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Leonardtown, Maryland


1964 Chevy Panel Truck

Owned by

Brian Cooke
Magna, Utah


03 October 2007 Update
# 1903

From Brian :

           Hay everybody out there in Stovebolt land. I just thought I would give you an update since April when I sent in my biography.

           Here in the Salt Lake valley, we have a great mobile DJ known as JC Hackett. He runs cruises and car shows throughout the state and adjoining states. Last Halloween, I dressed as Moses and wrote up the Ten Commandments of a car show.

           My buddy dressed up his 1964 pickup as Mator from the Cars movie.

           I have received many awards again this year with a Kids' Choice Award from one show with my display in the back. I wonder how I got that award. ??

           We had a car show to raise money for the Shriner’s Hospital here in Salt Lake. It was to raise money for special bikes for the kids. We raised over $30,000 this year. Then about a week later, we all meet and cruised up to the hospital to present the money.

           On my back doors, I let people know how much I like Cookie Monster.

           We had a Great Mountain Truck Show with semis and cars, too. (Show Picture 1 & Show Picture 2) JC did a show in Wells, Nevada which is about 180 miles from Salt Lake with a three day event. The picture in the heading is from this show.

           I added an aluminum radiator from Summit Racing that was described in the Idea Pages from one of you other Stovebolt members. I tried it with the biggest electric fan that my local parts place offered but it would not stay cool enough. I went back to the article and read about the fan for a F**d Taurus so I went and bought a new one from the parts dealer. (Cookies on the motor)

           WOW! What a difference that made. I have AC and can run it all the time and idle in traffic and it never goes over 185 degrees! That worked wonders going to the show in Wells in the middle of summer across the desert. It is always cool to get your vehicle an award but it is even better when you win the award too!

           Well, that is about it for my update. I love to see all the pictures and read all the stories. Keep it up!


02 April 2007
# 1903

From Brian :

Old Truck Modification           Here is my story and I'm sticking to it. I have always had a thing for Chevy trucks. From when I was a little kid, I can remember the 1952 five window my Dad had. It had a home made boom in the bed that he would tow small cars with (like VWs). Or ridding in my Grandfathers furniture truck, a 1963 1/2-ton 6 cylinder 3 on the tree. He bought it new and had a custom flat bed with sides built to hall furniture around from his small store. Also my other Grandfather had a 1952 Chevy Panel truck that he bought new. He used it to drive around New Mexico and tune pianos and organs.

           I had several Chevy trucks as a teen and young adult. Back in 1989, my Dad bought a 1954 Chevy Panel truck from a guy that had driven it from Ogden to Hill Air Force Base (about 20 miles) for 30 years. It was rusty and ruff but ran. My Dad, being a 30 year auto body veteran, welded the fenders to the body and smoothed it out in primer giving it a unibody look. Then he gave it to me.

           I really got the bug for Panels then. I went to work on it to upgrade it. First off was a newer motor. The stock motor had 200 thousand plus on it and got 50 miles to the quart (of oil). I drove it for about a year this way (daily driver) fixing up the interior. Then I sold my motorcycle so I could buy my sister-in-laws Camero. I gutted it and used everything I could off of it.

           I put an AMC Pacer front end under the Panel but the rest was GM. It got the 350 motor and tranny from the Camero. The rear end, steering column and floor shifter were also from the Camaro.

           My Dad frenched the headlights and shaved the door handles. I dropped the suspension two inches. I put a roll pan on the back and swapped out the barn doors for clam but side-hinged the bottom door.

           I painted it Corvette yellow. I drove it for about a year then I sold it for a down payment on a house. I keep wanting another project though. I have bought and sold a couple of Panels that I found.

           Then in 1999, I found a 1966 Chevy Panel truck running but ruff. I fell in love with the breadbox style. I was going through my local paper and this guy had a 1964 Suburban in the parts section for $800. He claimed to have many parts. I went to see what he had and I got really exited. He had over $1400 in NOS parts -- fenders, rockers and rubber and such. The truck had been sitting in a one car garage for seven years. The body was stripped down to the chassis, sitting on the frame with the motor and tranny in it. The cool thing was he had taken every part off, tagged it with name and on the back of the tag a drawing of where it came from. There were ten 25 gallon buckets full of parts.

           We haggled and settled on $650 for everything. When I got it all home, my Dad came by to see my treasures I had found. He looked it over and said the body on the Suburban was in much better shape than the Panel. But I wanted a Panel truck. He said we can fix that. So with his help, we welded plates over the sides of the windows and custom formed the seams. I was off building my new Panel truck.

           Starting with the interior I painted the interior metallic blue to match the outside. Then I put in swivel seats from a Monte Carlo. I kept the full rear seat but moved it up to the second position. I had the seats upholstered in black and blue vinyl with blue velvet diamond tuck material.

           I installed a headliner and side panels and on the doors with the diamond material. I also put in a new carpet kit.

           The stock column got a grant wheel and I filled the gauge opening with a custom insert with Auto Meter gauges. This was a 283 power glide truck but the motor was frozen so I put in a warmed over 350 with a Edlebrock Air Gap intake and 650 carb. But then the tranny leaked all over the garage floor. So I had a turbo 400 lying around so I had it built and beefed up and put it in.

           I shaved the door handles and installed cylinders on all three doors. I had a custom blend of paint put together I call Cookie Monster Blue.

           I took it out to its first car show the Auto Rama in 2003 and took first place in its category. It has won 30 or so wards since then. Here is a good display shot and the "haul."

           Every year I upgrade something. I found an original brake booster so when I upgraded to power brakes with dropped spindles and discs, it worked great. I also added a line lock for the front brakes.

           The group I hang out with likes to do burn out challenges. As you can see I do pretty good -- even wining money from the events. The stock rear end gears were killing me on the highway so I had the rear end gone through with 3:07 gears and an Eton posi put in. Now I can burn the rubber off both tires at the same time. When the gear change was not enough, I swapped in a 700R4 Trans built to withstand burn out torcher.

           I have added an A/C system and put in power windows this winter. Thanks to my Dad for his influence and help over the years. My son Brandon has been a great help over the years helping with many of the upgrade builds. He is Chevy through and through, too. He has a 1984 Silverado half ton 4 X 4. We call his "Cowboy Cadillac" -- it is black with all the buttons and whistles and chrome.

           Cookie's Panel is very road worthy -- I built it to drive! It is no trailer queen and I am looking forward to going on some long distance shows in the future. Maybe I will see you there.

Brian Cooke
Magna, Utah


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