Erling Storstrøm's

1931 Chevy 1/2-Ton Pickup


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14 March 2007
# 1875

From Erling :

           This is my Chevrolet 1931 pickup, 1/2-ton. We finished restoration in 1994. She is named "Petrine C." She was assembled in Copenhagen. The cab and bed made and truck finished in Norway. Here is her story:

The adventures of Petrine!
Told by my "Daddy", Erling Storstrøm, Oslo, Norway #32797 in 2002

           Yes, Petrine Chevrolet is my name, given to me on the 11th of May 1994. I was born in the U.S.A., partly built in Copenhagen, and finally completed as serial # 324, a small lorry (1/2-ton) at Funnemark Karrosserifabrik, Porsgrund, Norway.

           Among lots of new Chevrolets in the town, I felt like a princess in my middle-blue costume, with nice, black fenders and a short bed behind the cab. First registration, H - 485, was made in Skien on the 4th of April 1931. From that day on, I was busy transporting windowpanes for my owner, Porsgrund Glassmester-foretning.

           After many years and several owners, I broke down in 1971, and was put in a storage room and used for potatoes on a farm in Østerdalen. The core could be used as a strainer, bearings all worn out, electric wires "gone with the wind" and during spring and late fall, I was standing in a "swimming-pool" in the barn.

           But destiny turned my way as I had visitors from the owner’s family in Oslo wanting me. After three years negotiations, the deal was final. I was put on a car-transporter to Oslo in November 1984.

           It was heaven to come into a dry shelter. My new family was Kari and Erling Storstrøm, with their sons Ragnar and Olav. They started on the long run to depart me into pieces, and restore to a running lady once again. Luckily, they did not know my real condition. Months passed to years, and one day I stood in my chassis only.

           In the meantime, my family had visited lots of swap meets, markets and used lots of money on letters and faxes, trying to collect all the bits and pieces needed for my restoration. As parts arrived from many parts of the world, bills started to empty the family funds faster than salaries were coming in. I realized I had to be a bit patient after all.

           Luckily, I had a very understanding Mother. She is a skilled rose-painter. When my Father found vital parts, which had to be bought there and then, with far too little money in the bank, she painted lots of items with roses and sold them to support the restoration fundraising. Yessss, she was really my type of Mother!

           After a "collecting-parts"-period, I was put on the same car transporter together with lots of old and new parts. Early on a Saturday morning in the summer of 1989, my family drove me around 400 km., down to Marnardal near Kristiansand on the Southern coast. They found me a temporary home for some of the work at Strædet Automobil-verksted. What a place! Lots of old cars, exciting projects, and a very skilled and accurate restorer called Svein Arild. He looked so kind that I decided at once to be his special girlfriend among all the cars.

           It was the right decision. My family spent the holidays with me. Daddy shoveled and cleaned blasting sand which Svein Arild used on my body. My underwear was nicely painted, first in red, then in black. A new cab had to be built as all the old wooden parts were nearly rotten, but luckily good enough as models. New steel boards were nailed on the cab-frame and a refreshing hairstyling on the canopy, made me feel a lot better.

           During the winter, my Dad and his brother Per-Erik worked on the motor, after first changing bearings, pistons, etc. at an engine work shop. When the summer came, I met my family with the original blue color on the cab. My chassis, brakes and steering had been done very nicely as well. Still lots of details were queing up to be solved. Kari had already taken full control over the fundraising committee and made valuable and very necessary contributions to the progress. I was more and more impressed, and decided that she could drive me trouble free at any time when I finally was back on the road.

           The work went on. Svein Arild made me a nice, new brown interior in the cab. He made new side aprons, running boards and lots of steel parts damaged or missing. His beauty shop restored the fenders from nearly-wrecked to mint condition. All my curves were again given the artistic soft and female stroke of "black is beautiful." I felt like the princess in a ballroom and with lots of opportunities to date among the boy-cars around me.

           Time, however, went on and in November 1993 I was ready to return to Oslo. But just outside Porsgrunn, my first hometown, we met with a 300 kilos she-moose/elk. We crashed the van nearly totally, but as I was secured by heavy chains. I was safe but shaken. Very sadly, the elk did not survive. Daddy and Ragnar had to catch the train to Oslo, find a new hauler, and pick up the trailer with me the next day. Finally home, we met a garage door 10 cm. too low. Daddy removed the door and pushed me into my future home. Later he fixed a permanent higher opening for my size.

           In the meantime, the motor had been restored. As I could not remember the color exactly, my Daddy’s brother found the original tone to be dark leaf-green. Very strange as the motor normally is gray. Later, I was told that my engine once had had a major repair. As most Norwegian garages used a standard green paint, independent of the brand, mine too had turned green.

           As a genuine lorry, some of my parts are from 1929-30. My steering wheel is of wood, my bumper in one piece, and together with my headlight-bar, all from 1930. The cab, door handles, bed and mirrors all came from Norway and usual to find here in 1931.

           After a short stay at home, I was transported to a garage near Oslo to get my engine installed. After petrol and oil filling, I smelled more and more of the finest perfume for all cars! I still missed some other small trifles such as brakes, electricity and exhaust system.

           Luckily, the people around me finally understood that I wanted to be on the road again. We decided to get on the road before the 17th of May, our National Day. Mommy had already made new seats of real cow leather. What a nice smell! She painted my doors with old fashioned posters and in freehand style.

           The engine started as it should, and after some adjustments, and complete polishing, Daddy and I went to get the approval and new signs. On the 11th of May 1994, after 9 1/2 years work, I finally was back on the road after 23 years leave.

           As we all enjoy traveling around, my family and I have been up to 1400 m. above sea level several places in the Norwegian mountains. We have been around to Geiranger, Førde, Kristiansand and Narvik, north of the Polar Circle. We also have traveled south of Nuremberg, Germany, west to Bristol, England, and just passed 25000 km with my present family.

           But as it suits a real lady, my family sometimes must accept my good and bad spirits. Mostly I am in a good mood but it happens that I give a small demonstration to call on their attention. In Autumn 2002, we decided to get me a little brother, Solan. He came from Brisbane, Australia and is a Chevrolet 1916, Touring/490. But that is a story for another day.

           I still keep my Mum as the chairman of the fundraising committee, to be sure of my running.

           Greetings from Petrine Chevrolet 2005: Still in good shape and passing 30000km.

Erling Storstrøm
Oslo, Norway
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