04 February 2013
# 3005

 
Owned by
Frank VanderBroek
"Stranger"
Bolter # 32224
Madrid, Iowa
 

1955 Second Series Chevrolet Shortbox NAPCO with a Rockwell Transfer Case

"Mater's Cousin"

 

More pictures of my old truck

Join the discussion about this truck

 

 

From Frank :

I am new to the Stovebolt forum. I stumbled across this place a few months ago and figured I'd give it a shot!

I have always loved 1955, 1956, 1957 Chevy cars, same for old trucks, and 4x4's! This vehicle I have here tied all three categories together for me!

I first spotted this 1955 Second Series Chevy NAPCO about 10 years ago. Thought to myself, "Someone's got a nice project." Drove by the same place a couple days later and it was gone. I did not give it any more thought.

Jump forward to a year and a half ago. I got a call on my cell phone from a friend who told me to get to a certain location NOW. I wasn't doing anything and figured, "What the heck?" so I met up with him.

We walked into a large, fenced-in car storage area. Walked halfway down about six rows of cars and stopped in front of this truck. Told my buddy, "Hey, I remember this!" He looked at me and told me the owner wanted to sell it. I figured, great, here comes a price I can't afford. But I asked anyway, "How much?"

The owner quoted me a price that I could simply, no way, crazy if I did, not resist. I called another buddy up that had a truck and trailer and asked him to get here now! He asked what was up and I told him he'd see when he got here.

Cash and title were exchanged, and, as I call the truck, "Mater's Cousin" had a new home. As many of your know, I'm sure, Mater is a tow truck from the Car's movie. I figured Mater must have family and this old truck looks like a good "hillbilly" truck relative.

I knew the truck was a four wheel drive and had manual lock outs, but I had absolutely no idea what I was about to uncover.

After cleaning out the box of many extra parts, garbage, and a few unidentifiable items (two of which were moving), I moved on to cleaning out the cab.

After another big pile of debris, I noticed the two shift levers, one each side of the transmission shifter. I thought, wow! Immediately crawled under the front of the truck, looked at the front axle, rubbed some dirt and grease away, and found a NAPCP casting, and a NAPCO tag. Fantastic!

I flipped the transfer case over (which had been sitting in the box of the truck) and found a second NAPCO tag. Anybody ever do a happy dance?

Mater's Cousin has the rare driver's side pumpkin, twin stick, Rockwell case. In 1956 General Motors changed to the Spicer case, single stick, with passenger side pumpkin.

However, research at the NAPCO site, has turned up that a Rockwell transfer case, twin stick, passenger side pumpkin was produced. Frank knows of three owners that have these extreamly rare set ups, and is in search of more information about them.

After much cleaning, the truck appeared (see the photos in my Photobucket album).

I finally got the truck in my shop, and made sure the motor was free, transmission worked in all gears, and the clutch was not stuck. It was time to make the motor run.

An oil change, spark plugs, plug wires, cap, rotor, points, coil, and some research to discover the motor was a 1966 283. Some fresh gas, turn the key, hit the starter button, timing adjustment, and the motor came to life with a belch, smoothed out, and purred like a content kitten. Fantastic!

After getting it to move, next project was to get it to stop. After tearing down to check brakes, I figured out why the transfer case was in a box of the truck. The front axle was a 3.90 gear. Someone previously had changed the rear axle to a 4.56. That meant I had to find another rear axle ... but I needed it to stop anyway.

I rebuilt all the wheel cylinders, replaced master cylinder, bled brakes, and was rewarded with a nice, strong brake pedal.

A little bored with mechanical fixing, I changed my sights to cosmetic repair. I stripped and repainted the grille, painted the rear bumper, installed seat (all swap meet finds) and decided to put in a poor man's floor in the box, and box sides simply because I like the look.

Now was time for lights. Kinda improvised here, as the tail lights are trailer lights that look similar to what was original with home made brackets. Front driving lights are actually after market backup lights with a filament change. Not correct, I know, but all lights work. Will correct as I get parts.

This effort thus far got me to my first car show in Madrid, Iowa. Lots and lots of lookers, lots and lots of questions, and one main question: What is NAPCO? Kinda like telling your child the same bedtime story a hundred times in one night. I had lots and lots of fun!

Currently the truck sits as is. I have found the correct rear end, and my efforts are going to be focused on getting all mechanicals as close to correct as I can.

I've had several projects over the years, but me and Mater's Cousin have become extremely great friends. Mater's Cousin told me he would like to make a bunch of new friends. Any and all are welcome! Here's a picture of me and Mater's Cousin.

Hope to get to the Kansas City Reunion this year to meet up with some of my fellow Bolter's. It's on the edge of a hard, fast plan so far.

THANK YOU for such a fun and informitive site!!! Stovebolt has provided me with many entertaining hours and a valueable sorces of information when needed! Thanks again to you and the rest of the staff! And thanks for letting me share!

Frank VanderBroek

 

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Frank (not really a "Stranger" when we met him at the 2013 Stovebolt Reunion in Kansas City ... one heck of a friendly guy ... a little shy maybe) is a great story-teller! He has " the fever" as you can tell from his stories and his project prictures. He started out on Stovebolt with a 1955 Second Series Chevrolet Shortbox NAPCO known as "Mater's Cousin." It wasn't long after that he was saving a 1959 GMC 370 LCF from the crusher! Frank's son David soon got "the fever" and although not a Stovebolt, he and Dad are restoring a 1965 Dodge D-200 -- another neat story that's only just begun. He also has quite a display of Past Projects in his Photobucket album.