01 December 2014
1928 Chevrolet AB Canopy Express
From Dean :
Here are some pics of Justin, my 1/2-ton 1928 Chevy AB Canopy Express. He is a 'National' series (built on the AB National car chassis), not a Capital series.
A Boeing engineer by the name J.T. Morgan bought an 11 acre farm in Martinez, CA in December 1954. JT found this truck rusting away in a barn on that property.
Ole JT pulled the truck into his garage and tinkered with it for the next 54 years until his death in 2009. Some time during that long spell of tinkering, he replaced a lot of the wooden body parts and re-did a lot of mechanical stuff. Sad to say, he never got it running. Not sad to say, because the truck was being worked on all the while, it spent all that time inside JT's garage, out of the weather.
After JT passed away, nobody in the family wanted to take on this unfinished project. The did feel strongly that they wanted to truck to go to a good home, since it had been such a big part of JT's life.
There are some pictures in the Bolt Bucket showing the truck being moved from his home in the Sacramento area (JT Morgan moved from Martinez to Fair Oaks in the late 1960's) into the "fairy tale trailer" (not mine, borrowed for the day). Three of the pictures show me and my friends unloading a reluctant Justin (four flat tires and one seized brake) from his trailer and into his new home in my carport.
It took me two years to find and fix JT's mistakes. ( It is impressive to see Justin in his "before" state as compared to the picture we have on this page ~ Editor ) If I listed everything that I did on the truck those first two years, it would take three pages! But here are the highlights, pretty much in chronological order.
At this point, I need to say that a lot of mechanical stuff was done to the engine in 1971, but it never fired for ole' JT. New pistons, new rings, new babbitt bearings, valves ground, and some other stuff.
On December 19, 2012, I fired up the truck for the first time in close to 60 years. That engine is completely original and ran nice. After I drove him around for a while, the ring and pinion gears stripped. I replaced the rear differential and torque tube with a good, used unit.
Last summer, Justin attended a few car shows and was quite a hit. Like Lurch, he provided a unique contrast to the don't-touch-me-unless-you-are-naked trailer queens. Here are some pics from the Ironstone 2014 Concours show in September 2014..
Bill Barker, the Webmaster of the VCCA, visited my house on his way home from the 2014 VCCA Route 66 Bucket Tour. While visiting, he took a couple of pics of Justin and video taped a ride around my neighborhood. If you want to read the whole story about the VCCA Route 66 Bucket Tour, here is a link to the beginning of it.
Last year, I took Justin for a "Show and Tell" day at the local high school auto shop. I spent the entire day. It was a blast!
In my search for more information on Justin, I tried California DMV records, but they don't go back that far. I am tracing the property ownership for the farm. So far, I've found that the guy who owned the farm before JT Morgan started a construction company which is still in the family and still in Martinez. I've contacted the family, but nobody currently living remembers the truck. I'll provide more info as (and if) I find it.
I would think it safe to say that Justin will be as big a star as Lurch. It is a mighty fine thing you have done. Not only saving old iron, preserving the history, but giving a name and story to it all. Some of those kids may not remember the years of the trucks, but they will remember their names, and their adventures, and the enjoyment of keeping it all alive. Here's hoping Justin has as fun a career in the limelight as Lurch has enjoyed. And you, too! ~ Editor
Home | FAQ | Forum | Swap Meet | Gallery | Tech Tips | Links | Events | Features | Search | Hoo-ya Shop