Don Bukar's

1953 Chevy 1-Ton 3800 Panel Truck

"Ole' Ruby"

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16 August 2005

From Don: 

       Hi. First let me thank you for all the work that you do in maintaining this website. I started coming here in July of 2001 just after I bought my truck. I remember when Tony, Phat, Proffit and so many others used to be here regularly and I learned so much. And I'm still learning. I had no experience fixing old trucks and thanks to you all, I had friends all over the country who were helping me to tear down and rebuild my '53 1-ton 3800 panel truck.

       When I got my truck, she was a real mess. She had been a Forest Service truck, a rural fire department truck and finally was owned by a painter who helped preserve her by brushing on lots of thick paint. The truck came with a 216 in it joined to a SM420 connected to the 5.14 rearend. I wanted to turn her into a daily driver for my blacksmith business (I have been smithing for 27 years; I do custom forged ornamental work such as furniture, lighting, and garden gates). So I knew some changes were in order.

       She now is powered by a 261 that was bored .080 over that I got out of a '59 school bus. I swapped in a T5 from a Camero and changed the rear to a 4.10. There were so many other things ---- HEI, sway bar, dual master cylinder, radials, two really comfortable seats out of a Bonneville, dual Holley/Weber, split the manifold and on and on. And I still have a wish list!

       I rebuilt the engine and front end (never did either of those before) and was sure tickled when it fired up!

       I have finally repainted it and it has a pretty good 30/30 paint job (30 mph @ 30 feet).

       I have put almost 17,000 miles on ole' Ruby and hope to put more on her in the future. I have to give special thanks to my wife, Terri. She put up with a LOT of "Hate my truck / Love my truck" stuff and would just tell me to get it going ---- she wanted to take a ride with me. Thanks, Babe.

Don Bukar
Kelso, Tennessee

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