1941 Chevrolet 1.5-Ton
25 August 2008 Update
I finished the truck. It is a lot of fun.
This truck, like most of them, did not have a seat in the back bed. In Ohio, it is illegal for children under the age of 16 to ride in the back of an open pickup truck.
A friend of mine found an old seat out of a bus for special needs children. By law, those seats are equipped with seat belts (and they are soft on the bottoms).
So now, two under-age children can ride legally.
Given the amount of metal and glass in the cab and the close proximity to one's face, I believe it would now be safer to ride belted in the back!
I like to think of it now as a very large Subaru Brat.
Also have my "Kentucky Kooler" ice and root beer in a milk can.
Here's a picture of the whole set up. Life is good.
25 August 2008 Update
From Joe :
What do you think of the finished project? The White Knight is now a 1 1/2 ton pickup with an 8 foot bed [ pix ] . I must add the 1978 GMC 456 rear end makes it very drivable. If nothing else, this is one heavy duty pickup truck.
I started by cutting two feet out of the middle of the truck. I bought a titleless South Dakota farm truck out of Indiana. The bed floor was rusted out but the sides were solid.
After sandblasting the bed, I welded up the rips and cracks, but left the dents caused by things being tossed in the bed -- character. The plan was to use it -- so the bed was painted with good old Rustoleum black.
The bed floor is made of Elm and the headboard as well. It was all cut from a big tree in a friend's yard. The headboard has the spare tire bolted to it. I found an old metal tire cover from a big old car. I am going to paint it white with 'The White Knight, Lockland # 3' in gold fire department type letters.
The fenders got a more elaborate treatment like the front. None of it is flawless but that was not the goal. It is suppose to be an old truck. [ pix ]
From the pictures I've seen of factory 1 ton and 1 1/2 ton pickup trucks, I strayed a bit. I didn't have factory rear fenders anyway. These came from a 1946 International mail truck. They had to be modified to say the least.
To fill the gap between the running boards and the fenders, I put a vintage tool box on the driver's side, and the battery and wheel chock on the right. The back bumper is removable -- it sticks in the trailer hitch receptacle.
I was not really happy about the way it drove before so I replaced the 6.17 rear end with a 4.56 out of a 1978 GMC motorhome (all new shoes and cylinders for the second time). It drives so much better -- now you can actually have a conversation in the cab. Grigg Mullen [ a Bolter with many cool projects! ~ Editor ] was my inspiration on that project.
For our first outing my three girls and I loaded up and went to Sonic's drive in [ pix ] . We had dinner "in bed." It doesn't get any better for a BOLTER does it? My cousin took this photo of my truck at a family gathering.
Plans to modify The White Knight further ... who knows! I still have a 1964 261 with a 5 speed calling me from a corner in the garage.
03 April 2008
From Joe :
My first car was a 1957 Austin Healey 100/6 ($300). My first truck was a 1942 Ford Champion Fire Truck -- also $300. The truck was, needless to say, not typical high school transportation. Our school colors were red, white and black so it kind of fit right in. I use to drive it to football games loaded with all kind of characters.
They say when you get older, you search out the dream car of your youth or the car you had in high school. Well, here I am building an MG TD and a 1941 Chevrolet (fire truck).
It all started when my former wife wracked up a whopping credit card bill. I was so driven to do away with this bill, I sold my sailboat and my 1953 Chevrolet pickup. Then I was struck by what I had done!
I had a few hundred dollars left, so I had to get another truck. I was flipping through the local paper when I saw the ad -- 1941 Chevrolet Fire Truck $600. I really didn't want a fire truck; I wanted a dump truck.
I called the guy and went to see it. It was pretty shabby on the outside but solid on the inside. After all, it spent much of its life indoors.
I was undecided. I went home, talked it over with the shop teacher at school. Since he grew up in the town where the truck was from, he wanted to check it out as well.
The truck was built in Norwood, Ohio and purchased by the Lockland Fire Department as a truck and chassis. They converted it into a fire truck locally. The pump was bumper-mounted. The truck, as Locklandís trucks are today, was painted white.
The body was a very strange Art Deco design. Not having a camera at the time, I have no pictures of the truck in this phase. The light was missing its globe. The siren in the back still worked. Almost everything else fire-related was gone.
This truck has 13,000 miles on it. The 216 ran but wouldnít hold water -- a 12Ē crack in the block saw to that.
I decided to buy the thing. But my youth aside, how useful is a fire truck? "No," I told myself "If you buy this thing, you will build a first class dump truck -- thatís useful."
So I set about searching for parts. About six or so trucks late,r I had collected all the parts I thought I needed. Most of these trucks were in the $100 - $300 range. The parts I sold from the Stovebolt Swap Meet usually paid for the trucks and the tow bills. I found a rusty 1954 Chevy 1-ton from which I got a 235 and a 4 speed. The same friend found a 1951 Chevy 1 1/2-ton dump truck with a lift and e-brake -- everything I needed to make a dump truck!
I bought a grille from a junkyard in Arizona. It was junk but the fire department hacked giant holes in mine for the pump. It had all the other pieces under the bumper and inside the grille so I bought it anyway.
Some time later, I am buying a Mustang 4 cylinder for another project and the guy just happens to have not one, but two 1946 Chevy trucks for sale. I ended up buying the whole mess just to get the old re-chromed grille. I sold everything else I didnít need and my new grille ended up costing $100. I was happy.
I made several new friends out of that round and helped some other guys move there projects along.
I had the engine rebuilt by a local machine shop (Trident MS of Newtown, Ohio). The owner himself did it and he did a wonderful job.
I tried my hand at paint for the first time -- that was interesting. I bought a big compressor, a good gun and some good shelf white paint (two stage enamel). I also had a friend who does this for living guide me almost every step of the way. He also put the final coat on the outside of the cab.
I found a 1954 2-ton truck with a flat bed and drug it home. My cousinís husband took the engine for his 1954 pickup truck. I ended up using this truck's front and rear axles, because when I went to get tires for the 6Ē- 20Ēs, I started hearing all these stories about decapitation. I clearly donít want that.
So, I found some wheels of a '70ís bread truck. They were 19-5ís. They fit the '54 axles' new radial tires. What could be better?
I finally get the beast together 10 years after the first viewing along side that Lockland garage. On its first outing, it drives like a wild beast, almost like it has a mind of its own. I forgot to tighten the steering box to the frame and I had zero caster. It made for an interesting drive around the block.
Problems are discovered, fixed and on we go. But we go so so slow. Americans do not tolerate slow anymore. This, I reasoned, is not the most practical dump truck one could have. So, after building the dump truck, I decided I really had no use for a dump truck. So we are in the process of shortening the frame to receive an eight foot pick up bed.
Recently, I bought a '46 GMC pickup for the bed and sold everything else (some of it on The Stovebolt Page). The plan now is to create a 1.5-ton dually pickup with a black bed and white fenders. We plan to create a kind of field fire truck that can also be used as a big dually pick up truck. My version of the old fashion Super Duty Pickup. To pay homage to its past, it will be set up with some removable fire equipment for shows. Like a super hero with a dual identity, pick up by / day fire truck by parade.
Recently, I went back to the Lockland FD. They have a picture of the truck putting out a fire. The fire in the picture is of a burning Shell tandem tanker truck -- what a cool picture. I also came to find out my Grandfather worked on the truck assembly line at Norwood in 1941 -- thatís cool, too.
Hadn't thought much about a name but felt "White Knight" is good. It was, after all, the protector of Lockland for many years. My buddy who went with me that day remembers riding on that truck in grade school. They would walk to the LFD from school and they would get to ride the fire truck back to the school. Lockland is only like a mile square.
This truck serial # is pretty high, meaning it was built late in the month / November. A couple of weeks or perhaps days from that date, America as a nation would change forever (attack on Pearl Harbor). Whenever I work on this thing, it kind of talks to me of other times and other days.
Thanks to the folks at Jim Carter Truck Parts. Much of my childrenís inheritance is now theirs. A very special thanks to all the people at The Stovebolt Page who made this dream literally come to life!