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1930 Chevy Universal LR 1.5-ton Truck

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Owned by Tom Johnson
Bolter # 14085
Omaha, Nebraska


02 November 2011 Update
# 1902

More truck pictures in Photobucket!

From a single garage to an entire warehouse -- who woulda thunk!

From Tom:

Hello Stovebolters far and wide. This will be my last annual report. I sold this 1930 Chevy truck. The old truck has gone from being built in August 1930 in Kansas, being used by the local utility for many years, used in the Sandhills of Nebraska as a fire truck, then resided in my single car garage in Omaha for 10 years.

It is now owned by a multi-million dollar construction company in New York City. It has gone from my little garage to a big warehouse in Manhattan with its own lift.

It is going through a total restoration so it can make its debut in parades and events in New York City in the Spring. They are thrilled to have it and I am glad they came along and could finish it right.

It has been almost 10 years that I have posted my story and videos of the old truck. I am glad I had the opportunity to be a caretaker of a piece of history like that.

Not many people can say they have driven an 81 year old vehicle. I have owned, driven and brought it back to life. If you hadn't seen this, here is a You-tube video where we were driving it.

Thank you Stovebolt for giving me an outlet for my truck's story. I never got to the point where I was driving it around the city of Omaha, like I had hoped in my first post. Now it will be towed on a trailer to events all over the Eastern seaboard.

My new project has a Stovebolt Six in it, too. But it has twice as many doors and doesn't qualify for one of my favorite websites.

I wish you all many successful projects and don't give up. You might not know where or when something is going to come your way. But it will.

All the best to my fellow Stovebolters. I'll be they guy waving at you from the front seat of my Pink '57 Chevy!

Tom Johnson
The Cartunman

Well, Tom -- this is amazing! You did a lot of work on that truck. These new folks should have it easy to get it ready for parades! Can't wait until you get the itch for another truck. ~ Editor

24 July 2011 Update
# 1902

More truck pictures in Photobucket!

From Tom:

Yes, this truck is for sale. I'm looking for a 1957 Chevy.

I just got back from the truck show in Flint, Michigan. There were plenty of Chevy trucks there ... but none like mine.

Now, this isn't my "annual report," I just wanted to show you what I got done on my old truck!

I came up with the design for the flat bed and built it from pressure treated lumber. The bed is polyurethaned and the side skirts are dark green. I'm going to add a piece above the sides to make it have a lip on the sides. and more of a finished look to the back.

I have to rearrange my tail lights and get them hooked up. But I thought it came out pretty nice! My wife even likes it.

Your Stovebolt crew stays pretty busy. You have the whole Stovebolt Universe relying on you to keep it going -- no pressure!

See you in Kansas City.

Still playing with trucks in Omaha

20 September 2010 Update
# 1902

More truck pictures in Photobucket!

From Tom:

Hi 'Bolters! I was hoping to meet up with you guys in Kansas City a few weeks ago but I didn't make it obviously!

Well, I did it. I almost sold my 1930 Chevy truck last spring when I was told it was going to cost $3000 to rebuild my engine. But my new friend Eddie Henegaard from Underwood, Iowa convinced me to hang with it and found me an engine.

So, I went to St. Louis and got the new engine on Memorial Day weekend.

After a summer of trial and error, I got the engine to work and the transmission to work right. Then I got the nerve to drive my truck around the block. Here's a series of photos for the "first time around." Luckily my brother David was visiting from Seattle and documented the big event! I figure it was the first time it had been on the street, under its own power, in probably 35 to 50 years.

Ten years in the making and I did it.

I need to do a little brake work before I can go on the long trips. But I'll let you know when that happens and keep up my video status.

Have a great winter working on our old trucks season. Thanks again for putting up with my stories !

Tom Johnthson
Still Playing with Trucks in Omaha

Tom, It's always good to get your "Annual Report." And I sure like the video touch! That must have been a great thrill to know that you would be able to not only keep the truck but having her on the street in a pretty short time afterwards. Congratulations! ~ Editor

03 August 2009 Update
# 1902

More truck pictures in Photobucket!

From Tom :

I've been checking the web site and digging all the stuff that's been going on! It's been quite a while since I wrote you about my 1930 Chevy truck so I thought I'd send an update. I've had my ups and downs but am on an upward swing-at this time.

I got the truck to run again, though it doesn't idle as good as I would hope. I have another carburetor kit to put in soon. Hopefully that will take care of that issue.

The starter quit on me when I was trying to show the truck off at its first show. But I got the starter fixed and am working on a possible rebuild of the engine. It seems to be a never ending means to spend money! But it's coming along and once I have it all together, I'll driving it and having fun!

I got a top from KC Woods and finished it with a wainscoting kit from Menard's. I think it turned out pretty nice!

And, I finally got it to a show. I belong to a tractor club in Waverly, Nebraska. I take care of the gas station display which also includes a nice collection of cars and trucks. So mine was one of them. I was pretty proud. My wife even came to the show and took my picture. It was a great weekend and the weather, which is usually in the upper 90s to 100 was in the 70s and 80 during the day.

My Mom's cousin come over this weekend. He use to race stock cars and build hot rods back in the 1950's. He got in there and made my old Chevy hum. Hopefully he can come over and help me with a couple of issues so I can get it running just right. It has some sputters but we're getting there. I would have ran it around the block, but we had a pallet of bricks in the driveway.

Well, enough of my gushing. Thanks again for keeping up the playground for us old Stovebolters.

Your old buddy,

Still playing with my truck in Omaha

Wow, Tom, it has been a while! And the truck -- impressive work! When I went to see the link to the top, I was blown away. She looks great. That show sounds like a great combo - old trucks, tractors and gas station stuff. Who wouldn't have fun! Keep playing (it's a requirement of Stovebolt "active" status!) ~ Editor

06 December 2007 Update
# 1902

From Tom :

          “Looking’ like a truck!” I can’t think of a better way to start off my update than to quote my buddy Art. It IS starting to look like a truck! All the time put into it is starting to pay off.

          I got the cab pretty much together. I have polished up my reflectors in the headlights and have some seats! When I got it home from Don’s (the guy that got it running), I started in getting the headlights to work. AND I DID! I had one headlight working, then both.

          I still have some work to do to get them to both work all the time but I feel pretty good about getting them to work at all!

          I had been driving the truck in and out of the garage for most of the summer until I discovered the oil looked like a chocolate malt! Not good! I figured out the coolant was getting into the oil and I had to find out how.

          After pulling the head, I found it was warped. I got it leveled out and I am putting the engine back together. While the headlights were off, I figured I’d clean them up. I got the outside looking good but the reflectors were a bit tarnished. I tried a bit of polishing compound on them and they shined up nice. Since then, I have learned what I was using can take off a bit of the plating. I tried some silver polish and that seemed to work well.

          The one thing I have learned from this project is staying power. Every time I think I’m close to being done, and will just get to enjoy it, I have something (like the engine) that needs to be pulled apart. It’s all going to be great when it’s done -- I just hope I live that long! All the setbacks are part of the fun, I guess.

          When I told a friend what was going on with my truck. His response was, “Welcome to the old car hobby!”

          Keepers of the Stovebolt: thanks again for giving us a place to play!

Have a good holiday season,

Tom Johnson

          Tom, Your enthusiasm continues to be a real boost for many of us!! Cool picture with the lights! Thank you for taking the time to keep us in the know! ~~ Editor

16 May 2007 Update
# 1902

From Tom :

         Don got my 1930 Chevy running! See the video in my Photobucket! I was thrilled when I actually got to hear the old thing run! I figured if anybody could tell me the truth about the engine, it was Don. My brother-in-law had told my son it wasn’t going to run and I wasn’t so sure it would either. But I had hope!

         Don got the truck to run for a while, until it ran out of gas. Then he couldn’t get it started again. He thought it was turning over slow, so he took the starter out and took it to a guy he knew. He got a diagnosis from that guy but had to take it to someone else to work on. It turned out to have a bent armature. The armature was replaced and the starter put back on the 194! Don had a friend over and was trying to figure out the Chevy. Don works on Fords and it was different enough he had to call in some help. Luckily, Don’s friend’s son was visiting from Seattle and came along. The son is a Chevy mechanic there. They figured the timing was off by 180 degrees. They got everything where it was supposed to be and got it started.

         Don called me to ask what I wanted in the radiator - which is another story! He said he’d be there for a while longer so I hurried up to Don’s garage, on the other side of town, with my digital camera, and made the movie. I was thrilled! Don was thrilled! Now I have Andre from Canada wanting to write a story about my truck for his club newsletter.

         I think Don was impressed with the old Stovebolt Six. It’s a strong running engine and sounds pretty cool, too!

         This kind of thing doesn’t happen to a guy everyday. When Don was getting the truck on the trailer, he spun the back tire and it broke the valve stem off the inner tube. So now I have a flat tire. It’s much easier to roll the truck in and out of the garage by driving it with the flat. Except when you run out of gas. I was going to fire it up for my son. I checked and found I was out of gas! So no demo!

         I’m going to get it home sometime next week -- I hope -- and get the body panels on it. Here's another video of us loading her on to the trailer. So when I do that, I will definitely shoot more pictures. The radiator has to be reworked so the truck might not be going on any trips for a while.

         Thanks again for a great web site and for supporting my “habit.” It's great to be able to share my news with folks!

Tom Johnson
Bolter # 14334
Omaha, Nebraska

         Wow ... that is SWEET!!!! It's a big file but not a HUGE file. If you can open it, wow, it's definitely a treat to hear her purrrrr and fun to see it drive up onto the trailer!! Looks like the Gallery has taken on some new features. These are the first video clips! Good job, Tom. It'll be great to see more and more! ~~ Editor

2 April 2007
# 1902

From Tom :

         I am restoring a 1930 Chevy Universal LR 1.5-ton truck. With some help from my Dad and my brothers, I have been working on my truck since 1998. The old Chevy has a 194 Stovebolt Six with the updraft Carter carburetor -- the first year for the updraft and the second for the Stovebolt Six.

        The old truck was built in Kansas in April of 1930. It was first owned by the local utilities here in Omaha. When I was stripping off the paint, I was hoping to find some signage. The doors had been stripped already but when I started on the sun visor, I found hand painted on it “Utilities District.” I saved it and put another one on the truck.

        The old Chevy had lived, for a while, in the Sandhills of Nebraska. I found sand in every place you could get sand when I was taking it apart.

        I had it running a couple of years ago. One of my brothers had restored the engine but we couldn't get it running for nothing. My Brother-in-law decided he wanted a crack at it. He came over one day and after a while, we got it to running. It sputtered and belched and ran for about 10 seconds. My wife was in the backyard and came running to see the look on my face. She knew I would be grinning from ear to ear and she was right. I have lined up my friend that restores old cars to see if he can get it going.

        I don't have fancy painting equipment and a very small garage. So I have been restricted to doing the painting in my back yard, on a picnic table with spray can paint. It looks pretty good if I do say so myself. The paint's not perfect but will work until I can have it painted better. I have left some "character" in the body panels and a few holes and dents just so it hasn't lost all of its age marks. The outside is Dark Hunter Green with Black fenders and aprons. All the under sides of the metal is painted red and the wood is gloss black.

        The reason for the red undersides is one day I was painting the running board aprons and ran out of black paint. I had some red for some reason and painted the rest with the red. My wife saw it and said how nice the red looked.

        Well, I wasn't building a fire truck so I thought I'd paint all the backsides red and I did. Kind of my signature.

        I know that once I get the old thing running and put back together, it will be another one of those things I wouldn't had picked for myself (my Dad thought it would be a good project for us to work on together -- wasn't really my idea) but will be glad to have such a unique vehicle to enjoy and share with my family. I think even my wife, who was against the whole thing to begin with, will go riding with me some -- at least I hope so.

        Here some additional photos in my Photobucket.

        Anybody need any information about 1929-1931 Chevy trucks be sure to write me. I have got some great resources and learned some history along the way. And, if you're ever around Omaha and see a green and black "Model A" looking Chevrolet truck with a guy grinning from ear to ear, be sure to say hi. I'll honk my horn and wave back for sure!

Tom Johnson
Bolter # 14085
Omaha, Nebraska


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