A 'virtual garage' of antique Chevy & GMC trucks from around the World
Six 1936 2 & 2.5-Ton Chev Maple Leaf Trucks
19 May 2008
Update # 2041, #2042, #2043, #2044, #2045
From Tara :
So we have been busy (as I expect many of you all are, too!) and certainly, time for an update. Got another Maple Leaf truck in March (no surprise there ). Our seventy year old fleet keeps growing!! [ Editor's note: In July 2009, the Higgins added a 1927 Chev One Ton to their fleet! ]
We now have SIX 1936’s; three Maple Leafs (ML) - all wheelbase (WB) 165” and three Chevrolet and Maple Leafs (C&ML) – one WB 131” and two WB 157”.
This newest truck (which I MADE Rick go get), she’s a 1936 Chev and Maple Leaf. Maple Leafs (which were the bigger versions of Chevrolet’s truck line back then) were built for a total of 21 years (beginning in 1930). Special thanks go out to Oshawa, Ontario carriage maker Colonel Sam McLaughlin who wanted Canadians to have a luxury truck; genuine leather seats, chrome accents, and nitrocellulose paint (requiring three weeks of drying time between coats) -- these were some “farm” vehicles, eh!
According to our records for 1930 to 1946, General Motors only had two years where they produced these Chevrolet and Maple Leaf trucks: 1931 – 1½ ton with WB 131” and in 1936 – 2 ton with WB 131” or 157”.
Some of the differences in ML’s and C&ML’s can be found in the bumpers (ML is gull winged, C&ML’s are straight Chev bumpers), emergency brakes (ML has rods & C&ML’s have rods and emergency brake cables), torque tube drive (so far the Chevs with the 10 bolt wheel pattern, are all of the torque tube drive versions, whereas all the ML’s with the five bolt pattern, have the open drive shaft), and rims. ML rims are five spoke (Chev-like) and generally have a GMC five bolt pattern. C&ML rims are Chevrolet rims; 10 bolt (don’t let the front beauty cover fool you, there are 10 bolt holes in the rims, half of them covered over by that decorative piece) and five spoke using a smaller bolt and nut than the ML rims which have a bell nut washer with no shims.
Technologically advanced features were tested on Canadian Chevs before being put into production in the States. There were certainly advantages for the Chev Maple Leaf in Canada as General Motors (Sam McLaughin sold his company to G.M. but he still played a part directing the Canadian firm and also sat on the board of directors for G.M. in Detroit) tried out innovative advances here first. Fewer trucks were manufactured here so it was not so difficult to interrupt production lines and make a change or two. The added feature of the extreme weather conditions also assisted in testing out new features under brutal climate conditions. These advances make sourcing vintage parts difficult if you forget that Canadian automobiles were the testing ground for many things like hydraulic brakes over mechanical ones. While finding manuals and engineering materials is not all that difficult, finding exact references to “Maple Leafs” can be rough. We have a photocopied version of the “Maple Leaf Trucks – Master Parts List 1930 – 1940.”
Even if you find Chev information, you always have to wonder if it actually applies to the Maple Leaf. Sometimes it is better to refer to the next year’s model, say refer to 1937’s when dealing with US Chev info for 1936 Maple Leafs. We have noted things like the US Chev fuel tanks were filled from the inside of the cab while the Maple Leaf trucks had a filler neck so one could fuel outside the vehicle. One interesting item is that in the ’35 and ’36 Maple Leafs, it seems Chev tried out a larger master cylinder and this version never seemed to go any where else (reminiscent of Rick’s 1934 Chev Stump Start, mentioned below).
When we went for Truck Number Four (May 2007), we had just purchased a large electric winch to assist in the retrieval of the trucks. Decided to compliment our setup and buy ourselves a 22-foot hydraulic tilt trailer (sure, sure, only AFTER renting one 5x’s do you BOTHER to purchase one for the sixth truck acquisition …sigh!). Rick got her all rigged out, February 29th, 2008, (picture of the trailer carrying five members of the “trailer trash” gang — Australian Cattle Dogs) just in time to go collect 1936 Maple Leaf truck Number Six. He’ll be buying steel in the next little while (bought a set of four rubber mats to protect the decking when we go for firewood) and assembling some stock racks and outfitting it with a protective cover. Wish we had this unit when we started out vintage truck treasure hunting.
March 23, 2008, we made yet another trip to Stan Reynolds Sales Ltd. (not to be confused with Canada’s Reynolds/Alberta Museum — been there few times now, too — they have a gorgeous 1935 Maple Leaf restored), in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. Hear the family is going to try to sell everything off in the next five years, so we went for the day and tramped thru all the vintage vehicles (see pic of a 1934 Chev truck … Ran when they parked it — one of Chev’s earlier prototypes: this is what Rick’s coined a “Stump Start.”) and rooted through just tons of their stuff. We bought up a horde of wig wags (oldtime signal arms—one came on Leaf #5), a new in the box ‘36 fuel pump, several oil pan gaskets in the original packaging, fuel filter screens, two suicide knobs, and some original chrome 1936 Chev rad caps.
Thanks to the Stovebolt forum, a great guy from Australia contacted us via e-mail beginning October, 2007, about his 1936 Aussie built Holden cab Maple Leaf truck. Great learning experience hearing about the differences and similarities in the Maple Leafs that were shipped over there from Canada. BTW, he’s actually seen an original flying seahorse radiator cap — way kewl! Peggy sure makes the world seem smaller and brings vintage vehicle fans closer together. VBG
My son and I came up with a fun Christmas present for Rick. We joined forces and made a street sign “Maple Leaf Lane” to be placed in the laneway where some of the Leafs are parked. Rick loved it and when we take the two trucks out to display, will pack this sign along. Here is a picture of two of the Maple Leaf trucks in Higgins’ Maple Leaf Lane.
We have six more rims minus the tires (Chev rims, so the ten bolt patterned ones not the Maple Leaf rims-five bolt pattern) to take to the powder coaters and will be having them sandblasted and painted Navy Blue. The truck restoration for me is going to be the 157” WB, Chevrolet and Maple Leaf ’36. Rick is going to continue his work on the 165” WB Maple Leaf ’36 (she is a bit more done, of course, than mine with wheels already powder coated red and ready for engine to be lifted out, cab taken off and frame brought in for powder coating).
So we are kinda at the phase where we both know which two of the six trucks we are going to choose for frame ups (only one truck is an actual “parts” truck — sigh — which one to choose…too many choices!). Rick’s truck will be red (lots of matchable coloured paint still left on truck No. three); Red with Black body belt and Red wheel rims. Mine will be the original ML Navy Blue (Yeh, I’ve changed my mind from Green to Blue — sorta a womanly entitlement to change one’s mind … hee hee). Truck number six came with some wheel rims that have excellent quality paint left on them, enough for a good colour match so going Navy Blue with matching Blue wheel rims … both trucks should look fab with all the Maple Leaf chrome accents.
Found a manufacturer of the replicas of the original inside door knobs, so have brought in two sets. Will keep the originals and rechrome them, but many are quite worn, lots of use over seventy plus years I suppose.
We had a fellow vintage vehicle enthusiast give us a lead on a 216 (still in the crate, a SEARS rebuild) engine, so are currently looking into that next as it would make a great “drop in” spare for one of the trucks should we have issues with the original 206’s. Recall these are “babbetted” engines (not a lot of people with the know how as to refurbishing them) and top speed (if going down hill, wind is at the rear and you figure the hydraulic brakes are going to work if you need them …) may be something like 50K or under. 'Cause we are going to gently use these Big Bolt trucks to haul sacks of feed and bales of hay/straw, ain’t going to be in any big hurry to get back home to off load them. LOL
Went to the Red Deer Vintage Vehicle Swap Meet (May 2) and this time round it was the year of the “buckets!” We aced:
- Two sets of headlight buckets (one set chrome) and reflectors: The chrome headlights ended up being from a 1931-32 Chev and later we found out that they are the same diameter but the profile is longer from front to back by about two inches. The reflectors were a good find for us because the brass reflectors are the same as the 36’s which are extremely hard to come by in the 8.5” version even tho headlamp reflectors for 1933-1936/All and 1937/HM (Domestic) were all the same (Part No. 919045). Much of the fun of all this is the ongoing learning experiences.
- CO-OP Maple Leaf multi-purpose gear oil SAE 80 five imperial gallon can (steal @ $20!).
- 1948 original “Chevrolet and Maple Leaf Trucks Supplementary Parts Catalogue” was still up for sale with one of the vendors so I grabbed it (who knows who might contact us about a ’48 Maple Leaf and we could help them out!).
- and some more odds and sods that captured our fancies.
We queried a chroming outfit with a table display at the Swap and it looks like the chroming bill for both trucks won’t be as high as we estimated … happy on that note. While there, Rick picked up pre-ordered BFG Silvertown 2 3/4 whitewall tires for his 1984 Chev. Had them mounted the next day on the way to pick up a pair of Mandarin Ducks we had flown in from B.C. at the Calgary airport. He’s into the trucks (and me, too) but I also like my ducks! What a weekend that was … trucks, ducks … still recovering!
It looks like in 1936, whether you had a Maple Leaf or a Chevrolet and Maple Leaf truck, you had an option in the headlight buckets; chrome or painted. Only Truck No. Three has chrome headlight buckets, the rest are all painted. At the recent Red Deer Vintage Swap Meet, I spoke once again with a vendor (he has owned Maple Leafs in the past) that exclusively sells headlight lenses. This gentleman concurs that chrome or painted headlight buckets were the options in 1936 for ML’s and C&ML’s. In our Maple Leaf Trucks Master Parts List book, Group No. 2.725 HEADLAMP lists; Headlamp – 1934 (First Jobs); 1936/HZ (Black) Part No. 911067 and Headlamp – 1934 (After Jobs) ; 1935/All; 1936/HY (Chrome) Part No. 911116, both 2 per Car.
Only Truck No. Two has the full sized headlight lenses (8.5”), the other five have reduced lenses (7”). To help explain why these trucks had the smaller lenses, you were able to use stronger headlights if you reduced your buckets to accommodate the swanky newer but smaller sealed beams. We are told that the original headlights are not much better than driving by candle light, so not likely we are going to be out too late in one of these trucks. Many of the Model A & T drivers, stop for the night as they too face this dimly lit dilemma.
So that is a bit of an update on where we are at.
Have not forgotten that I “owe” Stovebolt some Tech Tip time. Peggy and I have been working on and off (with me more OFF than on -- spring distractions does that to one!) in regards to the text for the 1935 (no, not 1936, but lots is similar in both years) Chevrolet Maple Leaf Sales Brochure. Hope to see that lil’ project done by the fall (or sooner if we get more snow dazes … LOL).
Got a foot and a half of snow on May 9th (thankfully it started to melt soon after). Here is a photo of the 4th Leaf, “Maple Leaf Lane” sign and junk yard dog Fixins. So while spring seems a long way off, never “off season” for a 1936 Maple Leaf Truck hunting expedition. ”Bring out yer junk…here come the Higginses!”
03 September 2007
From Tara :
Right from the get go, Rick was honest about where we were heading with these trucks. I suppose in a way, this was my own fault. We started out owning stock dogs (Australian Cattle Dogs) and, of course, progressed to owing the stock animals too. In keeping with our “preservation” temperaments, we conserve endangered / rare geese, ducks, heritage chickens and turkeys, pheasants, Jacob Sheep, and Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats. When you have “stock,” you need a way to haul feed and bedding. Rick asked me outright, “Do we buy a trailer for $5,000 or do we buy one of these vintage trucks and spend $20,000+ for each restoration?” Well, we all know my answer to that question and we have never looked back!
This is the photo of our second truck, a Chevrolet and Maple Leaf truck (also pictured in the “snow” is one of our Australian Cattle Dogs, red speckled Fixins).
Two of the 1936 Maple Leaf trucks (truck 1 and 3) have the same trim and paint colours. BTW, anyone want to try enlightening us as to what Maple Leaf paint code 682, 681, 680, and 582 / trim code 184, 185 and 100 are -- paint chips would be fab!! The US Chevrolet paint numbers do not work for the Canadian Maple Leafs and we have not found any references to Maple Leaf paint or trim codes at all.
When we bought that first Maple Leaf, we were given colour brochures. Of course in our excitement, we never quite noticed that the brochures were for 1935 Maple Leafs. It would have been perfect to have a copy of the 1936 sales brochure. But one never knows -- one could turn one up at a Swap meet or such. We have framed these 1935 brochures to keep them in good condition as they are somewhat relevant and indeed, better than no brochure at all. We could try using the colours shown in these brochures to guide us on what might have been the correct Maple Leaf paint schemes. We have tentatively decide to paint one truck red with a black body belt and red wheels (rims are already powder coated red) and another green with black wheels.
Initially, we were going to do frame up restorations on two of the 1936 Chevrolet Maple Leaf trucks (truck 1 and 3). Both 16-48 models, second HY series (post March 1936), but now with the addition of these Chev and Maple Leaf units, deciding just which trucks to restore will be difficult.
Two of the five 1936’s (truck 2 and 5) are the more uncommon Chevrolet and Maple Leaf trucks. Both are two ton, HZ series, but one C&ML (Chev & Maple Leaf) is a 16-31 model, 131” wheelbase, and the other C&ML is a 16-33 model, 157” wheelbase. We like the longer wheelbases, the Maple Leaf 165” and the C&ML 157”, as these will give us a more comfortable carrying capacity. After all, these are farm trucks and we will be using them gently (ever so gently) but they will earn their keep and continue to be useful hauling square bales and sacks of feed.
One of the first things we noticed on the Chev/Maple Leaf trucks is the use of a “Chev” bumper. I guess one might assume the “gull wing” chrome bumper was a Maple Leaf bumper as I have seen line drawings showing both Chevs and Maple Leafs and the Chevs’ bumpers were straight, the ML’s had the dip (gull wing) in the bumper and also the grooves in the middle running the full length. The Chev bumper is smooth and straight horizontally. There is a back up steel bracing with bolt pattern in it. Runs frame to frame, behind this bumper and is substantial. This first one of ours has no breaks in it and appears to be in pretty nice shape considering her age and the abuse most bumpers see. The second C&ML’s bumper is half there, with some other bumper welded where the missing half should have been
Torque tube is also an interesting point. In 1933, the torque-tube drive was first introduced in the Maple Leafs and we note that literature says that it was used for the last time in 1936. All our Maple Leafs have a Power Take Off (PTO), only our C&ML’s have the torque tube drive, otherwise the three Maple Leafs have split drive shafts.
March of 1936 saw a dramatic change in Chevrolet truck designs with the introduction of the “Turret Top coupe-type cabs” (low roof cab instead of the high roof cab) and coloured sheet metal (many truck cabs were wooden like horse carriages). Ah, but still true to form, not all the wood was removed from the cabs as our ‘36 Maple Leafs have stove bolts (with square bolts and flat washers) used to attach the door hinges to the wooden doorposts. Unfortunately, wood in these areas also rotted out (doors sagged) and many seals gave way & water rusted doors. Considering how old these trucks are, they are in remarkable shape.
So far, we attend just one swap meet a year and what a wonder it was this year. Our first Maple Leaf was missing her radiator insignia (Maple Leaf Truck) and I had gone to a jeweler (thought I was running out of options) to get a quote on what it would cost to get one made ($800 ... ouch!) Yup, found an original one at the Red Deer Swap meet in great shape (tackily painted all the wrong colours but paint is easy to remove). The price?? Twenty-five bucks ... SOLD!
Rick found a horn (missing off the first truck, too) for $40 (asking $60, but you get to dicker at the swaps!). We even found a leather tooled key chain from a long shut down gas station out of Calgary, Alberta -- Maple Leaf was its name! Amazing what a lil' passing of time and patience nets you.
Many of the earlier vehicles (we pick up on the 1934, 1935 & 1936’s) all had a similar look to them … be they Chev, Ford, Dodge, The big headlights were not in the fenders and there was always a similar shape to the bodies. For me, I usually have to do a double take to figure out what make they are. It would not be hard to collect more in these years as they certainly are eye appealing. The Maple Leaf seems cartoonish, with her big wheels, roundish cab, catchy headlights, and glistening chrome accents.
The Chev doorskins were identical and fit 1936 to 1938s. The windshield only fits the (Mar-Dec) 1936 because of the low cab design. The high cab windshields fit 1934 to 1936 (Jan to March). In 1937, the windshield changed again. In the hood cowling, the Maple Leafs had three horizontal louvers with chrome strips. The 1936 Chevs appeared to have vertical hood cowlings with no chrome louvers. Other than the trim end of things, Maple Leafs appear to have the same window frames.
We are curious about the US Chev Independence and the Chev LT. How long they were made and how similar they might be to the Maple Leaf? They were “big bolts” too! I would like to see and hear about the American versions and admire their special place in history.
We have purchased reproductions of the chrome Seahorse for our radiator caps -- not certain how very original that is, but indeed purdy! I see that some restorers here in Alberta also put the Parks Bison (National Parks pass) on their radiator fronts. This was a metal (seems silver or goldish in colour, depending which year or manufacturer was used) emblem of a Buffalo and was the yearly pass to parks like Banff National Park. In later years, they switched to a windshield decal that you had to try to scrape off each year.
In closing, as one of our neighbours says in reference to working on his Maple Leaf, “If the engine started to knock, you pulled over on the side of the road and got the coffee can out. Pulled the plug and dumped what they called “oil” into the can, took the oilpan off, loosened off the crank bolts, and pulled a shim off each end. Tightened the crank, put the oil pan back on and dumped the oil back in and you were good to go. If you needed a shim, you used a piece of your leather belt.”
Tara has an excellent thread going on about Maple Leaf trucks. At some point (this is a big haha for both of us), we hope to get it into the History portion of the Tech Tip Page. She and Rick have some good stuff. So, for now ... read the thread! ~~ Editor