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Cool Old Truck

Jake and Sue Grider's


Chevy Panel

March  04  

From Jake

Hi - My name is Jake Grider, and my wife Sue and I would like to submit a few photos of our 1948 Chevy panel, known affectionately as "Old Yeller". 

We first spotted Yeller on Labor Day weekend 2001 while driving through the small central California town of Porterville on our way to a camping trip at a nearby lake. For the next eight months my thoughts kept returning to the truck, until Memorial Day weekend 2002, when we drove back to the area just to see if it was still in the seller's driveway. Well, there he sat, in the same spot, with the same "For Sale" sign in the windshield.  After convincing my wife that the truck was meant to be ours because no one had bought it yet after all that time (possibly longer) - a deal was struck with the seller, and Yeller went home with us the following weekend. 

The odometer showed 70,000 miles, and most indications were that the mileage was correct.  The body was in excellent shape, showing little of the normal rust (only a few spots in the rear fender mounting areas) and few of the incidental dents (some minor collision damage of the rear, previously repaired) of a truck this age. 

The seller had begun the project by applying the sunny yellow paint before losing interest and abandoning the project.  There was no interior in the truck, and though there had been an aftermarket crossmember with mounts for a small block Chevy engine in place, the engine itself had been the victim of a severe "dusting" as a result of being unprotected during some previous nearby sandblasting. There was also a GM 700-R4 transmission in the the truck and a GM 10-bolt rear end. 




The first thing we (I said "we" because my wife Sue was involved with this project as much as I was) did was remove the stock front axle and springs and install a new Total Cost Involved Mustang II front suspension with power rack and pinion and disc brakes. 

Next was a total rewiring using a Snap rewiring kit. The original steering column was replaced with a GM tilt column, and a Mustang vacuum booster and master cylinder went in the original under floor location, leaving the firewall clean for a smoother look at some later date. 


We then shifted our attention to the rolling stock. We went with Wheel Vintiques classic chrome wheels with smoothie hubcaps. 15x8 in front, and 15x10 in the rear with appropriate rubber.  The rust repair for the rear fenders was performed by H & S Body works in Bakersfield, CA, along with perfectly matching the yellow paint. 





While all this was being done, I completely disassembled the engine and cleaned it of all blasting media, then reassembled it. When we took a closer look at the transmission, it became apparent that it may have done previous duty in a submarine, as it had been full of water, rendering all internals unusable. In the interest of simplicity and economy, we elected to go with a TH350 instead. 


Eleven months after bringing Yeller home on a trailer, we drove him to the 2003 NSRA Western nationals in our hometown of Bakersfield, CA, then in June 2003 to a car show and cruise in Pismo Beach, some 150 miles away and then home again with no problem. We've since taken Yeller on a few other out-of-town trips, all with only minor "bugs" to be worked out, so it looks like Yeller is a cruiser! 

These are a few pictures of Yeller under construction, and a couple of my wife Sue and I enjoying the results of our efforts.  Yeller's next phase is finishing the interior and installing the stainless trim that's been recently straightened and polished (Yep, Yeller's a Deluxe!) 

Jake and Sue Grider

Bakersfield, CA






Curator "Jake - Great write-up.  Thanks for sending it in!"

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