Mike Hopkin's

1961 Chevy 1/2-Ton Stepside

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29 May 2006 -- Happy Memorial Day. Let us all remember those who have gone before ...
# 1541

From Mike:

           I own a 1961 1/2-ton Stepside. I rescued this truck out off a hay field in the central valley in 1980.

           My hood unlatched on the freeway one morning on the way to work. That's where the money started to pour in ... or pour out? I figured that if I didn't have a hood, I might as well make it pretty under there.

           I started with MT valve covers and an Edelbrock manifold. Then a cam. Then a big block. Then an auto trans. Then a posi rear end with 456 gears.

           Over the last 26 years, I have had a 283, 307, 327, 350, 383, 400, 454 engine in this thing. It's been through six trannies. A 4 speed compound was the first -- m-21, m-22 powerglide, 350 turbo, 400 turbo in that order. It's had three rear ends and I can't count how many spools and spider gears.

           The truck has had three total paint jobs.

           In 2000 I took off all the hot rod stuff (getting older ya know ). I swapped it to a 1978 frame and rear axle for the power steering and brakes, and a more modern suspension. Now I have a very strong small block 400 and a auto with overdrive. More of a sleeper than before.

           This summer I'm going to pull it apart AGAIN and spray the frame, under coat, new paint and interior. This will be the last time that I do anything more than tune-ups and oil changes on my little baby for a very long time. By the way it's going full circle, I am going back to almost bone stock -- at least on the outside -- even tall tires and hub caps. I can't bring myself to tone down the ponies under the hood. I still love the feeling of being able to smoke 99% of the new cars out there.

           As of 2006 (now that's 26 years mind you), I have spent over $45,000 on her over the years. Not including countless hours. And that amount is in a log book. Who knows what the real amount is?

           Thanks for making it to the end. I could write a novel about ole yeller but my fingers are starting to cramp.

Mike Hopkin
"11 sec 63"
Bolter # 10235
Sebastopol, California

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