Posts Tagged ‘3/4 ton’

Wider Wheels on 3/4 Tons

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

When you need more room for wider 8 bolt non-split rim wheels on your stock 1946-1959 Chevrolet or GMC ¾ ton, there is a solution. (The long tie rod ends prevent the use of wheels much wider than the original split rims.) Customers have given us an answer! It is not difficult and uses all original GM parts.

After the left and right tie rod ends from a 1 or 1-1/2 ton. They are about one inch shorter. As their threads are reversed from the ¾ ton design (these replacement ends have male ends), you will need a tie rod from a 1 or 1-1/2 ton with female ends. Yes, they fit into the original arms beside the ¾ ton backing plates.

The tie rod ends are still available new, however, the long tie rod will need to be from a used truck. If you are lucky, the tie rod with ends will come together from the older truck. There is even a good chance the ends will be in great shape and won’t need replacing. If so, mark the position of the ends on the tie rod if you remove them. Another end can be replaced in the exact prior position. In this way your front suspension should stay in alignment and save you money and time in an alignment shop.

Note: If the used tie rod ends are good, remove the old grease. It probably contains road grit and will cause premature wear. Put some heat on the ends before adding new grease through the zirk fitting. This will soften the old grease. It will then come out when new lubricant is added under pressure.

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

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

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)

Early Leaf Springs

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Leaf spring width on 1/2 ton pickups remained at 1 3/4 inches until the introduction of the two inch width on the Task Force 1/2 tons in mid 1955. The early narrow springs worked well considering the engine horsepower and weight limitations of the 1/2 tons. The two inch springs became standard equipment on the rear of the 3/4 ton in 1946 but their fronts still remained the smaller size. This is because the increased weight carrying ability of the 3/4 ton is mostly felt in the rear. Only 1 ton and heavier were totally without the 1 3/4 inch springs.

With the abuse given pickups in the early days (poor roads, overloading, and almost no lubrication), the springs have held up well. Most mid 1955 and older 1/2 tons continue to operate with their tired original narrow springs.

In today’s world a new variable exists that puts even more demands on these small springs. It is the increased horsepower of later model engines. No problem if these trucks, converted to more powerful engines, are driven as if they still have their original six cylinder. However, problems arise with jack rabbit starts with or with a heavy freight load. Most of these Advance Design 1/2 ton’s with transplanted V-8′s have had their original closed drive shafts replaced with open systems. The replacement axle housings are clamped to the 1 3/4 inch rear springs. When heavy acceleration is forced on these modified trucks, the axle housings try to rotate due to the extra torque. Much of this movement is held in check by these narrow springs. They just weren’t designed for this. Breakage and permanent bending can occur.

Don’t push your 1 3/4 inch rear leaf springs beyond their limits. If you demand fast acceleration with your V-8 1/2 ton, convert to later model 2″ or 2 1/2″ springs. Check specialized suppliers, including Jim Carters Truck Parts (part # HP580), for add-on kits.

1972 Chevrolet 3/4 ton

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Owner: Edward Eckel

1972 chevrolet

My truck began life as a 1972 3/4 ton Custom chassis cab with a 350, heavy-duty camper suspension and four on the floor. I purchased it new in November 1971, and by February 1972, I installed a camper body on it. It remained this way until 1995 when the camper body was no longer reliable, having developed some fatal leaks causing some structural weaknesses. It was no longer practical or economical to keep it as a camper. I was faced with the dilemma of what to do with it. I decided to put a bed on it and spruce it up a bit, keeping if for cruise night fun. It had already served us for over 120,000 miles as a camper and was deserving of a comfortable retirement. It has never spent one day in a garage and still stays outdoors but now under a very good car cover. The original plan was only for a paint job and to install a pickup bed.

As it always seem to happen, you can’t simply ‘spruce it up.’ Once you start, you need to go all the way and fix everything. It ran perfectly so I just added some polished trim to the engine, put in a cam, roller rockers, headers, MSD ignition and added an Edelbrock four-barrel carb. on a new Edelbrock manifold.

After locating all the parts to build a nice rust free bed since in New Jersey most are rusted away, things came together nicely. Since it was an 8 foot bed, new bed sides were unavailable so those came from Southern California. Last year with the help of a few good friends, the bed went on then this spring the last of the front end parts and the engine compartment were finished. I kept the original Hawaiian blue color but made it a more sporty two tone, adding the white cab top and in between the side moldings then added all the necessary trim to complete the look. The interior is partly original, part new. The dash was stripped and refinished but the rest of the interior paint is original. The seat, visors and door panels are original but the dash pad, carpeting and steering wheel are replaced. The old 16.5′ wheels were replaced with 16′ aluminum ones and the bed sports an oak natural wood floor with all the mounting hardware of polished stainless steel.

There are many more little things left to be done as time allows to make it even better but for now it looks good and drives well. The first trip to our local cruise night after it was finished I was awarded a trophy so I’m glad my hard work is appreciated by others more talented than myself.

Edward Eckel

1972 chevrolet 1972 chevrolet 1972 chevrolet

1940 Chevrolet

Thursday, December 1st, 2005

Owner: Clyde Johnson

1940m chevrolet pick up truck

Featured this month is a rare 65 year old truck was saved from an unknown destiny almost 35 years ago. The survival rate of this style 1940 Chevrolet pickup is very low because they are rated 3/4 ton. Heavier demands were placed on almost all non-1/2 ton pickups and most were just ‘used up.’

This beauty still lives because it was first owned by the Walnut Grove, Missouri Volunteer Fire Department (near Springfield) and saw duty during occasional fires in the small community. Much of its life it set in the town fire station ready for emergency calls. This is probably why only 26,000 now show on the odometer. It carried ladders, hoses, and related fire equipment as well as firemen. Usually it followed near the larger town fire truck.

The person responsible for the rebirth of this classic older 3/4 ton is Clyde Johnson of Independence, Missouri. He purchased it un-restored from a neighbor in the 1970′s for $200. It was to give his 16 year old son, Larry, something different, dependable, and ‘not fast’ to drive to high school. It came to be Larry’s main local transportation for several years. But then Clyde got it back after graduation. A total restoration was always a consideration but family responsibilities kept it on a ‘someday’ to do list.

It was over thirty years later that Clyde got serious about giving the little 3/4 ton the ground-up restoration it so badly needed. His four children were on their own and he had just retired after many years as a machinist training instructor.

Once the restoration began, Clyde averaged 20 hours per week, 25 most all was done by him personally. He disassembled it to the bare frame and then began building it back and restoring each piece. To make it look less like a fire truck and more as a civilian truck, he removed the spotlight, siren, ladder brackets and a very large steel plate rear bumper where fireman stood on the way to a fire.

It now looks like a 1940 Chevrolet truck as it left the factory. The correct red, black fenders and running boards plus rebuilt mechanicals and new chrome makes it a real ‘traffic stopper.’ It still has it’s 216 six cylinder engine, 4 speed transmission and ¾ ton differential. Yes, 55 miles per hour is about its limit.

Clyde’s enjoyment with his little red truck has increased even more since the restoration three years ago. He has become very active in the local Kansas City Genuine Chevrolet/GMC truck club. He and his little red truck are seen regularly at local shows, driving events, and cruise night drive-ins.

1940m chevrolet pick up truck 1940m chevrolet pick up truck 1940m chevrolet pick up truck

1940m chevrolet pick up truck 1940m chevrolet pick up truck 1940m chevrolet pick up truck

1940m chevrolet pick up truck 1940m chevrolet pick up truck 1940m chevrolet pick up truck

1940m 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

1950 GMC

Tuesday, June 1st, 2004

Owner: Roger Uttecht

1950 gmc pick up truck

My name is Roger Uttecht. My truck is a 1950 GMC 3/4 ton Pick-up. I did a frame up restoration on my truck over a 2 year period. I used quite a few parts from Jim Carters antique truck parts. The Website provided me with quite a bit of information about what my truck was originally equipped as well as paint colors on the engine and so forth. The truck was originally green, but I painted it to look like a 1952 Chevy Dime Bank that Harley Davidson Motor company put out in 2000. I am the General Manager at Frontier Harley-Davidson in Lincoln, NE. This was the first time that I have ever done anything as intense as this, but it was a labor of love. I had a 1949 GMC when I attended the University of Nebraska so I always wanted to restore one after graduation. I have restored everything to original except for the paint. I stained the hard yellow pine instead of painting it and added white wall tires. The engine is a 228c.i. GMC with a 4 speed transmission. I love driving this old truck, it gets looks wherever we go, and an occasional story from a few people too. I hope it is good enough for your feature truck section. thanks.

Roger Uttecht

1950 gmc pick up truck 1950 gmc pick up truck 1950 gmc pick up truck

1950 gmc pick up truck 1950 gmc pick up truck 1950 gmc pick up truck

1950 gmc pick up truck

1953 Chevrolet

Saturday, June 1st, 2002

Owner: Dennis Oland – Saint John, New Brunswick Canada

1953 chevrolet pick up truck

Here is my 1953 Chevrolet 3/4 ton. I have just about completed my restoration and I have been driving it to work everyday. I bought it two years ago for $6500.00. It was very stock and solid with only minimal rust. It was originally green but had been painted burgundy/black over the years. I really liked the colors so I decided to go with a popular Chevy color, Garnet Red Metallic/Black. This truck is 3 speed, 12 volt and has a 261 motor which was swapped at the dealership. Early 50′s Canadian Pontiacs had 261s and there was often demand for these more powerful engines in the Chevy trucks. As long as you could find a willing Pontiac owner (or Dealer) you were able to get the swap (for a little money). Having a 261 is great, this truck has all the power it needs.

I did a fairly extensive restoration, buying all parts from Jim Carter’s and relying on the help of Jim Carter’s staff, Stovebolt and local (older) mechanics. The new bed wood is Juniper which is a hard softwood. I thought about Oak but the Juniper only cost me $50.00, the end result is great so I have no regrets. I don’t know where the sun visor came from but I like it. To finish off the truck I am hoping to tidy up the wiring and the motor and add in a faster pumpkin to the rear end. These older 3/4 tons have a 4.57:1 gear ratio and I want something that would allow me to drive at highway speeds. It is an easy fix (1967-1972 Chevy c20 pumpkin fits right in) so I’ll get at that over the winter. Other than that I think the only thing this truck needs is some tidying up in the interior. I did paint it but I wasn’t happy with the dash so I think I’ll do that again (and get a radio as well). This truck has been restored to reflect its original character and I have added chrome and a few extras that I think help to make this truck a real classic. Although I love this truck it is going up for sale, I have decided that my next project will be either a 1947-1953 Suburban or 1946 GMC 1/2 ton.

Dennis Oland
Saint John, New Brunswick
Canada

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

1966 GMC

Saturday, July 1st, 2000

Owner: Ed Snyder

1966 gmc pick up truck

My truck is a 1966 GMC three quarter ton pickup with a short Fleetside bed. This truck came to me with the original factory build sheet showing a build date of 6-6-66, and factory equipped with the optional 351 cubic inch V-6, turbo 400 transmission, power steering, power brakes, 4.10 locking rear end, heavy duty springs, and custom cab. It was originally a two-tone truck, green and white, but I had it repainted a 1973 Cadillac color, Sage Metallic. It has just over 50,000 actual miles on it. I’ve owned it for about 5 years. I bought it from a neighbor who had bought it at the estate sale of the original owners about a year before. It was in great shape – no rust and no dents.

About a year ago, I finished a complete restoration of this truck which took me about 18 months. The running gear (engine, transmission, rear end) was in excellent condition, due to the low mileage. The paint, however, was badly oxidized. It now has far more paint, and far better quality paint (Sikkens) than it left the factory with. Although the truck is stock mechanically, I took the opportunity during the restoration to perform some comfort and cosmetic upgrades, such as: carpet with heat-resistant sound-deadening mat underneath it, carpeted door bottoms and kick panels, new seat padding and upholstery with inflatable lumbar supports, tachometer and clock, electric fuel pump, chrome plated valve covers, Thermo-dyne coated exhaust manifolds, dual exhaust, interior tailgate latches with cables to replace the original chains, spray-on Armacoat bedliner, and hitch receiver built into the original step bumper.

I’ve taken it to many car and truck shows since the restoration was completed. It’s won trophies or plaques at nearly every show, including second in class at the West Coast Truckin’ Nationals in Paso Robles, California in March, 2000.

During the restoration process, I acquired catalogs from about a dozen of the largest Chevy/GMC restoration parts suppliers across the country. I tried ordering parts from most of them, just to see how they compared in price, service, and parts availability. Although I had a couple of bad experiences, such as my credit card being charged right away, but waiting several months for the part after being told it was in stock, most of my experiences were good. I must say, though, that my experience with ordering from Jim Carter was unsurpassed – great customer service, quick shipment, and quality parts!

Ed Snyder

Editors note:

I learned that GM didn’t build any short bed 3/4 ton pickups. When I asked Ed about his truck being a short wheel base 3/4 ton, he sent me the following e-mail. Nice truck Ed.

Steve

…. This truck is definitely a three quarter ton short bed. It came from the factory as a long bed (127″ wheelbase). I shortened the frame 12″ behind the cab and cut another 8″ off the tail end. The wheelbase is now 115″, and a short bed bolted on perfectly when I was done. I don’t know if anyone else has ever done this, but it draws a lot of attention at the car and truck shows it’s been in.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Ed Snyder

NEWS FLASH!

On December 6, 2012 we received notice that this special 1966 GMC has a new owner. Clyde McKaba will now be its caretaker. He also has a 1961 GMC Suburban 4×4. How unusual. Clyde can be contacted at: cmckaba@centurylink.net

1966 gmc pick up truck 1966 gmc pick up truck 1966 gmc pick up truck

1966 gmc pick up truck1966 gmc pick up truck 1966 gmc pick up truck

1966 gmc pick up truck 1966 gmc pick up truck 1966 gmc pick up truck

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

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