1948 Chevy 3800 Pickup
11 May 2007
From Bill :
I finally got my 1948 Chevy 3800 done in time for my 51st B-day.
I used to see this truck sitting around my area when I was a kid. My Grandfather had a flatbed 1-ton that I drove. I ended up buying the pickup in 1989 and taking it and my Grandfather's truck and making one good one.
I did most of the mechanical work on the truck until last October when I took it to a local guy that restores all kinds of cars. He tackled this one and here are the results.
The second photo on the left here is my truck the day I brought it home in 1989. When I first bought my truck, the plan I had was to use it as a parts truck. It had the 5-window cab and another AD truck I had did not.
I started remodeling my house and decided to sell the other AD. This one sat around a while and I did a little work on it. Then my kids started coming along and it sat some more.
I had done most of the mechanical work even though I do not consider myself a mechanic. That is the beauty of these old trucks. They make you think. Unlike new cars that don't want you to think.
I found the 1954 235 6 cylinder Thriftmaster engine at a neighbor's house and knew that it had been recently overhauled by a reputable engine shop. I bought it and put it and the transmission out of my Granddad's old truck in it. The tranny is a 4 speed with bulldog gear for first. The original rear end had a 5:14 gear ratio so I improved my highway travel somewhat by putting a 1978 era 3/4-1 ton rear under it that has a 4:10 ratio. That gains me about a 20% rpm savings on the engine at a given speed.
The original exterior color was Swift's red. I use to match color for a living and found that the 2006 Chevy color "Bright Red" was a really good match to Swift's. So, the color you see is bright red.
I told the painter I wanted a silver tone to the interior and black running boards. I know it is subtle but I wanted the same three colors that Dale Earnhardt had on his car. He talked me into the color you see here which is "medium titanium."
We went with a flat finish to reduce glare and because he is a great painter, I trusted him. I put as much chrome on the old girl as I could find. I figure she deserved it after going unadorned for so long.
I had a local guy cut the bed wood to my specs. It is red oak and is covered with about eight coats of Spar semi gloss. I coated all the edges and ends to make sure it didn't absorb a lot of moisture. The wood was air dried and had a tendency to want to warp a little so I wrestled down and finally won out.
The wheels are from Pacer. They have a wheel just like this one that has holes all the way around but about every other truck you see has them on it. I decided I wanted something a little different and I thought these looked like big truck wheels so I finally decided on them. The other thing about wheels for these 3800's is that the back spacing has to be about four inches or less. These wheels have a 3.63 inch back space so they do not interfere with the tie rod ends.
I spent about three times what I shoulda but it's really not about the money. It's about reviving history and giving my 12 year old son and me something to do while he is still at home.
Enjoy the photos!
Bolter # 8485