01 February 2016
# 3121

 
Owned by
Kienan Garn
"konans1951"
Bolter # 39921
New York
 

 

1951 Chevy 3100 5-Window

 

More pictures of my old truck

Join the discussion about this truck

 

From Kienan :

In 2014, I was living in Davenport, Iowa and working for John Deere. I had been looking at trucks and had always wanted a car or truck project since I was younger when my family went to car shows. My Uncles and cousins had some street rods.

I found and bought my first truck back then. It was a 1952 Chevy from Missouri that I found on eBay. It was a disaster from the second I bought it.

Plenty more pictures:

  • The 1951 Chevy 3100
  • Wood Bed Project
  • Bed Side Rails
  • Wheel Painting
  • Grille Work
  • Practice Welding
  • Dash Repair
  • Visor
  • The Wedding

In the Spring, my friend sent me some information from Craigslist on this 1951 Chevy 3100 that was in central Iowa. It was being sold from a dealership and I went after work to check it out. The truck still had the 3-on-the-tree, but the engine was a 261 from a 1.5-ton 1955 grain truck, the transmission was from a 1963 and the rear end was from a 1972 Chevy. I ended up buying it and so I was in Iowa with two trucks.

I knew I was going to sell the '52 and keep the '51 -- very easy decision.  The '52 was ROUGH but the body was in very good shape and it had the original visor. The '51 was in great shape and ran perfectly. I took the visor off the '52 -- it was screwed directly into the cab. My friends and I removed a “custom” lowering kit which had been causing the drive shaft to rub on the frame.  We also then switched the grilles since the '51 had some dents. I was ready to let the '52 go.

Late in the summer, I landed a job in New York and the '52 had not yet sold.  Instead of leaving the truck with my friends to try and sell it, I sold it to a guy for a loss -- the day before I left for NY. On the plus side, however, the '51 was trailered back to NY courtesy of my new employer!  I had to drive it on to the top of the trailer since the hauling driver didn’t know how to drive a column shifter.  

Once in New York, I lived in Syracuse with some family members and the truck was at my parents’ house in Sullivan County. That fall and winter I didn’t get to work on the truck at all.  I decided I wanted to start working on it come Spring.

Since my resources and time were limited, I only began working on the truck in the spring of 2015 with small projects. I started simply by painting the wheels (check the pictures).

Not counting the little work done on the '52 in order to get rid of it, the '51 is my first restoration.  Luckily, the truck was mechanically sound and didn’t need much work. The interior and exterior were good.

I wanted to make side rails for the truck and refinish the bed. That project started in late spring.

While taking apart the bed, I decided to just replace the wood altogether so all the wood would be new and easier to match with the side rails.

With the wood off, it was very evident the cross support rails also needed replacing. The previous owner had fabricated some "custom" support cross sills. The one in the very rear was exposed under the tailgate so I had to paint it or else I wouldn’t be able to stand it (I ordered them from LMC Trucking and they all come in black).  

All the wood for the bed and the side rails I stained a dark walnut, sanded down, and then re stained with golden oak. A lot of work but I think the result brings out the grain and is pretty cool. I still need to poly the wood but that's pretty much it. (The wood bed album shows the wood stain progression better.)

My Uncle and Father helped with the wood bed project.  It would have been nearly impossible to do all by myself so I was happy to have their help.

The truck's current color isn’t the original. The paint in the door jam is chipping and underneath the current color is a blue and an orangish red.  But paint is the last thing I want to do, so I decided to just try to match the paint.

In the one wedding picture in the Wedding Album, you can see under the tailgate that the color is brighter.  It’s interesting because in the correct light, it’s a perfect match. Other times, it’s much shinier. But that did the trick.  

I’ll be using that same color on the visor eventually (hopefully this summer) as long as I find the proper supports for it.

I’m not sure what color I want to finished truck to be.  I do really like the burgundy though ... but ... I would really like it to be the original color. Eventually I will redo the interior the dark grey as it would have originally come.

The previous owner planned on putting in a more modern radio and drilled holes in the dash for it but he never completed the project. Since my goal for the truck is to restore it to a more original state, I had to plug the holes in the dash (see pictures). I found a reproduction radio on-line from Vintage Auto Radio that looks original but has modern functions such as FM / auxiliary input / satellite capability. The radio is in the spot but not fully hooked up (also a summer project). A different Uncle (the one with the street rods and does drag races) helped me with the welding since I'm still learning. (See pictures!)

The truck had been asked to be in a wedding, so I was getting into a bit of a crunch to have her ready enough. Right around the same time (Fall 2015), I bought and moved into my own house.  Luckily, since we didn’t get snow until really in winter, we were able to trailer my truck up to my house.  I have a 2-car garage which can fit my car and my truck.  I also have space in my garage for my other projects, which are two vintage garden tractors.

One tractor is a 1964 John Deere 110. I bought this while I was living in Iowa.  A friend from John Deere found two of them on Craigslist that were only 10 serial numbers apart.  They both were in pieces, but that didn’t stop the two of us from driving all the way to Minnesota to pick them up.

The other project is a 1970 Speedex S24 garden tractor. This was my Grandfather’s and was in our barn back home for as long as I can remember. This one is at least all together and ran last it was parked (20-some years ago).

While I do have my own space to work now, I do not have all the tools I used while I was working on these projects at my parents' place. So besides the actual work I want to do, it’ll be a project in itself purchasing the tools necessary.  So I have plenty to keep me busy this summer!

About the "Wedding gig" ... it almost didn't go very well! We finished the wood bed and side rails the weekend before the wedding and that looked great. But the truck had been sitting in the garage all summer and hadn't been driven. We towed it the couple hours to the venue in Pennsylvania and when we got there, it would not start! I never had an issue starting the truck, but the battery was dead dead dead. We had just over an hour and luckily one of the groomsman called his Father who brought a portable battery charger.

I picked up the bride at the top of the hill above the barn where no one could see us. On someone's cue, I rolled down past the barn and cut across the field and stopped right at the edge of the aisle. I got out, opened the door for the bride and everything went smoothly.

I left the truck running during the ceremony since it was fairly quiet -- and it was cold outside -- so it wasn't very long. After the ceremony, the bride and groom hopped back into the truck and drove away up the hill -- happily ever after.

Kienan

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