Franklin Brown's

1955 1st Series 3600 3/4-Ton

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18 May 2001

From Franklin:

          The photo is of a 1955 1st Series 3600 3/4-ton pickup I owned from 1989 to 92. Beside it is the brand-new '92 S10 I had just brought home. I don't know if you can see her, but inside the S10 is my 2 year old daughter Genna.

          I sold the '55 a few months after this photo was taken. The '55 was a Deluxe pickup: 5-window, chrome window trim, color coordinated interior, driver armrest, heater, lighter, two tone paint. You can see the original chrome grill is almost perfect. (The center nose piece was dented.) The paint was nearly all off of the roof and doors, typical rust thru in outer cowl panels and bed sides, and floor board was almost gone. The crown of the hood and fenders were faded and rusted from exposure, but you can see the sides of the fenders still had some shine.

          I found the truck sitting in a man's backyard being used for a garbage dumpster. It had 1977 plates. I made a deal and bought it and brought it home on a trailer. (I thought it was a '54 until I went to pick it up.) The engine was stuck so I took the head off to find it was cracked above #4 cylinder. Coolant was standing on top of the piston and the rings were rusted to the cylinder wall causing a deep groove. The man had told me this motor had come out of a '59 car. A friend gave me another 235 short block and the man I got the truck from gave me a '53 (18-bolt) 235 head.

          With all of these parts, and new rings, rod bearings and gaskets I built a running 235. But, alas, this motor had bad cam bearings and would not hold oil pressure and I had to go all the way through it again. I did a better job the second time, using the crank and camshaft from the first motor, rods and pistons (060 over) from the second and replacing all other wear parts I mixed and matched together a good, solid motor, and it ran great. It reminded me of Johnny Cash's Cadillac: it was a '53, '54, '55, '56, '57, '58, '59 235.

          Truck had the original 3-speed and 1-piece open driveshaft. I replaced the wheels with chrome 8-spokes. Of course, the new wheels had too deep of an inset to clear the tie-rod ends. My solution was to replace the wheel studs with longer ones and use 2 aluminum disc-brake spacers behind each front wheel.

          I wanted to find out what happened to this truck after I sold it, so I tracked it down a few years ago. Boy do I wish I hadn't. It was sitting outside, grill and trim removed, and apparently ALL of the paint stripped off the cab, hood and fenders - just rusting away. I was sick. I guess the guy that bought it got "started" and never finished.

Franklin Brown
"Frank 50 "
Bolter # 734
Central Illinois
Amish Country

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