02 September 2012
# 2968

Owned by
Kelley Hulsey
Bolter # 31691
Kinmundy, Illinois

"1959 Chevy"
A home-made truck with Chevy and GM parts

"22 Lester"


More pictures of my "home-made" truck

Join the discussion about this truck


We didn't really know where to place this truck, but since it's got enough Stovebolt parts, we figured it HAD to go on the site. WHATT?? You just gotta read this AND look at these awesome images. Kelley took the extra time to include a lot of detail with the images that are on the Bolt Bucket! This is amazing! ~ Editor


From Kelley :

I'm very glad to have found this old truck restoration forum.

I've been restoring old farm tractors and related implements for over 25 years and have always wanted an old truck to pull them with. I have a rather unique project though.

I wanted a much older style truck, like a "C" cab Mack or similar type. Restored ones are prohibitively expensive, and ones that need restoration are worse. So ... I built my own.

I started with a 1951 3600 3/4-ton frame .. that was pretty much all I had, having only axles and steering on it. No body, engine, radiator or tranny ... nothin'. But that actually made it easier.

I found a nice little 235 that use to be in a truck that belonged to my old high school. The boys in "shop" class rebuilt the engine, after which it smoked like a coal plant. The school junked it.

Having NO engine in the truck, this seemed like a start. To my surprise, I found the engine was actually in excellent shape .. but all of the ring grooves were lined up perfectly.

The radiator is off of a mid 1920's 10-20 McCormick Deering tractor. I posted on the Yesterdays Tractors site that it was my John Deering Tractor - but admitted it was only the radiator from one! The tranny out of a 1959 3/4-ton Chevy. The gauges are from a 1952 GMC. The steering wheel came out of a1929 Chevy car (nice wooden one). The rest of the truck -- bed, cab, fenders, running boards firewall, hood, roof, etc. -- I built.

The cab is white oak, stained with three coats of spar varnish. Same with the bed. All wood is trimmed with 1/8" steel, painted gloss black with screws and nickel finish washers.

The frame was sandblasted clean, and all unnecessary holes welded up and ground down. It was then painted gloss black.

My engine will be smoke gray and I'm taking extra pains to seal it up against oil leaks.

The front and back glass are specially cut laminate safety glass.

I know it sounds like a complete morphodite, but it actually looks like it will be really nice when done. It has a "C" cab design with a half door, a squared off, downward angling roof like on a Mack, covered in black boat canvas, a gull wing style hood with louvres pressed in each side (painted cream color) and double strap front and rear bumpers.

The fenders are made of 1/8" thick steel, rolled, with a piece of 1/4" round stock welded around the edges to make it appear beaded. They are gloss black also.

The bed is a flare box design with a chain drop tailgate.

The head lamps are some old teardrop style I picked up, that have a half cone type turn signal mounted on top. The taillights are off of a Model A Ford.

The wheels currently are Ford 3/4-ton 8 hole, painted a beige or cream color, but I hope to build wooden spoke ones in the next year or so, or perhaps go with a solid, flat steel disc design.

Although very little of this truck is "as original," the fundamental chassis / drivetrain is 1950s Chevy and it has been gone through from stem to stern. I've even disassembled the leaf spring packs, sandblasted them, painted them, and used the plastic liners between each to quiet them down and slow down the wear / rust.

This truck is a blast to drive ... manual steering, manual brakes, leaf spring suspension (only) and standard transmission mean you have to stay on top of things and pay attention. The steering is completely rebuilt, so it's tight. Those old style truck tires like to follow the "waller" in the road. On a smooth highway though, it will track true for a 1/4 mile without you touching the steering wheel, and then only a very slight correction. I did my alignment the old fashioned way ... with a carpenters ruler.

The rear end is a pretty low ratio so at 55 mph, you're racking up some noticeable rpms. In first gear, you almost have to drive a stake to see if you're moving ... you could pull a stump with it. It's most comfortable at 50 or so, but if I'm driving it, I'm not in a hurry to go anywhere in the first place.

The truck's name, Lester 22 is from the fellow who had given me the truck. He also is a State Trooper and his car is #22.

I acquired this woodworking skill from my Dad. He has been a Treenware craftsman -- where you carve things from wood that you need - spoons, farm utensils, yokes. He has a full shop of tools that I was able to use.

I have a buddy who should have been born in the 1940's, he loves everything old! He had an old camper he wanted me to help him with.  I took a look at it a thought there is nothing to these ... I can make one of these! He looked at me skeptically. Then I thought, NOW I NEED to make one of these. And so with the truck finished, I am working on the camper to go with it. It is designed in the same manner as the truck. I will plan to take them their first show in September ... an antique tractor show.

The pictures of the camper project are on the Bolt Bucket, also!



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