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Cool Old Truck

Craig Bell's Restoration effort on a


Chevrolet 3100

March  04  

From Craig:

My 1953 1/2 ton has been on your site for several years now and I receive quite a few emails about it. The truck pictured below belongs to an actress who lives here in Los Angeles and was used in a film about a detective mystery set in 1960's Los Angeles. She liked the truck so much they gave it to her at the end of the film. It sat in her garage for ten years being driven maybe once every 3 or 4 months.

The front grill is original and was straightened and re-chromed at a shop here in Los Angeles that does beautiful work at very reasonable prices.

Our paths crossed through a mutual friend and when she saw my truck she asked if I would restore hers.  After a few months we agreed on a restoration cost and her only two requests were that the truck be painted black and that it would have power steering installed so she could drive it. So the project started.

The truck had an existing ac compressor as well as an alternator attached to the 235 so fabricating the mount for the power steering turned out to be a real chore. She wanted the truck left somewhat stock so I had to use a power assist system that bolted to the straight axle front end.  These units are readily available, but the real problem was where to hang the pump.  You can find brackets for two units but there are none available for three.  The other problem is you cannot attach anything to the passenger side of the engine as there are no mounting holes available.  


The eventual fix was a bracket fabricated and mounted  on top of the ac compressor bracket, I used a power steering pump from a 2002 Honda Accord and mounted the remote reservoir on the firewall. The pump put out more pressure than required and made the steering a little squirrelly so I installed an adjustable Heidt's pressure regulator in line and was able to adjust the steering system from there.


The rest of the restoration was pretty straight forward, this truck has a 4 speed HydraMatic transmission which was a rare option for the time and the engine was in pretty fair shape so only a major tune up and fluid change was necessary for the drive train.  The ac / heat system was totally refurbished and a modern sound system installed.  All new glass, rubber and felts were installed and the entire gauge pod was refurbished. 



New bumpers were added and the bed at one time had a 1/2" steel plate welded in so instead of cutting that out we sealed all of the rough spots and applied a Line-X spray in bed liner. 

The truck is a joy to ride in and she is very happy with the project.  The truck now comes out of her garage on nice days and sits in front of the house as part of the scenery.  It's a good thing!

Craig Bell

Curator "Craig - Neat story and great pictures!"

Last modified: July 26, 2022.

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