1951 Chevy 5-Window
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From Mike :
In April 2003, I saw this truck sitting in a field on the side of the highway with a “For Sale” sign in the window. I stopped and looked it over and bought the truck for $1000. The seller also gave me a 5 window cab, another bed box, and a few extra fenders and such. When the wife and kids saw the truck, they named it “Project 51.”
I tore the truck down to the frame and cleaned everything possible. I wasn’t sure at this point what the entire plan was for the truck except that it wasn’t going to be a trailer queen.
I’m a retired Navy Seabee and our motto is “Can Do.” I have learned from my Father and my experience in the Seabee’s that you can do about anything with the right attitude. So the project was really just about time and money. Time was something I had some of; money was something I was going to have to scrimp and save for to do this project with.
As I got a little money together, I did a little on the truck.
I rebuilt the suspension with new tapered front wheel bearings, new drum brake setup all around, a dual master cylinder, and riding on Dotech shocks. The engine, a 1962 235 back with the SM420 tranny, was completely disassembled and bored out .40 over, new valves installed in the heads, a little stiffer cam and springs and then topped off with the Offenhauser 2x1 intake with 2 Holey / Weber 2bbl carbs and a Fenton header system feeding into two Smithy mufflers -- sounds like the 50’s. Fire is provided by a reworked distributor with a Pertronixs kit and the whole truck was converted to 12 volts.
I have dabbled with some body work in the past but this was a new experience for me. I cut out a lot of rust and welded in new sheet metal panels that I formed with a hammer and dolly, shaved the drip rails on the roof, beat out a lot of dents and welded up some stress cracks. I used fiberglass to smooth out the firewall and then primed and painted the truck using epoxy primmer and single stage urethane from Eastwood Company. The color is “Burnout Blue Metallic.” [ Side view with bed rails ]
This was my first time painting so between reading articles on this site, watching Gearz, Trucks and the other Powerblock shows. I was ready to go, and all in all I think it turned out OK.
In December 2008, a friend asked me to bring the 90% done truck to a “Toys for Tots” car show, and to my amazement, I won a 1st place trophy in the under construction category.
It has taken me six years to finish this truck, and the only thing I didn’t do on it is the machine work on the engine (I assembled it) and the upholstery on the seats. Also I did this in my two-stall garage.
My daughter, Kim, who when she first saw the truck six years ago in the driveway was mortified and embarrassed. My wife, Jan, thought the truck was ugly and could not believe what I got myself into. Both love the truck and think is it wonderful. Jan enjoys telling others about “Project 51” and showing them pictures of the truck. When someone comes over, she has to take them out to the garage to show them the truck.
I love the feel of driving an old truck and have a real felling of accomplishment in doing it myself. I think everyone should get a project and get their hands dirt so they can feel as good as I do when I drive my truck.