13 June 2016
# 3138

 
Owned by
Jimmy Porter
"subsporter"
Bolter # 37949
Virginia
 

 

1947 Chevy 2-Ton Flatbed with Dump

 

 

More pictures of my old truck

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In the DITY Gallery

 

 

From Jimmy :

My Grandfather (Mom's Dad) is a big car guy ... but Fords. He is currently building a model A and has built more than I can count. He was a Machinist Mate on the USS Shangri La in the late '50s. When he got out, he continued to the same kind of work in Woodland Hills. But he didn't like the city so he moved to Redding, CA and did some work there. He ended up building a house for his family.

My Papa (Dad's Dad) ... also a Ford guy ... and also similar story, was in the Air force in the late '50s was as a Crew Chief. When he got out, he worked at a gas station for the guy who is now a good family friend. This guy worked his way up and bought a couple of gas stations himself until he became the largest tire distributor in the Bay area in California. He also hated the city and moved to Greenville, CA. He opened a truck shop there and did everything. He did regular cars at first, then logging trucks, then had a towing business. Later, he ran a water truck for the Forest Service and finally he drove a truck to haul wood chips. He was still driving when my Granny got cancer. I'm not sure when that was exactly but I was in the 5th grade when she died. 

When my Granny got sick, my Papa quit working so he could be with her more. But he never was good at not doing anything, so he went around Indian Valley and got every single old truck there that was saved, and some from a few from guys he was friends with and they were their own projects. I'm sure I don't remember them all but what I do remember is his '37 Ford 1 1/2-ton stake bed (the red one that I have pictures of), a '36 Ford with an Holmes Wrecker, and a '36 Ford flatbed ... all of which we still have in the shop. There was also an International, a White Mustang truck, and finally my Chevy.

When I was around 10 years old, Granny was still alive. The trucks needed to be moved around the shop. I was asked if I wanted to move the Chevy. I still remember that very well, having to stand to use the clutch, crossing two wires to start it because there wasn't a switch, killing it every time I hit the brakes. When it was where it needed to be, Papa asked me if I wanted it -- of course I said "Yes!" -- who wouldn't?

Every time I went up there, I would move the old Chevy around the property. I made sure everything was good but I didn't go and get it for a long time -- I didn't have the means, didn't have enough of my own stuff, just bad timing.

But my senior year of high school, I finally had enough tools and a good place to work on the old truck. I finally decided to get my driver's license and a week later, with my buddies Dad's truck and a farming friend's trailer, we made the 380 mile one way trip to my Papa's house and picked up the truck. I had been driving tractors and semis around long enough that no one had any objections to my one week of being licensed and doing such a large trip.

Once it was home, I started small "projects." I changed the oil, sprayed everything with degreaser and then found the oil pain had about 50 pin holes that I had to braze. The brakes were horrible -- I can't tell you how many times I had the hubs off the rear end; but I can tell you they are heavy!

I got the truck pretty usable and I did use it. I wanted to use it more! So I converted it to 12 volt. That way, if I was somewhere that wasn't my property, someone could give me a jump. The 2-speed rear end was great. I'd get my Dodge stuck in the mud and I would pile up the bed with hay and the Chevy would just grunt it out.

But the truck was slow. The brakes still never worked well enough. The wipers never worked really. It was really hot in the cab with no air conditioner. And then it was cold with no heat for winter.

I wanted more, and that is when I started getting serious about finding something to do about it.

Diesel swap was what was decided and I was about ready to get a '93 Dodge Cummins truck and use a lot of parts from that. But then in late 2013, I was able to join the military (couldn't before because of a hernia) and I had wanted to do that for as long as I could remember. But that was one more thing to delay the truck.

On Cinco de Mayo of 2013, I wrecked my dragster and got hurt pretty bad -- I should've been killed. Then my Dad's birthday was the 6th and he wasn't happy that I was in the Emergency Room for it, getting asphalt scrubbed out of me. Then on the 9th, Papa died. I was so doped up, I didn't really understand what he meant. I was a mess when it finally clicked.

Once my Granny died, my Papa very slowly got sick himself -- dementia and Parkinsons. The latter was minute. I didn't care he walked funny because that was pretty much all there was to it. But the dementia was painful. It got bad enough that he had to be put in a nursing home. He didn't want to go to where my family was or where my Dad's brother was -- otherwise a nursing home wouldn't have been thought of. As soon as he was in the hospital, he got pneumonia and passed away shortly after.

Luckily, I didn't leave to report for duty until October so I got to go to the funeral and my Uncle and I split up Poppa's tools -- my Dad and Uncle still own the shop and the trucks stay there.

I went off to boot camp and school and then the pre-commissioning. I am a Submariner on a newly christened (March 2016 in Newport News, VA) sub -- the USS Washington, a Virginia-class submarine. She hasn't been put to sea yet. Much hoo-ya needs be done firstly.

Submarines are amazing -- smaller crew, more port calls, the technology -- it's all incredible stuff. If I got stationed on the East coast, I would definitely drive the truck because I would end up in Virginia or Georgia so the drive would be bearable in that old truck. But it's just as likely I could end up back on the West coast, or even overseas for that matter. My plan is to trailer my Chevy to my next command. My old neighbor has a '93 Dodge Cummins that he said he'll sell to me. I'll pull my Chevy and all my tools with the Dodge then a take the Dodge apart and use a decent amount of the drive train from that minus the rear end.

I have only been home a few times since then but I do what I can. The truck body was in really good shape, minus the passenger door. Its last job was collecting chips and sawdust in a mill and then dumping it off. The passenger door somehow filled up with dust and chips and turned into mulch which turned into some cancer. It runs and drives perfectly and can haul anything you put on it.

I was home for Thanksgiving and I figured I would slap some paint on the old truck. It's always been in a sort of rough primer / body work phase and the engine bay is still the original blue. I just wanted the whole thing blue! Went down to Lowes and got some rattle can that's close-ish. Its not amazing in quality of work but it is amazing to finally see it blue! That's the picture above.

I have leave approved to go home for Sister's wedding this month. My Mom has a lot of photo albums and I'm sure there are more cool pictures I could add.

I'm still going to put a Diesel in it. Originally I was set on a 6bt and a np205. But I'd like to keep it as Chevy as possible so maybe this will get a power plant from a Kodiak or Topkick. And that means Cat! And I've always liked Cat stuff -- they're real grunts. But if I do go that route, it definitely throws the np205 out.

Still lots to decide on, lots of fun ideas, and even more time to get it done. I have put a Dana 60 that I cut up on the front end and a full size on the rear.

Hopefully next time that I am there I can finally put 22.5s on it and finally make it a dually again.

Well it's not going to happen for awhile yet so we'll have plenty of time to bounce ideas off of each other. Supposed to be getting stationed in Hawaii at some point. So I think I'm looking at 2018-ish. Who knows, typical Navy.

I have most of it figured out, I think. Just need to actually start doing it. Too many variables to really have a set plan. It's going to be very flexible just because I'd like to be able to get as much from a junk yard as I can. I'll be at the mercy of what's available wherever I end up doing this at.

I am incredibly lucky to have this big truck. It's great around the ranch. I know I'll never get rid of it. I might let go of the Ford though. Not enough room for a lot of big toys. All but my Chevy and Papa's completed '37 and two parts trucks are gone now.

I should be on the 'Bolt quite a bit now, been really missing my truck and thought this should help! I will definitely be here a lot to bounce ideas off some guys. I have a lot of time to plan. Thank you for your support!

Jimmy


Keep track of the restoration project details in the DITY Gallery and check for new photos his album. Any and all questions welcome! If you post in the forum, others can share in the discussion. Thanks ~ Editor

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