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05 July 2013
# 3020

 
Owned by
Larry Bearfield
"Larry Bear"
Bolter # 5470
Carlisle, Massachusetts
 

1955 Second Series Chevy Panel

"Bella"

 

More pictures of my old truck

Join the discussion about this truck

 

From Larry :

So, "Lucille" - my 1956 Chevy 3100 pickup truck was whacked last May (2012) by a young girl in her Dad's Volvo when I was stopped at a stop sign. The cop came over to me and said "She got a frisbee stuck in her steering wheel."

My reply was an incredulous "WHAT??"

"Hey, we don't make this stuff up!" he replied.

Dealing with her insurance company was a total hassle -- another long story. My advice is to document everything you do to your ride and every penny you spend -- then have it appraised!  I learned the hard way. 

Unfortunately, Lucille wasn't worth fixing. She was showing her age as a daily driver and results of living in New England.  

A buddy of mine suggested I get a panel for our country store instead of another pickup. He said he'd help with the restoration.

Mike is a former Ridler Award Winner so I figured I'd take him up on his generous offer. However, I discovered that panels are hard to find. I specifically wanted a 1955 (2nd Series) or 1956 so I could salvage parts off of Lucille.

I finally found a 1955 2nd at a salvage yard in Las Vegas. When I talked with Don, the owner, it was clear he loved old Chevy's and knew all the pitfalls.

I took a trip out to see the truck and found a shell that was in pretty good shape. Good chassis, no engine or rear end, good metal. It was a former Nevada Highway Association service truck.

Don also threw in a set of original hubcaps, parking lights, extra rims -- and I also scored another set of rear barn doors that were in great shape.

Initially, I had a hard time finding a transport for a non-running, rolling truck but eventually we got her back to Carlisle, MA. 

With only a handful of bolts holding the body on the frame, we pulled out the chassis. Mike went to work on the mechanicals and I did the body and interior.

Because she was to be a year-round, daily driver, working truck for the store, my goal was to make her road worthy while retaining the vintage "look."  

Mike, an old-school guy with a roomful of trophies for the hotrods he's built, is a perfectionist. I had to keep reminding him that we were building a daily driver -- not a trailer queen headed for Detroit!

Overall, it took us 100 days -- Salvage to Showgirl!  We used Lucille's engine, rear end and assorted other parts. It actually worked out great because I could look at both and choose which parts were better.

Purists out there will note that I ended up using the 1956 hood and side emblems -- they were originals -- and, most importantly, I owned them.

I had fun with the interior design and added extra, extra insulation (a layer of peel 'n seal followed by building foundation Styrofoam followed by jute carpet padding). We added heated seats have worked out fabulous!

I ended up having Maaco paint her ($710!) -- not a bad job for the money.  Finally, I worked with our sign company to come up with awesome graphics.

Although Lucille had lots of fans, Bella has quickly won the hearts of many and is even asked to be in many local parades!  She's a celebrity!

I want to acknowledge our fellow Stovebolters out there of Stovebolt.com -- always willing to step in with help, answers, advice and sourcing of materials!  You guys helped with Lucille and followed through with Bella!  You guys rock!   As for Lucille, my 1956 pickup, I ended up selling the rest of her to a fellow Stovebolt.com buddy here in Massachusetts ... so she lives on!

You can check out "Bella - Salvage to Showgirl" on our store website.

Larry Bearfield

 

 

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