16 July 2016
# 3142

 
  Owned by
Bruce Cook
"Bruce 1954-4100"
Bolter # 36397
Virginia

 

1954 Chevrolet 4100 1.5-Ton Grain Truck

 

More pictures of my old truck

 

 

From Bruce :

My truck is a 1954 Chevrolet 4100 1.5-ton. I am the second owner. The truck previously worked as a Grain truck on a farm in North Dakota. I still have the original grain body. I narrowed the bed about three fee for a flat bed. I built the "new" bed completely. The original sides, which are tongue and groove Oak - I kept those. I have the ability to put that back on my truck. It only takes about 20 minutes to put the sides back on.

I was looking for an original Advance Design truck because my Dad had a furniture moving business and he owned all Chevys. I have the actual sales receipt for a 3/4-ton Chevy pickup that he bought in 1947 when he started his moving business. Dad was a World War II Veteran and was proud of coming back and starting his own business. He started with two Advance Design trucks. Besides the 3/4-ton, he had a second which may have been the same as mine (1.5-ton) but I'm not certain. It had a body on it that he had made.

In the Photobucket Album is a photo of me as an infant in some kind of fancy gown -- looks like a christening -- with Dad's truck in the background.

So, me and my three brothers grew up in the moving business, helping Dad in various ways. My Dad would have me stay with the mechanic where he parked the truck. I was the "mechanic's helper." And this mechanic really did me good. Rather than just saying, "Hey kid grab me the wrench," he would tell me what he was doing and why. He explained some basic stuff and all the details about it. I can remember like it was yesterday, when he would explain to me about turning four bolts -- not one after another but tighten every other one -- and why!

So all that stuff stayed with me. Anything my truck needs, I do it myself. I also learned that when you drive an old truck, to always carry your tool box with you.

So I started looking for an Advance Design for myself. Each time I found one I was interested in, by the time I went to make an offer, it was already gone. For this one, I found it -- looked at nine pictures and made an offer! When the truck arrived, it turned out to be in much better shape than it looked in the photos!

The truck had about 45,000 miles on it. I took the engine apart to rebuild it last winter. Turns out it really didn't need to be rebuilt. When I got the truck from ND, it hadn't been running for a while so I had to do the usual stuff - rebuild the carburetor, change fluids, get some new brakes shoes for the emergency brake (it's the kind that's mounted on the drive shaft so I had to get something riveted on -- which I found on Stovebolt).

This truck was the last year of the Advance Design series so it has some items that are unique. It has optional turn signals. Of all the old trucks I have driven, none of them cancelled themselves out. But this ones does. The only year that Chevy used one turn signal was in the 1954.

This truck is a driver -- not a daily driver but I use it every chance I get -- as long as I am not in a hurry, because everyone wants to talk about it.

I will probably always keep the truck with the original paint because my thinking is: you can always get a new paint job but you can never un-do one and go back to the original paint.

Under the hood, the paint is just on the firewall. It looks the same color since it hasn't been exposed to the light so it looks like it just rolled out of the factor. It has the original grease marking " '47 4103 " -- originally sold as a cab and chassis model. When I clean the truck, I clean up to those grease marking because I don't want to remove it. I have the writing on there from when it came off the assembly line.

The previous owner used the big old truck in a grain operation on a farm in North Dakota. When they got tired of it, they put it off line. It had been sitting for abut eight years at least. The only real body rust is at the windshield gap and just before the doors. They rusted out a bit.

I paid to have it shipped here. I was very happy when it was dropped off. The paint on the truck was so oxidized my hands turned green when I closed the hood. I waxed it and it came out to how it looks now.

The sound of the gears, the drive train, starter, it all amazes me. It's a time machine that takes me back to the 50s when I was actually riding in those old trucks.

That was the last year that Chevy had 6 volts in their trucks and a lot of people tell me I should upgrade to 12 volts. I do not want to. As long as I can still get a 6 volt generator, I am good. I plan to keep the truck in the technology of the time.

That was the last of the series, and General Motors tried a few things before they turned over to the Task Force series. That was the first year for the curved windshield and last year for the running boards. That year has the unique grille - only had that specific grille and the other AD truck grilles are different. It was part of the transition and change over.

When I drive my truck, and we live in a busy area, I get a thumbs up every 15 minutes. Everybody likes an old truck.

The cool thing for me this year at Homecoming was driving the truck to the event. The year before I trailered it. Driving it is half the fun. From where I live in Fairfax, Virginia, is a good length trip. To get to Homecoming was just about right. It was a whole lot more fun than taking on a trailer. It'll cruise at about 45 - 48. I have a very, very high rear end. GM didn't have the V8 out yet, so for each tonnage they raised the rear end. It's a slow ride but it does okay.

The other side of that, when I come around a clover leaf, I can stay in high gear and don't even have to down shift. The gears are so low. That's all part of it with that big a truck. The gearing is just right for me except when I get out on the highway thinking there is one more gear, and I find myself starting to push in the clutch wanting to go into overdrive!

I wondered about an upgrade but I know it won't be easy to change out that transmission. So, I'll not be joining the ODSS's "70 MPH" group for a while!

I start my day on Stovebolt. I spend 15 minutes every morning. My coffee and Stovebolt.

Bruce



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