01 February 2015
1941 Chevy 1/2-Ton Suburban
Well, of all the horror stories we have heard about old truck finds, let me tell you ... this is NOT one of them ! ~ Editor
From Steve :
I drive a 1941 Chevy Suburban that has the old barn doors. It's all original, very solid and complete.
The truck originally belonged to the Idaho Department of Transportation. They apparently used it more like a van since there were no back seats in it. But even as a "van," the cargo area was not beat up. The interior was in really good shape.
Apparently, they didn't use it very much either. From its condition with the lack of body damage, no rust issues - not even the underside - they must have stored it in a garage.
A fellow in California bought it from the DOT. He said it was in that good condition when he got it. He may have been the one who painted it but I don't think so. The paint job looked old when I got it. My guess is it has only been painted once in its life.
This second owner took the truck to parades with his grandchildren. He didn't do much else with the truck but kept it looking good. He got tired of it after a while and stored it for about ten years. The truck still had very low mileage on it. They referred to the truck as "Big Red" ... we just call her "The Suburban."
I got my hands on the truck in 2011.
The PO had the truck listed in Hemmings Motor News. It had only been on-line for two hours when I called him. I asked him if it was still for sale and he said, "Yes." I immediately sent him a deposit and I agreed not to haggle on the price. Within a days time, five people called him and offered him $4-to $5,000 times above what he was asking. But he kept our agreement on the price of "my" truck. That was impressive.
I know a bunch of shipping companies so it wasn't hard for me to find someone who was willing to bring it from one coast to the other.
When I got the truck, no mechanical work was needed. It had a Rochester carburetor on it and I switched to a Carter W-1 carb. I put an electrical ignition module on it - the petronix. It runs like a top.
It was nice that I didn't have a hard time finding seats for it. I added new tires. I buffed out the paint real good and she turned out really nice.
The brakes were good. I got new whitewall tires from Chevs of the 40's. The hub cabs were the ones that came with the 'Burb.
The interior was in great shape. The floor was polished. The woodwork around the windows was solid. The headliner was in great shape.The chrome work was in good shape and was original.
I have always been into old trucks. I have eight. There's a 1941 Chevy pickup, a 1941 Chevy Suburban, several 1937 pickups and panel trucks, some other Chevys, and a 1941 Chevy 1/2-ton that is in beautiful shape. One of the '37s is a regular driver for us. They are all fun vehicles to have -- they are like a time machine for us.
I have been doing this for a while. I use to buy and sell old trucks. I wanted an old Suburban and within a week, I found this one and bought it.
Now, I don't buy and sell ... I just buy and keep! We almost have a small old truck lot. I recently got a 1946 Chevy Cabover.
There are not many old trucks like this on the east coast -- they all rot away. The salt on the roads here in winter is a real killer. That's why I have gotten most of my stuff from out West.
Since a classic truck is a rarity here, folks get excited when they see us coming. There are quite a few street rodded trucks but few that are original or near original.
I especially like that this 1941 Suburban 1/2-ton is one of only 920 that were made (I think that number is right). WWII changed the picture for these trucks as GM changed to making trucks for the war effort.
My wife drives the old trucks a lot. She's a photographer and she took the photo for the Panels & Burbs 2015 Stovebolt Calendar. This picture was staged at a trolley museum nearby. (We are hoping she'll take more ~ Editor) Out of all the trucks I have, this one is the best driver. It is the same frame as a 1/2-ton pickup but it drives better than that truck..
Steve's been around the site for a long time and it's good to hear from him! Always like to hear from our "old timers." ~ Editor
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