1953 Chevrolet 3600
01 January 2010
From Vern :
I have been lurking around the Stovebolt site long enough and decided that it was time to get my Gallery Submission in.
The old truck came with a V8, no transmission and the heads, intake and hood were missing ... so basically a rusted ruined shortblock. The tires were dry-rotted but miraculously made the trip home. They also made a few later moves across town and finally the last trip out into the country in November of 1999.
I managed to remove the cab and front end and kept them inside my garage. The frame and bed sat outside in a prominent location where I couldn't forget my dream of building the truck into a four wheel drive daily driver.
I drove it home in the dark of night and the headlights would go out and come back on with that wonderful smell of electrical wire burning. I finally got my wife to pass me so I could tailgate her home without lights. Other than the brail method of night driving, the truck ran really well and seemed to have lots of power.
I found a guy who made regular runs to the scrap yard and he removed the suburban body, leaving me the frame drivetrain and steering column for free to me. We are still friends so he must have made out OK on the scrap prices. I parked the frame beside the '53 bed and frame and started taking measurements and scheming a plan.
Then one day I suddenly realized that I was looking at the wrong approach. I came up with the idea of hacking the '53 frame and putting it on top of the '73 frame, instant 7 inch lift kit without making dangerous alterations to the suspension. Some might say "now you are top-heavy and dangerous anyway", but that is not the case. In the end, the added weight of the frame actually lowered the center of gravity making the old truck more stable than the original Suburban.
I considered selling again FOR ABOUT 30 SECONDS!
Another turn of the seasons came and went. The 21 year old moved out. I was really starting to get discouraged and started collecting other easier projects. My 1964 Plymouth Valiant was bought for $750 and I dedicated some time making it reliable and trustworthy. Now, I put about 300 miles a week on it back and forth to work. I did some trading for my 1966 Barracuda, but it is not economical for driving daily so I just take it to the occasional cruise night. (It's for sale if anybody is interested.)
Enter a new Stovebolter, 1937ChevyPU (Jeremy) a mutual friend I met through the rat-rodder. Turns out the rat-rodder had sabotaged his project over the winter. We don't know for sure if it was a sick joke gone bad or what, but we decided to sever the friendship and move operations to my garage.
The first day there, we cleaned out the garage and uncovered the '53 cab. Jeremy said, "What the heck is this?" I explained all about the dream and the truck frames outside. He said, "Well let's do it!" So, we started the next day.
That was March 04, 2009. The next day the Suburban frame got power washed and moved inside. Things began happening at a record pace. I have to give all the enthusiasm credit to Jeremy. I think he might have been a little skeptical of the plan at first, but by the end of April, we had assembled the truck completely and driven it around the block. Then we took it all apart again and started the paint and body work.