27 August 2012
1946 Chevy 6400 2-Ton
From Brian :
I'd like to share my story about my two and a half old trucks.
I found this old 1946 Chevy 2-ton flat bed truck in a barn near Shelby, Ohio. This truck was complete. I thought it would make for a great project. I also found a second awesome truck -- a "modified" 1946 Chevy 2-ton school bus. The bus came with another 1946 Chevy 2-ton that was mostly just a cab and various parts that had been squirrelled away in various parts of the old farm (as you can see in the image - sitting on the back of the bus frame).
The first two, both complete trucks, had been sitting since about 1985. The previous owner is the oldest man (91) in the Shelby Settlement, an old farming community northwest of town. The owner also happens to be the third cousin of a close friend of mine that has taken over the farming operation.
When I asked the old gentleman about the trucks, I was told, "They don't run. Haven't in years. Just in the way now. Probably haul them off for scrap when we get a chance!"
I asked if he would sell them and everyone looked at me like I was nuts!
The old gentleman decided if I could make use of them, he'd sell them to me for scrap price. After a few moments, he figured it to be $350 and the deal was struck.
The 2-ton classic truck I'm focusing on has a 12' 3" platform bed with removable grain body sides, and a 216.5 engine out of a 1950. Also included in this sweet deal was the stock 4-speed with the hand-brake, the "Super Deluxe" heater and 8.25 x 20 tires (rear) and 7.50 x 20's up front ... all of which hold air!
Best of all it only took a 6-volt battery, coil, fuel pump and fresh gas to get this old truck running!
This 1946 big bolt has been a farm truck all its life and I'm proud to say it's going to remain a farm truck. Both my Father and the old man I bought the trucks from are fans of Massey Ferguson. Accordingly, I've decided the project will wear a MF paint scheme and will ultimately end up with the 6.254 PERKINS DIESEL from Dad's old Massey Ferguson 510 combine.
After a year, the project was still underway and moving along steadily. The 1946 Chevy 2-ton is too big to fit in my garage and the barn is all wood. I was at the mercy of the weather for all my cutting, welding and grinding. There have been a few changes to the plan, most notable is that the Perkins idea has been dropped. It was ultimately just gonna be too big (long) and expensive to make it work properly.
The little 1950 216 engine and 4-speed that powered the truck when I bought it found a home in another member's 1946 1.5-ton. So things went well there.
I decided early on I didn't want to put a V-8 in the truck but most any in-line engine would work, so long as it wasn't so long that I had to chop the cab or relocate the radiator. I ended up buying a good-running 250 I-6 out of a 1975 Chevy 1/2-ton (though ultimately I'd like to see a 4BT Cummins in there).
For the transmission, I did some parts trading and scored a 1991 700-R4 automatic with overdrive from a t-boned 3/4-ton van with only 18,000 miles on it! I fabbed up some engine mounts and modded the original transmission cross-member from my long gone 1967 Camaro and set everything in place.
The Camaro was my very first restoration project. I went hog wild with it, including an 800 hp small block engine. Growing up on a farm, you have to do a lot of mechanical work yourself. Grandpa taught us that a long time ago. It is different than restoring an old truck ... but the fascination of fixing and getting stuff to work is still the same.
The 250 is about three inches longer than the original Stovebolt engines, which didn't allow me to run the stock fan. I had to break down and buy an electric fan.
The stock drum brakes are now powered by an 8-inch dual-diaphragm booster and dual-circuit master cylinder mounted to the frame under the cab with a universal street rod brake pedal assembly from Jegs.
I ended up removing the warped-up frame-stiffening plates from the frame and was greeted by holes in the frame big enough to throw a softball through! No biggie. When you live in the Salt Belt, you know how to deal with rust! Several days worth of cutting, grinding, cussing and welding, plus the addition of 200 lbs of 5/16ths steel plate and the web of the frame was repaired / replaced in the contour of the original stiffeners.
I just recently got the interior of the cab smoothed out and painted. It was all done with rattle can paint ... MF red, of course. Now it's just getting the dash and heater put back in and getting the wiring harness in place.
So right now, it's just the cab, frame and motor. If everything works out, I'll have it over to Roy in a week or two. Roy will do the final body work and painting - Massey Ferguson red and gray, of course. That should only take a few weeks.
While Roy is doing the body work, I'll be working on the flat bed. The grille is in good shape (straight) so I will paint it for now. Maybe down the road, I will re-chrome it.
Now, if Roy ends up returning the bus ~ I'm not sure what I'll do with it! Roy has more project than he'll ever get done. But what he does work on really turns out cool. Right now, he's got a 1953 Chevy 5-window pickup truck that started out as a 1.5-ton rat rod. he also has a 1949 Chevy that has huge tires on it and sits high off the road. He bought a 1945 Fort school bus from a fellow in Oregon. He has a 1930 GMC pickup truck. And the list goes on! He's been doing this kind of work for a long time (and he's only in his late 40's).
Roy also has several vintage tractors at his place. I'd like to get a small old MF that was restored 25 years ago and I will haul it on the bed of the '46. That will be a nice presentation to take to the shows.
I have a picture in the Photobucket titled "Road Test." This was when I first brought it home and it was the first time for that truck to drive down the road in 35 years. This truck restoration is so close to being done!
Hopefully in a few weeks or so, I'll be able to post the "finished" truck!
Have a good day,
If you are interested in the 1946 2-ton bus, feel free to contact Brian. If Ray keeps the bus, maybe we can get that story in the Gallery also. ~ Assistant Editor
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