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Owned by Denis Samin
"Zacca"
Bolter # 7707
Atherton Tablelands
North Queensland
Australia


04 February 2008 Update
# 1170

From Denis

          Happy New Year to all of the Stovebolt family. Just giving you all a brief update. (We know this won't be brief but we LOVE it!! ~ Editor)

          We left off with a stitched-together truck which was our learning curve because we had nothing else to compare with -- where things were supposed to be bolted, welded and glued on, together, apart or not together, upside down and right way up. We tried every which way, fitting things until it looked like the trucks in the Stovebolt Gallery. I’ve never had a real-life puzzle like this. Even with a Taiwanese space shuttle, they even give you an instruction sheet and a few cheap tools to help you lump it together (and always with the inevitable three bolts missing).

          Josh and I were really chuffed when that old banged-out fender actually fit (at the front) the rest was rusted. But, we didn’t want to show you that bit because we would’ve been too about itthe. But even the rusted old grille from some old ghost in a rusting boneyard didn’t look tooo bad after a hit with some Silvo paint either.

          We cleaned up our act up a bit when I contacted one of our Stovebolter pals who had finished his projects. So, he was selling his left-over parts to make room in his workshop at home.. Bolt-heads. Bob sent us emails of what was on offer. It was like a bucket of cold water to a man lost in the desert. This was stuff you only find in Ali-Baba’s Cave!

          I bought as much of it as I could, but not too much to strain the friendship we soon developed. Nobody down here in the tropics of northern Australia has 60+ year old truck fenders that didn’t come half-rusted out already, and patches made out of roofing iron or stitched up with 10 gauge fencing wire. So, I bought a pair of good steel fenders, (slight ezyfix dents), a nicely chromed new repro grille, a full set of original working shockers, long and short running boards (just to be on the safe side), a 12V generator, a complete distributor and Bob’s whole stock in hand of bubble wrap and shrink plastic, and a really great fuel tank -- without any holes in it.

          He pleaded with me not to buy any more stuff because I’d used up all his stock of wrapping up materials. And what a gentleman he is! He drove the precious cargo from Northern California and checked it in to the Port of Los Angeles shipping company free of charge. Now that’s what we call being neighbourly!

          Six weeks passed, the booty was on the water! Then as if by magic, (once again, that word) a big red Isuzu hauler pulled up at my front gate. And there we were, laughing and unwrapping that stuff. The wind was blowing like a hurricane and Bob’s packing peanuts and bubble wrap was blowing off the mountain into the deserted valley down below. We could see it looking like like snow down there for a fortnight.

          But we were swimmin’ in GREAT replacement, original, steel, un-rusted, spare parts! So THEN we got serious and unbuttoned all of our previous work. We cast an eye over our 1941 216 engine. Had to go into the repair shop for an overhaul didn’t it? The workshop bloke just laughed and, with a wry grin of doom and finality said, “Nobody fixes those things anymore. You’re better off taking it to the dump.”

          So that was what we did -- a trip to the tip. It must be in China by now. A man nearly cried as it thumped to the ground from the back of my truck. I got to thinking about V8’s, mongrel conversions from various 4WD trucks and said, ”Nope, she’s a Stovebolt and has to have an Inline Six, just like they made her."

          I looked through all of the truck magazines titles that circulate down under, newspapers, placed ads looking for an old Chevies, no such luck. Then came a bolt from the blue. Magic again. Two weeks had passed. I received an email from a real live wizard, Stovebolt Office staffer Woogeroo. I thought he was an Aussie at first, who said he’d received a message from a guy in Alice Springs, Northern Territory (very Central Australia) saying he had a reconditioned ‘53 Chev 216 engine for sale and invited me to make an offer. On the phone straight away and did a deal for $1200 -- if it came up to specs. Turned out that it was like brand spanking new. Absolutely everything had been done -- reconditioned inside and out.

          I grabbed Big Bevyn Truss (now retired -- he had trained as a mechanical engineer by General Motors in Queensland when he was a lad and had done his trade training on these GM engines). Our total trip was 4,236 kilometres (how many miles is that??) and one of the most interesting drives of my life.

          After we removed the tappet cover and sump pan, Bevyn turned to me and said, “Mate, you’ve got a brand-new engine here and yes, it hasn’t been run yet.” [ the engine ] The funny gizmo on top of the carburetor is a dust pre-cleaner I fitted so workshop dust and flying dreadfuls don’t get down the throat of the carbie. Thought it would save guys phoning up and saying I have the wrong air cleaner. Fact is, the air cleaner is away taking a sandblast. [ another image of the engine ]

          We recently got the engine and transmission in and we re-did a lot of work on the cab. Josh and I now hope to have the old girl pretty close to finished by mid 2008. We’ll keep you all posted.

          With so much happening I created a fresh MSN photo site on my truck. All the guys can get a progress update by just clicking the link. I have 30mb of space so I should be able to fit all those boneyard pics and cyclone wrecked homes on the same site.

          Just wanted to record my thanks and pass it on to Woogeroo that he did a great job in pointing me at that engine out in the desert, I was about pack it in and part my truck on eBay. But the those long-gone mechanic spooks just wouldn’t let that happen, would they? Remember I said that every single Stovebolt standing on four wheels has a guardian spook engineer inside it? AND when someone decides to spend some time and a bit of money on an old lady, they negotiate with the all other spooks on who gets what parts, when and where as they needed, just on time. Like a ghostly production line.

          I guess I’ll know the answer to that some day, when I’m a spook myself.

Cheers,

Zacca and the gang in North Queensland

 

          Zacca actually sent this in on Australia Day. He sent us a nice pix of him celebrating with a few steaks on the barbie. We wish a belated Happy Day to all out Bolt Mates down under! ~ Editor


19 September 2006 Update
# 1170

From Denis:

      G'day you blokes! Had some great days back in August. It hadn't rained or clouds through the house for days. So, the Stovebolt is coming along fine. This is probably the only Stovebolt in the world being built out of the best of Stovebolts left in Australia. That is, solely from junked parts. My God, that is a challenge!

      Thought I'd send you a pic of my Pacific Island son, the lad I inherited from my old Colonel in his will (no money). This is Joshua with our Stovebolt which we are both bonding with.

      I was offline for for a while after losing a hard drive. Lost my password info and everything. What a doozie! Maybe it's from hammering too much sheet metal! I had been belting away on the fenders for weeks and finally got it how I want it. Buffy can't believe it. I do have some updates on the old website. We've made some good progress and everyone is in good spirits since we (especially Lisa) can see things happening. Found three more strays all partially restored but forgotten.

      Tour the rusty bezel/trim from inside the windscreen before I took out the glass. It was on ok condition. I have another bezel in perfect shape. It rained a lot which put-off much sandblasting

      Lisa has taken a greater interest in the project. She saw me welding and thumping away on those recycled fenders and said "Why don't you just buy new ones?" I just looked away, shook my head and said nothing. Even the dogs looked embarrassed. I was just stunned by it. It was sooo unexpected.

      "They make fiberglass ones" she said. "I saw them in the catalogue. They're only a few hundred dollars." I haven't thought up a reply yet, that could take a while. I just went on panel-beating, but lighter in the heart. And even the dogs looked happier. After all, they wouldn't have to cringe anymore, every time I whack that fender with the hammer.

      When are you blokes going to put on another war in the South Pacific so we can downgrade to HumVees? John would understand this as a Marine. I was in Australian Special Forces and transferred to New Guinea as a Signal Troop Lance Corporal. I arrived in time for the Corporal's exam and I passed. So then I was promoted to Sergeant. (Infantry Battalion). What else could you expect? Qualified after my next exam for promotion to Lieutenant (called "first appointment"). The battalion Regimental Sergeant Major came over to Port Moresby and said (over a few beers in the mess), "So, umm, would you rather be a Warrant Officer or a Lieutenant?" (I thought he was kidding.) Being a digger and respectful to the RSM (and aware of the fact I was already earning $20 per day more than a Lieutenant), I said (not meaning to be rude and talking in context to a very salty RSM "With due respect, Sir, I'd rather be King of the s*its, rather than the s*it of the Kings." That is where military career ended. A corporal in my mortar platoon was promoted to Lieutenant. I was promoted to Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2). At least I had the satisfaction of evacuating that same Lieutenant out of a later assault at the start line with heat exhaustion and I took command. I lost six good blokes carrying him out on a bush stretcher. He didn't even say thanks. He disappeared and I never seen him since. The battalion has a PUC from WW2, as guerillas against Japanese. Liked the blokes. They were a good mob. Tough as old boots.

Cheers cobbers!

Denis, Lisa and Joshua
(I left out the animals)


20 July 2006 Update
# 1170

From Denis:

      Well, we've been a bit off colour with the flu of late, still with no ceilings at 2700 feet where the air is a tad cool and it's been raining for three months since Cyclone Larry. Thought I'd show you the apparition that arrived on our front lawn -- a Stovebolt with a GMC/Chevrolet grille. We covered up the body as fast we could before the neighbours saw what it was. We've spent the past two months peeking out the window at it. AND then, we had a couple of days of sunshine and I prettied her up.

      My wife Lisa even accepts it into the family. But next weekend it's to be at the sandblaster and that pretty red topcoat comes off to bare metal and rust chopping time.

      I just love this stuff.

Denis and Lisa
Zacca
Atherton Tablelands
North Queensland
Australia


01 May 2006 Update
# 1170

Hey Fellow Bolters!

       Hard to believe that in between all the mass destruction from a category 5 cyclone (which we did geat a great feature story from Denis), Denis is still working in his Stovebolt Zone. Check out his site for more details and photos (including the storms -- there was more than one!)

       Here's his update:

      I was in conference this afternoon after lunch and one of my assistants came in and said “There’s a truck driver trying to contact you on his cell phone. It's urgent.” I dropped everything wondering “What the heck now?”

      The feller said “I’ve got an old truck on the back of my truck for you. It’s an International or something. Where do you want it?” I found out where he was and told him where I was, and where I could meet him. Found him not far along the road. He had a 3/4-ton Stovebolt on the back of a 6-ton truck. The bolt was fairly complete -- no rust, all the glass and doors, windows, the works! Great cab, clean sills, no rust in the flooring. This truck was sent to me by someone out west in the drier country, semi-desert somewhere, complete running gear and a good chassis.

      First thing I noticed it had -- the grille was top half of a Chevy and the bottom half of the grille and radiator surround was blended into GMC. I was told once never to look into the mouth of a horse someone gifts to you. Moral of the story is “BELIEVE in Stovebolts and they will FIND YOU.”

      Now I know what the guys on the Forums are talking about when they mention “The Strays.” Being an Apprentice Stovebolter, I didn’t quite know what that term meant before … but now. Now I really KNOW.

      Lisa didn’t mind the “stray” either. I didn’t even have to hide the poor old thing. By the way, sliding the Bolt (which had no front axle or wheels) off the back of his tilt tray, the 6-tonner got half-bogged into the in the waterlogged surface of my lawn out front of the house, churning his rear duellies down six inches deep. He’d asked me to move my sedan out of the way, too, so he could do a three-pointer to reverse of his truck up, and reversed all the way up the best part of my front lawn. He dropped it off, and found another unmarked piece of lawn, (more trenches) and left.

      My word, he was a slick one alright! I got bogged trying to drive the riceburner sedan out but easily found several sheets of corrugated iron that had floated in from around the neighborhood, and so, got back to work. Sure is a nice break in the multi-cyclone tension! And, my front lawn now looks like a potato paddock after the ploughing is done. Cheers mates, Denis and the family and the animals

      Oh and thanks for the story. Makes us all down here feel really special and gives us a lift. The sun is shining again, but with all the rain, our lawns resemble a sugar cane field. The pristine lawn has gone feral and converted itself back to elephant grass or something similar. So I attacked it with the ride on mower and by noon it was half whacked (I mean, the mower was half shot). So gave it a rest and started assessing that new stray Stovebolt for parts. Just what we needed, another old army truck! LOL.

       The chassis and cab are good ( more unscratched glass) and running gear is all there. It has 17" wheels ( those tires are hard to find so it's going to run on 7.50 x 16 radials which should be about the same circumference as the 17" on the outside edge so I don't get the differential ratio screwed up).

       Enjoying my break from work -- only 21 more days off! Spending tomorrow straightening out my workshop, all of my tools got soaked so, they'll be taking a bath in a tub of diesel tomorrow, regardless of whatever that may cost. Tested my MIG welder, wouldn't work, until I looked inside and saw that its plumb run out of wire, so that's an easy one to fix.

       The guy who gave me the Stovebolt windows and doors came back. He wants four wheels and tyres so he can roll a complete cab and chassis onto a car trailer for me. (I think it's the one he was going to retain). He also gave me a nice print of a 1992 painting by an American artist named Anne Doyle, of a Stovebolt leading a GMC 6 x 6 through the wilderness of Alaska in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of a truck run to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1942. Very nice.

Cheers you fine people!

Zacca



10 April 2006 Update
# 1170

Hey Fellow Bolters!

       I mounted the front fenders and grille for trial fit. It all went OK so next week maybe I can get the cab on the chassis. That'll keep me quiet for a while. A guy I wrote a story on gave me a '41-46 Chevy he has sitting in his back yard. He retains another one. When I started this, I thought parts would be hard to find or expensive. These things are everywhere -- like mushrooms! On the property where the bush trucks are, those folks told me to get what I need next Saturday as they're about to call the scrap metal guy. Looks like China is starting into our old cars now. Glad I got what I did before the end. I think I have enough spares to build a second one!

Cheers,

Zacca

       Denis has too much excitment in his life. While waiting for a picture to go with this update, we got this news from Scotty Reed:

Hey everyone! I got an e-mail from Zacca. Said he's doing OK, but his house got hit with that cyclone in Northern Australia. Took the roof off of his two bedrooms and his barn. But his family, himself and truck are fine. His computer blew up and right now after a 16 day wait, they were finally able to get electricity again. Now Zacca and his truck are involved in an effort to round up food and supplies for the neighborhodd which is going well. Just thought you might like to know.

       Being a writer, maybe when all this settles, Denis will give us a feature on the event, plus having the Bolt doing relief work!


From Denis: 

       Hi gang! I was had big time. The Chevy I was attracted to at the agricultural show -- that started me into this Stovebolt Saga -- was imported. My new-found knowledge tells me it's a USA-built Stovebolt! And things have been hectic around here of late. I've been running around in circles getting tools and shop sorted out, building a pot blaster and a blast cabinet. I am making slow headway as the real work begins.

       Inside the shipping crates, I found most of the bits of a 1942 Chevy light truck. I still don't know what size it is but it must be at least a 3/4- or 1-ton. I will have no idea until I get the wheels on.

       Our new addition to the family has been accepted by the missus, two dogs, the cat and a couple of resident Willy Wagtails (a kind of wren that we have flying wild around here). The cab was awesome with four clearly definable "bum dents" where the labourers on the plantation must have sat on top of the cab roof over the past 50 years as they trundled around the coconut palms.

       Another surprise was several deep dents parallel to each other on the back of the cab roof between the bum dents. [ Before ] Apparently, someone was in the habit of stacking pipes or poles against it. I spent 35 hours knocking those dents out by hand with hammers and dolly. [ After ] Got me some new blisters as well.

       The front cab cowls have the usual road rot, but overall, not too bad at all. I finally plucked up the courage to have a closer look at the 216 engine that's being lying like a derelict on the concrete floor of the shed for the past four months. Mainly because I couldn't grab hold on it and just throw it upright because of the weight of the thing. This is the original 1942 engine and wears army olive green over the original dark blue colour it was painted when new from the factory..

       So, with levers, ropes and plenty of grunting, she was standing upright. Off came the tappet cover -- plenty of black oily tappets, everything in order, up and down, where they should be. Next was a look at the water pump. Seemed like it didn't want to turn too easily. Probably seized, stuck fast, bearing cashed in its chips? Geez, I just had to know, so off it came. And do you know what?, those 9/16 bolts just turned out so easily. Everything came undone just like in a dream.

       The water pump assembly now in hand, I was amused to see the army had been busy at work in here too. Someone had painted the back of the water pump where it bolts up to the engine block in that same olive green -- just to make sure the pump couldn't be seen by the enemy and give away the old truck's position. Ten minutes later, after a mud wasp nest was cleared from the pump's upper radiator outlet and his neighbour, a mouse's nest was cleared out of the lower inlet, that pump was spinning like a windmill in a hurricane.

       Generator likewise. A few pumps of oil in the caps and she was turning freely. Number one spark plug was removed, slightly tight, and eeeew, the sparky end was corroded, dry and rusty from condensation inside the cylinder. This motor came from the tropics and hasn't been run for more than a year. All of the plugs came out with rust on the electrodes, All much the same and this didn't look good. But it made me think the piston rings must be in good shape and not leaking oil into the combustion chamber. All I could do was inject a lethal cocktail of Penetrol, four-stroke oil, engine oil and diesel straight onto the top of each piston. The aim being if the rings haven't fastened on to the cylinders yet, at least something is at work to prevent us from receiving a nasty surprise further down the track.

       In the coming months, I will add more oil in the cylinders and begin applying pressure to the crankshaft to see if I can get some rotation. Maybe it would rotate right now but we're not going to push our luck.

       I dug out the old W1 Carter carburetor, coil, fuel pump, distributor, oil inlet pipe, air cleaner. Yep, everything fits on just fine and still carrying the original appearance of work and wear on that motor. I'm tempted to leave it looking exactly as it is. That motor looks great. All it lacks is the rumble, vibration, smoke and the sound of a Stovebolt. I wonder if it will have an Aussie accent? But then, that's another story.

       I took that rusty Chevy grille I found on one of the old army trucks ( the only grille there) to the local chrome plating guy. He's a master plater -- does all the Harley stuff.. "Good steel," he says. "This will come up as show quality." Great! I was bothered about the fact it only had one of those stainless steel corner trim pieces hanging on the end, and half of a broken lower centre grille moulding. That would've looked pretty ordinary.

       When I got home, I switched to eBay, and there's a lady in Kansas has the complete set for sale but the auction had five days to run and it was already $59 after two bids. I left it it for five days and went back 14 minutes before the auction closed and made one bid of $1. I was immediately outbid by $1. to $60. "Last shot," I thought with the clock ticking over. I made it $61 with three seconds to go. I won the bid! So now I have a fully chromed show quality grille, complete with trim pieces. And I thought that grille was just gonna be a "painter."

       These two Aussie Bolts and a third were all found close together on a farm near home. They were parked there in 1975.

       I think this Stovebolt of mine is a high-bred lady of the highway. She ain't gonna wear no second-class trash, no way! The weird part is, I had been thinking of where I could get those trims for my "painter" grille. I had never seen them advertised anywhere. I've even asked the guys in the forums and sent an email to Jim Carter's and ... nothing. It was only when I had a "chromer" instead of a "painter," that things materialized from nowhere.

       This truck came out of New Guinea. It had been in this district when Aussie troops were training here for the assaults in the Pacific Islands. It went away to war with an Australian Infantry Division. Soldiers who were wounded, became sick, or succumbed to disease, were brought back here, where there were two Australian Army Medical Corps general hospital units. The soldiers were patched up and restored to health.

       My nine Chevys I found in the bush were not more than three miles from where the two old tented, 3000-bed general hospitals were. I'm patching that WWII truck from parts cannibalized in the vicinity of those field hospitals and one looked like the remains of an ambulance -- the one I got the grille off.

       Does it get any scarier than this?

In trepidation,

Zacca

Soon after we uploaded Denis' update, we got this message from him: "With all of the prompting I've had for photographs of the boneyard, etc., I took up a free site for photograph uploading with MSN a few days ago .. but it's getting out of hand! I have latest pictures of my resto going. I've done profiles on some of the old trucks. But being a journalist, I can't stop yakking about stuff and building a storyline. You can lift anything off the site you may want to use. Have a look and you will see I've been busy over the past few days and really kicking a few goals and advancing my frame-up restoration. My wife Lisa cannot get over how much tidier the garage is. "All of those parts and intricate have disappeared," as she put it. 'They've disappeared into that walloping great truck you see before you,' was my reply."


29 July 2005
# 1170

From Denis: 

       Hi guys. Just wanted to show Stovebolters what my mission in life is right now. [ Take note of this picture! ]

       I'm a newspaper guy that laid up a photo of a very nice '42-46 truck in my newspaper that was to enter in the "Best Ute" competition which we sponsor at the local agricultural show.

       As I was laying the pic on the page, I thought, "Crikey, that's a nice truck - wouldn't mind one of those." A week later, a guy rings up and asks me who owned that truck. I said "I don't know. Sure is a nice truck though. Why do you ask?"

       He said "I've got one in crates that was brought down from New Guinea. I thought the guy may want to buy it."

       I told him I would be interested myself. "How much?" When he told me it was $200, I said for him to come see me. Which he did.

       With details in hand, I went down to the coast where the crates were and had a look. I couldn't see much but what I saw convinced me that I should buy it.

       The following Saturday saw me and the lad loading bits and pieces out of the crates, 2.5 tons the first load. My Nissan Patrol truck was severely overloaded and I had to climb 2600 feet up the mountain to our home. We made it OK.

       The following Tuesday, back we went again with a car trailer and brought the rest of the gear up, including four 216 motors. That was a good load as well.

       I had most everything I needed except a steering wheel, wheels and rubber (the originals were rusted and pitted), the seat and window glass and hubcaps. The speedo and gauges were there in name only and covered in mold and rust.

       I found out the history of this truck as well. It was built in Australia at Holdens in Melbourne in 1942. It was originally a civilian vehicle that was commandeered by the Australian Army when things were going badly in the Pacific and Australia looked like it may be invaded. The truck was painted a cool olive drab and was sent to Lae with the 9th Australian Division in 1944. It did it's job there until the end of the war on 15 August 1945. The Army sold the truck to a coconut planter in 1948 for 10 Pounds and it remained dressed in its olive green for the rest of its life. It was finally shipped to another plantation in Milne Bay, Papua, New Guinea.

       Last year, the Australian plantation manager arranged to buy the truck from the company, dismantled it and sent it to Cairns. However, he was to transferred to a palm oil plantation in Sumatra, Indonesia for the next five years. So he would be unable to even start the restoration.

       Sanding back the olive green paint, I uncovered the original colour. There are two layers on the inside of the firewall inside the cab. One is Midnight Blue. The other Export Blue. What the scheme of these colours is, I don't know.

       I've had the outfit for three weeks now and yesterday, I found another old Chevy ('47 or '48) that died in the bush. And now have a steering wheel, all good hubcaps, a seat, dashboard, rear fenders, and glass and regulators for the cab windows. Magic!

       I have a truck I didn't look for -- it was looking for me! And now I have the bits I didn't have, as if by accident. Something is at work here!

       This pic shows the old war-horse before it was dismantled. Body looks rougher than it really is. Running gear is all good. It was still working on the plantation when they parked it. Notice it still has the army 'blackout' lights on the fenders.

       I told a friend of mine in Colorado how the Nissan was having trouble hauling this stuff up the mountain which is steep and winding. He said "When the Chevy is pulling the Nissan, she'll be whistling all the way. Nothing but Chevy sits in my front driveway."

       I've been spending some time planning how I'm going to go about this restoration. Most I can handle myself so I've been shopping for a MIG or a TIG welder for handling the sheet metal welding and cutting end of the business. There's going to be a lot of it. For simplicity, I've decided on oxyacetylene equipment using a new Australian designed torch gun that doesn't overheat the work and cause warping. Amazing what it can do. I've seen one working and very impressed. Maybe some of the guys would like to see their site. Check out - hope you understand the funny accent!

       Happy knucklebustin' !

Cheers,

Denis Samin
"Zacca"
Bolter # 7915
Atherton Tablelands
North Queensland
Australia

       Yes, something IS at work here. De-de-de-de / de-de-de-de~~ Editor

-30-


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