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01 September 2012 Update
# 2257

Owned by
Ned Messerschmidt
"The Ned"
Bolter # 17370

1951 Chevy 1-Ton Panel

"The Golden Phantom"


More pictures of my old truck

Join the discussion about this truck


As we near the end of "cruse-in" time of year, we asked Ned to write a piece from his excursion to a show on the East Coast this summer. It sounded like a lot of fun with his truck. As always, Ned went above and beyond. Cool beans to hear he won the hearts and waves of many while there -- and brought home a trophy besides. He was having too much (but well deserved) fun! (Envy!) ~ Editor

From Ned :

When I started working on the Golden Phantom, like most folks in this hobby, I just wanted an old truck to drive and to enjoy. I knew that a one-ton panel would be somewhat of a rare bird, but I never expected to receive a lot of attention. People would ask me “What are you going to do with it when you’re finished?” My typical answer is that I’m going to drive it ... maybe to Alaska.

Since I’ve got it up and running again, I’ve taken it to the local cruise nights and a couple of small local shows and also to this year’s Stovebolt Homecoming. ¬†Wherever it goes, it always attracts attention. It has even been touted as best of show or in one case received a commemorative clock for being selected as a top 20 participant. I’ve been both pleasantly surprised and flattered by all of the attention.

Like many Bolters, I like to attend shows as a spectator and have attended many as such. One such show is the “Crusin’ OC” car show in Ocean City, Maryland. Over the years, the show has grown to be one of the largest on the east coast, with thousands of cars entered in the main show. In addition, many businesses in town also have smaller shows -- some aimed at specific models and genre of street rods. In essence, the entire town becomes a show, with a constant flow of cars, trucks, and bikes cruising the avenues. It really is quite an event. ¬†

For a couple of reasons, I decided to enter my truck, a 1951 1-ton Chevy Panel, in this event this time. One reason was because it was cheaper to enter the event with a vehicle than to simply buy a spectators pass (amazing)! The other reason was, because the truck seems to garner a fair amount of attention, I was curious how it would fare. So I washed up my old truck, waxed it and polished what little chrome it has and headed “down the Ocean Hun” as is often heard said in Maryland. This was its longest cruise yet and it performed well, which was all I was really looking for -- after all my goal for this truck was simply for a driver.

This year's event was huge -- it runs for four days! The paper later said that there were over 10,000 participants, with about 4,000 vehicles entered into the main show. The were some really sweet rides there. Many, many rods and customs with custom paint, tons of chrome and meticulous detailing. It was obvious that many had spent fortunes on their vehicle and took an enormous amount of pride in preparing their rides.

So after taking part in the parade on the boardwalk, I headed to one of the parking lots where the big show was being held (pic from prior year). I pulled in and parked with the thousands of other entrants.

As soon as I parked, really even before that, people started to gather around the truck, looking, taking pics, making comments and asking me questions. I wasn’t too surprised given it was one of the most unusual and one of the biggest rides on the lot.

All through the event people asked about the truck -- how long did it take to finish; where did I get the wheels; who did my paint; who did the signage; how did I manage to find parts, etc. When the day's event was done, I cruised back to my condo, or to dinner or wherever -- all the while people on the sides of the road would be pointing, waving, taking pics, hollering comments and kudos at us. I felt like a celeb.

Even with all that attention, I really didn’t expect that the truck would be a serious contender given the caliber of so many of the cars. So I didn’t bother attending the awards ceremony after the daily shows.

Then my friend who came along after touring the lot, returned and told me “Your truck won a trophy.” I said sure it did, thinking she had surely been mistaken. So I walked up to the stage and there was a notice to the winners about picking up their unclaimed trophies and sure enough there on the list of participants was my entry number. I could barely believe it, with all of those gorgeous rides in attendance, that a 60 year old work horse such as the Golden Phantom would / could compete.

So I claimed my trophy and with great pride went back to share it with the truck. (pic).

I don’t know if there is a moral to this story, except don’t take it for granted that just because you drive an old work horse it’s not appreciated.

The Ned


And we say TRUCK ON! Perhaps if more of our old 'Bolts would start attending these CAR shows, people would see we are all still out here and maybe start promoting shows that are for CARS and TRUCKS. Stovebolts Forever! ~ Editor

24 July 2011 Update
# 2257

From Ned :

Here is a picture for the Gallery of my recently completed project, my 1951 Chevy 1-ton Panel truck.

It's been nearly four years since I acquired the Golden Phantom (this is how she looked when The Ned sent in his original Gallery submission ~ Editor) . Since that time much rust repair has been completed, completely stripped and repainted, new rubbers everywhere, most mechanical systems have been rebuilt and new custom wheels with new rubber installed.

I took it for its first drive in about 30 years this past May. A few problems were encountered, but all in all, it was good.

It has been a long road, but worth it. I still have some bugs to iron out, but at least it's home where I can enjoy it and start finishing the interior.

It's funny when you get down to the nit picky details. It’s amazing how much time can be spent on the smallest items to get it done right. Little things like broken screws and stripped screw holes make you step back and reassess when all you thought was needed was to bolt it back together. And “finished” is a relative term, is it not? I’ve been so close, and given my nature, I see all the warts and moles -- but not so foolish as to not see the beauty of the old truck.

For those who have asked, the rims were made by Rickson Wheel Company.

In late May, I took it to its first cruise in and received many, many favorable remarks and lots of attention in general. I didn't intend it to be a show truck, but it came out so good, I might just enter it into some shows for kicks. But mostly, I just look forward to driving it. I do mostly wildlife and landscape photography when I can and I like to travel. So I'm hoping to use the truck to go take some pics.

I came across an interesting classic Chevrolet truck television ad that you may enjoy, featuring a Panel, of course.

The Stovebolt Page has been a huge asset and the members have been great as well -- helping with questions of all sorts. Thanks to ALL of you.

As for what's next, dunno ... for now, just trying to feed the kitty.

The Ned

Well, one thing that will be "up" will be a delivery of a rock to Stovebolt HQ! But I can wait until next Homecoming! ~ Peggy

03 March 2008
# 2257

From Ned :

           So this can be novel length? (Oh yea, you betcha -- especially if you wanna make me a happy Editor! ~~ Editor)

           Well, where do I start? I suppose it all started with my first interest in old trucks and other machinery. I've always hoped to some day be the proud owner of a early 1950's Chevy truck. As I've heard others question the source of their insanity, for me it's a no brainer. I had rebuilt my first flathead at the age of 15. I became a Certified Master Mechanic by my early 20's. During that time, I did both duty at the local Chevy dealer as a truck mechanic and also as a frame specialist.

           So, I have had some in depth relationships with of some old Chevy trucks. On top of that, in the late 70's, I switched careers and entered the defense industry. There I served my time as a machinist / fabricator / model maker before moving into engineering. During that time, I acquired many tools of the trade and (with certain limitation) have the ability to fabricate complex machined parts from billet.

           Finally, (odd how things come in threes) I've been actively involved in stock car racing for most of my life. I have access to a shop that is capable of building a dirt super late model from the ground up.

           Panel trucks were sort of the ultimate goal, but I had also long ago came to the conclusion that I probably would not find a panel. But what do you know! While visiting a friend, I inquired about his much loved (though neglected) "Golden Phantom." Over the nearly 30 years that I've known Charlie, I've asked many times about this truck and the answer was, "Still waiting for the restoration to begin." This time the answer was that he decided to put 'er up for sale.

           So I almost immediately became the proud owner of the Golden Phantom, a 1951 Chevy 3800 Panel Delivery. Overall, it's not too bad judging from some of the saga's I've read about here. IWRWIPI true .... but ... after spending the last 25 years in the barn, you could never tell. Check the interior.

           Hoses and such are gone, of course. The rust isn't the worse I've seen, but will still suck up a few days / weeks / months before it's all over, to be sure. Mechanically it's all there and the motor can be turned by hand. It is possible life still exists, but may take some coaxing and tlc before it is road worthy.

           This truck started life as delivery truck for the Silvertop Beverage Co. of Hanover, Pennsylvania. The signage is still there, [ here's a larger image of the one above so you can see the door lettering ] though faded and weather worn. Silvertop went out of business in the 60's, but the owner retained the truck and used it like most of us would.

           My friend Charlie, who lives in that area, purchased the truck in about 1970 and used it for his farm and personal use for several years before parking it in his barn. At the same time, Charlie while at the local pub one day, was tapped on the shoulder by a stranger. It turned out that this stranger was none other than driver of the truck when it worked for Silvertop.

           I've since made contact with the former driver. It turns out he was not only the driver, but was the brother of the owner. I've spoke with him and he has volunteered to to help me collect memorabilia featuring the old truck in the service of Silvertop. This is going to be cool, especially if there are good pics of the signage for detail and color. I don't want to jinx myself, but I can imagine all sorts of memorabilia in the families' basements.

           I also learned that in the truck's work life, it was named "Lovie" as Lovie was the flagship beverage for Silvertop and the logo "Drink Lovie" can still be made out. I don't know if I'll re-name the truck, as the "Golden Phantom" seems a nobel name for such a work worn old truck.

           I think I'm fairly well equipped and definitely long overdue for such a project, with some exceptions. The one area that I've learned is not my strong suit is the artistic talent required in doing quality body work. So I've been beating the local bushes for that talent. So if anyone knows of such a place in Maryland, I'd be happy to hear from you.

           Any tips or suggestions you might want to make would be welcomed as would encouragement.


The Ned


           Ned, one of our Stovebolters is collecting "Vintage Door Art" ... you might want to fire off a good shot of your door to him. I know he'd appreciate it. Cool Panel. Hope you get to come to the Homecoming at HQ. You won't win a prize for the "farthest traveled" but I bet you'll have fun. No truck required ... just a big smile and extra Stovebolt photos! ~~ Editor




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