01 September 2014
1953 Chevrolet 3104 1/2-Ton
From Bruce :
This truck was manufactured at the Lakewood (Atlanta), Georgia Assembly Plant in the spring of 1953. Retail price (excluding options, accessories, tax, dealer prep, tag and title) was $1,306.96 (roughly $11,667 in 2014 dollars). Out-the-door price, all-inclusive, was $1,368.02 ($12,212 in 2014 dollars; less than half the cost of a current, basic, full-size Chevrolet 1500 pickup truck).
It belonged to a former President of the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America (VCCA) who used it to haul scrap. It was in pretty bad shape when he got it. Before that, we think it was probably used in construction of some sort.
In 1994 another previous owner and fellow member of the VCCA commenced serious restoration. The truck was completely dis-assembled, and an extensive program of rust repair was undertaken.
After 15 long years, the truck was still only at a stage of partial completion. The owner was relocating to another state and the truck was bought by another member of the VCCA.
Over the years, about six of us from the VCCA have had our hands on this truck ... almost like a club project..
The truck stayed in storage, still incomplete, for several years.
I bought the truck in April, 2014. By the time I got the truck, some of the work on the driveline and under-carriage was complete. The body had been repaired and painted (though some work remained and I had a body shop finish that part up). Substantial work had been done on the interior as well.
The numbers-matching 216 “Stovebolt” inline six-cylinder engine had been rebuilt by a local member of the VCCA, though it had not been installed.
I spent the next four months locating remaining parts, and completing assembly of the truck. There was a lot of stuff to find, repair or replace. Some stuff small; some not so small. Needed break work, water pump, radio, etc. -- enough to keep me busy (and still pecking at it).
I completed enough of the work in four months to have it driving, which was just this past summer.
My goal was to make this, as much as possible, a complete and correctly restored example of a 1953 Chevrolet Advance-Design truck. I am pretty much there.
The 1953 Chevy was an odd year for these trucks because of the Korean War. There was not as much chrome on these trucks as the later years. Parts like the grille, hubcaps, etc. were painted. Some people who are restoring the '53s go with chrome for the looks; but paint is period correct.
I got specifics for the paint colors and paint codes from Bob Adler who is a VCCA Tech Advisor who lives in New York. He's a terrific guy and he spent a lot of time with me and was a big help.
I have taken the truck to a few cruises so far. We have National VCCA meet in April next year in Warner-Robins, Georgia and I will be there - even if the truck is on a trailer.
The truck drives like an old truck. The motor only has 60 miles on it as of this writing. I had a few problems with the shifter and linkage as you would expect with it being newly running. It needs a little more shake down.
I have been a gear head since back in 1969 when I was in high school. I started out with Volkswagens and worked on them for several years. I ended up with a job working on VWs. I even became the Georgia Chapter Rep and National Director for Vintage Volkswagen Club of America.
Here are a few of the VWs I've had:
After working on the VWs for some time, I wanted to try something more substantial. So, I switched to Chevys and joined the Georgia State chapter of VCCA. So, besides the '53, I also have:
Working on this '53 really took some real effort. It really impresses me to see the folks who get into this hobby knowing nothing at all about mechanics, body work, electricals, etc. Yet, they get it done! Hats off to ya!
.Bruce A. Jones
Assistant Director, Heart of Georgia Chapter
Vintage Chevrolet Club of America
(former) Georgia Chapter Rep and National Director,
Vintage Volkswagen Club of America
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