1946 Chevy 1/2-Ton
From Archie :
This is my 1946 Chevy 1/2-Ton. I'm the third owner of this old Art Deco truck. It's been mine for 37 years.
The farmer sold the truck to Bill Bailey in 1970 and he took it to Colorado. Bill hauled two full-dressed Harleys from Colorado to Illinois in the back of that short-bed! Unfortunately, he left the tailgate in Colorado because it would not close with the Harleys.
Bill was quite a character. He made his living as a mover, and his hobby was Harley’s -- and just happened to have a PhD in classical music. He was the one that blew the engine racing a Mustang. If you ever heard Beethoven emanating from a piano in the closed trailer of a moving truck … that was Bill.
I purchased this truck in the spring of 1973. The front clip was off and the engine had a rod sticking through the oil pan. I purchased Ol’ Blue for $250, which was a high price for an old farmer’s truck with no engine. Old trucks were not COOL back when everyone was driving muscle cars.
My Brother-in-law had a fresh rebuilt 216. In one weekend, I was driving my truck back to school.
I took a job at the local Ford garage the next winter ... yeah Ford ... good jobs were hard to get in a small college town. I had permission to work in the back corner of the body shop sanding the truck for paint prep. Then my life turned in another direction and we were moving. I had one weekend to pack up the apartment, finish the truck and get paint on it. One of the old body guys said he would spray it with the original enamel for a case of beer. Paint: $12, Beer: $8 … remember this is 1974.
I went back to work for my Father at his gas station. So, in the early years, my truck was a daily driver until snowfall. Then I would drive the station truck, a 1965 F250.
In 1977 I left my Father’s station and started my own business: Bentz’s Texaco on Main Street in St. Charles, Illinois. I purchase a 1970 Chevy C 10 to use as the main service truck. I had my company name and the Texaco logo applied to the ’70 and Ol’ Blue.
During the next 13 years I had a number of new service trucks but Ol’ Blue could always be seen around the station. During that same period. I had a great hobby of collecting old cars and trucks. One at a time, I'd work on them, and then sell them to move on to the next project. I always told my friends and family that we could enjoy these various cars until they sold, but I would never sell Ol’ Blue. She would be my tombstone.
I have moved four times, and Ol’ Blue has stayed with me over the past 37 years. Back in the ‘70s and '80s I collected many NOS and good used parts with the intention of doing a total frame-off restoration. In fact, I felt that I had enough parts to make another good daily driver out of another truck. I decided that I enjoy Ol’ Blue as a true survivor, and if she were totally restored, I would not want to drive her for fear of scratches, stone chips, etc.
So instead, I have decided to pull out parts from storage and dress her up a little. We were awarded a first place and a third place trophy this past summer in the two area shows entered. I am not a trophy collector, but it sure is nice to have the old gal noticed.
When elder seniors are asked what they credit the longevity to … the common denominator seems to be: “Use it or Lose it.” The same goes for Ol’ Blue, she responds better when driven frequently.
List of repairs and updates over the years:
Back in '73 after I had put in another engine, I tried to sell it for $750. No takers then .. so now it is my tombstone.
Cool truck with a great story. Great to have another GABFest in the making! ~ Editor.