04 November 2014
1941 Chevy 1/2-Ton
Father & Son Restoration
Just took a little while
From Bill :
In 1973 I was only 23 years old when I bought himself a project truck -- a 1941 Chevy Model 1314 1/2-ton. In 2011, 38 years later, me and my son Scott (who's in his 30's now) finally completed the restoration.
I graduated from SAIT’s Aircraft Maintenance Technology program in 1971 and worked and saved enough to buy this truck. I had been advertised for sale in the Calgary Herald’s classifieds.
The "project truck" was complete -- it needed some body work. It was slightly dented and there was some rust on it.
With a little bit of work, I got the truck to run with the original 216 inline six engine. But, I never drove it.
As things go at this time in all of our lives, family and life took over. Time and money were at a premium. I was unable to afford any restoration, but I was also reluctant to sell. So, I stored the truck outside on a friend’s farm. The passing years and the grazing cows weren’t kind to the old Chev. They rubbed up against it and dented it even more.
Moving way ahead in time, Scott comes along - my son. He never stopped pestering me to get working on the truck. It didn't happen until 2000 when I switched jobs (Scott was 33 then). That deal gave me more funds but less time.
So I took the truck to a place called "Airdrie’s Hot Rods and Cool Cars." They dismantled the truck in preparation for a complete restoration.
Airdrie's did all of the sheet metal work, refinished the chassis and restored the brakes and suspension. They installed a larger 235 cubic-inch GM engine, mating it with the truck’s original floor-shift 4-speed gearbox.
They painted the body a dark blue, and the fenders and running boards black.
It was almost done, but the shop went bankrupt before it was finally finished.
In 2005, Scott and I got the truck back from the shop to our place. It wasn’t until 2010 that we finally got around to final assembly, installing the wiring harness, gauges, windows and the entire interior.
We did mostly the small stuff, and by 2011 we had the truck back on the road.
I found out that the truck is something of a rare wartime truck -- its serial number has an "8" after the model number, and that indicates the Chevrolet was manufactured in General Motors Regina, Saskatchewan assembly plant on Winnipeg Street just prior to July 1, 1941. Most other Canadian GM products were produced either in Walkerville (now part of Windsor) or in Oshawa, Ontario.
I found online that the Regina GM plant opened in December 1928, and was closed in August 1930 due to the uncertain economy.
General Motors reopened the factory in February 1931 and closed it again in August. For the last time, GM opened it again in December 1937, but by July 1, 1941 stopped assembling vehicles in the plant.
At that time, the factory was turned over to the Canadian Government for munitions production. The plant was re-named Regina Wartime Industries Ltd. and manufactured anti-tank gun carriages, numerous gun parts and complete guns.
Post-war, the Regina factory never returned to automobile production.
For now, me, my son and grandson Kaleb who is four have been touring around to car shows and participating in parades.
The truck’s been around for a pretty big part of my life, and it now belongs to Scott. Hopefully, one day it will be passed on to Kaleb
My truck was featured in the News page of Driving e-magazine, June 2014.
Keep track of what Bill and Scott may be up to with this '41 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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