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1955.2 Chevy 3100 NAPCO

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Owned by Michael Adamson
Bolter # 8150
Vero Beach, Florida

Join the talk about this truck
in the DITY Gallery

21 November 2011
# 2923

More pictures of my old truck
More on You-tube

From Michael :

Don't know why I never got around to getting images in the Gallery, but after six years, here we go.

In the beginning ... there was a rusty truck

The body of my truck is a 1955.2 Chevy 3100 2 wheel dirve from California. It used to be an electrical wiring business truck from the faded logo on the side. The truck was in much worse shape than advertised. The floor pans, cab corners, lower fenders, doors and the bed sides were trashed. Oh, well, it gave me a reason to learn MIG welding!

But a 2 wheel drive is just not my cup of tea. So I searched for an original factory 4 wheel drive system that would bolt up.

After some research, I discovered that NAPCO Industries offered the system. I ended up finding a 1958 Chevy Panel truck that was special ordered for the Forest Service or some other government department. It had the NAPCO 4x4 system with a very rare Braden winch and optional 17.5 inch rims, including the spare! The body was hopelessly rusted and was literally collapsing on top of the frame.

So here I am with one truck and one frame / running gear in a small two car garage. Quite cramped.

I had previously cut the '58 body up into small pieces for disposal. A large body panel went to fix a friend’s '58 ‘Burb so not all was lost.

I refreshed the axles with new seals and bearings, cleaned out the 4-speed transmission and Spicer transfer case which were in great shape. I took apart the Braden winch which had been seized from rust. Wire-wheeled everything and applied some epoxy and Classic Black. 

Had the frame sandblasted. Then sprayed it with the epoxy and Classic Black as well.  Installed brand new 350 crate motor I got for $800 bucks! The foundation was complete!

Three years later ... on to the body

New doors, new bed sides, driver side front fender were ordered when a good discount came up (usually around Christmas). The next two years were really welding, sanding, spraying, sanding, repeating. Then used POR 15 on the bottom of the cab and on the inside of the fenders. Then top coated them with POR 15 Hardnose paint that was pretty close to the final color and mounted the cab, which was a rather hairy process.  Got the cooling system in and started on the wiring so I could get the engine started. Success! Here's a video of the start-up!

Five years later ... still trying to get the darn body panels and gaps correct

I had to do a lot of welding, shimming, cussing and some filler (never more than 1/8th) to get it to an acceptable level. I have no doubt that a master body man could have tweaked the panels so no filler would be necessary but a master I am not.

Bought the only STA Super Traxion tires that would fit the original 17.5" rims, and how awesome they are! The truck clears my garage by a half an inch. They also ride nice and don't make much noise for bias ply tires.

Finally, I sprayed in full body epoxy. Cut and shaped the front bumpers around the winch and got them chromed.

Here's a video of the bed being assembled.

Five and a half years later ... chose a body shop to shoot the paint

Bad choice on restoration shop. My truck languished for five months before the cab was done. The guy hadn't even started on the hood and rear fenders. I pulled the job and found another shop to finish the parts.

Home stretch ... final assembly

Here is the final product. Well not really, I have a long list of little things that need to be fixed or completed but I am having a hard time getting to those items because I'm enjoying my ride!

I want to thank everyone on the Stovebolt forum for helping me out over the years. I couldn't have done it without you all!


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