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1938 Chevy Half-ton Pickup

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Owned by Harley and Rob Riffel
Bolter # 16702
Wilmington, North Carolina

01 December 2008
# 2473

From Rob :

My Dad (Harley) and I would like to add our truck to the Gallery. His name is Buford and he is a 1938 half-ton.

Dad found this truck on eBay for $5,500. He went to New York to get it in the summer of 2007. He brought it back on a trailer in about a thousand pieces.

We reassembled it in a friend's garage, enough to be able to drive it home. The homeowners association in Dad's neighborhood apparently doesn't have an appreciation for early iron, so Buford is at home with me now.

The original 216 was in the truck and we actually drove it a few times with that engine. But when it wasn't overheating, it sounded like it was going to throw a rod thru the block. We tried to adjust the bearings, but they were beyond help.

Finally the block either cracked or the paint that was hiding the crack let go. The block had about ten pounds of copper fix-a-leak goop in it. So the previous owner probably knew the block was cracked.

We found a rebuildable 1958 261 [ pix ] , so that is in it now. (And it's beautiful ~ Editor) It is bored .060" over and is otherwise stock.

Pictures: driver's side | rear view | Dad hard at work

Here's a tip - if you buy a rebuilt carburetor, check for holes in the floats. It stranded us twice on the side of the road before the rebuilder sent us floats that were gas-tight.

Other than the motor, it is all stock right now. Future plans call for Bendix brakes in the front, a T-5 tranny and S-10 rear axle with six-lug adapters, and a fresh paint job to replace the two-tone red that Buford sports right now.

The cab and bed are a light shade of red and everything else is darker red. is a great source of info on these old trucks and everyone is so friendly. Congratulations on building a great community here.

Keep on vintage truckin'

Harley and Rob Riffel
Wilmington, North Carolina


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