01 March 2014
1949 Chevy 3600
From Ted :
I've always had an interest in restoring old vehicles. Being in the Army for the last 14 years, it's been difficult to put down too solid of roots and have a shop that makes the restoration process somewhat easier -- but I've made it work.
My new project, this 1949 Chevy 3600, has quite the sentimental value and story for our family so I intend to get her back on the road until I retire. Then I will begin a frame off restoration after I settle down to my final home back in the hills of West Virginia.
This truck has been in my Wife's family ever since I have known her. Originally, it was a local farmer's truck (in Hardy County, West Virginia). My Wife's cousin bought the truck in the late 80's after the original owner had passed. He gave her a rough going over. The fenders were beat in from cows beating up against it, but she was all there. After he was finished with the truck, he put it up for sale. My Father-in-law Elvin loved the truck and his daughter (now my Wife) bought the truck for him as a surprise one year for his birthday (we're in the early 90's at this point).
Elvin drove this truck everyday for years (up until about 2000). He had two daughters and as they got older and went off to school and needed the newer vehicles, he drove this ole girl everyday back and forth to work. When I met my wife in '97, I took her for a ride in this old truck and she broke down on us (fuel pump). That was the last time I drove it for years.
Elvin parked the truck in 2000 and she has been sitting since. He was meticulous with maintaining the originality of the truck. I was after him to swap it to 12 volt, update the brakes, etc. but he'd have none of it. If the generator went out, he sent it off to be rebuilt at the local NAPA. Same with the starter. She's still 6 volt, vacuum wipers, Huck brakes, and 100% there.
After I joined the U.S. Army and we left the area in 2000, we'd come home as often as we could. One of the first things I would do is go out and coax the ole girl back to life and get her running again. I would always get after my Elvin to run her down the road once in a while to keep everything working. He worked a lot driving a truck and it just never seemed to happen.
As my Elvin got older and the truck sat longer, I think he got overwhelmed a little. About a year ago, he told me to take the truck back down with me and do something with it. He was adamant that I keep it original and not make a hot rod out of it.
As we loaded her up on a trailer and made the trek from Hardy County, WV to Ft. Campbell, KY, I realized even more that we were hauling a piece of history. We had people taking pictures of the truck as we traveled down the highway. At every gas stop (which was often), someone wanted to buy the truck.
The first thing I did when I got her down here was to get it running again. After a carb and a good tune up, she fired right up. I had to pull the gas tank and clean it (I pulled three dustpans worth of rust out of it). In the end, I ordered a new tank because I kept stopping up fuel filters.
Elvin passed suddenly a few months ago, so I have jumped on the truck with a renewed effort. I found the original wheels with period correct tires, and am going through the brakes right now. As soon as I get all of that rounded up and together, she should be able to get back on the road after all these years.
My boys help me work on it and this ole girl will always be "Pappy's truck." I'm hoping to have her road ready in the next couple of weeks and then I'll do the same thing he did -- drive it.
As I said, when I retire, I'll pass my time by taking her down to the frame and giving her a complete restoration. This truck will be preserved and I'll pass her down to my boys.
As today's vehicles get more technology and are put together with maximizing profits in mind rather than quality, I am mindful of better times ... when a quality product is what mattered. A time when the driver did the thinking and driving, rather than the vehicle. A time when good values and hard work were the norm and political correctness wasn't a term even thought about.
I'll get more and better pictures as soon as the weather breaks ... we ready for spring here in Kentucky! I'll keep you all posted on my progress in my DITY thread and load pictures to the album! Please feel free to check back and comment!
Great story Ted! We have a sweet spot for Kentucky and 1949's Chevy trucks! So, your's was a double-delight! When spring arrives in North America (??), we'll look forward to seeing more pictures and checking your updates! Driving an old Bolt -- it don't get much better than that!
We all thank you for your service to our Country! ~ Editor
Home | FAQ | Forum | Swap Meet | Gallery | Tech Tips | Links | Events | Features | Search | Hoo-ya Shop