Owner: Lee Hobold
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The completed product ready for occasional shows in 2006. Truly a work of art!