13 January 2014
1950 Chevy 1/2-Ton
From Deve :
Welcome, old truck enthusiasts! I want to start off by saying I blame each and every one of you for all the work that has gone into this truck restore. If it weren't for all your enthusiasm, dedication, and help in just about every facet of this endeavor, I wouldn't have felt the need to tear this truck completely down and test all of the great advice I have received. So, thanks ... I guess!
Okay, this all started in October of 1999 when my neighbor decided to sell me the 1950 pickup I had admired in his front yard for several years. You see, it had been sitting there for 18 years with the windows half-open, hood halfway up, and leaves, dirt, and spare parts in the ... uhh ... bed. It was a pretty sight from across the street!
Had I known he would eventually sell it to me, I would have covered the whole thing in plastic years ago. I was very grateful when he decided to sell and gave him the full $1000 asking price.
I discovered the old truck wasn't his. It belonged to a very good friend who always wanted to restore his Dad's old pickup but the years slipped by and the friend didn't have the time.
The moving day arrived and they towed it over to my shop (two blocks) and there it was! MINE!!!
The engine wouldn't run. The brakes were completely shot. The floor was completely rusted out. The bed wood was all missing. The windows were all broken. In all of its pristine splendor, I was the most proud new owner of all time!
After getting it in the garage, I discovered that for it to be back to drivable condition, a great deal of TLC was in order. Problem was where to start. I removed the bed and discovered so much mud, rust and crud all over that I decided to get out the drill and some wire brushes and start cleaning. It was a huge task but I am a clean freak (from plenty of working at the Air Force Auto Hobby Shop) and wanted it to look especially nice.
I wire-brushed the entire truck from the rear bumper to near the front axle. It took nearly 300 hours and a lot of really hard work. Of course, to do the job right, I had to remove a lot of stuff.
One thing led to another and I ended up removing EVERYTHING! In my quest for CLEAN, I ended up tearing the whole truck completely apart -- every nut and bolt.
Once I was to the bare frame, sandblasting seemed in order since that would get places my wire brushes simply couldn't. It was then that I purchased Tom Brownell's book called, "How to Restore Your Chevrolet Pickup." (See the Feature Story about Tom's book and the last update, which included some input from Stovebolt! ~ Editor.)
Between that book and all the conversations on-line, I felt compelled to do a frame-up restoration and do it right. I had seen a few Advance Design pickups that were done frame-up. They were nice -- REAL nice -- but I was determined to do better. I saw some room for improvement. That is one of the really neat things about looking over other people's work. If you pay real close attention, you can get some pretty good ideas how to make your's better!
On to the details
My shop situation is a pretty good one. I share our printing business location with my restoration shop and that enables me to do things year round. For this I am eternally grateful to God and my precious wife who share equal spots in my heart.
For about one year now I have been working on a very special project. The constant 72 degrees in the shop makes it possible for me (with four titanium rods, 13 screws and two plates in my lower back) to charge ahead. With electric winches of various kinds and lots of mechanical solutions, even I can proceed to make progress.
I like the 1950 because of its side vent on the driver's side. This truck is a 5-window. I wanted push button doors with VENT windows (1951 or later?). The new doors and new latching for some reason required lots of re-work to accommodate the 1/4 inch larger size doors.
I got that done and then I wanted original blinkers. So, I got hold of a 1954 steering column with the original blinker assembly. Looks just like it belongs on the truck.
No stopping there. I've got a 1959 261 engine with quieter hydraulic lifters, PCV ventilation system, Electronic Ignition, a Borg R10 Overdrive for the 3 on the tree, a 1955 1st series rear end for open driveline using an open driveshaft from a 1962 Suburban.
I am trying to maintain my self-imposed standard to be as period correct as possible while maintaining a "bolt up" philosophy. If it doesn't bolt right up because it's an extension of Chevy continuity, it doesn't belong. This should get me a comfortable 70 mph or so which works for me with this vintage.
Here is something important to think about ... if you don't address the additional speed with additional braking power that is at least commensurate, you are putting others at risk. Your choices matter in the occasion of a bad accident.
Since these are never done, I added 12 volts native -- gauges, heater motors, everything to NATIVE 12 volts without resistors or anything related to "converting." This is so I can use modern electronics, batteries, jumper cables, etc. without thinking about it. I can start the truck in the coldest of weather without issue.
I put in a bed from a 1954 because I like the flat bed rails instead of the slanted ones. I engineered a trailer hitch system that uses the frame rails for its stability while still allowing the underbed spare tire carrier to work as advertised.
I am also making a pickup bed trailer with matching paint job as sort of a novelty.
Since the space under the bench seat is wasted for the most part, I hope to add two metal drawers to put a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, jack and tool kit with 1/4 turn fasteners to secure the drawers. I have MP3 player connections and removable speakers in the cab corners and under the dash so I can listen to all the greats. I can start on this project once I have the engine back on the frame.
Then I added electric wipers, electrical cutoff for security. We've painted the accent parts on the frame (shocks, differential cover, tie rod, brake calipers) with a modern sports car yellow and black accents. We'll use the same color scheme on the cab and sheet metal, when we get to that point.
The truck has very little chrome at all, more stainless. If you have imperfect parts that would normally be chromed, imagine using black as the accent instead of chrome with the yellow. I thought it would look "too busy" if chrome is used too much. So it has black fenders, running boards, grille front (with yellow behind). Even those chrome baby moon hubcaps will be blasted, painted yellow with black lettering (rims black).
I started life as a total purist knowing how great these trucks were on the farm here in Kansas just as they were. But I just felt if I am going to all this trouble, what would I like to drive?
So, continuing with that line of reasoning, I am thinking about Vintage Air, but I'm not sure yet. Right now, after one year, the frame and associated mechanicals are a few months away from completion. It's slow and very time consuming. Each person can set a standard. Then you find you spend every day sticking to that standard. That's the hard part!
Besides the work on the truck, because of my back injury, an affective and efficient shop here has been essential ... and another challenge! I have fabricated some intricate jigs for restoration that I just thought of myself. I use electric winches, lots of mechanical helpers that I designed myself. I have tons of pictures on all of this and will write about it -- in time.
Although I am not finished yet, I am paying very close attention to every detail, getting opinions and advice from many sources, and doing my best to not compromise quality. This will be a stock pickup and I will be going for the original look and feel. There will be no rodding on this one. I am doing this for a few reasons. For one, I like to see pristine examples of original antique vehicles. Two, the previous owner will think his Dad's old truck looks awesome when I am finished. Not, "oh my!! he chopped, dropped, sliced and diced it!" Maybe on a project in the future I will rod one out, but not this one.
Who knows how this project will turn out because thanks to this forum and all of you wonderful people, I get new inspiration almost every day. Now if only you could send me some expertise!
Thanks again, everyone!
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