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Leonardtown, Maryland


Owned by Don and Dave Marsh
Ashland, New Hampshire
01 December 2008
# 2471

From Dave :

This is our Father & Son project. It's a 1941 Chevy pickup truck, Art Deco series.

This is the finished product of my Dad's 50+ year dream of having an early 1940's Chevy hot rod truck.

Years ago, Dad found this truck out in the woods while deer hunting. He came back and said that when he retired, THIS was going to be his hot rod pickup.

By the time he retired, and went back to get it, it had slowly become one with the earth. Here is a before pic (after most of the brush was cleared away). If it had been anyone less stubborn than my Dad, they would have left it there and started with something in much better shape.

After cutting a large tree out of the front end, he brought it home (we live about 100 yards from each other). We then built a large 34 x 44 shop at my house. The truck went in and didn't come out again for over four years.

We tossed the bed and rear fenders. They were see through. The frame came out (and is all here if anyone wants it -- a complete rolling chassis).

After some measurements, we found that an S-10 is within an inch wheelbase. So we found one of those with a rusty body. There was our starting point.

There was no cab from about the middle of the doors down. First the bottom of the cab / doors was fabricated. Then came the job of fitting the cab to the frame.

We wound up cutting about two inches off the outside of both frame rails, turning them around, then welding them to the opposite side so that the narrow cab would fit. Once set to height, the new floor, trans tunnel, seat and seatbelt mounts, and door sills were made.

Did I mention that to get the proper "look" he was after, the cab was now dropped 11 1/2 inches down over the frame rails? [ Side view ]

Then it was on to the bed. The entire bed, sides, tail, and floor were made by us. [ pix ] We also made the new running boards and grille. We wound up buying new fiberglass rear fenders -- the originals were just too far gone. We had over a month in trying to save the two front fenders.

Other than belts, bearings, hoses, pads, etc., the only other part purchased was the one-piece front windshield. Everything else was built here. The only job sub'd out on the whole truck was to have a guy from the local glass shop come put in the custom windshield. We did all the metal work, body work, paint, and upholstery.

The color [ pix ] is an 1980's Oldsmobile shade called "Light Redwood Metallic." My Mom picked it out from a little 1x3 paint chip.

Because the floor was now 12 inches closer to the bottom of the dash, it was necessary to modify the pedals, shift linkage, steering column, wiring harness. Then we had to find room for the power brake booster on the narrow firewall, along with the ABS computer. The radiator had to be lowered a foot, with a new filler made. The gas tank was lowered three inches to clear the cab floor, with new filler, new battery mount. It even took about three weeks to construct a workable heater box that would fit in the last space on the firewall.

And on, and on!! [ Rear View ]

The project was finished on July 4th 2008, about two hours too late for the local parade. The truck has had thousands of trouble free miles put on it already.

Despite the less than four inches of ground clearance, it doesn't rub, handles well and stops great. And, even with the stock 4.3 V6, it gets a pretty good burnout!

I'm not going to mention the total cost involved, because by doing EVERTHING in-house, you just wouldn't believe that it could be done.

Working on this project with my Dad was definitely time I'll never forget. My Dad was working 6-7 days a wek the whole time I was growing up, so we didn't get gobs of "quality time."' We got to talk for hours every day working on this truck. Cheaper than any therapist. Now it's his turn to help me. I'm customizing a never-finished 1970's Fiberfab Valkyrie kit car. It looks like a Ford GT40, is less than waist high, with a mid-engine Chevy V8. I have a 383 Stroker to go in already.

Feedback welcome.

Great story ... great work! Thanks for taking the time to write it all down! ~ Editor


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