1936 Chevy 1/2-Ton Low Cab
From Andy :
What’s it like driving a 73 year old pickup truck?
I’m sitting at the light in my 73 year old truck when I notice the Lexus pull up to the light in the other lane. His window slides down and he yells, “How does the old truck drive?”
That’s a question I am asked all the time, but this is the first time I’m asked at a stop light.
I give him my usual answer, “Not bad when I’m not hauling gravel.”
The Lexus guy laughs and says something about always wanting an old vehicle, but would miss the performance of a modern car.
With that, the Lexus window slides up and the light turns green. The Lexus shot away from the light with smooth, effortless power, and I could see him cocking his head to get a view of me in his rear view mirror.
Just so you get an accurate picture of all this: I was viewing all his activity from my own rear view mirror.
So what’s it like driving a 73 year old truck? Well, let’s just say it’s pleasurable!
The average guy walking the street, and Joe Lexus driving the street, do not understand street rods. It is assumed by most that I found an old farm truck and repainted it. Most appreciate the vintage beauty of the meticulously restored truck, but fail to realize that beauty in this case goes deeper than the skin.
What makes my truck a pleasure to drive includes a number of modern features that enable it to steer and corner with nimble agility, brake with positive assurance, and fly away from stop lights like a scalded dog!
Since restoring this vintage Stovebolt and fine tuning its 350 cubic inches of heart throbbing soul, I have enjoyed every Sunday drive, every slow drive though the park, and the occasional but jaw-dropping stop light adventure. I am not a wild man behind the wheel -- far from it. But there are those occasions when the preserved vintage beauty of the truck and the modern muscle and innovations beneath the skin combine to make me smile.
What’s it like driving my 73 year old truck? Wanna go for a ride?
15 December 2008 Update
From Andy :
I have some new photos of my 1936 Chevy half-ton low cab that I thought I'd share. Some of the images sent earlier (in the story below), I have updated also.
More story to follow soon!
10 January 2006
Here's my 1936 Chevy half ton, low cab [ pix ] . It's a great show and drive truck with Vintage Air, power steering, power brakes, Mustang II front end, new 350 crate motor, Turbo 350, and Nova rear end. It's all original steel -- fenders, running boards and box. The paint colors are PT Cruiser Deep Cranberry Pearl, with Lexus Graphite Metallic fenders and running boards. The bed [ pix ] is white oak.
I live in Woodinville, Washington and own a landscape company. I have been nuts about vintage Chevy trucks since I was a kid. When this baby boomer decided he wanted a vintage Chevy, he considered all the trucks of the '30's and '40's and decided that the 1936 low cab was just about perfect. I began my search in 1997 by advertising in Hemmings Motor News. I posted a want-ad in that publication for three years. I did not want a project, but was hoping for a completed rod.
I received numerous offers of 1936 Chevy pickups but they were either too radical or poorly done. In November of 2000, I got wind of a '36 Chevy pickup rod in Texas. In speaking with the owner by phone, I was assured that it was a "Honey." The pictures he sent did look good, so I flew with my son to Texas to have a look.
In the driveway of a double-wide I found the truck -- a colossal disappointment. Oh, how photos and owners can lie.
I was not back in Washington State more than a week when I received a phone call about another '36. When I learned that this truck was also in Texas, I thought. "No way am I making another trip to the Lone Star State." I ended up buying Texas truck #2, sight unseen, after having a friend of a friend (who lives in Texas) look the truck over. Purchase price was $15,000.
I had the truck shipped by an auto transport company to my home in Washington State. Shipping cost was $900.
Well, I didn't want a project truck but that was the only way I would eventually get what I wanted. Yes, I did pay a good price for the truck, but the body and sheet metal was completely without rust, and the mechanical work that had already been done was excellent. That is how I explained the $15,000 to my wife.
The previous owner had given up on the project, and although the body and sheet metal looked decent, it was going to take a lot of work and cash to make it perfect. I wanted the truck to retain all the original features that make these trucks interesting -- like the hinged crank-out windshield, the cowl vent, and the Bow Ties on the sides of the hood. I added the hood ornament [ pix ] from a '34 Chevy Master, as the grille shells are identical. To finish off the back end, I had a roll-pan fabricated to hide the frame [ pix ] and make the exhaust tips look tidy [ pix ] .
The license plate is a restored vintage plate that I registered to the truck. Life time registration for the plate is a one-time fee of $84. To make it a nice driver, I added power steering, air conditioning, a 1965 Mustang steering column and banjo steering wheel, and several other mechanical improvements. The metal work and paint cost me an arm and a leg -- far more than I ever dreamed.
The project took five years but is exactly what I wanted. And I use my truck. I will not own something I cannot drive. When the weather is nice and the pavement dry, I drive the vehicle in my work, estimating landscape projects in Seattle. The truck is well received in the driveways of multi-million dollar homes, and is quite at home parked next to Lamborghinis and Ferraris. It gets lots of attention, and adds considerable time to estimating jobs, as clients want to ogle the 70 year old truck as if it's a rare classic. Well, maybe it is.
Thanks for such a great site. I am very thrilled to have my truck shown in your famous Gallery. I enjoy looking at all the Stovebolts, even the ones in their raw and rugged condition.
Keep up the good work,