1930′s

1936 GMC

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Owner:  Pat Kroeger

The United States was experiencing the bad economic years of the 1930’s Great Depression. GMC, the leader of big truck sales, is feeling a market drop with no end in sight. Many of their dealers have either gone out of business or are trying to survive on customer mechanical repairs and selling other products.

The GMC Truck Division must do something soon to save their dealers and themselves. A solution was to enter into the small truck business in 1936. No doubt the GMC engineers had been under much pressure to create a light truck that would save this truck division of General Motors. The result: a very attractive truck that they hoped would be a step above the competition.

This finished product had more engine power for a light pickup, attractive trim and eye catching colors. The ½ was referred to as the T-14. It came only in a long 126” wheel base. The short bed GMC ½ ton 112” wheel base was not introduced until 1937.

GMC was so proud of their new little ½ ton, they even added an emblem with four fasteners on the lower right side cowl panel.

This month’s featured truck is one of these first pickups, a 1936 GMC T-14. Very few have survived. The proud owner and restorer is Pat Kroeger of Palm Harbor, Florida. His GMC has attracted so much attention it has been chosen as the Hallmark All-American Truck Keepsake Series Christmas tree ornament for 2013.

Here is Pat Kroeger’s personal story on his 1936 GMC T-14:

When I retired from the Fire Dept. in 2003, I started to look for another truck to have fun with. I had previously restored a 1922 American LaFrance Fire Engine for the Department that I worked for, but wanted something smaller.

I was looking for a late 40’s to early 50’s Chevrolet truck since a friend of mine had a 1953 Ford F-100 and I wanted to a bit competitive with him. While searching the
Internet I found my current truck, a 1936 GMC T-14 in Queens Creek AZ. My father in law lived part time close by in Phoenix AZ so he went and looked at it for me.
After his inspection, I decided to buy the truck and had it shipped back to Fla. I found out from the buyer that he was the second owner of the truck and that the original owner had bought it new in June of 1936 for $695 and it had been registered in Pinal County since new. The original owner restored the truck in 1989 and the second owner had done a few repairs.

The paint and body work was very good when I got the truck, but mechanically it was in poor condition. Every seal and gasket leaked, the brakes were shot, the head had a crack, the tires were dry rotted and the wood in the bed was dried beyond recognition.

In the last 10 years that I have owned it I have taken care of the above items plus have rebuilt all of the gauges, replaced the tail gate, rechromed the radiator ornament, repainted the wheels, rebuilt the carburetor, rebuilt the fuel pump, replaced the rear glass and surround, added the passenger side mirror, rewired the tank sending unit, replaced the 8 volt battery with a 6 volt Optima battery with new battery cables, replaced the bed wood and strips, replaced the clutch and rebuilt the pressure plate and reupholstered the seat. I have plans to disassemble the bed, fenders and grill and refresh the paint, since 20 years of nicks, bumps and scraps need to be taken care of and install four single action shocks.

Most of the mechanical items I have taken care of myself, but have farmed out the paint and chrome work.

I had no idea of the significance of this truck until I got it and started to research more about it. GMC offered this truck in two versions, Standard and Deluxe with the Deluxe version having chrome headlights and stands, chrome center grill gars, radiator ornament, polished stainless hood louvers and chrome hood handles. In addition to that, GMC also offered a Deluxe Cab option that included a chrome inside rearview mirror, arm rest on driver side, chrome windshield frame, sun glare shield, dome light and chrome wiper arm. The chrome front bumper was an added cost accessory, also. The standard color was Green Murant with black fenders, but eleven other colors were offered either as a single color or two tone.

From what the original owner told me, mine is the original color combination.

I also found out after getting this truck, that 1936 was a very bad year for GM due to a labor strike that lasted for months. Production of this model GMC was limited to 11,250 of which mine is the 3229 in the production run. 1936 was also, for the most part, a single year design for GMC. Few items came from 1935 and few items transferred to 1937.
I attempted to do a decent job of restoring this truck and although not a daily driver, I do put around 100 miles a month driving around to cruise ins and on weekends. I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this truck and like the fact that it is somewhat of a unique truck.

Patrick Kroeger, Palm Harbor, FL


Radiator Cap – a work of art

Hallmark 2013 Christmas ornament

A farmer could haul one horse!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiidA-zoxT0

1939 Chevy Half Ton

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Owner: Steve Jones


If you ever consider restoring a Pre-WWII GM truck, this data should quickly get you in the mood. Just look at what was done to a tired 1939 Chevy 1/2 ton that was bought from a newspaper advertisement. Its many pieces were brought home after years of abuse. It was no longer a usable vehicle.

Even more incredible is that it all happened in the country of New Zealand where most restoration parts must be imported. The owner and rebuilder is Steve Jones on the North Island of New Zealand. In past years he had owned a 1939 Chevy coupe but having an old Chevrolet pickup had been a developing dream and this very rare 1939 was just what he had in mind. Thanks to the internet and his computer, Steve realized the potential of this little pickup. The goal would be to make it very close to what you could buy from a New Zealand Chevrolet dealer in 1939.

Yes, of course it was a frame off project. Several years work and many orders from the US allowed it to finally come together. The only noticeable differences from its 1939 beginning are the addition of a non-New Zealand GM bed with sides and its whitewalls. Steve even painted it an optional US factory color, Armour Yellow.

The photos will give some readers another surprise. New Zealand, like many other countries in the world, is a right hand drive nation! The dash is totally reversed. The starter and accelerator pedal linkage has been re-engineered to reach their different place in the cab. The taillight is moved to the right side. A connection on the steering connection to the front suspension requires a very unique “third arm” beside the right king pin assembly.

Steve is a total GM truck enthusiast, so he has since completed the same treatment on a 1949 Chevy ½ ton and it is used as a more daily driver. His “biggest of all” project is his current challenge. This is rebuilding a 1957 GMC cab over engine (COE) Model 370 truck. This will be a frame off project that will surely require 2 or 3 years to complete. We can only imagine the cost and personal work this will require. We assume this will be the “only” example of this unusual truck in the country of New Zealand.

His enthusiasm continues! Steve is now forming the “All American Truck Club”. It will be open to all New Zealand truck enthusiasts and at least for now no membership charge. He would love to get the many New Zealand truck owners together and help improve knowledge, have truck gatherings and drives, plus help develop a better parts exchange.

You can contact Steve Jones at: chevytrucks49@e3.net.nz.

More data on Pre-WWII GM New Zealand trucks:

General Motors right hand drive trucks, though unusual in the United States, have always been very popular in specific countries such as Britain, New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia. These vehicles were not produced in the U.S. but came from GM’s large assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario. Due to reversed dash boards, the change in steering components, differences in starter linkages, and tail light locations, etc., the lower numbers of right hand drive production was kept at this one Canadian assembly plant.

In New Zealand, special marketing laws required at least 25% of each new truck had to be assembled or produced in that country. This was mostly to help provide more local jobs. Thus for many years the GM Canadian facility exported truck parts only to the New Zealand assembly plant in Petone near the capital city of Wellington. Hundreds of freight containers supplying GM truck parts regularly arrived at this New Zealand assembly plant. The specialized parts from Canada were engines, frames, suspension components, disassembled cabs and front sheet metal. The New Zealand plant then assembled the truck and furnished parts they could provide locally. This included (at least in the 1940′s) the wiring harnesses, window glass, a wood cab floor, rubber parts, gas tank, an optional flat wood deck, etc.

To keep within the 25% government parts and labor requirement, a truck bed with sides as supplied on U.S. vehicles was not included. A locally made wood deck could be added during assembly. Either with or without this deck, the two rear pickup metal rear fenders from the Canadian plant were wired or otherwise secured at the rear of the cab. The finished vehicle was delivered this way to local New Zealand GM dealers. The lack of a bed would also allow the budget minded buyer to construct his own deck or hauling platform and better afford the new truck.

A New Zealand trailer manufacturer during these early years used these pickup rear fenders on their finished product. Their small general purpose trailers were usually equipped with these new metal pickup fenders. A retired 88 year old manager of this company remembers having standing orders with all New Zealand pickup dealers (not just GM) to purchase their extras. This saved additional expense on their completed trailers.

Their right hand drive feature is unique to American readers; however, these Chevrolets have another very unusual characteristic. As with most 1939 New Zealand Chevrolet trucks, their cab was assembled in the Petone, New Zealand plant from pre-stamped pieces from the Canadian location, and are a mixture of two types of trucks. The rear of the cabs and door outer sheet metal are of the U.S. 1936-1938 design. The cowl, windshield frame, hood and grill are the 1939-40 style. Yes, they do weld together nicely into a single unit but the outside horizontal door and hood trim lines do not match. Reasons for the GM ‘cab mixture’ are not known at this writing, however, it is assumed keeping New Zealand’s costs low was the main factor. Quantities of older 1936-38 style rear cabs, roofs, and door stampings were either already available or the prior tooling still had much remaining life. The lower cost could then be passed on to the retail truck buyer. Just another way of producing the New Zealand 1939 GM truck at the lowest possible price!

Another theory for this unusual combination cab is due to the beginning of World War II. Because of New Zealand’s connection with Great Britain, they entered the war September 2, 1939 over two years before the United States became formally involved. No doubt being in the war created an immediate demand for all trucks in New Zealand. Rather than lose sales while the cab tooling changeover occurred at the Canadian supply plant (1938 to the new design 1939 body) GM continued with the prior sheet metal for their in demand export truck. Exact new styling was not necessary to overseas buyers when the war demand was so high!

One of Steve’s pictures, with this article, features the inside of the cab top without the headliner. Note: the factory welds where the early and late style sheet metal have been joined.


Factory cab welds show 2 cab designs joined.

Non-US inside door panels

1939 Chevrolet 1 1/2 Ton Pickup

Monday, February 25th, 2013

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

1939 Chevrolet Tow truck

What do you tow your Morgan with ?

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

What do you tow your Morgan with ?

Story and Photographs by John H. Sheally II

There is something special about driving a 74-year-old truck, built with purpose and pride four years before I was born.

My 1939 Chevrolet, grain bed, ton and a half tow truck 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 are no plastic parts or paper fender wells held in place with paper clips in this machine. Plenty of nickel was used in the steel bodies thus they did not rust out. 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 an ugly faded green (original color) and had been worked hard all its years on that farm, It was an 80% restoration for me, starting 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 three decades ago , I have do some 10,000 miles plus  a year with it,  towing my competition cars to  competition events annually as well as meets and concours. I have competed with several different Morgan models over these years as well as a Cobra, Saab Sonnet and two formula cars – all towed with this dependable machine for the last 68,883 miles.

I often enter the truck in shows and it 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 models, big pickup bed trucks with the beds built to haul grain without spillage. 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 rebuilt it two years ago I realized that I’d like to have a few more ponies coming out of it  because when I hit the mountains with it I had  to really  work the four speed gearbox to pull up the steeper slopes. So I rebuilt it to a 261 stroker which amounted to a larger bore and. longer rods, I drilled a couple of extra weep holes in the head for more cooling. The final package ended up as 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 put Carbon-Kevlar brake shoes on four corners and it stops when I ask it too very well.

I cruise at 55 mph all day long and can hit 75 on a downhill run. It’s a great truck with great working ability and a smooth ride “when loaded”.

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

You can email John at:  Morgandude@Verizon.net

1939 Chevrolet Tow truck 1939 Chevrolet Tow truck
1939 Chevrolet Tow truck 1939 Chevrolet Tow truck
1939 Chevrolet Tow truck 1939 Chevrolet Tow truck
1939 Chevrolet Tow truck 1939 Chevrolet Tow truck
1939 Chevrolet Tow truck
1939 Chevrolet Tow truck 1939 Chevrolet Tow truck
1939 Chevrolet Tow truck

1934 Chevrolet Canopy Express

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Owner: Kevin Koch

There may be no other survivors!  If this is the only 1934 Chevrolet Canopy Express remaining, we are all fortunate to see it in this pristine condition.  It is owned by Kevin Koch of Morgantown, PA.  His Grandfather, Jack Crane of Willow Grove, PA bought this little 1934 in 1974 with the hope of someday giving it a major restoration.   As money and replacement parts were very limited, the project remained a dream.  Later, un-restored, it was passed down to his son, George.  Kevin later found several drawings and notes his Grandfather had made many years ago showing how he had hoped to restore it and what it could look like.  He researched the major vehicle restorers at the time and picked Al Pruitt in Glen Rock, PA to do a total rebuild.  Six years later, it was a new truck and just like the drawings.

As a tribute to his grandfather, it now appears as it left the Chevrolet dealership over 78 years ago!  It is on display in the lobby of Kevin’s company, H and K Equipment Company of Coraopolis, PA.  A new larger building was recently constructed around the showroom that is for displaying his grandfather’s one of a kind 1934 Canopy Express.

 

Why a Canopy Express?

In the days of the one car family (or no car in the family) the Canopy Express was an extension of the retail stores. Products for sale could be brought to the neighborhoods. The lady of the house could even call the store requesting a delivery. The roll-up canvas sides of the Canopy Express were a natural for displaying groceries and related home merchandise in housing developments while protecting it from bad weather. They were equipped with a 4 speed transmission that gave them a very slow speed in first gear while moving through neighborhoods.

In the beginning of the 20th Century more people were moving from multi-story apartment living into stand alone new homes. This was the beginning of urban spread and stores were no longer just a short walk away.

It was difficult for a housewife with a few small children to walk to a distant grocery store, especially in bad weather. The Canopy Express was just what the store owner needed to reach his customers. Often a bell was attached to the cab near the driver’s door. This told the housewife that the Canopy Express was coming. The grocery shopping for the family’s evening meal could be done beside the city street.

Neighborhood deliveries were very important to the many stores that served new neighborhoods with individual homes. A Canopy Express was the vehicle of choice among grocers for over 30 years. The end of this type delivering began in the mid 1950’s. With more disposable income in the USA, a second family car became available. Larger supermarkets in shopping areas now successfully encouraged people to shop away from home.

The First 1935 Suburban

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Owner: Ed Brouillet

It’s 1935! With the encouragement of the US Army, the first Chevrolet Suburban is introduced. The Army wanted an enclosed vehicle to carry officers with a driver at their military bases. Of course, it would be a boost to Chevrolet for people to see they were doing so well during the Great Depression that they could even introduce another body style! Now looking back over 75 years ago there must have been some guarantees by the Army to encourage General Motors to create a new body design in the middle of bad economic times. Sales were down drastically in all brands of automobiles and trucks. Over half of the makes would be gone forever before the end of this disastrous economic downturn.

Trying to boost slow sales and save their dealers, the Chevrolet Division introduces the “standard” car in 1935. It was less expensive than the “master” car which was the full size body. The “standard” was slightly smaller, less appointed, and some mechanical features were less complicated than their full size car.

Sales of the GMC line (big trucks) had dropped so much that many of their dealers were out of business. General Motors attempted to counter this by introducing their first ½ and ¾ ton pickups. They even created the “Trail-a-bout”, a small utility trailer for pulling behind passenger cars using their pre-existing pickup box.

With all this gloom and doom for the auto industry, what a surprise when Chevrolet introduces their new 1935 Suburban.

When you look close you realize this new body is set on the pre-existing ½ ton chassis, a major cost cutting feature. The chassis, doors, front sheet metal, wheels, radiator, bumpers, and cowl are all from the ½ ton. The Suburban was new in body only. This lesser investment probably helped seal the agreement between the US Army request and General Motors.

Our feature truck of the month is owned by Ed Brouillet of Fairfield, Connecticut. Ed states his first year Suburban is one of only 5 remaining of that year. The body’s wood framework covered in sheet metal did not survive well when year’s later water began leaking from the canvas top and began to reach the interior. As the Suburban aged, few owners had the money or interest to make any major repairs. With the large scrap metal drives during WWII, most were donated for their metal value.

Ed proudly mentions his Suburban is not only from the first year but it is the “first” one from the Chevrolet factory! This may be the reason why it was painted Swifts Red in a conservative era. Most vehicles were blue, green, and black. It was driven by a General Motors executive and kept it at its very best during the time it was assigned to him. Being seen driving such a unique shaped body was great advertising.

It is considered the “first” Suburban for two reasons:

There is no rear lift gate and no evidence of a place for hinges or the latch. There is only a roll-up canvas curtain. The other 5 remaining 1935 Suburban’s have these stampings for a metal lift gate.

There are no body tags on the firewall or stamped serial numbers on the engine block. No grinding or filling the holes or stamped numbers can be seen.

We assume the new Suburban was introduced toward the end of the 1935 as only 75 were made that year. Many more were produced in 1936.

Ed bought it over 20 years ago from the second owner, Walter Deck of Illinois, who was also a well known professional auto restorer. This person realized the rarity of owning the first Suburban and completed this ground up restoration just right. Because of being the first, all was done just like it left the factory.

The vehicle has not been in local shows for about 4 years. Because 2012 is Chevrolets 100th Anniversary, it is temporarily on display in the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum in Hershey, PA. For a close up view of the Suburban, visit this museum while in town at the famous Hershey Swapmeet in October 2012.

Note: Ed has hinted he is considering selling this “number one” Suburban. It has been appraised at $150,000.00! Bids are being considered starting at $125,000.00. See it at the museum or contact us for a contact.

1937 Chevrolet Canopy Express

Thursday, May 31st, 2012


1937 Chevrolet Canopy Express
While recently sorting through some stored papers we found some older photos of our
un-restored 1937 Chevrolet Canopy Express we once owned. What a surprise! We thought these pictures were lost.

Our company, Jim Carter Truck Parts, had bought this very rare vehicle from Walt Kutchler of Anaheim, CA during the early 1990’s. Walt was an avid collector of 1937 Suburban’s and other rare 1930’s Chevrolets.

Our idea was to restore it to new condition. It would then be placed in our company show room for customers to see. We were a relatively new company and restoration funds were limited. We discovered it would probably be years before we could afford to complete this restoration and gather some of the rare missing parts. So when a person in Northern California began to push us into selling it, we finally yielded to the pressure.

After all, he was to keep it looking like a 1937 and also used it in his business for advertising.

Some of the photos you are seeing are when Roger and Ginny Schuyler of Crescent City, CA first received it from us. Yes, much work was ahead of them. When I received his packet in the mail in 1999, I was amazed! The little 1937 Chevrolet Canopy Express was better than new. We had plans to use its original 216 six cylinder engine, however the Schuyler’s choice of a small block V-8 turned out very well. The bright paint, side curtains, and white wall tires make it the eye- catcher at all the shows. Roger told me at its first show, it received a 2nd place out of 500 vehicles! We can see why.

While writing this article, we found the phone number we had for the Schuyler’s was no longer theirs. If anyone knows where the Schuylers or this little 1937 Canopy Express are located, we would sure be interested in reconnecting with them. Email us at jcarter@oldchevytrucks.com.  Please see updated information below the images.

1937 Chevrolet Canopy Express 1937 Chevrolet Canopy Express 1937 Chevrolet Canopy Express
1937 Chevrolet Canopy Express 1937 Chevrolet Canopy Express 1937 Chevrolet Canopy Express 1937 Chevrolet Canopy Express

Update:  June 14, 2012

The new owners have been found!  They are Hap and Karen Volk of southwest Oregon.  The Canopy Express is said to be just as clean as when first restored.  As often occurs with a vehicle this nice, the owners hesitate driving it because of the possibility of scrapes, gravel chips, and related road damages.

They have considered selling it at about their cost of $40,000.  If you are a serious buyer, the owners can be contacted at karen@karenvolkrealty.com or call (541) 672-4444.

 

 

1937 GMC T-16 Cab Over Engine

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011


1937 GMC T-16 Cab Over Engine
Owner:  Gary Witmer

1937 GMC T-16 Cab Over Engine 1937 GMC T-16 Cab Over Engine

Original Photo Above

In our Feature Truck of the Month series, we try to show the more unusual GM trucks. This is no exception. It falls perfectly into this category.

Purchased new in 1937, this GMC T-16 Cab Over Engine truck has stayed in the same family almost 75 years. Bought in Williamsport, PA by Arthur (Witty) Witmer as a cab and chassis. It soon was changed into the largest and strongest tow truck in the surrounding counties. Its 20,000 pound winch could handle any truck of its day.

Witty hand built the tow bed from steel purchased in town. It became a true one-of-a-kind vehicle. The boom was telescopic and could raise the vehicle being pulled. It looked factory made. The truck was so well built that he had many contracts from over-the-road freight companies to tow their rigs if trouble developed within a 50 mile radius. Nothing in the area could out pull Witty’s GMC.

The 5 Witmer children always remember the big GMC being kept in a building beside the combination family home / Amoco gas station plus repair garage. They grew up during the Great Depression and it was this GMC that provided a little extra income for the large family during such difficult times. This was a time when the family grew strong sharing and working together as a team. Their strong family ties and appreciation of what they had together followed them throughout their lives. Along with all their helping with the service station and repair garage, plus Witty being on call with the GMC tow truck twenty-four hours a day, they survived with the necessities.

Even during WWII when all of Witty’s hired help joined the military, he with the family ran the service station and garage. The big T-16 GMC was the link that provided the family with just a little extra.

The old GMC was retired in the early 1960’s. It had paid its dues. It had received four inline 6 cylinder GMC engines, various clutches, many brake jobs and numerous other repairs that are given to 25 year old work trucks. Of course, the more modern 18 wheelers were so much larger than in the early years. It was more of a chore for the T-16 GMC to pull the largest tractor trailers successfully. It now is stored behind one of Witty’s grandson’s buildings!

And now, the rest of the story! A few years ago one of Witty’s sons, Gary Witmer of Blue Springs, MO noticed a 1:24 scale model of a 1938 GMC T-16 truck on the market. It was made by Danbury Mint in Danbury, CT. It looked so much like dad’s old tow truck! The details were amazing. Of course, the bed was different but the cab and chassis were like the one Gary remembered during his family’s early years in Pennsylvania. As he looked at this new Danbury model the wheels in Gary’s head began to turn. Would it be possible the transform this scale model into a truck like his father used for so many years?

The more he thought about this, the more enthused he became. Yes, it would be a work of love, a tribute to his family and their younger years growing up during the depression and the lean times of WWII.

Gary is more of a perfectionist, just like his father, so the work ahead to build this correct tow truck was not considered impossible. With his memories of the old GMC and the following photos (the family won’t sell it) Gary created the drawings that would be the blueprints for this one-of-a-kind creation.

Small pieces of brass were formed, connected, soldered, and painted into the exact copy of the real thing. He even shortened the frame of the Danbury model.

Gary spent 400 to 450 hours last year to create this Witty GMC T-16. It is truly a work of art and an honor to his family and their strength. It is the reason they survived so well during difficult times.

You can contact Gary Witmer at: glwitty1@aol.com.

1937 GMC T-16 Cab Over Engine 1937 GMC T-16 Cab Over Engine 1937 GMC T-16 Cab Over Engine
1937 GMC T-16 Cab Over Engine 1937 GMC T-16 Cab Over Engine 1937 GMC T-16 Cab Over Engine
1937 GMC T-16 Cab Over Engine 1937 GMC T-16 Cab Over Engine

1935 Chevy 1/2 ton

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

Owner:  Roger Sorenson

1935 Chevy 1/2 ton

Such a rare 1/2 ton!  It was made during the “Great Depression” when new vehicle sales were extremely low.  Only a small percentage of the population could buy a new truck or car.  About seven years later when our country became involved in World War II, most all vehicle assembly plants were changed to war material production and there was almost no truck and car manufacturing.  Pickups like this 1935 just kept being used!

After the war they were mostly worn out and had a very “pre-war” appearance.  The large amount of wood that was part of the early cab construction had begun to deteriorate.  The non-hydraulic cable operated brakes were ready for some major upgrades.  Beds, rear fenders, tires, and mechanicals needed much to bring them to useable standards.   Money was in short supply!  The popular choice was to try to drive the old truck until it just couldn’t keep going.  Then it was usually junked for a popular post-war truck.  Financing a new model with more modern upgrades and an updated cab design was often less expensive.  Thus, few of these 75 year old trucks remain.

The owner and restorer of this 1935 Chevrolet 1/2 ton is Roger Sorenson of Lacrosse, Wisconsin.  He found it in pieces December 1999.  The remaining cab wood was not restorable and the mechanicals were locked in place.  Even the bed parts were not repairable.  It lacked a dash, seats, bumpers, braces, and so many small parts that were lost during the years of disassembly.

Roger considered it his challenge in life to make it like a new 1935.    The four years in its restoration consisted of so much research and locating restorable 75 year old GM parts.  He became an expert of 1935 Chevy pickups.  Older books, the computer, talking to others, and even time spent in a library prepared him with the knowledge to do this intensive restoration.  All items except the bed components are original GM, either new or restored used.   Bedsides, wood, tailgate, etc. were reproduced as these items were not obtainable in even fair condition.

Finally this labor of love found Roger the owner of a “new” 1935 1/2 ton.  It’s like it was at the factory and before it even left the dealership or driven on a 1935 road.

Once completed, it was now time to see if it was done correctly by the most professional judges.  The restoration was completed July 2011, just in time for three of the more detailed judging shows in the Midwest.  Roger’s little ½ ton scored as follows in the truck class:

July – Vintage Chevrolet Club America; Gundee, MI, received First Junior.

July — Vintage Chevrolet Club America; Flint, MI, received First Senior.

September – Antique Automobile Club of America; Oak Brook, IL, received First Junior.

Quite an accomplishment for the first three months out.  In each show Roger received the highest award available for a first timer!

Jim Carter’s Truck Parts is proud to have this rare original pickup as our feature truck for October 2011.  In our 30 years we have not had the opportunity to find a 1934-36 high cab Chevrolet truck in this new condition.  Roger states he will be happy to help anyone with their technical questions in the restoration of their early Chevrolet truck.    You may contact him at s5secret@aol.com.

1935 Chevy 1/2 ton 1935 Chevy 1/2 ton
1935 Chevy 1/2 ton 1935 Chevy 1/2 ton
1935 Chevy 1/2 ton

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

 

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

1938 GMC COE

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Owner: Jim Raeder

 

1938 GMC COE

1938 GMC COE

When it was new, my GMC was a water truck on the Altoona PA fairgrounds. It sat under a big oak tree for many years until the second owner bought it. It didn’t have license plate on it until the 1970′s. The second owner did a basic restoration and painted it in the same colors and scheme as it was when new. He also put  two speed GMC rear end in it, shortened it, and made a fifth wheel out of it. I bought it in about 1998 with 12,500 original miles, a gas ration sticker from WWII in the window and the second owner claimed the original tires which at first I didn’t believe but now I think he may be correct. My future plans are to do a more detailed restoration and install a 302 GMC engine and five speed transmission to make it more usable while keeping the original character of the truck. I will keep the tires, engine, trans and rear end so it can be returned to stock. Since I bought the truck I have only come across five of these 38 COE’s.  Jim Raeder
1938 GMC COE

1938 Chevrolet

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

Owner: Don Cotrona

1938 chevrolet

Now, this is just like they used to be!

A 1938 Chevy 1/2 ton rebuilt, beginning with the bare frame and made to look as it was on the dealer showroom over 70 years ago.

The owner and restorer is Don Cotrona of Wallinford, Connecticut. Almost no compromise was made to keep it like it was when driven off the assembly line in 1938. Don even uses the rare 1937-1938 16 inch wheels with the eight slots. Note the correct Brewster green paint, oval bumper bolts, and black front and rear window frames.

This little 1/2 ton was bought 37 years ago when Don was 16 years old. Even though well used it was ‘love at first sight’. He had personally saved $300.00 and thus could make the full purchase.

The disassembly and removal of six layers of paint began immediately. This was the inexpensive part! Putting it back together for regular use on a schoolboy’s budget made it a much more time involved project. It finally became his daily driver after straightening all fenders and cab plus using locally found paint and upholstery. This 1938 became Don’s to school driver. He even dated his future wife while it was his only transportation!

Then came college, marriage, a new home, children and more college. Don kept his little pickup in storage knowing someday it would come back to life. He collected parts for many years from collectors, swapmeets, and answering ads in car magazines. Even the new old stock grill was found in two halves over several years.

So now the rebuilding is complete about 36 years after its initial purchase. Don has made it as the Chevy dealer would have sold it in 1938. Note the snow tires. A necessity for a New England pickup when sold new in the winter. It came with the hand built trailer hitch formed to fit the rear bumper braces. The installation of the new mirror arms is due this month. The old 6-volt radio (see antenna) was required by a teenager that drove the truck in the early years. The little 216 six-cylinder engine and three-speed transmission couldn’t run better. One difference now is that it never sees rain. Water occurs only on washday!

Don Cotrona can be contacted by email: don@hammelny.com

1938 chevrolet 1938 chevrolet 1938 chevrolet

1939 Chevrolet Model XHJC

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Owner: Brian Robinson

1939 chevrolet model xhjc

Now that our 1939 has had it’s restoration completed we thought we would send you some photos of the finished product.
You will notice that the 1939 New Zealand trucks were noticeably different in the cab area than the American trucks (other than the steering wheel being on the right side!) which could be of interest to others.

Thanks for all your assistance with parts.
Bryan Robinson, Tirau, New Zealand

1939 chevrolet model xhjc 1939 chevrolet model xhjc 1939 chevrolet model xhjc

1937 Trailabout

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Owner: Ron Loos

1937 trailabout

It’s 1937 and the Great Depression has affected all households. Sales of new cars and trucks have dropped and most manufacturers have permanently shut their doors. The struggling survivors must add ways to stay above the level of bankruptcy.

One of General Motors ideas was to increase sales by adding a new product that their GMC dealers could market. This was the Trailabout, an all purpose small trailer that could be used by both car and truck owners. GMC produced it with little added expense. Most items were already used on their 1/2 ton pickup. The bed, taillights, fenders, wheels, and hubcaps were in stock. The additional GM investment was the light weight metal frame with tongue.

Sales were low during it’s two year production. It is suspected that the $350.00 price discouraged most buyers. During the Depression people could make a trailer from a salvage yard pickup truck or just build one from used materials. The savings would be great over the Trailabout.

Today, finding a real Trailabout is next to impossible. They were bought for hauling and most were never garaged. Their wood floors were probably gone in less than 10 years.

The only Trailabout known to exist belongs to Ron Loos (ronloos@charter.net). Its life began in 1937 in Atlanta, Georgia. It was towed to a new home in Independence, Missouri in 1987, then was hauled to Ron’s home in California mid 2008. Ron is giving it a ground up restoration and will be pulling it to shows with his almost one of a kind 1938 GMC Canopy Express. Won’t that be the talk of any show!

1937 trailabout 1937 trailabout 1937 trailabout

1937 trailabout 1937 trailabout

1937 GMC T-14

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

Owner: Richard Carroll

1937 gmc pick up truck

Not only is this 1937 GMC T-14 very unusual but it is one of the only remaining examples of a pure original in existence. It is a part of history and will remain un-restored.

Owner Richard Carroll, of Greenfield, Massachusetts saw this little ½ ton 40 years ago with a for sale sign in the window. It had been used on a farm in Swansea, Massachusetts, by the original owner and showed 15,000 miles. In the glove box were the Certificate of War Necessity Papers. This allowed 30 gallons of gasoline per quarter and for farm use only during the World War II shortages. Even in 1967 it was quite unusual and Richard just had to own it.

He now drives it for pleasure only during nice weather and has added 26,000 miles during the last 40 years. Several years ago, the Danbury Mint (producer of authentic models) heard about this rare pickup. They spent much time measuring and photographing this vehicle. In 2005 they introduced an authentic model of this 1937. It can now be purchased from their catalog of special vehicles.

1937 gmc pick up truck 1937 gmc pick up truck 1937 gmc pick up truck

1937 gmc pick up truck 1937 gmc pick up truck 1937 gmc pick up truck

1937 gmc pick up truck 1937 gmc pick up truck 1937 gmc pick up truck

1936 Chevrolet

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

Owner: Leo Stokesberry

1936 chevrolet pick up truck

A one of a kind truck! Yet, it is displayed regularly and is a part of local parades and drives.

This unusual 1936 Chevrolet 1 1/2 ton has been owned by Leo Stokesberry of Filer, Idaho for 28 years. With it’s original 34,000 miles it has required only fresh paint, tires, and a general detailing. It even still has it’s original 207 cubic inch six cylinder.

Because Leo lives in Idaho sugar beet country, he decided to add an original used side dump bed that was so popular may years ago. Yes, he certainly made this 1936 a part of history. These sugar beet trucks aren’t raised by a hoist on the front, the beds only are tipped to the side to easily remove the contents. The delivery terminals had a special lift that raised the side of the bed to unload the beets. See Photos!

Note the very rare accessory white turn signal arm on the left side of the cab. This is operated mechanically by the driver to tell a following vehicle that a left turn is coming. It is extended horizontally before the turn!

Leo trailers this 1936 to many distant shows and then it is driven throughout these local areas. He is a member of the American Truck Historical Society and has attended all of their annual conventions with his special truck since 1995. These shows have taken him from Baltimore, MD to California and many cities in between. This 1936 just keeps running with little maintenance.

Many of the enclosed pictures are from the 2007 ATHS convention in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Leo’s 1936 is shown during a sponsored day trip to the top of Pike’s Peak – elevation 14,110 feet. It climbed the hard surface and gravel road with little problems. Note the remaining June snow drifts in the background.

Obviously Leo Stokesberry loves using his truck. He maintains it properly and enjoys using it on local roads through the U.S.A.

1936 chevrolet pick up truck 1936 chevrolet pick up truck 1936 chevrolet pick up truck

1936 chevrolet pick up truck 1936 chevrolet pick up truck 1936 chevrolet pick up truck

1936 chevrolet pick up truck 1936 chevrolet pick up truck

1935 Chevrolet

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

Owner: Ed Brouillet

1935 chevrolet

During the early 1930′s the US Army strongly encouraged General Motors to develop a light weight people hauler for their military needs. GM’s answer to this is what they called a Suburban. The finished product was placed on a ½ ton truck chassis. This allowed GM to use most of the existing items from their pickup. New tooling was only necessary for the body and seats keeping engineering and production costs low. The new Suburban had a wood framed skinned over sheet metal body. The doors, cowl, front fenders and front floors are all 1/2 ton.

As with the other earlier 1935 Suburbans a lift gate was not yet available. A canvas drop curtain was factory installed. The top is black oil cloth over wood bows which caused an early grave for these Suburbans. Once a top leak developed years later and more and more patches were needed, the interior began to stay wet longer. Rust and wood rot soon took over.

The featured early 1935 Suburban has been owned by Ed Brouillet of Fairfield, CT for about twelve years. It has been restored as new. Ed states it is the ‘first’ oldest Suburban. The other five 1935 models known to exist are not this low of ID number.

It is restored with a Swifts red body and black fenders. An original 207 cubic inch six cylinder is in place with a 3 speed floor shift transmission. It has most all details correct and looks as great as in 1935.

Fortunately, Ed enjoys showing his piece of history. It is seen at several shows in the New England area each year. His personal collection of antique hand operated house vacuum cleaners are displayed in the back. Ed always stays with his Suburban at shows. He loves talking to people about this first Suburban and his vintage vacuum cleaners. It can be a very memorable experience!

1935 chevrolet 1935 chevrolet 1935 chevrolet

1935 chevrolet ”1935

1936 GMC

Saturday, April 1st, 2006

Owner: Pat Kroeger

1936 gmc pick up truck

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

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

1936 gmc pick up truck 1936 gmc pick up truck

Buy Parts for 1934 to 1946 Trucks

1934 Chevrolet

Tuesday, November 1st, 2005

Owner: Steve Sickler

1934 chevrolet truck

I would like to submit a picture of my 1934 Chevy 1 1/2 ton truck for your feature trucks gallery. It has been a Pennsylvania truck since new. It started life as a produce truck in Dallas Pennsylvania, about 6 miles from where we live. After 72000 miles and a couple of owners I purchased the truck about 3 years ago. My son and I have the 1934 to where it road worthy and looking look. A number of parts for the work came from Jim Carter.

Steve Sickler

1939 Chevrolet

Monday, August 1st, 2005

Owner: Will Peterson, Winnemucca, Nevada

1939 chevrolet pick up truck

I purchased my 39 Chevy in 1973 for 500$US. I drove it in original condition for several years. After 3 wives, it has been the only thing I could hold onto. I used it for wood hauling, then with a 600 gal. tank, for water, then in the 80′s, it went mining with me, serving well hauling gold ore down a treacherous road. Finally, it was ready restoration, which started with a new water pump, then a new head gasket, and on and on. I tore it down for a frame off restoration. I sand blasted the frame, checked the 4 speed transmission, installed all new brake stuff, and a clutch replacement. Then I checked out the bottom end of the engine and gave it a new valve job. New glass and upholstery followed and Finally paint and reassemble. It is almost totally original with a 41- 46 stepside pickup bed.

While tearing it down, I removed the top from the non-synchro 4 speed to clear the cab when I pulled the 216. It looked very good gear-wise for all the thrashing it has absorbed. It makes noise in first gear as do all spur cut gears.

The 216 runs pretty good, so I removed the pan and re-shimmed the rods, replaced the seals and gasket. It was so nasty, with rat poop and nesting, old grease and who knows what. No rust though I had a vision of it shiny and clean, like brand new, pulling me back to a simpler time. My wheel base is 158.5 in. but the frame is drilled for 133in. which will put it in long bed pickup box category or short bed with 110 in. That makes it a heavy duty pickup with single wheels at the rear. An Express model..

I bought a good sandblaster and new compressor, and ordered new brake parts, new motor mounts, new cab mount kits from Carters. When I pulled engine and transmission I found really caked on old Saudi oil on it. So I pulled pan and head and side panel, lifters. Next came pistons. The block did not require ridge reaming, and I bought a digital c-clamp for measuring all of this. Bore is standard, as is the crank , so cool. Crank and rods are in good shape, I installed new rings and pistons, the gap on mine is 1/16 in., and the manual calls for .005 to .015, I read 1/32 can be acceptable. I re-shimed rods to .002, using the method the old mechanics used in 1941 manual. After reading the manual, I am lucky to not have to do the crank.

It was interesting to find out how the babbit rods work. The misconception of dipper is that it is a dipper type system for all engine speeds. But actually the dippers only dip at very slow engine speed, as there are nozzles that direct a high pressure stream of oil to the dipper holes when engine is at higher rpm. It is a very good system, misunderstood. Even when one installs replaceable insert type rods in this engine, it is still the same dipper-nozzle type oiling. It really works good if set up properly. I installed an oil filter and detergent type oil is used.

New clutch disc, new rings and pistons, new motor mounts, master and wheel cylinder repair kits were ordered.

Cab work: I removed all the inner panels, only rust on the overhead wiper cover. Very good condition for 66 years old. I removed the dash to redo the gauges. Sorting out all the fasteners, I had to use them as samples. Not one of them was useable. One thing missing was the horn. It is a two tone type, as there is a switch on the dash with city tone or country tone. The next project was the cab and windshield. The windshield was tough, as the lower v-strap was rust-welded in the 377$us frame. I managed to salvage most of it but I had to buy new v straps and glass, repair the frame a bit, and paint over the repairs.

I pulled the dash out with all the wiring, so the cab was now totally stripped. I sand blasted the whole cab and put in sound proofing after interior painting. All the wiring and some of the switches were replaced. I was thinking, “This thing will be like brand new, almost….I know there is an end to it, somewhere down the line…It is just so much fun”. I got a new windshield for 40$us. This was the best deal I got.

New parts from Carter showed up. The crank and rods were just fine. I re-did the shims on the rods according to a 1941 manual. Did not use plastigage, they showed how to get it tight and then loosen by .002 so the rod would just slap back and forth by hand. I removed 003 from each rod bearing. I put the engine back together with new oil tube for rockers, new water pump, valve job, and gaskets.

March 13, 05, I installed the engine, started it without water, ran for about 20 seconds, sounds good…. I got a 1955 stepside bed, 78 in long, with no fenders on it, but with good metal and a tailgate. Fenders from Jim Carter’s go for $250.00 each. I can run it around without rear fenders for awhile anyway. I do plan to get to Hot August Nights in Reno this year. I had to repair the wiper motors and the covers by riveting aluminum sheet over a section of rusted out metal. I then installed new brake lines, all new rubber, brakes are ready now.

Body work is unending sanding. I got new side window, it seems like everything I touch has to be fixed in some way. I decided on sunrise red trim, fenders and running boards brown with the cab and bed Almond. Saw the older Chevy on the front of the Jim Carter’s catalog and was inspired. I installed cab with new mount. The grille had small red remnants in the horizontal lines and the front Chevrolet emblem was red. Evidently it was a decal. Using one color for the big basics unitized the beauty of the 39 design. Brown looks good in the interior.

I ran the motor for 1 hr, all was well after I adjusted the valves. This engine sounds like a new one, with no unusual noises. By this time I was almost done. I installed the interior trim from Carter’s. It looks like a new pickup. Red trim was next. Upholstery was initially a Saddle Blanket type. I installed antifreeze and new side terminal battery on April 7, 05. Now that I was nearly done, it was similar to having a kit car shipped to my garage with all the engineering done. Just put it together. I got a very sound feeling of pride, an appreciation of 10 for the people that created this truck back in 1939.

On April 19, 05. I installed the wiring for the alternator (I kept the original generator ), started it up, charged just fine. I tried to turn it off, no way. Then I remembered reading in Carter’s catalog about a diode to stop that. The alternator provides current at idle to operate the ignition, bypassing the battery. I also installed the hard yellow pine into the bed. I used polyurethane for protection. The bed only has 7 boards, making it a 1946 model, according to Carter’s, and it looks the same as earlier, down to the square nuts used. It is also a wee bit wider than 1939 models. A lot of the bed components were the same from 32 to early seventies. I installed a new glove box from Carter’s, it is made real good and fits super. Red wheels, hard yellow pine bed boards, red hold down strips, were installed and look good. Now , it was time to bleed the brakes, wire up the Chevy taillights. I think it is done. I think I will go for a ride with no license plate but and old 1934 Calif. one I found many years ago. I bet the cops will let me go……

Editors Note: Because many dates were not noted, this article has been edited slightly from the original diary format.

1939 chevrolet pick up truck 1939 chevrolet pick up truck 1939 chevrolet pick up truck

1939 chevrolet pick up truck 1939 chevrolet pick up truck 1939 chevrolet pick up truck

1938 Chevrolet

Friday, July 1st, 2005

Owner: Dan Sauter

1938 chevrolet pick up truck

I bought my 1938 Chevy truck at an estate sale in Lindsborg, Kansas on October 4,2002. Since that time I have performed a frame off restoration on the truck. The frame and body panels were all blasted to bare metal, and the repainted to their original colors. The metal interior panels including the dash were blast to bare metal and then repainted the original brown with wrinkle heat treat paint supplied by Jim Carter, to give the interior an original look. All the chrome including the grill was sent out to be plated. The master and wheel cylinders were sleeved and rebuild. The engine was is good condition, I got by with cleaning it and painting to original gray and replacing gaskets. Doing everything myself other than machining, plating and upholstery in my free time quickly turned into approximately two years. I still have to install my new kick panels to finish the interior. I have taken it to a couple of shows and get a lot of looks. Everyone asks about the interior, and I tell them it’s Jim Carter magic. Would I do it again? YOU BET!

1938 chevrolet pick up truck 1938 chevrolet pick up truck 1938 chevrolet pick up truck

1939 Chevrolet

Tuesday, February 1st, 2005

Owner: Sergies Lucas

1939 chevrolet truck

Article and photos by MB Johnson Holdings Pty Ltd, South Townsville Old 4810, Australia. copyright 2004 MB Johnson Holdings Pty Ltd. all rights reserved. Sergies Lucas is a 51 year old self-taught timber craftsman with vision, creativity and a passion for achieving a standard of product that has long been lost to the world through natural attrition.

Not that Sergies has plans to build his own casket just yet, but if he did, you can bet it would be impressive.

However, in addition to a natural affinity for life, timber and vintage memorabilia, Sergies wanted to restore an old vehicle for promotional and delivery purposes in his business.

In the mid 90′s, he asked associates to keep a lookout for an old pick-up truck. He didn’t care what make or model, just so long as it was vintage. It also had to have timber work so that restoration would exemplify his trade.

Eventually a friend mentioned that a cane farm at Giru, between Townsville and Ayr, was for sale …. and there was an old pick-up truck in the shed which also was for sale.

On inspection it turned out to be a 1939, 3/4 ton Special, Chevrolet and, although they had to hot-wire it and attach a make-shift petrol tank; it started.

“It wasn’t ‘gone in 60 seconds’ but I test drove it once around the house,” Sergies said.

And although the vehicle’s shape wasn’t what he first had in mind, any disappointment had turned to ardour before he returned to Townsville.

“I had even chosen the colour scheme.

“But I wanted to check with Queensland Transport regarding the legalities of driving the vehicle, albeit restored, on the road.

“They didn’t have a problem. In fact, because the original design didn’t have doors, they weren’t required. Nor was it required to have seatbelts fitted.

“Although the vehicle was in sad shape when I bought it, I think I got excellent value for $2,000″ he said.

Sergies knew he had to strip the vehicle down to its last nut and bolt and sandblast, clean, paint and replace worn-out parts. It was a daunting task.

But fortunately there was enough of the old timber left to use as templates to manufacture the new timber components. In fact, whatever was made in timber, or could be changed, either for improvement or by necessity, was restored in the finest, furniture-grade Jarrah.

The steering wheel, for example, epitomised Sergies’ work standards but almost spelt the end of the road for both him and the project.

Sergies decided to grind the old bakelite off the steering wheel and replace it with timber. An innovating thought.

“In a last-ditch attempt to get a steering wheel off another truck to act as a stopgap while I restored the original wheel, I pulled hard on the wheel while a friend hammered the steering column with a punch.

“Suddenly it let go and I went flying off the back onto the ground, landing on my back and both elbows, with the steering wheel still in my hands. The impact shattered my right elbow and broke the corresponding shoulder blade.

“I spent the next month off work,” Sergies said.

The next step in the Chevy’s back-to-the-future experience was to recondition the motor.

Although Sergies has basic knowledge of the internal-combustion engine, he is, by his own admission, not au fait with the intricacies of Gottlieb Daimler’s invention.

“The motor was taken to a friend’s workshop for assessment. The prognosis for four of the pistons was good but the other two were marginally acceptable,” he said

Sergies wouldn’t risk repairs after the vehicle’s restoration so he elected to rebuild the motor, but it included an unscheduled rebore for oversized pistons.

“When the pistons and rings arrived, they were mismatched. Matching rings were not available. I eventually obtained pistons which matched the rings from here in Australia, and the bore ended up .040 oversize.

“However, the new piston size took the cubic inch of the motor from 216.5 to 225 and increased the maximum brake horsepower from 78 accordingly. It is now a 3.690 litre engine.

“It’s a big banger,” he quipped facetiously, adding, “but you wouldn’t put it in the Holden Dealer Team’s Commodore for a run around Mt Panorama.”

Another heart-stopping moment in the life and times of Sergies Lucas and his piece de resistance was when a client came to see about a job and asked how the restoration was going.

By this time the overhauled motor was installed and Sergies offered to start it. But he had forgotten that another enthusiast had earlier looked at the vehicle and, unbeknown to him, left it in gear.

Sergies started the vehicle from outside the cabin, pushing the starter button on the floor, down with his hand. The motor fired up and kept going, taking Sergies with it, down the driveway.

“That was a rush,” Sergies said.

“Unfortunately, I had also placed a couple of ornate clocks valued at $900 each on a makeshift tray on the back and, you guessed it, one came off and crashed to the ground when the truck lunged forward. I worked all night to fix it because that client was coming in the next day to pick it up,” he said.

Other additional but unique, unobtrusive features include a lockable glove compartment under the driver’s seat for valuables when the vehicle is unattended. And the installation of a radio/cassette in the centre console so as not to spoil the original look of the dash. The aerial is secreted in the roof lining.

But unlike today’s dashboards, the Chevy’s dash is spartan.

“It has a speedometer and mileage meter in front of the driver with a smaller, dual amp and oil gauge on the right of it and gas and water temperature on the left.

“I also converted the electrical system from six to twelve volts and while the parkers are still in the headlights, I installed mudguard-mounted parkers, which were an optional extra, and turned them into indicators,” he said.

Another change was the valance which acts as a stoneguard and water-drain attached to, and shaped to follow, the under-lines of the grille. It strengthens the grille and aesthetically finishes the ensemble’s appearance at the bottom.

“But after 64 years, the original was kangaroo-Edward,” he said.

Once again parts were thwarted by the gods of supply and when the valance arrived, the middle, rear section of the item belonged to another model which rendered the unit useless. Sergies decided to make his own, naturally, out of timber.

The result is perfection. However, the only people who get to see this consummate piece of craftsmanship is the mechanic and slow pedestrians.

The actual cost of restoration including materials, parts and outside labour was $29,000, but that does not include Sergies’ labour, of which there were incalculable hours.

What at first was thought would take about 18 months, eventually took six years.

“I averaged about 16 hours a fortnight on the vehicle; over a year times six is, say, 2,500 hours, multiplied by my hourly rate of $35, equals $71,500. Plus the outside costs of $29,000 puts the value of the finished product at $100,000,” he said.

A further blow to the project saw the vehicle insured for only $15,000. Which means Sergies drives with extreme caution.

“At first the insurance company said that they would only insure it for $7,500, but after sending them a copy of the receipts and some pictures, they increased it to $15,000.

“They did not dispute that it was worth more, but they would only go to $15,000, tops. Which would cover one, maybe two of the wheels and a rear-vision mirror,” he joked.

But it’s all been worthwhile according to Sergies.

“The result is extremely satisfying,” he said. “It’s my silent salesman at industry or social events.”

Now that his dream has materialized, his thoughts have turned to the next project. But the prerequisite, of course, is a short-term completion date.

And while the casket has merit, “It’s a bit premature,” he said.

1939 chevrolet truck 1939 chevrolet truck 1939 chevrolet truck

1939 chevrolet truck 1939 chevrolet truck 1939 chevrolet truck

1939 chevrolet truck 1939 chevrolet truck 1939 chevrolet truck

1939 chevrolet truck 1939 chevrolet truck 1939 chevrolet truck

1939 chevrolet truck 1939 chevrolet truck 1939 chevrolet truck

1937 Chevrolet

Monday, September 1st, 2003

Owner: Al Lopez – Arizona

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

With nothing but a carport to keep the Arizona heat to a minimum, you could say I am a true back yard mechanic. All restoration of this truck took place in my backyard.

The drive train was donated by a 77 Chevy Camaro, a 350/350 combo, 3.71 gear ratio rear end, and a mustang II independent front suspension with disk brakes and rack n pinion power steering.

I want to thank Alvin Parris for his encouragement through e-mails and phone calls, to C.G. Chavira and Cisco Lopez for all their help in disassembling, welding and installation of heavy parts and to my son Cesar for helping with heavier parts and acting as parts runner. My thanks also goes to my brothers in law Pablo Olide and Lucio Cepeda for helping with body work and spraying the cab Cobalt Blue and to Juan (Jack) Ramirez for helping with the installation of the wood and assembly of the bed. Most of all thanks to my lovely wife Mary for providing us with all the sandwiches and lemonade during the hot days we worked hard during this project, also thanks to the staff of Jim Carter for supplying us with the parts needed to complete the restoration.

Sincerely
Al Lopez

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

1935 Chevrolet Light Delivery Pickup

Monday, July 1st, 2002

Owner: Jim Johnston

1935 chevrolet pick up truck

Hi Jim,

Enclosed is my 1/2 ton 1935 Chevrolet Light Delivery Pickup as they used to call them. It is a truck found in a barn outside of Eugene, Oregon. The chassis was outside and the rest of the truck was in buckets and/or hanging on the walls and from rafters. I hauled the rusty stuff home and began the beadblasting, sanding, powdercoating, painting, and mechanical restoration in May 1995, and had the front of the truck running by September 1995. And with Jim Carter’s help on many mechanical, and chrome parts in addition to others from Canada to Texas it is now a great driver.

Thanks Jim Johnston

1508 East 23rd St. Independence Mo. 64055   |   Phone: 1.800.842.1913

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