1950 Chevrolet 1/2-Ton Shortbed
Hi folks. Here are a couple pictures of “Walter” -- our 1950 Chevrolet 1/2-ton, short bed pickup. He has been in the family about eight years and is very much a daily driver. Of course, the heater and defroster doesn’t work that well so he doesn’t get driven as much during our South Dakota winters. We have, though, managed to put over 80,000 miles on him since he came to live with us.
As you can see from the photos, driving him on the road isn’t the only thing we do with him. He has become a regular fixture at our local 1/8 mile drag strip -- in Sturgis, the motorcycle rally town. He isn’t real fast but fast enough to surprise people. We are always in the top five of our class at the end of the season and in 2003, were track champions in the Street Eliminator class.
Walter may not be “beautiful” but he certainly has character. We have thought about painting him on occasion but always come back to just liking him the way he is. A good friend of mine once told me “Anyone can make one look all shiny and new in a few months. It takes years to get one to look like Walter!” I think maybe he is right.
The drive train has been reworked a bit. The rear end is out of a ’78 Blazer with 4.11 posi gears. The transmission is a Tremac 5 speed and makes this a wonderful combination. Power comes from a 1959 261 that has been bored .030 and then we did something a little unusual. We learned about it from a 6-cylinder club we have been members of for about 20 years (Inliners International – a great organization). We off-set ground the crankshaft, installed connecting rods from a 292 and used Cadillac V8 pistons. This combination gives the engine about 287cu in. The cam is a mild solid lifter unit and the intake is an old McGurk with two, two stage 2 barrel carburetors. The ignition is a slightly modified HEI unit from a later model V6 and the exhaust is the old tried and true Fenton cast iron headers with glass pack duals.
This set up gives excellent power with great drivability. It will cruise down the road very comfortably (2000rpm = 63mph) and gets 20+ mpg. Bottom end performance is still good and, in fact, in the 1/8 mile it is quicker than a late model 350/automatic truck by a full second or more.
We love Walter and enjoy using him every opportunity we get, whether it is charging down the race track, making a grocery run or hauling gravel. He has become a life time member of our family. Every weekend we get the chance we drive him to the track, change his rear tires, race for the day, put his street tires back on and drive him home.
Needless to say, we love old trucks. We also have a ’64 Chevrolet C-20 (“Otis”) that we also enjoy and are building another 1950 (Kirby). The new ’50 is going to be a more serious drag racer with a 292 late model 6 cylinder making over 400hp. It will be a haul-it-to-the-track-and-race-it-vehicle but will look as close to stock as we can keep it ... but that’s another whole story.
Thanks for letting us share a little bit about our love for old trucks with you. Stumbling on to your web site has been such a great thing!
Ron and Kim Plender