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A Cool Old Truck

Chris DeLapp's

1955 1st 3100

01 June 2004

From Chris (a/k/a Chris 55.1):

     I have always been enamored with classic vehicles specifically from the 1950's. A situation a year or so back presented me with an opportunity to capture a piece of that era.

     I was a physical education teacher in a small elementary school in small town Wisconsin. As most states are finding out, funding for public education continues to rise and that was no different in my school. Well, the school board in their infinite wisdom felt that they could save money by eliminating high school physical education except for the state requirements. That meant that the high school teacher was out of a job, right? Not so in the teachers union. See this fella was hired seven days before me the same year and therefore he had seniority and was able to take my job and I got the pink slip.

     While searching for employment and stressing out big time, I was lucky enough to land interviews at three schools and a hospital. I interviewed first at the hospital really going out on a limb. The job involved staff and community education. I had no formal healthcare training and really was interviewing because I was curious. Couple days later they offered my the job. I couldn't believe it. I turned down the other school interviews, primarily because public education and teachers unions make it hard for veteran teacher to land a solid job. See, if I were to take a teaching job I would be a veteran teacher with a higher salary and no seniority in the union. If that district struggles, then I get the boot again. I didn't want that for my wife and daughter.

     So I took the hospital job and the challenges that came along with it. Boy was I lucky! You will never see or hear me take the hospital job for granted. Things have been great and I am lucky to be here.

     Back to the 55.1 -- once I took the hospital job, I received an increase in pay. My wife and I weren't really looking for a classic but I happened to be cruising eBay and found this nice looking '55 First Series. I thought "man wouldn't that be nice." After some serious discussion with the wife, a/k/a the accountant, we decided to go forward.

     So I email the seller and inquired about the truck. I ask him if he'd take a specific amount and end the auction early since he didn't have any bids and he agreed. Now, we live in Pardeeville, WI and the '55 was in Omaha, Nebraska. Not a bad haul if you ask me. Plus the wife and I made it a mini vacation.

     As we headed down the road to pick up the '55, excitement filled me up. I was looking forward to getting the truck home and putting my own touch on her. I knew going in that she was rough, needed some TLC and some mechanical work (and she still does -- she is my work in progress).

     We picked her up and she was in rough shape; drivable but needed some help. She was a dark maroon lacquer -- paint that was cracked. The only rust I found was on the tailgate. Inside she was a mismatch of vehicles. Black carpet, split bench seats, Nissan steering column. She needed help.

     My wife was a little skeptical but I convinced her it was an investment that we would enjoy for a long time. The laundry list broke down like this:1) paint job 2) leaking gaskets 3) steering column 4) wiring harness 5) windshield 6) upholstery 7) springs and shocks 8) bed wood.

     The paint job, leaking gaskets and windshield are taken care of and the steering column and wiring is next on my list. We got the '55 home and immediately had the paint and rust taken care of. Had new cab corners put on and the inside lower doors replaced. Added weather stripping to the cab and began driving her. She got new transmission gaskets and rear differential gaskets.

     She is a beauty. As I stated before she is a work in progress but the satisfaction of putting my own sweat and knowledge acquired on the Stovebolt Page to work has been fun.

     My two-year old daughter loves riding in the '55. She rests her arm on the door and off we go. I have met so many amazing people and just love the looks we get. The Stovebolt Page is an asset to me and many members and I hope I can contribute like so many of you have been able to help me! Pictures 1955a-the before picture 1955chris-Me and the 55 55Chevy2-on the road

Chris DeLapp

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