1953 Chevy 3/4-Ton Stakebed
From Danny :
I have been in a local car club since I restored a 1966 Ford Mustang in 2003 (for my wife). My best friend has a 1940 Plymouth that he made a custom truck out of and it's really nice. I have been wanting for a project that I could call mine.
I had been looking for a 1930ís to 1940ís truck cab to make a street rod out of. I could not find one that I could afford or was not all to pieces.
So one day, I asked a guy (that had a 1950 Chevy truck) did he know where I could find a '47-50 Chevy truck cab. He sent me out in the country and the said, "Go look out back and see what you can find." He had several and added, "This friend of mine has this 1953 3/4-ton truck that he wants to sell." That owner brought it down from New Jersey 13 years ago. In 1995 he rebuilt the engine but he just decided not to go any further with it.
The guy told me what the owner wanted for it. I gave him a call and got it from him. [ The before picture ]
This Advance Design truck was an original 3/4-ton stake bed. It was rusty. The cab corners were rotted out. The stake bed wood rotten. The tires had dry rotted on it with no miles. A friend helped me get it home on a trailer.
The truck was so sound that it was too nice to remove the cab and cut it to make a street rod. So I decided to restore the truck some what. My son was helping me on most all of the truck. He son is a slow learner and that really helped me!
I started with getting it to run. The engine actually came out of a 1956 Chevy. I removed the gas tank and cleaned it. I ran new hoses from fuel pump to the carb. I bought a 6 volt battery and tried to start it. Didnít have a key so I put a new switch on. The engine turned over but no gas to the carb.
So, I got a new carb and installed it. Ran a hose from a quart jar to the fuel pump. This time, it got fuel but would not crank. I removed the carb and rebuilt it. It would not hit so I cleaned the points and installed new plugs. It hit the first time! It was really sluggish, so Stovebolters recommend to clean all connections. Then it acted like it had 12 volts!
So we got it running and it ran like a sewing machine.
It had a bad leak on the exhaust manifold. Installed new gasket but it would not tighten up to keep from leaking. The Stovebolters said to check the manifold for warp. So I removed it and .... it was warped.
I found a manifold off of another old truck at a friend's house and we installed it. No leak. You could not hear it running. You had to see the fan to assure it was running.
We then sanded all the major rusty spots and sprayed it with charcoal gray. I took the bed off and put it out of site. I wanted a truck bed so found a short bed from a friend and bought it.
I was told not to cut the frame to make it a 1/2-ton. So I thought that I would fix the 3/4-ton up and sell it and then fix a 1/2-ton truck. So I got the rest of the truck from the guy and brought it home.
I purchased a 1974 Nova and took the front clip off, steering column and brake booster to use when I would start the fixing the 1950 1/2-ton.
We started back on the 1953 stakebed. I was told on Stovebolt that a van seat would fit the truck. So we found an Astro Van seat and installed it. It has seat belts already installed.
We removed the gauges and headliner and interior. We painted the interior with a spray can (recommend from yet another posting on Stovebolt ) and it looks good.
We installed a new head liner; installed the seat; cleaned the gauges and reinstalled them.
I found on Stovebolt an idea on how to install door panels. So we made and installed door panels for the doors. We then installed rubber gaskets around the doors.
Next, I sanded the frame and cleaned it and installed an epoxy coating.
We Installed tail lights, wired them up from the fuse panel to the lights.
Then the bed ... we started disassembling the stake bed. The outside frame was good but all the other was rusted out and rotten. My friend works at a manufacturing plant and he drew the metal frames out and had them made on a fabricating machine. While they were being made, we removed the rust and primed the frame. We then assembled all of the metal parts on the bed.
Another friend is a cabinet maker and he planned the Oak boards that came with the truck. We stained and polyed them and put them on the stake bed frame. We drilled 100 holes and mounted the boards to the bed. [ Picture from the rear ]
We made side rails for the stake bed and installed them. We found some Dodge Ram wheels, 8 lug that would fit and put them on with some used, nice radial Michilan tires. [ pix ]
We entered the truck into the local Christmas parade. We decorated the like a 1950ís Christmas. My Grandfather ran a store in North Carolina and we put a tree across the top of the cab and put old antique toys on the back of the bed. It looked really good! We won 1st place in the antique vehicles.
I do have a web site for the '53 and also my wife's 1966 Mustang!
I have fallen in love with the truck and I now call him "The Old Man." It's not painted pretty or anything, but we placed lettering on the side of the doors like they did in the 1950ís.
So, I am now going to sell my 1950 Chevy project and keep "The Old Man." Your site has helped me and saved me money by taking advice from other folks. It probably is the best site I ever been on.
The heater is the next project.