1953 Chevy 1/2-Ton
From Carey :
So now the rest of the story begins. I found this old truck on a local Craigslist listing out of Holland, Michigan on October of 2010. When I saw the ad, I about died as I thought I would be well down the line and it would be "sold" already. I called anyway.
"Still available" he told me. Great! I would love to come and take a closer look! I immediately got in my car and drove to Holland (about 20 miles away is all).
A company owned it called Cottage Homes. They would drive the truck to a location where they would put it on display in front of their building site, creating sort of a nostalgia theme as an attraction. This company builds million dollar "cottage homes" on Lake Michigan in Southwestern, Michigan. The Chevy had banner boards on both sides displaying the company name and the building project.
The company did this for a number of years, driving it to and from locations until one day while they were driving it, the motor seized up and (as I later discovered) was tighter than a drum! I guess the owner then decided to trailer it to and from locations as they had invested over ten grand into the truck to have it partially restored. They called it a "frame off restoration" which was done in 2003 in Florida. I have to believe the restoration was amateurishly done, but still nice.
So the company trailered the truck for the next five years or so. Then it just sat at their business location for the next two years when I came along ... and fell in love with it.
As I sat in it, I wanted it to start up and drive it, but that was not going to happen. I thought to myself, "This is what a Chevy truck looked like when I was born!. So cool! I was transported to another place and time. I loved it! I had to have it!
I talked with the owner and he was so badly wanting to get rid of this piece of metal as it was sitting there taking up usable space. So, I bought it, rather, stole it really! I paid the man and he signed over the title. Now I was the new owner of a sweet 1953 Chevy 3100 pickup, that had a seized motor.
Next day, I trailered it home and put it in the garage with the hope of one day hearing it run. I could picture me driving it down the road and everyone gawking at me and honking as they drove by.
So begins the saga of my dreams. A good friend of mine and I worked on that 216 for a week straight trying to unseize that little six. We sprayed, and pryed, and muscled, and sprayed some more until one day she "turned" just a little but still it turned. So excited!
We worked another week or so until pistons went up and down. We checked out the block and got the head looked at. Freeze plugs missing. Block cracked, head cracked. Great!
Totally frustrated by this time that I didn't know what course to pursue.
Back to Craigslist. I couldn't believe it! Close by a guy was selling a freshly rebuilt 235 (less than 2,000 miles on it). I mean this motor had everything with it -- the Rochester chrome plated carb, starter, generator, Dizzy, oil cannister, air filter element and housing, I mean everything.
Once again, I bought it, rather, stole it! It was immaculate! I was beside myself, but it was late October and getting cold and I just knew I probably wouldn't get it done until next spring.
Well, with my buddies help and skill, we pulled the old motor and dropped in the new 235. Yes, there were some changes, like the motor mounts and the bell housing, tranny, etc.
The cold prevented me from finishing until spring came along and the rest had to be done. Just too cold! Over the winter of 2011, I rebuilt the Rochester single-barrel carburetor. I discovered the generator and starter needed to be rebuilt and so had those done over the winter as well.
The water pump looked "stained" so I replaced that, as well as the ignition coil for good measure. New points, plugs, wires, condenser, cap, rotor, and a half billion other details to round out the little things.
Of course, the fuel tank was emptied, fresh fuel, filters, oil changed, etc. and with the passing of spring and most of the summer, guess what? Time to fire her up! Turn the key, and vroom! I have her timed like a Timex watch. Yes she's a little noisy, steers like a Mac truck, but you know what, just like she did in 1953 when she was brand new!
I told you I stole her didn't I? Well, up to this point in time September of 2011 I have $2,500 into her.