1951 Chevy 3600 3/4-Ton Pickup
"The Sleepy Dragon"
15 June 2006
From Roy :
The Sleepy Dragon is a 1951 3600 (3/4-ton) pickup. Being as I live on the humid east coast (Norfolk, Virginia), I had to import the truck from Oklahoma. It was in decent shape with rust through in all the usual places - cab corners, floor boards, fender bottoms, etc.
I got the truck in mid-2003 and began a semi frame-up restoration. Being I am a desk jockey, I had no clue as to what I was doing but was intent on doing it "mostly stock." I got my hands on a shop manual and a factory assembly manual and began the effort. The wife was totally unimpressed and convinced it would never be completed. Her doubt only increased when she saw the truck in many, many pieces.
It's impossible to describe how much I learned as the project continued. When I first got the truck back on the road in early '05, it was "mostly stock" -- still had the 6-volt system, original 216 motor, etc. Where I deviated was the color scheme. The interior is the same green and black as the exterior. The green is the original Forester Green but, of course, the fenders are not stock as they are painted black.
I also swapped out the 4:54 rear end with a 4:10 -- one thing that you really must do in order to drive the truck around very much. Over the last six months, I have added a second carburetor and an HEI 12-volt ignition system with an alternator.
My plans are to swap out the Huck Brakes and put on Bendix brakes (while the '51 half tons had Bendix brakes, the 3/4-tons didn't change until '52). I may also change to a split exhaust manifold but that's on hold.
I am also considering "Vintage Air." It's mighty hot and humid here. These are probably the only additional changes I'll make.
As to the name, well it just sort of occurred to me. Big ol green and black thing -- very cool in its own way but a real sleeper ... 55 mph is pushing it. Sorta like a big ol "Sleepy Dragon". My current project is a '51 half ton 5-window that I intend to restore to absolute original. It'll be called "Lil Bro." The idea is to use the Sleepy Dragon to trailer Lil Bro to car shows.Lil Bro is going to be Red. Being as its a short bed and will have smaller tires, It'll look much smaller than my 3/4-ton with tall tires. The pair should look really cool.
I love my old truck and love the attention it gets. By the way, the wife is just as proud of it as I am ... all her doubts gone.
Bolter # 11430
The pair will definitely look really cool. Can't wait to get the '51 in the Gallery, too! Roy just finished up a very nice tech tip on door latches for the 1947-51 series. Check it out ... Thanks, Roy and see ya down the road sometime, neighbor! ~~ Editor
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