10 February 2013
# 2998

 
  Owned by
John Kirkwood
"54John3100"
Bolter # 30151
Abbotsford, British Columbia
Canada

1954 3100 Chevy 1/2-Ton

"Zeb"

 

More pictures of my old truck

Join the discussion about this truck in the DITY Gallery

 

From John :

I got this old truck about two years ago it. I had been hunting for a five window cab and was having no success finding one in Canada. I wonder if the Canadian plant didn't put out as many of these as they did in the United States. So, I starting hunting south of the border. I found this truck in Washington State, a little over two hours from home.

My son, who was 13 at the time, and nephew made the trip with me to Bainbridge, a little island just across Pugent Sound. I was prepared to go with a trailer but the owner was confident that I could drive it the 120-some miles back on the I-5 .

The truck started up okay and our big problem was on the ferry going back to the mainland. It wouldn't start again! This was really awkward but I jiggled some wires and it started back up. It was our good fortune to have the engine kick in those two times because we found out later that the distributor was bad.

We had no problem getting back into Canada with a vintage truck. My nephew drove the transport vehicle.

When we did get home, my mechanic friend said I was nuts for driving it back. The tires looked like they were about to blow out! A few other things: the turn signals didn't work, nor the speedometer. I used my GPS for a speed gauge.

So, the mechanic did the inspection on the truck. He also referred me to Stovebolt. With new tires the truck passed inspection.

When I was 13 years old, I lived on a farm and my first vehicle I bought was a 1955 5-window 1-ton. I had never seen one like that before and I thought the 5 window was a neat idea, as compared to a standard pickup truck. I really liked that look. They only had that design for two years. And to get parts for that thing -- well, you had to find another 1954 or 1955 in a field somewhere. Nothing like it is today with being able to buy on-line.

All the serious mechanical work was done by the previous owner. All I have done was put a new speedometer in and repair the signal light. I put in new kingpins, too. I really want to make a daily driver and it was for a while. Then we had to park it for winter.

The work from here out will be cosmetic. We need to get the interior done, a little body work and painted. I want to do all that work by myself with my Son.

The previous owner said the truck was build at the Los Angeles plant. We are not sure if it was shipped to Seattle brand new or purchased in LA and migrated north. The PO had the owners' names back to 1974. I have thought about contacting the first fellow (from 1974) to see what he knew about the truck's history. From the notes of the PO, we think he was a professor at Washington State University.

Before the stint on Bainbridge Island, a lady owned it for a while who used it on her farm. She sold it to another fellow who parked in a field with intentions of fixing it up. It broke the PO's heart to see this old truck sitting in the field, wasting away. So, his wife bought it for him for Christmas. They were a military family, stationed in Washington. He also had gotten a 1966 Ford while stationed in Florida.

When he got the truck out of the field, he realized it had a cracked block. So, he put in a different motor - which made it a nightmare on my end to get it registered in Canada. They use the engine VIN to authenticate the truck. I had to fight tooth and nail to prove this was the correct truck - so it was helpful to have the list of previous owners. I think I am the fifth owner.

The PO also put in a new rear end with a higher gear ratio. I can do 65 on the highway. Of course, my mechanic said everything else on the truck is not meant to do 65! The brakes and suspension prefer 50! But that's okay - I don't take it out on the highway often.

With all this mechanical work the PO had done, he had boxes and boxes of extra parts he threw in with the truck sale. If he switched out a part, he saved the old one. He bought some new parts for the truck that he never got around to putting on yet. So, I got about $3,000 worth of mechanical work as part of the sale price. So, I basically paid for the work he did ... and I got a "new old truck."

He also had a bunch of books to go along with the truck restoration and renovation. He could answer any questions I had. I still call him now and again, to pose a question or just to give him an update. He was reluctant to give up the truck (one of the two had to go). He seems genuinely grateful to hear about it's progress.

I am about to start a new job soon with a contractor. They have a lot of neat equipment (which is fun). They also have a sandblaster! So, my head is already working up a list of pieces I can take to work to blast.

My Son also takes shop class at school. When they have scheduled sandblasting, I've sent a few things for him to take for "show and tell" !! It's been great.

My Son really has enjoyed working on the old truck. He is really interested in the body and paint work (which works out great). I had wondered about modifying the color and he said, "Dad! That's not original!" I thought about rodding it a little, maybe dual carbs or something. But he wants to keep it real old school. It works for me.

The name came from my wife. She's a big Walton's Family fan and Zeb was the Grandfather on the series. She has been a big fan of the truck restoration project, too. She's working on the color choices!

The Stovebolt site has been the best resource I have found on-line. Everyone is especially nice. It seems someone always has an answer to any question posted

John

 

Keep track of the restoration project details in John's DITY Gallery thread and check for new photos to his Photobucket album. Any and all questions welcome! If you post in the forum, others can share in the discussion. Thanks ~ Editor

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