1940 Chevrolet 3/4-Ton
06 March 2006
Hello. Here are a few pictures of my Bolt, a 1940 Chevy 3/4-ton.
I purchased my truck in the fall of 1973 as a project / fixer upper for my senior high school year auto mechanics class. I paid $100 for my truck. At the age of 17, that's about all I could scrape up and still have some money left to get my project off the ground. It was a sight to behold. The typical IRWIPI case. In my youth and impatience to get started, I committed the cardinal sin. I towed it to school, started on the project the very next day and never thought to take before pictures. I started and took no pictures during the whole process. I have been kicking myself ever since.
Anyway. Imagine it setting there. The grille was missing. A small tree was growing out through the hand crank hole in the panel below the radiator and up about windshield height. The roof was pushed down and the fenders where all beat up from the kids playing and crawling all over it. The gas tank had about a scrub bucket full of stones, sticks and mud in it. The springs were all that was left of the seat. The material had long rotted away.
The bed? Well, after setting for years with an old "bed mattress" buried under bags of garbage and such, piled up to the roof line and up against the back of the cab, it was rusted to pieces. You can guess there wasn't much left. I could not salvage the bed.
Happily, all the other stuff was there. It was all in tact. All I had to do was get her running and get all the systems up to operational standards.
Well as it turned out, by the end of my senior year in the spring of '74, with the help of some of my classmates, I finished my project. All but the bed. I drove it home on or near the last day of school.
The bed you see here is the one I conjured up using oak. At the time (and with my budget stretched), I could only come up with rough cut sawmill oak that had not been kiln dried. Hence some warping went on over the first few months which I thought gave it an old, used-over-time look. At least I talked over the years as if I planned it that way.
The rear fenders were all that was left of the original bed that I could use. I also had to contend with some major rust through on the back of the cab and door bottoms. As rough as it was, it sure had strength. "Don't build 'em like that no more."
Fast forward: Today, she is what she is. My old truck that I fixed up in my senior year at school some 33 years ago. I haven't changed anything since. I have kept it in good running condition over the years (which by the way -- I have owned it now as many years as it was old when I bought it). I have plans to do it over again to the point of improving on some of my body work mistakes and giving her a fresh coat of paint.
As for the bed? That part of my truck has became my signature. My touch so to speak. I am so used to how it looks that I plan on doing it over again in the same design only this time with quality material and some hardware embellishments.
My son tried to talk me into re-doing it as a rod a few years ago. No way!! I said, "That truck is me!" I love the old truck smell. The sound of the old 216 when it roars to life off the 6 volt starting system. The whine of the gears and the ritual of the double clutch as she works her way up to a top speed of 40 mph or so. It's the feeling of owning and preserving something from better times gone by that keeps me loving my 40ChevyKD.
A great place, The Stovebolt Page! Keep up the good work.
Bolter # 10193
Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania
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