Josh Hooker's

1955 1st Series 3600 NAPCO 4x4

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29 August 2005

From Josh: 

Dear Stovebolt Crew:

       Here are a few pics of my old pickup. It's a '55 1st series 3600 with the NAPCO 4 x 4 conversion. It was a gift to me from my Father.

       Here's a little background story. I spent the summer of my junior year in highschool (1994) a thousand miles from home and my friends working in my Dad's auto repair shop. It was out of necessity, and I knew it. We never had a lot of money when I was growing up but my parents broke themselves making sure we never went without anything we needed. So, me and my sisters grew up with a very healthy respect for good honest hard work and an appreciation for what it takes to earn a living.

       Needless to say, it was my duty to help out, since I wasn't drawing any kind of paycheck. I was "building character" and that was payment enough, dangit! ; )

       My Dad spotted this truck in the "Penny Saver" up in Oregon. All it said was " '55 Chevy 4x4. Original. $xxx.00 O.B.O." No picture. After he showed me, I got so excited that I called the number and asked the guy if it was a Napco. He said he didn't know. (He wasn't too bright. The emblems on the hood sides said NAPCO Powr-Pak in big, bright chrome!) He did confirm that there was a brass tag on the front axle housing and on the side of the t-case. That was enough for me.

       So, I told Dad what I thought and he decided we'd drive up to Salem from Springfield, Oregon to go check it out. I knew that if it was a NAPCO, it was super rare and I wanted to at least see one. And Dad, being the original '54 Chevy nut in the family, he did too!

       Man was I pumped! I'd stared at the little black and white pics of the components in the "How to Restore your Chevrolet Pickup" book for hours dreaming of finding a NAPCO equipped truck! I just wanted to see one in the flesh. To actually own one was the stuff of daydreams.

       I was 17 years old and had been nuts about '54 Chevy pickups my whole life. My Dad's shop truck was a '54 3100 Deluxe Cab that he rebuilt from the ground up. According to my parents, I decided it was my truck when I was two years old. I remember riding around as a little kid listening to the "reeeooowwwoowwrroooo" sound of the radio tubes as they warmed up and being convinced that that radio could only tune in oldies!

       So, my Dad gave it to me for my 16th birthday, and I learned how to drive in it. I think I'm one of the very few of my generation that learned how to drive with a three-on-the-tree! So, anyway, unbeknownst to me, my Father had somehow rounded up a pocket full of cash and when we got there, and I confirmed it was a running, driving, honest-to-goodness NAPCO, my Dad handed the guy a fist full of greenbacks and we drove her home. I felt like the luckiest kid in the world! I knew as well as I knew my name that I had just been given one of the COOLEST and RAREST pickups out there!

       She's not a show stopper by any means but even in her current "sitting for 11 years under the oak trees ignored" condition, I think she's beautiful.

       The truck spent its working life in the mountains of central and coastal Oregon as a timber prospecting rig. It was also actively used in the actual logging trade. Everything is still there and functional. The only things I'm missing are the original wheels. The previous owner said his Dad ordered the truck from the Salem, Oregon dealership with 19.5" tubeless rims! I've managed to find a few of these rims and they do come that big with hubcap clips. At some point, because tires were so hard to find, the PO switched to later model 16.5 rims and got rid of the originals. I sure wish he'd have kept them. They are REALLY scarce!

       Anyway, I'll update you guys on progress as it happens.

       I can't tell you how much I enjoy the site and the forums. I have been around for some time now. This is the absolute BEST place to swap information! Thanks so much for all your work!

Josh Hooker
Bolter # 1615
Originally from Ojai (pronounced O-hi) California, and am currently living in Thousand Oaks, CA


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