1941 Chevy AK Pickup
From Jim :
This is my 1941 Chevy AK Pickup. I purchased it December 7th 2013 which was ironic -- a World War II vintage truck bought on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. I spent the next five months restoring it.
I found this old truck listed for sale on-line (don't remember where). It was in Indiana and the owner had passed away. He had an extensive car collection but his son wasn't interested in any of the vehicles and had them all up for sale.
I tried to contact the seller for about a month and got no response from my phone calls. Finally, I sent him a text message and generally said that I didn't want to bother him but I wanted to know about this truck -- was it still for sale? I just wanted to know so I could quit thinking about it. Prior to this, I had already lost out on several trucks trying to buy them.
I'm guessing that everyone else who called that number, got no response, and gave up. Well, he contact me. He said he had been really busy. He sent me some pictures of the truck. It was pretty rough. His Dad tried to make a rat rod out of it. It looked solid enough and I wanted it.
I made him an offer and he agreed. I wanted to send a deposit and he said not to, just "come and take a look at it." Because I had already lost out on a few truck deals, I wanted to make it clear that if I drove all the way from Virginia to Indiana, crossing five states, the truck better be there. He assured me it would be and I still did not need to send a deposit.
The truck was there. And if there would have been a "problem" -- it may have been for me. The son is a mixed Martial Arts instructor. So, I was ... well, glad everything went just fine! My persistence paid off.
The son also offered me a sweet 1953 Chevy Belair but I had come prepared to bring only one vehicle home!
When I first got he truck back to the house, the very first thing I did was to take a cut off saw and lop off the shifter that was extending from the floor to the ceiling with a skull on it. The floor board was covered in pop-rivited street signs ... among other Interesting stuff.
When I was a lot younger, I had a 1957 Chevy pickup. I worked on for 11 years and never finished it. But that lesson taught me to start with something a little more complete and be methodical about the restoration. When there is too much to do all at once, you can easily get overwhelmed. Staying focused really helped me get this total restoration accomplished without much anguish.
I only drove it three times before spending the next five months disassembling the truck and finding surprises.
I liked doing the metal work. When you start pulling one piece apart, you find all the problems -- the lower cab corner, rocker panels, back lower cab corners, behind fenders. You find a lot of cavities that need work.
Initially, I tried to build my own patch panels for the truck. Some had a slight bend in them. So on a couple on them, I just got after market patch panels for them.
My Grandfather has been welding for over 80 years. He's 96 and still welds. I'm not real good at taking direction so I taught myself how to weld. But that is typical for me: learn on my own, do my own thing.
The truck has an upgraded drive train and suspension. I tried to keep the dimensions the same so it looks period correct. The motor is a 350.
The truck was taken completely apart and brought back to "close to original" condition. I spent more on the paint than the cost of the truck. By June 2015, it was on the road and is a reliable cruiser.
We are enjoying taking it to car shows and cruise ins and just driving it around town.
My other Grandfather fought in the Battle of the Bulge. This truck is dedicated to him and to all of the Greatest Generation. I acquired WWII decals for Red Cross Blood Drives, and different items that are authentic to the period. The truck has an original fuel ration decal on it. I have booklets in the glove box -- one is the US Army Driving Manual, teaching the guys how to drive.
Jim's 41 Chevy
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