1946 Chevrolet 2-Ton
From Ken :
I have been viewing this site for the last year. After reading all the great stories, I felt compelled to relate my own.
Go back about 10 years. At that time, I was a life insurance salesman working usually four or five counties, all primarily rural with no major cities. Rubbernecking became a hobby more so than listening to the radio. I knew where every piece of derelict farm machinery and old trucks / cars were hidden.
One thing I learned quickly is that the further down in the ground they're stuck, the harder they are to buy.
I saw stuff for sale all the time all along the highways but what appealed to me were the "orphans." You know the ones -- held captive by barbed wire or the ones secured by a young oak tree up through the frame.
One day I was going south towards my folks' place when I saw this old Chevy truck sitting in a field for sale along with some other bits of farm jewelry. It was a 1946 Chevrolet 2-ton with no bed, hand painted blue with a brush, after-market turn signals, and a spotlight mounted on the windshield frame. I swear it spoke to me.
I drove by this truck many times: summer sun, leaves, and even covered with snow. All the time it was asking "Why don't you stop?"
I kept telling my kids I really wanted that truck. One day my oldest boy said "Dad, why don't you just buy it?" That's all I needed.
This is where the fun starts. I heard from my Brother (who, by-the-way, owns Grandpa's 1961 Chevrolet longbed-frame up restoration, and a 1959 2-ton flatbed, along with some other Chevy products) that the owner was asking $400 for it.
I gathered the cash and went to buy the truck and it was gone. "RATS!"
I had a pretty good idea where to look and later found it, duals sticking out of a barn. Almost turned the car over getting into the driveway. I knocked on the door and the owner, a 30-something fellow answered and I asked if the truck was still for sale.
"I want $200 for it."
If my wallet had been a six shooter, Matt Dillon, Billy the Kid, and Howdy Doody would all have met with a speedy demise.
After we exchanged money and paper, I went on to ask if he would be around for about an hour while I fetched my Dad and the Farmall so we could pull it home.
"Why don't you just drive it?"
I have never hit the lottery but I have a pretty good idea what that's like. Let's see, $200, 6 miles home, $10 given for gas, 1946 truck that runs. There must be a winning number in there somewhere.
Dad and I arrived later with the pickup armed with some tools and a chain (just in case the lottery luck runs out). The previoius owner had reattached the lower radiator hose and fueled it and it was running like a Swiss watch. Boy, life is good.
I was advised that there were no brakes and that it was stuck in high end. Details.
So, after X number of years sitting, it was on the road. We only had a few miles to go.
First big event was crossing a 4-lane highway. Seems like a long way acoss when you are not really sure about your luck after riding about a quarter mile. Crossed the highway - no incidents.
Then we came to the gravel road. Now some of you folks may know about gravel roads especially near the stop sign. They are wash boarded. No bed, not much of a seat left, I was all over the inside of the truck. I looked back and my Dad was laughing his head off.
We finally got on a smoother black top road and the ride was a heck of a lot better. I had my elbow hanging out the window. All I needed was a Gatsby and a cigar -- big heavy hauler.
With only a couple miles to go, I saw smoke coming from underneath the hood. We discovered the carb had a crack and was dripping gas onto the manifold. So we shut her down and pulled her home.
After arriving at the homestead, I tarped the truck and parked her. We had just finished building a house and I had lots of stuff to do so putting up a barn for my "new" truck and my tractors was not going to happen anytime soon. Regrettably, I had to resign myself to periodic visits and remove parts to take home and refurbish.
We bought the truck around my birthday, so it became a birthday ritual to go to Mom and Dad's to eat homemade ice cream and cake and to start the truck with whatever battery was lying around and drive back and forth across the field. My wife thought she had married some kind of a nut. Drive across the yard into the field, downshift, reverse, turn around, repeat until I ran out of gas.
This ritual repeated itself for about eight or nine years. Eat cake, start truck, drive truck around in circles, go home and wait until next year. All uneventful until a couple years ago.
It was the same ritual but the truck did not start. It wouldn't even turn over with a new battery.
I started to panic. "Come on Chev. You've never let me down yet."
We tried pulling it with the tractor and I saw the fan move a little and I thought if it was stuck, it shouldn't move at all. OK maybe it could. So I did a little checking and found that chipmunks had packed every opening with acorns.
We removed the starter and I found nut salad. Dang rodents.
After cleaning everything up, I put my foot on the starter and began the birthday ritual all over again. Satisfied! A few miles in a big oval, then I had to park it and cover her back up.
It was exceptionally hot that day, shorts, t- shirt and sneakers. My right leg had an itch which I kept scatching because something was tickling it. I reached down thinking some string was loose only to discover my passenger was a large black snake. Biggest snake I had ever seen in my life -- at least at that time it was. Not sure who was out first. Really checked her out before re-entry as to make sure it had no brothers or sisters (if snakes have that sort of thing).
The snake incident really got a rile out of the family. I almost had my wife talked into letting me bring her home. My wife lets me do whatever I want, sometimes.
Finally after 10 years of ownership, the "boss" said okay and I got a birthday card with a prepaid towing slip and I brought the old gal home. Of course, I had to cut a new door in the side of the barn just to get it in but it's under a roof after Lord knows how long.
Now I can't keep my hands off it. My kids and Grandkids love it. I have nicknamed my S-10 "Ole Chev" and I needed a name. All my stuff has names because they all have personalities just like horses. I hope you are all staying with me on this. You know what I"m talking about -- the starting sequence gas, choke, and how long to crank. If you get on the M and screw this up, you ain't goin' anywhere. The kids came up with "Big Chev" and that's okay by me.
If you are not asleep by now, I wish to thank all of you in advance for your contributions to this site as the Gallery and the Forums have been a big inspiration.
p.s. Once I figure out my remote control, I will forward some pictures. I'm more comfortable with a 1/2 -9/16.
What a great story! Thanks for taking the time to write all this up. Yea, we can appreciate all the details of it. So many of us have been there, too. And I had to include this shot of the grille. I'm not sure if this is how it came with the truck ... but it looks great! Can't wait to hear progress stories. Epic tales await, we hope! ~ Editor