01 February 2015
1946 Chevrolet 2-Ton
From Mark :
I may be a new member here at Stovebolt but I am a long time old truck owner (several actually).
My current truck is a 1946 two-ton 454 Chevy, with 400 turbo, Hon-O-Drive overdrive, P30 A arm front suspension, P30 Dually rear axle, with Hydroboost disc brakes and power steering. It didn't start out that way, though.
Back in 2003, we were living in Las Cruces, New Mexico and we found this truck on a dealership car lot as we were just driving through town. You really don't usually find a Big Bolt on a used car lot -- most of these are rare gems tucked away in barns or left in fields.
As it sat, the truck cab had been restored by the previous owner, who also lived in Las Cruces. He had painted the outside, inside and fenders. He had re-wired it. He had been working on the truck a good bit. We were not real sure of his final intentions for it as he passed away. His wife put the truck there on the lot on consignment (the lot owner was a friend of their's). When we drove by and saw it, we decided to buy it!
I wish I could remember the name of the fellow who began the restoration work. Maybe someone on the site - either from the Kansas City area or Las Cruces may remember the truck and this fellow. Please post in the discussion thread as we would love to know more about our Big Bolt.
The truck was fully functional and running, so I drove it home (15 miles from the dealership). Our intention was to leave the original style 6 cylinder engine and running gear in it. But after the 15 mile drive home, I realized that was not going to be possible. If we were just going to drive the truck occasionally, maybe that would have been okay. But we wanted a fully functional vehicle.
The truck had been built as a dump truck, with split over-drive and low gears, and was made to haul big, heavy loads ... slowly. It moved along at 40/45 mph, with a lot of shifting. Talk about "arm strong steering" ... oh yea!
The bed was gone but the dump mechanism was still on the truck. We thought about the dump capability initially, and then decided that was not what we wanted. We removed all the dump mechanism and used them in a trade.
I have pictures (about the middle of the Photobucket album) of the A-arm front suspension and the Hydroboost rear disc brakes. The heavy duty brakes are Chevy P30 from a motor home rear axle with disc brakes. The front suspension is also P30 with independent suspension, also from a motor home independent suspension. So, that gave me some serious braking capability (we live on a mountain) and good power steering.
All this work was done 2003-2004 because we were moving from New Mexico to Colorado (2004). I needed the 2-ton to haul a 30 foot fifth wheel camper. So, I took it apart. Took out the engine and transmission and sold them and installed the modern drive train.
After we got settled here in Colorado, I put the truck work on the back burner since there were other life responsibilities and interests in the works. Besides, I have no garage for the truck, so work on the truck happens in the better weather. It is a driver and runs, so other than the bed, it doesn't need much attention anyway,
The truck is not built to show quality. I want to haul things in the bed I am building and actually use the truck. My intention is to drive it as much as possible.
Right now the truck is licensed and functional but not very useful with no bed on the back. I am building an oversize dually bed, styled after the original bed. It's a little over 75% done. I built a tube framework and then had sheet metal bent up to cover it. It looks like an original style bed but is wider like a modern dually bed with original style outer fenders and modern style inner fenders. The tailgate has a modern latch mechanism. (All these pictures of the bed build are in the Photobucket album, near the end.)
I think I will use bright aluminum for the bed since the truck has to sit outside. It would be great to have a nice Oak bed, but it wouldn't last long here without a lot of regular work to keep it that way. Life is busy so we think the aluminum bed will work great for us. I think that bright aluminum treadplate will take abuse, stand up to the intense Colorado sun and be easy to clean.
The rear fenders are 3 inch wider 1/2-ton fenders. The cardboard (in the PB album) shows how the opening will be reshaped to allow for the larger diameter tires.
The bed sides will have the 45 degree bend at the top with a 1.75 diameter tube welded on for the "roll." The bed is 60 inches wide but is tapered at the front to 50 inches wide in order to fit the cab width and look better.
The bed is 10 feet long and 22 inches deep, the same as my Silverado. The inner fenders will be the square style steel from the 1967-72 series trucks.It will get finished if I could just stay after it!! Too many other interests / diversions.
This is the second truck I have had of this vintage. I had a 1941 Chevy 1/2-ton. I bought that as a cab and chassis and we put a flat bed on it. We drove that around for a few years and got a lot of use out of it. When the rear axle broke, I decided to modernize it and did an upgrade for the rear end.
Before that truck, I had a 1950 Chevy 1/2-ton. It had the original drive train partially restored. I used that one as a daily driver, taking it to work. When I decided to sell it (to my neighbor), I turned it into a 4 wheel drive truck. I took the body and bed and used a Blazer 4 wheel drive and mounted it on there. I had to stretch the chassis ... but he did it and it became a 4wd.
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