25 August 2012
1946 Chevy 3100 Half-ton
So, I have always loved the Art Deco trucks (1941 to 1947 1st series). I grew up with one ... mostly.
My Dad had a 1948 art deco truck that he used around the ranch. He had a calliope that he built and put it in the bed of the '48 to take in the local parades as the music. (Check out this picture - not only a nice old truck -- working truck -- but a neat old 1946 Chevy Bel Air, a great old 1946 John Deere H tractor, and a nifty vintage 1931 one-ton stake bed truck. Man, John hopes to have his "little '46" in the family photo next spring. Now, THIS is a farm! ~ Editor)
At about age 10, I ran Dad's old farm truck front first into a loading dock, mashing up the front end. He never got rid of the ol' 1946 Chevy. It just sat in the field with his other Bolts in various stages of restoration (he has quite the list including military WWII, pre-war dating back to 1928 and even Advanced Design ones with the newest being a 1955 Big Bolt semi-tractor).
Anyway, back to the story. As an adult, I decided to pay my penance and start gathering parts for the '46 that had been sitting for now 25 years. I began in the usual places: cruising the back roads of Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming and so on to gather the parts for him so he could bring his truck back to its former beauty.
As the hunting and gathering went, I'd find a suspension piece in Iowa; a hubcap in New Mexico. I even drove to Kansas City to get a front clip.
Needless to say I got bit by the bug. (hahaha - Editor!)
Finally this Spring, I acquired the last of the parts Dad needed for his truck (it will probably be on the road next Spring). Now it was time to find my own.
Early in the Summer, I saw an amazing 1946 Chevy 1/2-ton near Oakland. It was even assembled in Oakland! The old truck was in incredible shape. Well, it showed up on eBay ... I hate eBay. But I bid it up and then someone waited til the last minute and stole it from me.
After my wife had to listen to me whining about missing out on this truck for a week, she joined in my search. We found "Farm Fresh" on some obscure classified site ... two days later! I was off to Eastern Nebraska with the Tahoe U-Haul trailer in tow.
The previous owner didn't seem to know too much of the story of this classic vehicle other than it had won trophies in a few shows out that way.
Now, I am the proud owner of "Farm Fresh" (more on why I named that in a second). After figuring out what I had, a few thousand dollars in parts from Jim Carter, Bowtie Bits, Filling Station and Chevys of the 40's, cursing a few times at seemingly unending brakes and electrical issues, I have her where she can be a daily driver. (Dad is hunting down a seat locally for me.)
The '46 truck is painted "Export Blue" but I'm not sure about that. It looks pretty bright in person. Personally, I think it might actually get more attention than it would otherwise. One day I am thinking it will actually be Boatswain Blue. Originally it was that classic color: Brewster Green.
In honor of my agricultural heritage, I will be making it look somewhat like a huckster (thus the name "Farm Fresh") with shelves in the back meant to hold bushel baskets of spinach or lettuce, complete with a blue and tan striped canvas cover. The town I grew up in (Yampa, Colorado) used to be one of the largest producers of spinach and lettuce in the U.S.A. Kind of like this one. I stole the idea from Tim Sheridan. (Couldn't think of a better guy to steal ... I mean, be inspired by! Tim is an AD Bolter thru-and-thru! ~ Editor)
Newest project on the tuck is to figure out what I have in the rear-end. I was out for a weekend drive on the surface streets and was following another car down a road with a 55 mph speed limit. I was keeping up really well and I looked down and the speedo said we were doing 70! Something's not right here. I don't ever remember Dad's being able to get up to that speed (and I woulda tried).
Radar has had me pegged at the right speeds (we have some of those "you are going too fast" signs that show your speed in and around the neighborhood) at 45 mph. So I have no reason to believe the speedo is that far off. The tranny numbers match as a '46 three speed. What could the prior owner have done to the diff or inside the tranny while still making it look stock on the outside?
The truck came with a box of gears (assuming from the tranny) so perhaps he somehow upgraded while keeping the same look and numbers matching case? The engine is a 1952 216 though.
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