Fred Butler's

1936 Chevy 1.5-Ton Flatbed


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07 May 2007
# 1930

From Fred :

           After enjoying this website for a long time, I am finally ready to submit my truck (Rusty) to The Stovebolt Page.

           My 1936 dream goes way back to 1976 when I bought my first 1936 Chevy High Cab 1.5-ton. I made a lot of progress in a restoration effort, but that fell to the side with raising kids, playing with my Harley, etc. Flash forward to 1995 when I found and bought two more trucks. One had a 1936 Chevy front end, 1937 cab, and a 1935 frame. The other was a very rusty 1936 Chevy (former) dump truck.

           I still didn't make much progress on the project (bought a house). Then in 2002, while working on a project at work, I found the answer to my dilemma of "restore or late model." While converting a Frito-Lay chip truck van for use as a technical rescue rig, I couldn't help but notice that the truck's motor had been retro-fitted with a 4 cylinder Cummins turbo diesel. I thought what a great platform for my truck!

           In checking it out, I knew there were a lot of things to do and I started bugging a street-rod guy that works in the shop at the fire hall where I work. After many questions and some thought, he made an offer -- if I would do the bodywork and paint his 1948 Plymouth, he would take a stripped down Frito truck and my 1936 bodies and make me a running, street-legal (almost) truck! Where's the down side to that?!

           Long story short -- I bought a used chip van, stripped and scrapped the body, drove what was left over to the rodder's house, towed my 1936 and some extra pieces over there and drove his Plymouth home. We spent that winter and spring doing each other's rigs and when I drove his car to him in early summer, I drove Rusty home! Here's an interior shot of the dash from the driver's side. How 'bout these bucket seats? Here's a pretty good "before" shot.

Back to Work!           In order to do the change, the motor had to be set back about a foot, the driveline shortened, the steering lengthened, and the front fenders widened three inches on each side to cover the wider wheel track. He used the wiring harness, steering wheel and column, gauge cluster, and shift tower out of the chip truck. The coolest mod he made (in my opinion) is when he took the power brake hydro-boost off the firewall and mounted it between the rails so the stock 1936 brake pedal operates the stock 1981 hydro-boost. With the 4-cylinder turbo diesel, turbo 400 transmission, power steering, power disc brakes, shocks and a sway bar, this thing sounds like a big rig and corners like a slot car!

           I have done a few things to the truck since I got it back, but mostly I just drive it. I've put a bed on it using the aluminum floor out of the chip truck and so far the paint is just rattle can. I won't paint it until I get phase two done, which is to lengthen the cab 6" through the doors. I have extra doors and an extra cab to help with this project. I am just finishing up the paint on a couple of dragsters in trade for the owner to weld up the cab and doors after I cut them apart. Big job, but it should be cool when we're done.

           That's all for now. It sure was cool to put Rusty back to work with his first job of hauling home those ferns for the yard.

Fred Butler
"Fred Zeppelin"
Bolter # 4xx
Sandy, Oregon

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