Bob Bruckmeier's

1957 Chevy 3100 with Telephone Bed

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11 September 2006

# 1658

From Bob :

          Iíve worked at the Phone Company coming up on 28 years now and always thought I would like to restore an old telephone truck. Over the last couple of months I have put out the word with all my friends to be on the lookout for old telephone trucks and I have scoured the various web sites looking for possible candidates but found nothing.

          My brother works for an electrical supply company down in Joplin, Missouri and was telling a fellow co-worker about his crazy brother in St. Louis who was looking for an old phone truck. As luck would have it, a customer in the store overheard my brother and told him that he had a phone truck sitting in his pasture and he would consider selling it.

          The truck is a 1957 Chevy 3100 with a Telephone Installerís bed. The manís father bought it from Southwestern Bell Telephone in 1966. The family used it as primary transportation for a few years. Then they used it several years on the farm in a variety of roles. It's last task was hauling cow manure.

          It was parked out to pasture under a tree in 1972. The truck ran when it was parked.

          I purchased the truck and brought it back to St. Louis. Unfortunately, when it was parked in 1972, it still had about four inches of cow manure left in the bed which over the years turned to dirt -- but not before rotting the floor of the telephone bed out. There was a hole in the driver's side window which allowed birds to build a few nests inside the cab. There were countless number of mud dauber wasp nests all over the inside of the cab, back / under the seat and under the dash. I filled my 16-gallon shop vac twice with dirt from their nests.

          Despite all the years it served as a work truck, it is surprisingly complete. The 235 six looks to be untouched as does the 3-speed column shifted transmission. Sitting out in the open has taken itís toll on all the sheet metal and floor boards so considerable patch work will be needed.

          My intention is to restore this truck to its former glory days as an Telephone Installer's truck complete with all the correct period telephone tools and equipment. Iíll update pictures as I progress. These are a few pictures I took the day we picked it up at the farm.

Bob Bruckmeier
Bolter # 11960
St. Louis, Missouri

          Working on this story, I can almost hear "I am the lineman for the county" playing in my head! Great story. Will be a great project. Yes, please keep us posted. Maybe some of our Bolters can even help with the old phone equipment for the truck! ~~ Editor

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