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Copyright © 1995-2014
Mechanicsville, Maryland

 

1954 Chevrolet 3600 Tow Truck

Owned by

David Colter
"54TOW"
Bolter # 17301
Central Texas

"Babe"

25 February 2008
# 2244

From David :

           In 1969, my Uncle found this truck for sale at a service station near his home in Independence, Missouri. It was located at "Walker Auto repair" somewhere in the Sugar Creek / Independence / Kansas City area. (I remember that it still had the "Walker" name on the doors of the truck until it got repainted in the 90's. )

           My Father had a shade-tree transmission shop in our garage, and it was just what he was looking for. My Uncle bought it for $800 and drove it across the state to St. Louis with his car "on the hook." [ passenger side close-up pix ]

           My Uncle relayed these two stories: The truck was stolen once - and was used to pull a safe out of a building! True or not, it makes for a good yarn.

           When my oldest sister, Mona, went on her first date, the transmission went out in her boyfriend Mike's, car. Dad to the rescue! When Mona called him, Dad said to Mom, "If I'm going - you're going, too!" The two teens could not have been more embarrassed when all four parents HAD to meet on their first date! His Dad said, "Well, seeing as how you rebuild transmissions (and you've already got it hooked up), I guess you might as well go ahead and fix it, too." Well, the teenagers got over it all, and Mike and Mona have been married for over 26 years now.

           As a child, I would get into trouble for climbing up the boom. My Mother hated the grease stains on my clothes. Now I smile as I pre-treat my three sons' grease stains. They are badges of honor, in my opinion. As a teenager, I was told by Dad, "If you let that rust eat through the roof, I'm never giving you the truck." Finally, I reluctantly got up there with sandpaper and a can of Rust-oleum and stopped the rust in it's tracks.  I am glad I did.

           I once used the wrecker to pull up the old shrubs in front of the house. I had her nose in the air, when Mom came outside and said, "What are you doing?  Well ... you better get done before Dad comes home and sees you!"

           My wife and I used to bring the truck to Chuck-A-Burger (a St. Louis cruising spot that's been Cruisin' since 1957 - now closed) for their Saturday night cruises. We even had the tow truck at our wedding (just hitched pix ).  My brother said to my wife, "Why did you let him talk you into bringing that thing to your wedding?"  She said, "That was MY idea!"  What a woman!!!  She even got a grease stain on her wedding dress - yet another badge of honor.

           The tow truck has a 235 engine (per numbers on the block), a Marvel Mystery Oil canister on the firewall, a 4 speed transmission (3 speed w/ granny low), an oil bath air filter, dual wheel adapters (8 lug to 6 lug), a MICO brake lock (currently inoperable), and a TOW CHAMP bed [ pix ] .  The bed was distributed by Champion Manufacturing Company [ plate pix ] in Harrisonville, Missouri.

           My mother said she even drove the tow truck to the beauty parlor one Friday to get her hair done. I can just see her now getting out of the TOW CHAMP with her cat-eye glasses, and her latest hairdo. Keep on Truckin' - Mom!

           We've named the truck "Babe" (after Paul Bunyan's big blue ox). She is just like one of the kids. She has always had a place in my heart, and this month it got a place in my yard. Now I have to tell MY boys, "Get off the tow truck - you are going to hurt yourself!" She raises my spirits, and causes me grief, and I don't know what I would do if she ever was ever to leave.

           I have officially put BABE on an allowance. (Ouch, that smarts some ~ Editor)

           Thank you so much for preserving the memories of all these old trucks.  This is truly a museum of fine iron.

David

           Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind. - Theodore S. Geisel (Dr. Seuss)


           Speaking of preserving old memories, David also sent this picture (later). The jumpsuit was his Father's from over 65 years ago. He was the youngest in his family. The old picture is of David (the youngest in the family) wearing the jumpsuit. The picture was taken right about the same time his Dad bought the tow truck. ~~ Editor

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