with a solution. An approximately 2 ft. long, 5/16 inch diameter cloth woven black lacquered tube was inserted one inch into the bucket taillight wire hole. The inside end was flattened on the two wires with a heavy metal staple. This prevented the loom from being removed, protected the wires, and prevented water from entering the housing.

With the total redesign of the step bed in 1954, the six volt taillights were also changed. They became round four inch diameter units with one light bulb having two filaments of three and twenty one candle power. The lens retaining bezel was chrome plated on the more deluxe truck, painted black like the bucket on the standard models. The clear license lens was in the bottom of this bucket to illuminate the plate below. With the optional rear bumper on pickups, the license plate moved to the middle of the truck and the taillight did not have the lower lens window. As before, the right light was an option.

The 1947-55 taillights on the panel truck, suburban, and canopy express (single unit bodies) had no similarity to those on the pickup and big trucks. On panel trucks a single light was placed near the center of the left “barn door”. The lens retaining bezel was chrome with dimensions of 3 inch high by 4 1/2 inches wide. A decorative stainless two inch wide strip on top of the housing has the stamped letters GUIDE R17 T. A single socket in the housing holds a double filament bulb of 3 and 21 candle power. The license plate bracket is secured to the rear of the bucket and allows illumination of the tag below the light. During these Advance Design years, this panel truck lens and chrome bezel were also used on the rear fender of the Harley Davidson motorcycle.

The canopy express and suburban bodies also displayed a single taillight with suspended lower license. It was attached to a cast metal swing bracket on the center of the tailgate. This bracket plus a special vertical connecting rod made up an ingenious design. When the tailgate was opened to its horizontal position, the taillight and license would swing 90 degrees so that it could still be seen by the following traffic.  This round taillight was normally black with a 4 3/4 inch diameter chrome lens retaining bezel. Inside are two sockets holding individual bulbs of 3 and 21 candle power. Block letters on top state GUIDCOLITE STANDARD. To save costs GM adapted this light from a prior application. It had been the GMC pickup taillight from the late 30’s through 1946. During these Advance Design truck years the light was also found on General Motors station wagons through 1952.

As the 1950’s progressed, there were increasing requests for a right tail light.  This was a GM dealer installed option to be placed on new or pre-owned vehicles. On pickups it was easy! The option included a right side light and bracket closely matching the standard left assembly.

Adding a turn single option today 1947-1955 single unit body created problems for GM designers. Neither the single factory taillight on the double door or the center unit on the tail gate were in a good position to be matched with a second live assembly. GM solved this by offering a turn signal kit containing two matched taillights. These were dealer installed beside the vehicle belt line near the doors and above the edge of the tailgate. These small bullet shaped lights were actually from a 1939 Chevrolet passenger car. It appears GM dusted off the ten year old car taillight tooling and kept expenses on this option to a minimum. The letters “DURAY” are stamped in the top of the painted housing. The chrome bezel retains a 2 5/8 inch diameter red glass lens. Due to a small water drain hole, there is a right and left on these turn signal lights.

NOTE: It is interesting that both the pickup truck and the tailgate lights, each developed during the late 1930’s, continued with separate bulbs and sockets for each filament. The door mounted oval panel truck light, introduced in mid 1947, was provided with a more modern double filament bulb in one socket.