Jim Justice's

1933 Chevy 1.5-Ton

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22 May 2006
# 1528

From Jim :

           Hi. I am submitting my 1933 Chevy 1.5-ton truck for consideration for your site. The truck was bought in Minnesota and is now the official beer truck of the Virginia Brewing Company.

           This truck has quickly become a great addition to the family. Like many who get into an older vehicle, I went through a process of sorts.

           I transitioned into the micro-brewing business from a career in the Army then Microsoft sales, and as part of our catering /marketing plan, I wanted some sort of vehicle to stage from at events. We are using the prohibition era theme for our business and the 1930s was the height of the protest. Illegal liquor production during those times has often been portrayed in movies with the old truck full of barrels marked "XXX."

           So that had something to do with me ultimately going after my truck. Northern Virginia is horse country, and initially I was going to use a horse-drawn beer wagon. The more I studied the options, I decided an old truck would be less effort logistically (stabling draft horses are an expense I am not quite ready for). So the search began for our beer truck.

           I found the truck on the internet and was quite pleasantly surprised at its condition given the asking price. The gentleman who owned it was located outside of Neu-Ulm, Minnesota, quite a distance from Northern Virginia. He had offers but most were foreign inquires requesting his bank account number which scared him off from an internet sale. Neu-Ulm, Minnesota it turns out is the sister city to Neu-Ulm Germany, a town I was stationed in the Army years before. This coincidence led me to believe that it was my fate and this truck was meant to be.

           I got him on the phone and let him know I was serious and after a few calls we became comfortable with each other. The truck had been in his garage since the early 1960s and in his family most of its life. This fact impacted me more than I initially realized, especially when I went to pick the truck up. He obviously cared a great deal about the truck and its future and I wanted to insure him I would care for it as much he did.

           My big dilemma was how to see the truck before I bought it, given it was almost 1200 miles away. Initially I planned to fly up, look the truck over, pay for it if it was everything I hoped it was, and then ship it via commercial transport back home. Coordinating that became quite an effort, and the cost of doing this option started to look less and less the best way to do things. My other option, and the one I ultimately choose to do, was to make the drive up and then trailer the truck home.

           I made the decision to drive up on a Friday evening (not a good time to start a long road trip) and hoped to get the truck home over the weekend. I drove straight through and arrived the next afternoon exhausted from running on caffeine and nicotine. Neu-Ulm turned out to be a very neat place with lots of old cars on the streets and even a long established beer brewery which I, of course, had to visit. I went out to the farm where the truck was waiting -- and it was everything and more than I had hoped for.

           The truck was all original, no rust, and looked ten times better in person than by photo. I paid the gentleman and sat off to find a trailer. I couldn’t rent a trailer from the commercial equipment leasing companies that would fit the truck, so I decided to buy one. I found one that was new and a good price, but it was two hours away. I decided to have a couple of those local beers and some authentic German food, get some sleep and then continue the process the next day.

           I hit one of the oldest pubs in town, and had a great time with the locals telling them about my trip and the truck. I got up early, drove and bought the trailer from a very nice gentleman. The drive through the Minnesota countryside was fantastic, and this with the other good things and people I was experiencing made me realize that I was getting much more out of this trip than just a great truck.

           I went back to the farm and loaded the truck. We had to pull one of the dual rear tires off to get the truck on the trailer, but once it was loaded I was in Heaven. My black Ford PU with a black car trailer and the black 1933 Chevy 1.5 ton was an uplifting site for my tired eyes.

           We bid the former owner farewell with mixed emotions and started the long journey home. The towing went very well, and the many honks and waves as we worked our way back to Virginia helped me stay alert and make it home without incident.

           The truck is now resting beside the brewhouse and looks like it was made to be there. It needs tires, runs but smokes a bit so will get some motor work. One of the headlight lenses was missing, but thanks to a tip-off from another Stovebolter, I bought a pair on an eBay auction and already have it installed. (Thanks Glenn!)

           We welcome all to visit us and if possible bring along some company for the truck.

           Thanks again for setting up and running the Stovebolt site and allowing my truck and I to join you. We have already benefited from being members.

Jim Justice
"Virginia Brewer "
Bolter # 11189
Middleburg, Virginia

           And just a little trivia sidenote ...... prohibition was repealed in 1933 Coincidence???

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