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Stovebolt Fever
There is no cure

01 March 2014
# 3057

  Owned by
Ron and Ryan Hill
"The Hill Boys"
Bolter # 37755
Gilbert, Arizona


1952 Chevy 3100

Shaggy and Scoob's 1952


More pictures of my old truck

Join the discussion about this truck



From Ron :

For me (Shaggy), it began around the age of 10.  A neighbor that lived up the street had a 1964 or 1965 Chevy C10 Stepside. For some reason, that drab green truck just spoke to me.  I remember admiring all of the unique lines.  I really loved the step on the side and, for whatever reason, the tailgate.  I remember seeing the chain hooks and thinking how cool they were.

Several years later, when I was 16, I wanted to buy a truck like that but all of my "friends" said I was nuts and that I would be a laughing stock at school.  I ended up with a 1973 Pontiac LeMans.  It turned out to be a great car and provided quite a lot of memories. 

In the Summer of 1982, my best friend's Dad had a 1955 Ford F100.  Red.  I think it had a 350 V8 in it. The Dad had the truck when he was in high school.  It sat in their back yard for years.  The Dad got it running one summer and let his son drive it.  He broke the tie-rod and back into the yard it went.

I went to Alaska for the summer, my high school graduation present, and told my friend's Dad that when I returned, I would buy the truck.  He laughed and said ok.  Well, I returned in August and he had sold the truck to someone else.  He said later that he didn't think I was serious. 

In the Spring of 1988, my Grandpa passed away.  I told my Dad, Uncle and Aunt that I wanted his 1972 Chevy 4x4 (long bed) and would buy it rather than asking for it to be "given" to me.  Again, for whatever reason, I wasn't taken seriously.  My Aunt gave it to one of her sons and his wife totaled it a few years later. 

My wife and I settled down and bought our first home in 1990.  We got caught up in the professional life, starting a family and big city life.  Dreams of an old truck faded away. 

Our son Ryan was born in 1997.  From an early age, he always enjoyed watching Scooby Doo.  That soon became his nickname and has stayed with him to this day.  Since we are best pal's, I must be "Raggy" (although I do a much better Scoob impression). 

Ryan's older brother has always been attracted to the bright, shiny and fast.  Ryan, on the other hand, savors the old and rusty.  I'd come into the house after work and there he was watching The Military Channel.  He loves the WWII shows.  His other favorite shows are American Pickers and Fast and Loud. 

At the age of 12, he mentioned to me that he wanted his first vehicle to be an old truck.  I couldn't believe it.  The dream has been revived! 

We would spend the next few years going to car shows and drooling over the old trucks.  He really took a liking to the Advance Design years.  Being a Chevy guy, that was music to my ears. 

The search for "our old truck" began last year.  I found a 1949 Ford F1 over in Yuma.  Wasn't running but the owner said it wouldn't take much to get it there.

I told him our story, that we have no mechanical experience, no shop, and very little money.  He said this would be a great project for us.  I called and reserved a U-Haul auto transport.

The night before, I had a long talk with the wife.  She went round and round with how short a temper I have and that whenever I work on one of our dirt bikes, I turn into a monster.  They all have learned to just leave Dad alone.  This, coupled with our lack of space, my wife convinced me not to go. 

It broke my son's heart.  We ended up buying a Tracker fishing boat.  He loves to fish and we have had a lot of fun over the last year.  But the fire still burned. 

We started looking again last fall.  Not wanting to fall into the same trap, we opted to find something a little younger that was running.  We ended up buying a 1976 Ford F100.  It was a nice truck but just didn't scratch the itch.  We had a small financial issue arise and we sold the truck only after owning it a month. 

He was crushed again.

The nightly ritual soon after was him searching Craigslist ads from all over the country and sending me emails. 

"Dad, check this one out." "Dad, how about this one?"  "How far of a drive is Oklahoma?" 

We would see a couple pop up locally and I would tell him that we can't do it right now. 

Then, there was one sitting out in front of our Bass Pro Shop right here in town.  It's a marketing thing for their Red Head clothing. Sometimes it's sitting inside the store.  Other times it's sitting out front.  We always spend more time looking at the truck than at the stuff in the store.

One day on Craigslist, I see an ad for a 1954 GMC.  It was just about 15 miles away.  It had no rust and was in rough shape.  I called the gentleman and asked if we could come see it after work / school.

We get there and he said his phone has been ringing off the hook, getting calls from all over the country.  He is the nicest man and takes time to show us his shop and a few of his projects. 

I told him our story and that we needed to go home and talk about it.  Now, he could have just said now or never but he liked us and wanted to sell it to us.

Again, I talked with the wife. The big issue this time was no title.  Same conclusion.  Called him in the morning and told him we were going to pass.  Told Ryan when he woke up.  Strike three. 

From that point on, we found several trucks in and around Arizona.  Several had sold within hours or even minutes of being posted.  I stumbled onto one on a different sale site.  Local, decent shape, price around our range.  Called him up and asked if we could come see it.  Went over after my son got out of school. 

We peeked over the fence and saw the 1951 Chevy 3100 sitting in the side yard.  A primered gray. It looked to be in decent shape.

Once the seller got home, he let us in to see the truck up close. You could see where some bondo patches were done but things looked pretty good. 

An attempt was made to put in some floor pans.  They are just laying in place.  Lot's of trim missing from the inside (glove box, speak grille, ash tray, door handles, window cranks, etc.).  Engine looked to be all in place.  Obvious that it had not run in years. 

The seller indicated he had it for about six years.  He bought if from a friend who had it for about 20.  Had started some work on it but life got in the way and it ended up sitting in a covered storage up in the Arizona mountains.  The seller had lost the key and said it hadn't run for years. 

Normally, this would cause me to turn and walk.  I just couldn't stand the thought of dangling a Scooby snack in front of my son and then yanking it away.  We negotiated a price and we agreed to buy it.  We went over the following day, pushed it up on the U-Haul auto transport and brought it home.  Just the look on some of the neighbors eyes as we rolled up was worth it.

Our first project was to get a key made. After some research, I found that by taking the glove box lock or door lock to a locksmith, a key could be made that would work in the ignition.

From the research, I found that the push button door handles started in 1952.  Wait, our's has push button door handles.  Hmmmm. 

Next, decode the VIN.  1KP.....  Let's see, KP indicates 1952.  Hmmmm. 

Found another posting where someone said the speedometer on the 1951 went to 80 and 1952 went to 90.  I called my Son from work and asked him to go look.  Sure enough, 90.  (He followed up with "Does that mean this one goes faster?"). 

So, we have a 1952

The locksmith said that books indicated the glove box and trunk were different keys than the door / ignition.  I tried to explain the "no trunk part" but opted not to go down that road.  Since I had just taken off the glove box lock, I went back home and took off the door handle.  I couldn't figure out for the life of me why the "locking door" handle was on the passenger side.  I knew I had to do more research on that one.  Must be some sort of "farmer engineering."  Odd, very odd (I figured it out later).  Door key made, worked in glove box lock and more importantly, the ignition.  First project, first success!!!!

Next project was to determine what engine was in it.  I found where to look for the serial number, cleaned off the grease, jotted it down and then hit the computer.  Well, the number didn't match anything from the 1951 / 1952 time frame.  Hmmm. 

Casting number.  Ok, go uncover that one.  At first, I only could read the first four numbers.  3738.  Hmmm

The only numbers matching these are either a 235 or 261.  Are you kidding?  We may have a 235?  Go the rest uncovered to find 3738307.  1958-59 235.  Woohoo! 

Second project, second success!!!!

My son is beaming right now.  I can't even begin to explain how that makes me feel.

I have no clue on where to go from here.  I did find this fantastic site and have already spent hours reading.  I also purchased Tom Brownell's "How to Restore your Chevy Pickup."  It's fun to just sit in the cab and flip through the pages.

Our hope is to get it running and make it a daily driver.  Ryan wants to drive it to school so bad.  He wants to park next to all the tuners and monster trucks and "stand out."  Maybe someday, he will have the time and money to make it a show truck.  But honestly, I see him just keeping it simple and keeping our dream alive. I bet he'll still be driving it 30 years from now!

This should be an interesting project.  As long as I can keep that ear to ear smile on his face, I know I am doing the right thing.  I'm just going to need to rely on my new found family at to get me through the challenges. 

Wish us luck!

Ron and Ryan Hill

This is a great story. We celebrate your successes with you! I'm sure you'll have plenty of support from the Stovebolt Collective. We'll keep track of your project details in the forum and watch for new photos in the Bolt Bucket album. ~ Editor


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