Chevy 1/2 ton Carryall Suburban (3106)
21 August 2006
# 1631, #1632 and #1633
From Tim :
Your prodding has gotten me to do what I should have done long ago (I registered on The Stovebolt Page in September 2001). I have owned at least one vehicle with a a Stovebolt engine since 1969. Instead of having a gallery entry for each of my three trucks, I think I would prefer one entry for all my trucks (they are all '54s).
The first vehicle I ever purchased, in 1969, was a 1948 Chevrolet 1/2-ton Panel Truck that cost $70. It had a 216.5 CID stovebolt "cast-iron wonder" engine. In late 1970, my wife's brother mentioned that he had seen a small Chevrolet "bus" that was being used for target practice in a field near Crewe, Virginia. We purchased that 1954 Chevrolet 1/2-ton Suburban Carryall (3106) for $200 and a week later we were traveling with three friends to a Grateful Dead concert in Atlanta, Georgia. After rebuilding a 216 for the '48 Panel (by myself), and rebuilding 261 engine to replace the 235 in the '54 Suburban (with a lot of help from my friends and relatives), and doing repairs on brake and electrical systems, I had enough knowledge to keep the Suburban running for us and also to keep the Panel truck running for the Madison Hall community service organization at the University of Virginia.
In early 1975, we moved from Virginia to Scotland. When we returned in late 1975, we had a new child and new jobs and no time and no money. The Suburban was driven from Virginia to New York and then sat and rotted / rusted in storage until 1994. In 1995, the restoration of the 1954 Suburban began in earnest - disassembly began (as did my familiarity with the growing number of suppliers who carried used and reproduction parts for these vehicles). I told Lela, my daughter, that she would be able to drive the Suburban by her senior year in high school (1999-2000). I was a little off because the Suburban was not ready for passengers until July 2004 (photos of its 50th birthday party and "coming out day" are on my website).
Dave (with Tim in this photo) painted the Suburban and he will be buying / restoring the turquoise pickup below. So, the Suburban has been in the family since 1970 and went through a frame-off restoration between 1995-2004. It was a rusted wreck and has been restored to original specifications.
During a visit to Virginia in 1997, my wife's brother-in-law, Guy, took me to see a 1954 five-window Chevy pickup that was for sale. We bought this truck and drove it to New York (it is now my "work truck"). This 5-window Deluxe Pickup became the "soup-up project" -- its 235 engine was swapped with the 261 engine in the Suburban. The 261 was then outfitted with '50s-era performance and dress-up parts. My friend Dave will soon buy and restore this truck.
This truck is a daily driver and looks real good from 30 feet.
Thanks to members of the oldGMCtrucks discussion boards, I found a '54 Hydra-Matic in Washington state. It was shipped to New Jersey and I drove it from New Jersey to our garage just before Christmas 2005. This truck is mostly original equipment/parts, has been very well maintained and is in good running condition. I will be selling the turquoise pickup and restoring this red Hydra-Matic pickup into an original specifications Deluxe 3104 Pickup with yellow / white exterior cab and maroon / beige interior cab and original 4-speed Hydra-Matic transmission and enclosed drive shaft.
I consider my trucks to be driving museums. They are as original as possible and practical. They are beautiful and they are regularly driven, bringing smiles to me, my family, my friends, and to people who appreciate seeing these pieces of history driving down the roads and highways.
Sorry you (Peg) were not able to attend ATHS National Convention in Baltimore this year. It was a great event and it was a pleasure seeing John's smiling face at the beginning and end of each day, as I drove my Suburban into and out-of the grounds.
Here is the link to my homepage. It chronicles my experiences with my Stovebolt trucks and it contains much documentation about 1954 Chevrolet trucks.
Bolter # 1642
Castleton-on-Hudson, New York
Wow, I'm glad I prodded. Not only some good information and great-looking trucks for the Gallery page, but a good story and then MORE great photos and information on Tim's website. You'll definitely need to check it out. Great job! ~~ Editor
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