Jeff Fritts'

1953 Chevy 1/2-Ton 5-window Pickup Truck

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28 August 2007
# 2035

From Jeff :

           I really enjoy looking at the variety of trucks in the Gallery. I would like to include my trucks. I have two -- this 1953 Chevy 1/2-ton 5 window pickup truck, and a 1948 Chevy 1-Ton.

           This 1953 is an 18 year old restoration. It is a great driver. It's almost original with a few upgrades. It has a 235 with a 3 speed on the column and the original closed driveline.

           This old truck was purchased by my Grandfather (Jesse Wilson) in 1965 when his neighbor traded it in on a new 1965 Chevy Pickup. The truck has spent all of its life in Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee.

           When I was about nine or ten years old, my Granddad would let me drive the truck around the fields of his small farm. Sometimes, he would take me up the road to where he kept his cattle and let me drive it back to his house. We had to drift the truck down hill because I couldn't reach the clutch. When I became a teenager, I always joked with him that I wanted the truck when he was finished with it because it had so much sentimental attraction.

           About 30 years ago, my Granddad's health began to decline and he quit farming. He parked the truck in his brother's barn. His brother used the truck to haul firewood. The truck sat in the barn for almost 10 years without being started. I has asked my Uncle repeatedly about the truck and he kept saying that I could have it when he was through with it. (I didn't think he would EVER part with it!)

           Well, 20 years ago, my Uncle called me and asked me if I still wanted the truck. Certainly my response was "YES!" I took off work and we went to the barn with a 6-volt battery, a five gallon can of gas and an air tank. Yes, I was optimistic.

           We pumped up all four flat tires, installed the battery and put four gallons of gas in the tank, saving one gallon to prime the carburetor. I primed the carb and drifted the truck out of the barn. I popped the clutch and the truck started! I drove it to my Uncle's house with a cab full of steam from the heater core which had a leak. Then we drove on to the shop where we started rebuilding the old truck.

           I took two years to restore it. I did most of the mechanical work and a retired body man did the body work and paint.

           My Granddad was impressed when I pulled it into his driveway. He has been gone now for several years, but when I drive the truck, sometimes I still feel his presence with me.

Jeff Fritts
Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee

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