Greg McClenny's

1963 Chevy Pickup Truck

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27 August 2007
# 2030

From Greg

          Here is my 1963 Chevy pickup truck that I have had since 1981. When I was younger (12 or 13), I saw a TV movie with Johnny Cash in it and he was driving a 1964-66 Chevy Short Stepside. I remember right then wanting a truck from that era. This '63 was the best available -- when I could afford to buy one -- and there was a lot of rusty Canadian junk back then.

          I bought the truck (long view from the driver's side) from the original owner who was in Toronto. He had advertised it in the Auto Trader (I still have the issue it appeared in). The truck still has the original Owner's Manual and Battery Warranty Book in the glove box. He paid $1200 in 1963 for it new, and I paid $1250 for in 1981 for it used.

          It originally was a 230 cubic inch 3 speed pickup truck. I built a 350 in high school and put it in, along with the M21. It didn't take long before I spun a bearing (first engine rebuild -- I was a novice). I found (and had rebuilt) a 283 from a 1955 Chev (1960 block). This was a great motor. It ran strong and revved real nice. It had a 327 350 horse GM cam in it.

          Three summers ago, I was on my first ever trip with the truck on our Highway 401 and the #1 connecting rod went through the block. That was a low moment. After 15 years, my 283 was done. A week later, I had a 327 built specifically for the truck (side view of the engine compartment). I thought the 283 was powerful, but this 327 is a whole new level -- Edelbrock 650 manual choke, Performer intake, Mallory ignition, Comp cam, Hedman headers, K&N filter. It runs real good.

          The body has been 90% replaced. Remember this is / was a Canadian truck. The hood, fenders (inner and outer), cab, doors and box are all U.S. I did the box five years ago. It came from Georgia. I had it totally stripped and painted separately, and I reassembled it myself.

          The only original piece on the truck is the front of the bed. The cab was from California (I got this at a flea market 12 years ago). I stripped it of all its parts and had it painted, along with the Texas doors. Then each and every bolt and part was stripped, cleaned and painted. Here's a shot of the bed. I re-assembled all that as well. (View of the rear.)

          The interior has been gone through recently. The bench is out of a 1990 Chevy and was re-upholstered. The dash gauges were a flea market find. I got a Sun tach from eBay and fit it in. The vacuum gauge is from an early '60's Pontiac. It sits in there really good and looks stock. The Deluxe heater, day / night rear-view mirror and four-way flashers were also eBay finds.

          Just this past November, my son and I put a 21 gallon poly tank under the rear of the bed. Now there is a storage box behind the seats that also houses a pair of Panasonic speakers. They go along with the pair or Panasonics that I mounted in the plastic kick panel housings, and they all run off a Sony am / fm CD player.

          The brakes were upgraded as well. There is a 1976 Chevy dual master cylinder plumbed to the 6 lug drum brakes (all completely rebuilt). It stops pretty good for four wheel drums.

          The colour is 1975 Corvette yellow. The rims are Keystone Rebels - 15 x 8. They were the nicest option for 6 lug rims back when you could have white painted 6 spoke or stock rims.

          This project has been 26 years in the making and I am not done yet. I just don't know what's next, but there will be something.

Greg McClenny
Bolter # 3637
Newmarket, Ontario

          Greg - great initials! And (as you said), with those initials, I guess this truck was predestined for you. It's always excellent to hear from some of our old timers (on the site that is). Glad to have you in the Gallery and we appreciate the time it took you to type all this (hunt and peck method). It's a good motivator for us on this end! ~~ Editor

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