1952 Chevy 3104 5-Window Stepside
From Bill :
Here's an updated picture and some story for my Gallery page. That's me driving my pick-up and my wife Carol waving as we pull into our driveway.
I have removed the chrome wheels that my Dad had on the truck and installed the original wheels with wide Goodrich whitewall tires. I added S/S beauty rings and S/S hubcaps, and pinstriped the wheels. I had painting the original wheels and the hardest part was the pinstriping. Actually the '52 had three pinstripes on the wheels, but I was going stir-crazy after two. I will add another in the spring.
I had a full time job at the General Motors Tech Center but I worked on this truck as much as I could (until I had health problems). As I mentioned in the first submission, it was 12 years to complete - from start to finish.
Working at GM, I received an original sales brochure and an original Delco radio repair book. Every truck that was made in '52, including the big ones (buses, fire trucks), they gave me every bit of information / data on those.
I have a couple of creepy tales that actually happened while restoring my truck, that you all might enjoy.
As I said in my original submission, I picked and filed the whole truck -- meaning that the metal shined like stainless steel. When working on the fender, I took some pictures as I made progress. The fenders looked perfect. I had used lead-float and that will show any flaws in the steel. Lo and behold, after developing the photos, two little girls' faces and a dog showed as plain as ever. One little girl had a ribbon in her hair.
Well, every spring, my wife gets a postcard where about ten psychics are coming to town and she enjoys going. Two of them confirmed that the truck was giving off "bad vibes." One physic held the pictures we had taken (she did not look at the photos) and was visibly shaken. She said there were two girls, a Mother and a dog that were thrown from the truck while riding in the bed. They were all killed. She also said, "I see an old red truck that is presently in restoration. It belonged to your Father. He is quite irritated that it is all in pieces in the barn!" She said, "Whatever you do, please don't paint the truck back to red again."
Well, in fact .. my wife and I had taken the cab off and there were parts all over the floor in the pole barn. But that "red" part ... wasn't sure about that. It was dark green when I got it.
Next, she turned the pictures face down. She burned a candle and it started to turn black. Then there was a picture of a man laying dead ... a body. My wife said "There's your Dad."
We were at the funeral home once and my daughter picked up the pictures. We happened to be in the Funeral Director's office, and he looked at the picture and started shaking. I told him I hated to see something that scared him!
When working at the Tech Center, I would often start my day by spending some time working on the truck. One early morning, I was grinding by the driver's door on the cab. I laid the grinder down and I turned around and there in that fresh ground metal, there was a big drop of blood. I looked at my arms and hands ... nothing. I looked in the mirror. I didn't see anything. I called my wife to come out and look to see if she could see anywhere I might be bleeding on my back. By that time, blood was running down the cab. Never did figure that one out.
I don't relate that story too much because people will think I have an oar out of the water.
I found an old Suburban and picked what I needed out of the front fender. I fit it in and put lead over that. Normally, I use bees wax for my paddle. But instead, I used motor oil. Smeared it like icing a cake. Where the oil lays there, guess what you see? A skull. Another is a skull that has decayed.
Some where along the line, while the truck was in Kentucky, someone there had gotten hold of it and made a mess. In some places, there was an inch thick of bondo. Some one had cut a Budwiser beer can and smeared it with bondo to hold it in place. When I restored the truck, I could tell it had gone through a bob wire fence. There was also a football size dent in the front, which was (of course) filled with bondo. I took all that out. All the deep gouges -- I picked and filed them out. It took alot of time. When I started sanding on the door, I busted threw to red paint.
Up in the back of the cab when I took the bed off, I had that filed real clean. There is an image that looks like a wolf but it's a dog. It ties in with the story the psychic told.
31 October 2006
From Bill :
There are a couple unique facts about the truck. It was built 38 miles from my home in Flint, Michigan in 1952. It has 15,644 total original miles on it since new. Also, the original wood used when manufactured was re-installed by me. The vent windows were eliminated (I like the earlier windows and trim better). It has full stainless exhaust. The seat is original.
My Uncle bought the truck new in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. He was a dentist (he was 92 when he quit his practice). When he died, he had a whole Quonset hut hut (with heat and air) full of stuff. My Dad stopped in for the funeral. My Aunt showed my Dad what she was going to have to get rid of from the hut. Dad saw the truck in the corner and said, "I want that truck." She said, "It's your's." It had already been sitting there for 30 some years. It only had 15,000 miles on it.
So then my Dad become the new owner. When my Dad died in 1994, I became the owner. I owed it to them to make her into a little lady. It took 12 years to accomplish that. One of the biggest reasons for taking so long, I went for three years without touching it, because I had open heart surgery (getting five by-passes) and that took considerable strength from me that has never returned.
Now, I am not an amateur at body repair or painting. I owned my own bumpshop for many years (30+). After that, I went to work for GM Engineering Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. I worked on many concept cars and trucks there, also a few NASCARS, (notably Dale Earnhardts, #3 for the Daytona 500 race -- which he won). It was the 50th anniversary of NASCAR and all cars had to have a color change. Dale's black #3 was painted red, white, and blue. Proudly, I was one of the two painters to paint his car. For the real kicker, I got to drive it from the semi to the paint shop, with security in front of me and following me.
They sent a roll cage and we had to build the car around the roll cage. When we took it to South Carolina, Dale wanted the old car. He took the new one, tho. Dale Earnhardt, Sr. was my hero in NASCAR drivers and it will never be the same without him.
My job there also entailed getting all make of GM cars ready for auto shows and painting pilot models.
I did a complete frame-off restoration in my shop. I replaced many of the panels, complete floor replacement and made the cab corners. Some panels were made making a pattern and wood dies. I would hammer-form and make my own parts.
It is an all metal-truck, as I metal-finished every square inch of the truck. The only fillers I used were lead. I did replace both cowl sides to include the inner panels, replaced full floors, formed my own L-R cab corners then used lead on them. The rest of the metal was picked and filed straight. I taught metal finish at the GM Engineering Center several years after having the body shop. All the work and painting was done by me and I have documented it as well.
I didn't care for the Fulton outside visor since the truck is rounded and the Fulton visor didn't look right. So I altered a rounded visor from the '49-'50 Chevy passenger car and it did the trick. I did have to work a disappearing peak into the visor to match the truck cab. Then I made a mini bowtie out of stainless steel on a bridgeport machine.
Pickups-N-Panels did a magazine article when I wasn't even half-way done with it.
Now I am retired and 73 years young!