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1946 Chevy 1/2-Ton

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Owned by Brandon Shapiro
Bolter # 23279
Yosemite, California

Talking about this truck
in the Welcome Centre

20 April 2010
# 2776

More pictures of my old truck

From Brandon :

My Dad bought this old Chevy truck back in 1968 when he was 18. Cost him $200. In 1976, his ex-wife made him park after it left a nice, long oil streak on their brand new driveway. It never started again.

Since the time when I was able to walk, I loved to jump around and play in the truck. It sat in the backyard of our LA home. My Dad always promised me that we would have it running by the time I was 16.

About a year ago, we started our quest to get it running. We took it to our horrible vessel mechanic. This guy had completely restored one and sold it very inexpensively ($14,000) to finance his daughter's wedding. He told us it would cost us at least $2500 to replace or rebuild all the engine components. We said fair-well.

We learned from our friend that it had a cracked head. We went and picked up a rebuilt 1946 216 for about $200. Then, we took her and the new engine to our normal mechanic, who pulled the old engine and dropped in the new one and rebuild all the brakes.

They did a horrible job at wiring it. At some point in their process, they loosened the e-brake. They wired the the ballast resistor straight to the starter with pig-tail connection to give and cease power to the engine. If you were driving the truck alone, you would need to put it in gear, hold the brake, and let out the clutch, otherwise the truck would roll away if you left it in neutral to try to undo that connection.

When we got it home, I yanked out all the wiring in her. The only electrical wires that were still there were the battery cables. Now, the truck is basically completely re-wired and everything -- almost everything -- works on her. The dash gauges don't work, but they still look pretty sitting there.

Sure enough, I'm now 16 and the truck was running before my 16th birthday! Neither my Dad nor I want to fully restore her. We want her to be kind of rustic, and seem a little aged, but nothing bad. She is in almost perfect shape as she is.

The tailgate is totaled as a previous owner installed a towing hitch and the tailgate drops right onto it. The section of metal below the lower grille has seen better days. Only one vertical member of the lower grille has a slight dent in it. Two of the fenders have almost unnoticeable dents in them.

With that being said, here is my plan for her during the summer. I'm going to take the bed off of the truck to give me some nice light and working space to try to clean her up. There have been several layers of paint and they are all now fading and chipping off. So I'm possibly going to strip the paint and primer her.

While the bed is off, I'm going to clean up the trim and re-make the bed with new wood, since all of the original wood is rotted and falling out. To get it street legal, it needs a new windshield, windshield frame, windshield wiper, and horn. And my final plan for the summer is to convert her over to a 12-volt system. When it comes to vehicle mechanics, the electrical system, is my forte. I have a complete diagram drawn out of how she will be wired up.

The last plan, though it isn't immediate, is a new fuel cell located under the gas tank. Not that there is anything wrong with the stock one. We just find the location of it to be dangerous. So like everyone else, we will have a little opening door in the bed to fill up gas. But we don't want to start making the truck look too unoriginal. So we will cut the original fuel filler off of the gas tank, and somehow manage to get it to stay sticking out from behind the passenger door. It will probably be welded to the trim that will then be screwed into the cab. This way, it will at least retain the original look (like there really is the gas tank still there).




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