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13 February 2012
# 2948

  Owned by
Carol Levanger
Bolter # 4438


1937 Chevy 1.5-Ton Dually

"Hank Sr."


More pictures of my old truck

Join the discussion about this truck


From Carol :

I would like to share the story of my very first classic truck.  It is a 1937 Chevy 1.5 ton dually.  Before I get into that, however, I should mention that I’ve liked old cars and trucks ever since I could remember.  In Junior High when other kids were dreaming of brand new trucks and sports cars, I was perusing the pages of the “Old Truck Trader” looking for that special $800 obo truck that I could call my own.  But not just own, I wanted to learn to work on it myself.  Though I’ve always been interested in mechanics, somehow I never pursued that career path.  So, I am here to learn.

Shortly after moving to the town in which I currently reside, I spotted this old truck.  It sat in a pasture, with a home-made sheep camp built on the bed.  It had dents, rust, metal straps holding the fenders up off the tires, hardly any window glass, no headlight lenses, no grille, flat tires, and all of the other characteristics that made me love it at first sight.  This wasn’t your pampered, never-got-off-the-oiled-roads, type truck.  This was a real workhorse that spent most of his used life on dirt, road or no road.  Everything about this truck tells of a well-used ranch / country-type life.  I thought he was simply the best-looking truck in town, and I frequently made detours on my way home so I could pass it by and admire its charm. 

The man who owned the truck passed away several years after I moved to town.  The sheep camp was dismantled in an effort to “clean up.”   A year or so after the truck became a camperless flatbed, I asked the owner’s wife if she would be willing to sell the truck.  Much to my surprise, she said, “You’d really buy that hunk-o-junk?!”  I exclaimed, “Absolutely!”  A deal was made, and the truck was mine. 

This truck had sat in the same spot for at least 25 years, up on a bit of a hill about three blocks from our house.  I drove up there the next day with a little portable tire pumper-upper, and began working to fill those flat tires.  Much to my surprise, they held a bit of air; enough to move the truck.

My husband came up, and we made sure that the steering still worked.  Then he said “Hop in!”  I looked skeptically at that seat.  It had springs poking up.  It had what I hoped were old mouse nests scattered throughout what was left of the straw-like stuffing.  I just wasn’t too sure I wanted to climb in there without a little cleaning and possible evicting of any current residents first. 

Well, my excitement about FINALLY owning my dream truck AND the old coat that my husband put on the seat helped me to overcome my hesitance.  In I climbed, and for the first time, I had a view out the glassless windshield across the long narrow nose, and over the hood emblem.  It was a great view, and I forgot all about the condition of the seat!

A chain was hooked up and out of the pasture we (my new-found buddy and I) were pulled.  Once on the road, my husband stopped right at the top of the hill, unhooked the chain, and moved our truck out of the way. 

Now, we live in a very small country town with hardly any traffic, so it was very easy from that vantage point to see both ends of town.  My husband looked both ways, and said, “The coast is clear, just keep it on the road” and went around back to give a push. 

Surprised, I hollered, “Are you SERIOUS?” as we started rolling down the hill.  What a thrill it was to coast down that hill, make the turn onto the next street and make it half-way to our yard, before the truck slowed to a stop.  Once again, we hooked onto the truck with a chain and drug it the rest of the way home. 

Local gents have told me some stories about this old truck. It was used not only as a sheep camp, but also the favored hunting camp of the locals. There is a huge depression in the roof of the cab where guys would ride as they road-hunted.  After they got their kill, the deer / elk would be thrown up there and tied down.

The windshield frame has been screwed closed to prevent the incessant rattling over rough terrain.  Some of my favorite things about the truck are these

  • the mud flaps made out of some sort of canvas (conveyor belting?) bolted onto a length of pipe;
  • the emergency box with three round signal flares still in it mounted under the bed;
  • the metal straps keeping the fenders from sagging;
  • the gas pedal made out of a gate hinge;
  • so many fencing staples in the glove box that the cardboard gave way spilling them out onto the floor. 

That does it.  It’s official. This ain’t no citi-fied truck.

All this was several years ago.  I have put some sealer on what I believe could be the original wood bed. The bedwood is at least 60 years old, because the camper was on the truck by the early 50's.  It is in excellent shape from having been covered for so many years. 

I did a little bit of numbers research of the engine with the help of my Stovebolt friends.  It turns out it is a 1947 235 that came out of another 1.5-ton truck.  By all reports from guys in town, it ran just fine when it was parked. 

Shortly after I found The Stovebolt Page, a guy contacted me who owned another ’37 1.5-ton truck -- only he had bought his torn apart and in boxes. Being able to help him by taking pictures and measurements, and drawing out sketches was a lot of fun for me. He got his truck put back together and sent me a beautiful picture of it.  Just knowing that my truck had a small hand in helping someone else’s truck is a really neat thing!  Contrary to what some people may believe, my truck is NOT useless yard décor.   Thank you Stovebolt!

I got the 1961 Chevy C20 Stepside (also in the Gallery) shortly after this truck.  Since the ’61 needed far less work, it has taken precedence.  When the ’61 is “finished,” my plan is to restore the ‘37 to a drivable state.  As much as possible, I want to keep it “original” like it was the last time it was driven (early 70’s).  My plan is to leave all the dings, dents, and support straps in place to stay true to his character.  Maybe someday, we’ll even rebuild a home-made camper on the bed.  But until then, I just want to get it to where we can drive it in the local 4th of July parade and maybe down to the lake to go fishing. 

This past fall, I stumbled upon two 1942 Nash 4-door sedans needing a home.  Yep, they are now located in our yard awaiting their turn to be worked on.  I’ve had to promise NOT to adopt any more lost, lonely, neglected and sorely-in-need-of-restoration vehicles.  But, oh, I DO love them!  …  I hope I live to a very active and fit old age, because I have enough projects to keep me busy for several lifetimes.   

Thanks for all the support and friendship I’ve found here on the ‘Bolt.  There’s no other place on the web quite like this.  You’re all great, and I look forward to working with you as I progress in these projects.  Keep on a ‘bolting!


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