1949 Chevy 1/2-Ton 3100
From Dave :
I pulled this old 1949 Chevy 3100 out of a barn in October of 2012. I loaded it on to a rented trailer and hauled it to the shop at my home. The round about way of how this truck has stayed in my Mrs.'s extended family is pretty interesting.
This truck was purchased new from a dealer / salesman named Major by a farmer named Glee. Glee didn't have enough money to buy it straight out so he gave Major cash for about two-third's of the price. They shook hands and agreed on Glee making payments on the remainder. I don't know how long it took him, but Glee paid it off.
It became Glee and his family's main mode of transportation as well as being his farm truck. He had three sons who all learned to drive in this truck.
Sometime along the way, Glee and his family moved to the big city and took the truck with them as they still kept some cattle and had a garden on their old farm.
In the 60's when Glee would load up family members to go pick fresh produce at his farm, my future Mrs. recalls riding in the bed along with her Mother and her Mother's sister (who was Glee's wife) for a ride to the "country." Glee sold alot of his produce at market but would haul his wife's sister (my Mrs.'s Mother) to pick all she wanted for free.
Sometime in 1969, Glee parked the truck in his basement garage for some long forgotten reason where it stayed until his passing in 1997. His heirs sold the house, so his sons moved it to Major's son's barn which was about 25 miles away in another town. Why was it moved to Major's son's barn -- don't know. Ends up, Major's granddaughter met and married Glee's grandson while they were both away in college. Small world I reckon.
To keep family in-fighting to a minimum, the truck was titled to the great grand daughter of both Glee and Major. Seems there were several cousins that were about to come to blows over who should get it. The GGD had no desire for an old, non-running truck, so it sat forgotten in that barn until October of 2012. Glee's last remaining son was over at my place checking out another project car I had in my shop and he told me about the truck, matter of factly.
We set up a time for me to go look at it and once I saw it, I knew I had to have it. Even the Mrs. was for it as she had a history with it.
I made a fair offer and they thought about it for a couple weeks. They finally called and told me it was mine for that price. So I purchased it from the GGD of the two men that had made the first original deal to sell / buy it brand new. Funny, I gave her more for it in a non-running condition than her Great Grandfather Glee had given her other Great Grandfather Major for it brand new.
Since it was in a dry place the whole time, there wasn't much surface rust except in the normal places -- door bottoms, cab lower corners, floorboard and the bed metal and wood. Critters made the interior their home and ruined the upholstery, headliner, flooring and side panels. The glass was busted on the driver's side, rear window and right side windshield. It wasn't running but it was all there.
It took about four months to get it running as I was splitting time between both project vehicles. I sent the head off and had it rebuilt -- new valves, guides, springs, keepers and hardened seats. Once I got the head back, I cleaned up the piston tops and block, rebuilt the carb, replaced the fuel pump, and distributor vacuum advance. I pulled the tank and had it boiled and cleaned and bought a new 6v battery.
Once it breathed to life, it's been getting my full undivided attention ever since. The other project car will just have to wait until I "feel it" again.
I went through the entire brake system replacing just about every component except the front two wheel cylinders. I rebuilt them.
One day when I had it out, a fellow came up to me and we started talking about old trucks. Ends up he had a 1950 3100 he had built into a show quality hot rod and asked if I would be interested in his good, leftover custom parts. Ends up, I got a newly upholstered seat and frame, matching side panels, chrome grille, chrome front and rear bumpers, nice hood emblems and a brand new gas tank. With those parts, the truck started to look pretty good.
I met another fellow when I was out and about, and after talking awhile, he ended up buying some of the old parts I had just replaced. Nothing goes to waste on these old Stovebolts.
Looking at Dave's pictures in his Photobucket album, I thought the truck bed looked pretty neat. So, I asked about it ~ Editor
The original bed was / is in bad shape and I'm guilty of doing a temporary patch on it. After I removed two big pieces of sheet metal (that I will use for patching up the body), the original wood was rotted and had several large holes. The bottoms of the steel sides, front and back steel panels are rusted, too.
The bed was unusable in this condition. I enjoy driving that old truck so much that I use it to do my weekend chore runs. So having a usable bed was imperative.
I had some old tongue and groove pine panels in storage and all they were doing was taking up space and collecting dust. So I installed some of them over the existing original wood decking -- for now. It's pretty stout and will actually last quite a while. It makes the bed usable. I'm going to eventually totally rebuild the whole bed with a Mar-K kit one of these days (once I build the $$ stash back up, that is). The bed works out so well that I'm in no hurry to rebuild it at this time.
It now runs good enough to be a daily driver. It's getting to the point where I don't have to wrench it before and after whenever I take it out. I do need to address the leaking rear main seal one day but I make sure I top it off before I take her out and carry oil with me.
One day I plan to do a frame-off restore but it's now my very enjoyable weekend cruiser and I'm in no hurry to pretty her up just yet. It is a work in progress.
The more I dig into this old truck, the more obvious it becomes that Glee wanted to keep it around for a long time. He kept it properly serviced when it was in operation. His last remaining son can look at it and in a moment or two can tell me just about everything I've done to it. I gave him a ride in it over the past Thanksgiving holiday and he remarked that it rode and sounded like it did back in the day. We were both very glad that I ended up with this heirloom!
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