1951 Chevrolet 3800 Series 1-Ton
Before pictures / after pictures ... on Webshots
From Wally :
This is a 1951 Chevy 1-ton long box owned by my good friend and long-time customer Don Oleson from Arnolds Park (Lake Okoboji), Iowa.
Although I don't own this Advance Design truck, I feel an attachment to it after working for two years bringing it to the condition it is in today.
Practically all his life, Don has owned and driven Fords, having many of them in his collection. Now after 51 years, I'm proud to say he has maybe "seen the light"!! ~ Wally
This is Don's story ~
I bought the truck in March of 2007 from the Stovebolt "trucks for sale" listings from a very honest man named John Huettl from North Dakota. It was his Grandfather Matt Huettl's truck. Matt purchased the truck when it was fairly new for use as a farm truck.
The truck had 86,000 miles and had the original 216 engine with a 4 speed transmission. It had very little rust but a lot of dents, scratches and thinning paint with surface rust (patina). I purchased it for $2500 and had it delivered to my shop in Iowa.
I always had a "soft spot " in my heart for 1-ton pickups because, as a kid in elementary school in California, I walked by a 1952 Chevy every day on my way to and from school. I knew it had a longer than normal bed. I borrowed my Dad's tape measure and one day on the way to school, I measured the truck's bed and learned it was 9 foot long! Even as a 10 year old, I knew pickups didn't have a bed longer than 7 1/2 feet, unless they were something special. I learned later that Chevrolet built 3800 1 ton pickups with 9 foot. beds. I knew some day I wanted to have one!!
My first inclination was was to keep it in unrestored condition and just have fun driving it as it was. But soon I realized that I would need a "pit crew" to follow me every time I took it for a drive. It had been stored in a shed for 25 years and had all the usual ailments -- old gas, rust in the fuel tank, leaky wheel cylinders, etc.
The radiator is original, needing only cleaning and painting.
A new master cylinder and wheel cylinders were installed by my mechanic friend Tom Radcliff.
The 5.14 to1 rear end was retained. I found an original 1951 Chevy truck radio and had it repaired and rebuilt with a new face plate and knobs by Hamilton Radio Repair, a local shop.
The interior was redone with new headliner, seat covering, steering wheel, gas tank, floor mat and door panels. Windshield glass was replaced, along with one door glass and a vent window which was broken. (Someone was locked out way back when.) The original Briggs and Stratton keys were both with the truck -- one was found during disassembly wired under the bed !
The 17 inch tires were replaced with Goodyear Silvertown bias-ply wide whitewalls along with new hubcaps.
The paint job was done in pieces and sections using Dupont Nason single stage urethane. The color is 1951 Chev Seacrest Green, obtained by shooting an unweathered section of the firewall with the local parts store's spectrophotometer. (Kudos to Jeff at Car Quest in Windom, Mn. -- the color was dead on!!) I found an original jack and tire tools, and topped it off with a set of restored black and yellow California plates.
All in all, the truck's restoration is stunning. The correct Seacrest Green is pretty and unusual. The "big truck "size with the 9 foot bed makes the overall effect impressive! (my opinion)
My thanks to all who helped in this two year project, Chevs of the 40s and especially the Stovebolt members with their advice and photos -- it was invaluable!!