Anthony Brownell's

1968 Chevy C-50 Dump Truck

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19 January 2007 Update

From Tom Brownell (Anthony's Dad!):

          When Tony first got this truck, I featured it in the Nice Ride column I write for Michigan Auto and RV. Thought you might enjoy some of the history of the Dump.

Nice Ride

1968 C-50 Chevrolet Dump Truck

by Tom Brownell

          Dump trucks have always seemed to me to be the most utilitarian vehicles.  When you want to unload, you pull a lever and off goes whatever you were carrying.  I was mesmerized as a small child riding with my Father in my Uncle’s dump truck.  Impressions made early in life stick, and I’ve been a dump truck admirer ever since.

          Earlier this summer, our son Anthony, announced that he was on the hunt for an older dump truck to use with his home building business. “I’m looking for a truck that’s at least 20 years old,” he said, “because by now all the losers will have been sorted out.”  Usually, the thinking goes the other way.  People buy later model equipment believing that by doing so they’ll escape the wear and mechanical failure of an older rig.  Anthony usually looks at things 180 degrees off center.  “Any old truck that’s still running hasn’t had all that tough a life,” he maintains.  “Otherwise, it wouldn’t be around.  Besides, older stuff is easier to work on.”

          He found the truck he wanted in Ohio and made the deal.  “Still looking for a dump truck?” I asked.

          “I’m driving it back from Columbus this weekend,” he responded.  “A friend is going along to look the truck over and spell me behind the wheel. The truck has a new engine and new rear tires, so it should handle the highway OK,” he added.

          “Don’t plan on going very fast,” I cautioned.

          I got a chance to drive the “new” truck one day after work.  Since I own a similar vintage 3/4-ton Chevrolet pickup, I was familiar with the basic cab layout.  But the pickup has power steering and an automatic transmission, so I had to get used to the dump truck’s four-speed manual transmission with its stump-puller first gear (“Just start out in second,” Anthony advised.) and the armstrong steering.  I only drove the truck around the neighborhood and without a load, so I didn’t get a chance to try any big truck moves like shifting the dual-speed rear axle or pulling the dump lever to offload five yards of gravel.  Still, the experience was fun and memorable.

          Back at the job site, Anthony demonstrated the dump action, which worked as well as the day the truck hauled its first load.  Anthony was right; his nearly 40-year-old truck has lived a good life.

          Whether big or small, trucks of this Chevy’s vintage have exceptionally well-balanced and pleasing styling.  They’re the first of Chevrolet’s truly modern trucks.  An oddity, however, of both the pickups and the heavier duty models, in this vintage GM put the gas tank inside the cab behind the seat.  It’s probably a safe place for the fuel, but if the tank’s not vented right, the cab can smell like a refinery.

          The curious thing about Anthony’s truck is the seat height.  For 6-footers-plus, like us, our head almost tough the cab roof.  Closer examination showed the reason.  For more capacity, the big truck’s gas tank bulges at the bottom.  Not able to extend the cab, the engineers accommodated the bulge by raising the seat —a simple solution to a fairly complicated problem.

          Now that there’s a dump truck in the family, it seems like every major job just got a little easier.

Tom and Anthony Brownell
"tony b"
Bolter # 9395
Grand Rapids, Michigan [an error occurred while processing this directive]

9 July 2004

From Tom Brownell (Anthony's Dad!):

          I thought you'd enjoy seeing a photo of our son Anthony's 1968 Chevy C-50 dump with the 292 six after it was painted last winter by our school's auto body program. Charge for the body work and repaint was $625 -- not bad for quite a bit of work and a nice result.


Anthony B
Grand Rapids, Michigan



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