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John Niekamps's


3800 Grain Truck

5 November  03  

From John

This is a 1954 Chevrolet 3800 Series flatbed grain truck 

The truck used to be owned by my grandpa several years ago and I have been watching it pass to one owner to another for about 15 years now. Then it sat for about 8 years just a block from my house, I thought it was a hint for me to buy it, my wife thought different, LOL. I decided to offer him $650 for it and he accepted, but he told me that it hadn't been ran or moved in years. I told him that's not a problem, it's a Chevy, it will run just fine. Which wasn't a lie, I drove my new truck up the alley (yes it's a Chevy too) and drug the old beast home. I put in a new battery and saw there was fire to the plugs, drained the gas and put in fresh, put some down the carburetor and fired off in about two cranks of the engine and ran like a dream. No smoke no engine noises at all. Didn't even mess with cleaning out the carburetor, surprised the heck out of me. My grandpa bought it back in about 1973 and drove it for many years. It was one of the very first things I had ever driven when I was about 7 years old and I could barley reach the pedals. So, I guess there is a little sentimental values in it too.

Grandpa sold the tuck in about 1987 or 1988, it went to several different owners in the past few years and after he sold it, someone installed a different engine in it. It's still a 235-6, but I believe it might be a newer engine, I have not checked the numbers on it yet. They installed a 12 volt starter (still foot engaged) and generator, but did not change over the light bulbs over to 12 volts or put a resistor on the fuel gauge. About all that is missing is one of the parking lights lenses and the wiper arms. There is a little rust on the floor boards, but none on the lower cab corners. The front turn signals are rusted in the bottom of the lights so the bulb socket doesn't make contact. Then the side hood emblems are missing. The bed was made by Knapheide Manufacturing here in Quincy along with the steel sideboard and has twin cylinder hoist power by a Heil hydraulic pump driven off the PTO on the transmission. I have all 7 original wheels, the rear has duals they are 700 X 18" and are hard to find, but I have been able to locate new ones from a local tire shop. All four back wheels has mud grips and since they are noisy going down the road and are getting in bad shape, I am mounting all tires with a good general purpose highway tire. I need to install some new tie-rod ends, but even with them being loose, it doesn't drive to bad. The fuel gauge is the only gauge that doesn't work, I think since 12 volts was used, it's burnt up the gauge and then sending unit in the tank is rusted and won't work either. They will have to be replace, but until then, I have a wood dowel.

Originally the truck was a dark blue and someday it will be back to that color. This color is terrible. 

John Niekamp
Quincy, IL


Curator "John - Great Story! Thanks for the submission!"

Last modified: July 26, 2022.

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