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01 March 2012
# 2950

  Owned by
Brian Nolan
Bolter # 31379
Wentzville, Missouri


1952 Chevy COE 5-Window



More pictures of my old truck

Join the discussion about this truck in the Big Bolts forum


From Brian :

I got a 1950 Chevy pickup when I was 10 years old -- to drive around on our acreage (so I didn't need a license). Every kid should learn to drive on an old column shift without power brakes or power steering.

So my "old truck" (and car) bug started early. I've had the 1950, then a 1949, then a 1954, then a 1951 -- all Chevy 1/2-ton pickups. I also had a 1950 3/4-ton panel van, three Camaros, two Chevelles, 23 Corvettes, and a few vintage station wagons.

Now I like BIG trucks but I still keep the 1967 Corvette (I got when I turned 15) around for when I need to vastly exceed the speed limit.

I've also brewed beer for 25 years, just for fun. Now I intend to do it for fun and hopefully a little profit. I knew I just had to have a "beer truck" for image, fun, and function.

This old big bolt will be a working truck, but I won't be asking it to work too hard. It is our goal to make our first delivery in it. That may only be one keg to a local restaurant. I think a 2-ton can handle that.

The truck will carry old oak beer barrels to look the part of an old beer truck. We plan to take the truck, which we decided to dub, aptly, "Brewtus", to beer festivals, parades, and any other applicable events. It will be set up to serve beer. I'm building a box for the flatbed that will hold four kegs. It will have at least four tap handles.

I looked around extensively for just the right truck. About 30 trucks all told. I even bought a 1954 1-ton flatbed that would have been the beer truck, but two days (literally) after bringing the '54 home, I saw the 1952 COE for sale. I LOVE COE's. But in the past, the examples I've run into were either way too expensive, or way too rough for what I realistically wanted to do. This one was a perfect candidate and not too far from home - a little over an hour.

When we went to see it, I tried to play it cool when first looking at it with the owner. But there was no way I wasn't going to own it. He'd received 60 calls on it in just a few days. I was the first person to get there. I paid full price for it and don't mind a bit.

The seller, John King, was letting it go as he'd been diagnosed with cancer and could no longer restore it. He is a fine man and I was sorry to get the truck under such circumstances but I promised to make him proud with it. I give him a call now and then just to let him know how the progress is going. He gets free beer when we open!

The truck has been kept under roof at a sawmill near Potosi, MO for the past 25 years or so. It was a working truck but was kept in remarkably good condition considering. It had a repaint at some point in the past, and I've found a little filler, but not much serious rust.

John, the prior owner, had just installed new Accuride wheels (including a spare) with brand new Michelin tires. He'd done the rear brakes and rebuilt the master cylinder and carb. He began to clean up the chassis. John ... I'll take it from here. You just rest.

We are going to get the brakes totally solid first. Deciding whether or not to swap in a more user-friendly rear end. I have a 1990 TBI350 / 700R4 sitting ready. It even came out of a van and has forward-focused oil / tranny dipsticks which will work just right for the COE.

I don't intend to make it a hot rod, and I don't want to be viewed as a hacker. I just want a driver truck that starts and runs and performs with ease and dependability. Breaking down in a parade isn't fun for anyone; or going 45 on the interstate for two hours.

The truck will get a new color scheme, new flatbed (a shorter, prettier one), new oak trim, and the aforementioned beer serving box.

The cab will get updated and painted and some tunes. We'll probably add AC. One of my best friends is an amazing fabricator with an incredible shop. So I've got good help. I'm excited.

I also just locaed another 1948 Chevrolet COE on a farm about an hour from our house. So Brewtus may get a brother.

Then there's the 1946 Chevy 1-ton dually. This was a classic "field find." In this case, it was through the woods, when the leaves were down, sitting in kind of a shaded meadow. The old guy was about to haul it away for scrap. He used his tractor to drag it out of the woods (where it was behind his house and partially hidden) closer to the road so I could get it onto a trailer. This is way out in the country. I told him I'd come the next weekend to get it. The next night, somebody stole the hood, lights, and dashboard. Unreal.

The old guy had previusly hauled away a 1952 Chevy 2-ton flatbed for scrap the prior week.  He got $300 for it.  It was a pretty rough old farm truck, but complete.  It ran.  Killed me.

I have a plan for it, too. It will be left alone for now, in rat rod condition. We may just use it in the brewery as decor, or put it on a Chevy box van chassis I have as a rat rod driver. I can paint so I'll put old faded lettering on it for the brewery.

For now it just goes under cover and the focus will be on the '52 COE. Well ... still looking around, tho. Saw another 1951 GMC COE and a cool 1948 GMC Ice Cream Truck.

This journey has just begun. The people on the Big Bolts forum have been great. I'm sure they'll be plenty of speedbumps in the future, And satisfaction. And beer for Gallowglass Brewing Company. Gallowglass were mercenary warriors hired to fight under Irish warlords in the 13th - 15th centuries.

As of today, the West coast mirrors and spotlight have been removed. The brakes overhauled. And the flatbed is about to be removed.


Brian -- this all sounds like fun. You sure have a case of Stovebolt Fever, that's for sure. ~ Editor


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