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1951 Chevy 3800


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Leonardtown, Maryland

 

 
Owned by Andy Idler
"android"
Bolter # 18611
Morgantown, West Virginia
 
04 August 2008
# 2396

From Andy :

        A character in a recent movie said: "Son you don't pick the car ... it picks you."

This is truly a barn find!

        I finally got my first Stovebolt after 22 years of wishing and dreaming. It is a 1951 Chevy 3800. Oddly enough, I had no real intentions of buying this one when I did. I thought, "If I can buy it cheap enough, I can sell it to pay for the 3100 that I really want."

        I went to an estate auction at a farm in rural West Virginia, where two brothers and two sisters have lived for over 80 years. The brothers had died and the family was selling off the property to care for the sisters. None of these four ever married, so the only survivors were some brothers.

        I went that day to see what was going on, and to see what this truck and it's sister, a 1949 Ford F6, would sell for. I was one of only four interested in the old Bolt, so I bid ... and WON!

        I didn't just buy this old girl ... I stole her ... or at least I feel like I did. Here's she is coming out of the barn.

        I was fortunate enough to find a flatbed driver at the auction who was going home with an empty bed and he had to pass my house on his way. I worked out a mutually favorable deal. About 40 minutes later, the old Bolt was in my driveway.

        As we were pulling out, (Bill) the younger brother of the original owner (Pete), handed me the original title. It turns out I was buying it directly from the estate of the first owner. He had been a single man all of his life and returned from service in WWII with pockets full of cash. He purchased the Ford in 1949 and used it to haul lumber off of the property. By 1951, they were farming the land and he ordered the Chevy.

        The Chevy was built in April of 1951, and Pete titled it in June of 1951. The flatbed was hand designed and built by Pete ... what a find! Here's a view from the rear.

        If you look closely in the pictures, it is a 12 foot bed, about 3 feet too long. Bill used to make fun of him for the awkward length and was pleased to hear that I intend to shorten it to 9 foot.

        Once I got it home, I started cleaning more than 15 years of filth. We had to remove a five foot black snake from behind the seat, and 3+ 50 gallon bags of pine cones that had been completely stripped for seeds. (Must have been a neurotic squirrel.)

        Once everything was cleared out, I found the original owner's manuals, several receipts for fuel and livestock, license plates from 1993, 1976, and some unreadable ones from the 1960's. This guy didn't throw anything out, it just went under or behind the seat.

        I decided I couldn't sell this truck. It had to be brought back to it's original splendor.

        I could see it did not have the original 216 in it, so I spent my first week researching the engine and painstakingly preparing it to be started. I concluded that it has a 230 6 cylinder, and after returning to the farm to ask about it, Bill laughed and said it was out of a 1966 C10 that Pete had "rolled off the mountain."

        We shared some more stories about the truck, and it turns out Bill has done all of the mechanical work on the truck so I have a complete history of all maintenance and repairs.

        It was repainted at one point, and there is no major rust, only some surface rust from sitting in the damp barn.

        I have replaced all of the ignition components and if I feed fuel to the carb ... SHE RUNS! I currently have the fuel tank out for cleaning. I am replacing all of the fuel lines and rebuilding the carb as they are all coated with "molasses."

        I found a small brass petcock mounted between the fuel tank and the rubber flex hose. The guys at Classicparts.com were familiar with those being installed, but didn't know of a source for replacement. I could use some help finding one!

        So far, everything has gone smoothly. The nuts and bolts are coming loose, parts are available, everything seems to be going our way. It's as if I'm supposed to have this truck.

        I have more pictures in Photobucket. I will continue to update the photos as I move along. I really appreciate all of the help and information I have already gotten from Stovebolt.com, and I am looking forward to more fun with you guys for years to come!

Andy Idler

-30-


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