21 October 2013
# 3031

 
Owned by
Gene Reiser
"niobrarafun"
Bolter # 20492
Sioux City, Iowa
 

 

1956 Chevy 3100 Stepside Shortbox

More pictures of my old truck

Join the discussion about this old Chevy truck

 

From Gene :

I'm adding my 1956 Chevy Stepside to the Gallery and saying goodbye to my old 1959 GMC.

My journey with this 1956 Chevy truck began in the summer of 2011. I was purchasing 8 bolt rims and tires for the 1959 GMC truck and I saw this Chevy sitting in the backyard next door. The guy I was buying the tires from said the lady who owned it probably would sell it.

I went over and talked to her about the truck and found out that I knew her husband from our Church. She sold me the truck.

The truck did not come with a bed, but the cab was in really good shape.

It did not have the original 235 6 cylinder engine but a blue Ford 283 laid inside. I never did find out why the engine was painted blue -- maybe to match the exterior of the truck?

A week later, we headed to Colorado on vacation. I happened to get on the internet and did a search for 1950's Chevy truck beds and up popped one located in central Nebraska. Since it was along the way, once we started for home, we ran by there, bought it and trailered it home without any issues.

The remainder of 2011 (winter) was spent trying to get the motor unstuck and the brake lines and components all replaced and in working order.

In 2012, with the help of my neighbor, Ronnie Larson, we got the engine started for the first time since mid-1990's. That was August 25, 2012, approximately 15 years since it last ran ... and it ran pretty good! I took out the original gas tank, cleaned it up and put it back in. It was a good time to install new fuel lines, too. During that winter, I had a local garage rebuild the 2 barrel carb.

Once I got it back from the garage, I only ran the truck a couple of miles around the neighborhood. Then I just decided to bite the bullet and re-wire it so I could get brake lines and turn signals on her to make it legal. 

In August 2013 I attempted a re-wire of the entire truck. I took it as far as I could with many Stovebolters helping along the way. But I could only take it so far and finally enlisted the local garage to bail me out. I got the truck back from the shop in October.

I took the truck on its first true drive of over 30 miles in early October 2013 without any problems. I went alone and was very anxious to see how it would drive and what the top speed would be without pushing it too hard.  I took it on some back roads to get out of Sioux City and to my friend’s farm, Todd Tabke. He lives 20 miles away.

The truck ran pretty good, but I only took it up to 45 mph. It probably got up to 50 a couple of times going down hills. It was pretty loud with no muffler system or pipes at all on the truck.  It has no carpeting or sound deadening materials, and needs a lot of weather stripping, so it is very very loud at this point. 

Once I got it to my friend’s farm, the next day I took it to a welding shop in Le Mars, Iowa (Ice Cream Capital of the World – I work for Wells Enterprises, the maker of Blue Bunny Ice Cream).  At the welding shop, they fixed some rust issues on the frame. I drove it back to my friend’s farm, where the box is, and put it on.  Looks great! 

I did get the truck out again and got up to 60 mph without too much problem. I do have an issue with the blinkers not blinking like they should. So I think it needs another flasher, so will try that. 

The temp gauge is not working as well, and am hoping to switch out the sending unit to see if that fixes the problem, since the temp gauge and wiring are all new.

In 2014 I hope to do the body work and get it looking good.

The previous owner, JoAnn, gave me some additional history of the truck.

Back in the late 1950's and early 1960's, this 1956 Chevy pickup was originally used to haul grease or rendering fat-back in 55 gallon barrels to some place along the Missouri River south of Sioux City. The truck currently has heavy duty shocks and springs on it, and she thought it was something they put on to help with hauling the barrels of oil back in the day.

The pickup was purchased by JoAnn's Father sometime in the early 70's.  JoAnn's Father taught her how to drive the truck by putting a gallon of gas in it and letting her drive around the farm until it ran out of fuel.

The truck originally came with a 235 straight six, but was replaced with a 4 cylinder, which was then replaced with a 283 V8.  One winter they forgot to put antifreeze in the engine and the block cracked.

They found another 283 in a 1967 Bel-Air and put it in the truck.  In the mid-1990's, JoAnn's son (who was going to a local technical college - Western Iowa Technical) helped her get the body work done on the truck and they painted it metallic blue. The passenger side fender had to be replaced with a 1957 fender.  The box was too far gone to restore, and that is why it currently has no box. 

JoAnn continued to drive it a bit, but it got to the point where she would just start it once a year. The brakes were not good -- probably another reason why she stopped driving it.  By 1997, she didn't even start the truck any more and the pickup sat in the backyard ... until 2011 when I came along!

Thanks for all you guys do at Stovebolt. 

 

Gene

 

I asked Gene about his forum name, and he said: “'Niobrarafun' is a name I dreamed up from where I grew up, on the Niobrara River in NE Nebraska, between the towns of Butte and Spencer.  Always had a a lot of fun on the river, so that is how the name was born.  I was told by “Builder” I really should have came up with more manly of a name, but I decided to just leave it." It's GREAT .... it has history! ~ Editor

-30-


Home | FAQ | Forum | Swap Meet | Gallery | Tech Tips | Events | Features | Search | Hoo-ya Shop

No parts of this site, its contents, photos or graphics may be used without permission.  


Copyright © 1995-2019 | The Stovebolt Page | Mechanicsville, Maryland