1942 Chevrolet 1 1/2-Ton (Military - G 506) Panel
From Tony :
I've been away from the Stovebolt forums for a while and I figured I'd give you an update.
Everyone shows a great interest in this special big truck. Younger folks especially are surprised when they learn it's WW2 vintage. I am happy to be able to present the truck and all of the history that it represents. Plus, it is simply gnarly cool.
The truck has a 1959 235 motor. The original motor was also a 235 as shown in this picture from the Old Car Manual Project website. The '59 is just an improved version of the original as discussed quite often on Stovebolt.
The truck has always been generally in pretty good shape and just needed some "freshing" you might say. It is still pretty solid overall.
I stayed busy all last summer "refreshing" her. The truck sat for so long, I thought it was a good idea to get it apart (see the pictures). I wanted to get paint on to every possible piece I could.
I did not remove the body from the frame but I did take all the front sheet metal, grille, radiator support, fenders, running boards and everything connected to them off and either sandblasted, sanded, or otherwise ground them down to metal (mostly), as well as the body, and repainted in "early" WW2 Olive Drab lusterless.
I went to the April 2015 Military Vehicle Collectors of California show at Tower Park in Lodi, CA and bought the paint. I ended up with the wrong stuff. I had an early WWII lusterless and a later WWII paint. I decided to go with the early one since it is a little darker and has a little less khaki tint. I did a test pattern on the side of my truck and you can really tell the difference in the two colors. I painted the gas tank the wrong color. The old school stuff is Olive Drab paint # 33070. I bought four gallons of paint and a dozen rattle cans.
An interesting side note: the distributor of the paint is Rapco. Their site shows the different colors available for all sort of military vehicles, even more recent vehicles included.
I had two Harbor Freight spray guns - both cheap, but one a little less cheap than the other. I preferred to use the "better" one when doing the bigger pieces because it put out more paint.
When I had a few (or many) pieces ready, I did the painting myself in my regular "paint booth" known as the great outdoors. I usually started early in the morning, when it was still. Invariably, just as I was about to start, I would hear the pine needles start to rustle a bit from a breeze. I tried to do most of the painting in moderate temperatures but it did range from 60 to 90, 60 being the preferred temp!
I tried to work on as many parts at a time as I could. I had a piece of logging chain strung between two trees. My truck pieces hung there like laundry all throughout the summer. For the smaller stuff, I just did a few pieces at a time with the rattle can.
I did some welding on the lower panels on both sides of the truck. I welded up holes in the running boards but for the most part, I didn't do any body work except for a dimple here and there (filled it). The upper panel needed so much work and I just painted it -- I'll save it for another day. With it isolated, I can just do it in sections like that. Otherwise, In a few years, I'll do another over all paint.
It took most of the summer to get this done. Here is a good photo-story line link showing the paint and body work. Even though there are some imperfections (dents and dings) on some areas of the sheet metal, the Olive Drab paint color made a huge difference in being able to pull it off. I used epoxy primer, a few brands. I had to get the mix just right. A gnat may have gotten in there but it certainly didn't show.
One of the more challenging parts of that paint job, aside from just disassembling everything (wow!), was fitting and welding panels on the lower body sides. Had not done that before.
It was only two years ago that I got the title clear for the truck. I had it originally and it had been over 30 years (1980) since it last had plates. So, I had to have California Highway Patrol come to the house to verify the ID and then I was able to take it to DMW. In California, once something lapses, they want to look at it again. Once I realized what I had to do, and they had a list of instructions, I was ready. Biggest problem was that I had to have it weighed. It cost me almost $300 to have it towed to an official weigh station.
Now that she is tagged and running, I really don't want to go too far from home base. We go on short stints just around town - not more than four miles. But she can GO ... check the video to see her zoom by.
I have a few things yet to work on. I want to replace the exhaust system.
I'm having some problems with the barn door in back. The door latch is not working well. There is a misalignment in the cargo area opening (that the doors open to) due to an impact the right rear of the vehicle suffered before I acquired the truck. That has led to a misalignment of the doors. I will get that fixed and strengthened and get the doors properly aligned. Then I need to attend to the left side door latching mechanism.
I want to install a Vintage Air heater, one that uses the coolant from the engine. I probably should re-wire everything. It has been re-wired (not original stuff) and it looks like someone knew what they were doing when they did it. I'd like to re-do it with something more current.
I like the outside to look as authentic as possible but have smart, reliable, functional, CURRENT systems inside to be safe.
I built a box / bunk / bench in the back and am anxious to take it up to the hills with my bike and go camping. I can pretend that I've gone real far.
Well, this is quire an update here and you've got some great images in your Photobucket albums. The last picture we had from 2013, shows the Panel still up on blocks! Now, she's just a humming down the highway. Looks great. Anxious to get some pictures of your great adventures for the calendars! We'll look for you in the regular hang out: The BIG BOLTS forum! Thanks for the update. ~ Editor
09 March 2013
From Tony :
Wanted to say hello and introduce myself and my old chunk of iron. Been lurking about getting all kinds of great info from you guys so thought I oughta show you what I've been hiding. Hope you like it.
The G-506 refers to the one and a half ton 4x4 trucks made by Chevy that came in various configurations starting in August 1941. I'm not sure when they stopped producing them.
These trucks share axles and "closed cabs" with the much celebrated GMC 6x6 CCKW (G-508) that was also very common in WW2. BTW, a great place with photos of these trucks is at Vehicles of Victory.
So I worked out a deal with the previous owner and she's been in my custody ever since.
The power train worked very well and all I had to do was get the braking system in order. Oh man, that allowed me to have a lot of fun Booniewhompin' in our local hills and mudholes. It was great!
Well, here we are still after all of these years. As you can see by the pictures, father time has had his way with this old girl. But I've been working on her. (Need to check the earlier pictures in the Photobucket. ~ Editor) Just last year I installed newly sleeved master and wheel cylinders along with a rebuilt Hydrovac and all new brake lines.
The engine and the rest of the powertrain appear to be strong but it's been many years since she's hit the road, so we'll see how that will go -- hopefully soon.
Just two weeks ago I procured four "like new" tires (7.50x20), but hit a bit of a snag when I had the existing wheels taken apart. There is quite a bit of rust (who woulda thought?) inside the rim and my local tire fellas backed out.
After careful cleaning, I think the rims are ok as the mating surfaces of the lockring and rim appear to have good integrity. We had a good exchange of info on the wheels in the Big Bolts forum, and thanks for the Tech Tip on tires and wheels for the big trucks -- very informative.
A couple of other bits of info on the truck I thought I could share. I'm pretty sure mine was put out as a K-51 radio truck. From what I gather, these were some of the most powerful "mobile" radios of that time. The radio and other necessities were in the truck itself. The sizable trailer that was part of the rig was essentially just the generator.
The reason I think my rig was one of these are some minor distortions and brazed holes on the sides that seem consistent with the toolboxes and spools that I've seen in pictures of that setup.
Also, it wasn't long after mine was built (June 1942) that the War Department didn't allow any advertising on the trucks, so to speak. So the embossed "Chevrolet" on the sides of the hood where I've painted it black, didn't appear on later versions.
So that's it. I would love to hear any feedback or questions regarding this truck, or these types of trucks and related issues.
This is a fantastic site! Thanks so much.
Besides this Big Bolt, Tony had a 1961 Chevy 1-Ton Panel truck in the Gallery (until October 2013). She was the pretty face of this couple! He sold her in October in order to put more time, money, effort into the Big Bolt. Be sure to follow Tony's progress in the Big Bolt forum and look for more pictures on Big Truck's Bolt Baby Book. ~ Editor
Home | FAQ | Forum | Swap Meet | Gallery | Tech Tips | Links | Events | Features | Search | Hoo-ya Shop