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26 October 2009
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From Marc :
Growing up in Piedmont Virginia, right on the VA / NC border, there were farms all around and a lot of trucks.
I remember, as a kid in the late 60s and 70s, all the tobacco farmers' trucks lined up at the warehouses as their crops were going to auction. Lines of pickups and flatbed big bolts .. it was great. (Sounds like heaven ~ Editor) There were early-mid 60s single axle Chevy cab over tractors that the tobacco companies used to pull their canvas cover trailers of newly purchased tobacco, heading off to the prizeries to get weighed, tagged and off to get processed. Bits and pieces of Bright Leaf that blew out of the sides of those trailers lined the road.
Sorry .. I got carried away. Heh.
Ok, fast forward to 2004. I decided that it was time to get an on old truck. I always liked the '62 -'66 Chevys the best. I started looking around for one ... even stopped and saw a few for sale. I decided that I wanted a long bed Fleetside ... a Custom Cab would be nice, too. Maybe a small block and a non-granny 4 on the floor.
Well, one day I found one on eBay that caught my eye.
It had all the stuff I wanted already done ... hmm. I put in a bid and followed the auction closely. I was sniper bidded in the end ... serves me right as I'm guilty of doing that, too.
The auction didn't meet its reserve. So, I emailed the seller and talked to him about the truck. It has a new clutch and the rust had been fixed. Hmm ... ok. He went on to tell me that he got the truck to haul mulch and take trash to the dump and so on. I told him that I lived in the Myrtle Beach,SC area. He said that he was coming there to play some golf. He'd bring the truck down from High Point, NC for me to look at. Ok! Bring it on then!
We met at the gas station down the street and there she was. I looked around the truck and saw some of what I would soon find to be the usual rust areas of these trucks. (Hmm "fixed the rust did ya?" I was thinking.) To him, fixing the rust was all about taking a handheld grinder to a few places of surface rust and bubbled up paint. Good thing he didn't dig in too deep!
We got to talking turkey about the price. He had his idea and I had mine. After about 10 minutes or so, we came to an agreement and off we went to the house to finish the deal. He got a couple of beers and I got a full tank of gas. ~shurg~
Here she is on the day I got her ... complete with parts store mirrors. They had to go!
Here's a shot of the driver's side.
I came to find that this truck was "fixed up" quite a few years ago. The original white over dark blue paint had been sprayed over in a black over metallic gray that had since faded quite a bit.
The interior looked pretty good. The dash and doors had been sprayed over with a pretty good match to the original. The ceiling and the back of the cab still had its original paint. The seat had an old school roll n' pleat job.
The three on the tree was replaced with a smooth shifting Saginaw 4 speed with an old Hurst shifter. Whoever did the job, did good on a lot of it as they even ground down the old column shifter mount and filled it in. Are they some old Cal-Custom clutch and brake pedal pads? I think JC Whitney had those, too ... probably still does. heh.
The wiring was untouched and in good shape. It was missing the ashtray and the radio, which have been found online and installed (original working AM radio to boot came with the matching chrome edged knobs ... yes!) All the lights, wipers and gauges work fine. The speedometer is off by around 13-15 mph from its transmission swap. The odometer lost some teeth at 78000 and stayed there.
Underneath the hood is a clean, stock 350 with a Rochester Quadrajet along with chrome Edlebrock valve covers and air cleaner. Headers are connected to some original cherrybomb mufflers with some chrome flair tips on the end. (I get comments a lot on how good the truck sounds ... and it does). The rearend is the factory truck 12 bolt that now has new posi-trac innards.
So, after a while of driving it around and thinking how cool I am now ... heh ... I got to work on her.
First to go were those awful mirrors. After working with the rusty mounting screws, out came the sander and the mig welder. I got the holes filled, smoothed and primed. Then I put in a call to LMC for a new black round mirror and a new glove box inside box part.
I sanded down and primed the newer Chevy 6 lug rally truck wheels and finished it off with some good rattle can magic.
New coil springs and shocks have just been installed all around. She rides great and has retained her level stance again.
The bed is in great shape. The wood had been replaced years ago and had lost its finish somewhere along the line. I sanded it all down, metal strips and all, and applied about five coats of polyurethane and primed and painted all the metal strips black. I sanded the "fixed rusted places" smooth and sprayed on some primer.
New master cylinder, wheel cylinders, front flex lines, and brake pads were installed.. It can stop now with all four wheels as opposed to just the right front wheel!
After all that, I was thinking if I could bring the paint back to life. Hmm ... ok ... time to get the buffer out. She shined up pretty good, primer spots, too. haha. So far so good. I shined it up as best as I could and took her out to shoot a photo.
As with a lot of the old trucks here, she's a work in progress. And sometimes she can be a real piece of work.
Here's a picture of her with a flat. Those Uniroyal Tiger Paws were pretty old when I got the truck. The sidewall decided it was time to disintegrate at a stop light on US 501 in Myrtle Beach one fall day. Of course, the spare was an old bias ply BF Goodrich that may have been the original for the truck, still mounted underneath the bed. All those years of being mounted down there had put two huge impressions from the metal caddy (right word?) that held it. I wasn't even thinking of using it. Had to make a rescue phone call..heh.
She's my work truck-daily driver.
One day back in June of 2008, I had the tailgate hanging down without the chains holding it up (like in the photo above) with a load of sod weighing it down. As I was backing up an incline, I caught a tree root and bent the tailgate. Errrr! I asked around about a replacement with no luck. Hhmm.. Wait a minute. How about I try the Stovebolt forums! Sure enough. I found a good one for a good price from a good fella in South Dakota. It's from a '63 Fleet and fits like glove! A big thanks to Mike "Bears63" and to all the folks at Stovebolt for having such a great resource, pool of knowledge and experience that I don't think could be matched anywhere else!
So, now it's the Fall of 2009. The truck is running good and doing its work in fine order. But I still have the ongoing list of "things to do." With the mechanical stuff taken care of for the most part, I've been thinking about getting the body and so on in better shape.
I'm even considering doing a lowering job on her. To me, long bed Fleetsides look really good low down if you have the right wheels and tires on it. Even with these old truck rallys, it looks pretty good. So,I did a little trick photography via Paint Shop Pro and came up with this. We'll see what happens. I think I better take care of the rusty stuff first (cab corners, thresholds, fenders). Sheesh, I need to get busy. Heh
For now, I enjoy having this old truck to putt around in. Folks that come along for a ride with me sometimes laugh at my rattling windows and AM radio playing. Heh.
Then I punch the Q-jet and run through the gears. The laughs turn to smiles. I like that and I like the idea of having a vehicle where you can take about every piece of plastic off of it and it wouldn't even fill a bucket.
I suppose I've written more than I should. It's an ongoing story though. I'll write another chapter, another time.