I figured I better tell you that Sweaty has a new owner. I sold her to a Body Shop owner in Zanesville, Ohio. It left on Saturday. Good news is that a '54 GMC 100 is moving in .... more details to come. ~ Doug
11 October 2014
1948 Chevrolet 1-Ton Grain Truck
"Yucca / Swheaty"
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From Doug :
I thought I should share a little info on our recently acquired 1948 Chevy one-ton grain truck.
I found this old truck on the North Platte's Craigslist, When talking to the owner's son, he said they first posted the ad on July 11. I saw it two weeks later. They had a bunch of people call about it; a few people came to look at it; no one wanted a grain truck. The cab and sheet metal looked great ... you could those and pay for the whole truck!
They were originally asking $1,000 which I thought was fair. They dropped their price because we were having problems getting a truck and trailer lined up to bring the truck back home. So, he dropped the price to help us out.
We rented a 2013 Ford from U-Haul to pick up the old Chevy. We took the Interstate out and everything was fine. We had to go a little bit beyond the pickup point to find a place to stay for the night. We crossed a one-lane concrete bridge (unaware ... until we saw the brochure at the hotel). This little bridge was one of the last concrete bridges in Nebraska.
The truck was located out in the Sandhills of Nebraska, far away from virtually everything! The Sandhills are a lot of hills, prairie and huge ranches. The little town seemed mostly abandoned.
We took Nebraska Highway 30 (Lincoln Highway) and we saw a lot of cool stuff along the way. It was only a four or five hour trip.
When we headed out, we found our little out of the way road: "Prairie Trace" was the name. There was no "trace" about it -- there was plenty of prairie.
When we arrived at the property, the previous owner had already pulled the old truck out of the barn. I wanted to ask him how big the ranch was but never got to it -- It was pretty darn big. (When we first talked over the phone and I asked for directions, the woman said it was 40 miles from the nearest town and it was off a narrow, two-lane road with primitive black top. There was no way to take a wrong turn since there is nothing else out there. You'll either pull into someone else's field or pasture, or our place. Okay ...)
The PO told us his son had picked up a 1965 Chevy half-ton and they wanted to scrape up some money to fix it. He had not heard of Stovebolt, so I gave him one of the business cards I picked up at the Reunion in Kansas City. He was asking a lot of questions about the site, so maybe we'll see him or his son on here ... probably in the 60-66 forum.
The old grain truck has the original 216 engine. The entire engine, transmission and rear-end is original. The PO didn't think anything had been rebuilt on it before he got it back in 1962. The odometer said it had 25,000 miles but he put 40,000 on the title. It's been a farm truck all that time and never left the farm. I guess it probably never left the state since it was brand new. I'm figuring the 25,000 is pretty accurate. This truck is a survivor ... and well cared for!
I had to bring a battery with me. We put it in and she started right up. I drove the old truck around on the ranch a bit before we loaded it up. It drove really nice. The clutch worked fine.
They had been using the truck just last fall for harvest. (They were growing oats and there were some oats left in the bed box and in corners. That's why one of the Bolters recommended calling her "S-wheaty" since she was a grain truck. )
He showed me some of the stuff that was in the truck. It still had the hand crank. It had one of the hood side emblems ("Chevrolet Thriftmaster"). He opened up the glove box. There was a GM parts box dated back to the 1950s. Apparently, one of the front spring shackles was replaced and the old one was in the glove box. There was an AutoLite spark plug box that was in good condition. It looks very Art Deco and I'm going to add it to my collection.
The PO had another 2-ton grain truck in the barn that looked about the same body style. I wanted to go check that one out also, but the guy was interested in getting the truck loaded on the trailer, so I didn't get a chance. Nuts!
When we got the front loaded up, you can see in the pictures, the center of the wheel covers on the truck are right even with the deck of the trailer. It just fit. We had to let the air out of the tires in the front and use the come along to get it far enough on to the trailer.
So, we got going and we drove about 20 miles of gravel "road" before we got to the super narrow 2-lane black top road. That is when the trouble started.
The old truck was too big and too heavy for the trailer. Coming down a gravel hill, doing 35 or so, the trailer started to fishtail. I ended up shifting into neutral trying to keep the trailer from pushing the truck too hard. That happened a few times and it was starting to get dark, too. That was all pretty scary but you know, it was really beautiful out there in the countryside with the sun setting.
We get back to the road, and we were going to head to North Plat and hop on the interstate and go a bit before we stopped for the night. We got up to 45 mph on the highway, and it started to fishtail again. But we were on the flats and a regular two lane highway. We had to drive 40 mph for about 30 miles. We had to pull over on the shoulder a number of times to let people pass us.
The four to five hour trip going out to pick up the truck took us nine hours to get home!
After we got her home, I crawled underneath the truck on the creeper, and could see no evidence of anything having been taken off and put back on. None of the usual bailing wire or twine hold stuff on - the quick "farm fix" when you don't have time. It looked like nothing had been touched, which totally blew me away.
The truck runs and drives but it needs minor brake work and radiator sealing. It has some leaky stuff going on -- a few of the wheel cylinders and the radiator.
This truck is as rust-free as the day is long! On the floor, you can still see stamping numbers on the frame. The clips, which are usually rusted out -- all of it is still there. The wiring harness and parking brake cables were all in good shape.
The bed is in real nice condition. The grain box might have been a Load King. I couldn't find any manufacture's tags on it. Maybe because it was factory installed and that's why no tags. When you buy them aftermarket, they have all the markings on it.
You can still see some of the inscribing that was put on the metal part of the floor on the outside. The manufacture did that to dress it up a bit. It looks like a piece of wheat. You can see those pictures in the Photobucket album, too.
I pulled up the sides of the grain box. The pockets are in excellent condition. The sides themselves are in great condition and all the hardware is there.
i was expecting, since this truck was 66 years old, it would break down after a time. But they put a steel plate on the floor of the grain box, not quiet 3/4" thick. I thought it was to strengthen the floor. When we pulled it up, only one board in the whole bed has a break in it and it is only a foot long. Everything else, wood wise, floor and pieces they put on the frame that goes between the frame and box (4 x 6's) those were in nice condition. Amazingly preserved.
The truck looks like it was barn kept maybe most of the time! The paint on the back of the cab, between the cab and the box, has a bit of a sheen to it like it hasn't been exposed to the weather. The cab has some dents, dings and scratches but nothing major. The grille isn't beat up. The top bar has a slight little place where it's bent down but could probably be straightened with your hand.
There is pin stripping on the grille bars and under the windshield, and it really looks nice.
I was thinking I would eventually like to make it into a pickup with a pickup box. But now I like the grain box. This one came from the factory as a grain truck.
Doug also had a 1968 Chevy Custom C10 in the Gallery. He sold his truck in April to a guy who worked for the local power company. He saw the truck as he was driving thru the neighborhood.
Keep track of the restoration project details in the DITY Gallery and check for new photos to the Photobucket album. Any and all questions welcome! If you post in the forum, others can share in the discussion. Thanks ~ Editor
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