1951 Chevy 1/2-Ton 5-window
From Roy :
While I was sitting here at work pondering another “tech tip” off the site, I thought I’d Just drop you a line to say hi and offer comments of support. The site gets better and better all the time. Great stuff ! I still visit it at least 5 times a week looking for more info and “stuff.” Always find something new and interesting.
Our project has had a temporary hold while I re-do a major part of the house getting ready for retirement, AND we are trying to build a 2 ½ car garage to house the truck and the 1965 Corvette. As you might imagine, all the paperwork and permits required here have slowed us considerably. But we shall prevail.
I continue to collect parts and tinker on the truck when time permits. I am waiting for the garage so I can get “real serious” about the restoration. I’ll keep you posted.
I also have a few tech tip articles in the works but they still need progress pictures, etc. When she gets in her new home, I can get back to the pictures and articles. I expect to break ground in July. The wheels of progress turn slowly in our local government.
Keep up the good work……
Thanks Roy! We look forward to those Tech Tips! (Roy does a great job with impressive step-by-step pictures -- Seat Restoration, Manifold Bolt Replacement, Front Fender Support Resurrection, and great detail. Always a great help for others.) ~ Editor
12 January 2009 Update
From Roy :
Hi guys. My Advance Design Chevy truck is coming along nicely. Slowly but nicely. I only get to work on it during the weekends when the weather is nice. It is parked outside along side the garage where the Corvette lives.
Nancy and I were in Florida for a while visiting her folks and also attending a model airplane contest for the sideline business we have. I am still taking things apart on the truck.
First thing I did was get under it with a pressure washer and clean all the road grim and mud of it. Then I pretty much stripped the interior. I have removed the seat, gas pedal, fuel tank and shifter. I have made repairs to the shifter and made some new parts that retain the shifter in the transmission. (I will do an article for you on this when I get more pictures).
I finished repairing the seat mount areas and restored the seat frame and the sliding adjuster assemblies. They work real nice now.
I stripped the old seat cover and stuffing off the frames. I did a bunch of straightening, welding and spring repair. Then I re-painted the two spring assembles. I just got the seat parts back from the upholstery shop. They look great.
Right now I have the carburetor and intake and exhaust manifolds off. Stripped the two manifolds all down and found the intake manifold cracked. I managed to find another reconditioned one down in Georgia and that is all painted now too.
Next is to rebuild the carb and re-paint the air filter. Already repaired the horn and re-painted it, too as well as a host of other parts.
I sent the starter out to Classic Generators in Texas for restoration and upgrade to 12 volts. He also made me a new 12 volt generator. I fabricated new generator brackets. I want to have the truck look "period correct" yet still be "modernizedĒ with a 12 volt system. I'm expecting a new wiring harness.
Then I'll get to putting things back in to make it run. I have not had it running yet. I'm one of those guys that as I take something apart, I restore those parts and save them for reassembly.
I had the radiator restored buy a local guy here that specializes in vintage stuff. Great job. I have a new exhaust system fabricated and salvaged or re-created all the original muffler brackets, etc. Iím just waiting for the exhaust manifold to go back in for final cutting and adjustment. It should look just like the original.
Hopefully I'll get it running soon. It ha been in the 50's during the day and soon will be in the 40's. The days are getting much shorter so I may be putting her away soon until spring. Until then, Iíll just be able to work on stuff I can take inside to the basement workshop for the winter.
Iím having a great time working on it. So far no real surprises. I am constantly amazed as to how easy it is to get parts and the help that the Stovebolt site has provided. I also like the simplicity of these old trucks compared to the Corvette!
15 August 2008
From Roy :
Hi guys. In hunting for a 1951 truck, I came across your site. I LOVE it! We finally found our truck, a 1951 Chevy 1/2-ton 5-window. Here are a few pictures of our truck and a short story.
My wife and I had been looking for an old pickup truck to restore for some time now. We like the early 1950's stuff as well as the "muscle cars" of the 1960's. When we finally got a little more serious about an old truck, rather then just wishing for such a vehicle, my wife said she wanted a 1951 truck of her very own. It "had to be" a '51. She wanted a truck made in the same year as her... Good stuff was made that year... I'll attest to that. An amusing tidbit: I was checking into the serial number and such and found that our truck was built in Kansas City in February of 1951. It just so happens that my wife's birthday is in February of 1951, too.
Anyway, now that we had the year pinned down, I started the search for an appropriate truck. I showed her many pictures of Ford, Chevy, GMC and Dodge trucks. We both agreed that the Chevy was the way to go. It just has better lines. I'm a Chevy guy at heart as we also have a 1965 Corvette that is in the works, too. We have had the Vette since 1971 ... finally started on the full restoration a few years ago. This is also one of my retirement projects. Only have a year or so to go.
Now that we had the make all figured out, the next choice was to pick between a regular cab and the 5 window. We both liked the 5 window design so the 5 window it was. The search continued. I searched Craig's list and eBay for a while and noticed all sorts of trucks, for all sorts of money, in all sorts of conditions. We didn't want a "done" truck as the restoration process for us is half the fun. We also let a few of our "old car" friends know we were looking. We even had a few leads local to our area. We checked these out and came across a guy that had eight 1951s sitting on his lot. About half of these were 5 window versions. So when we drove up, we got all excited. But ... after inspecting the lot, we discovered that not a one of them had an engine or transmission. We also saw that all the pedals and interior goodies were gone. Not exactly what I had in mind.
So this trip turned out to be just a nice drive in the country. While doing all this research and computer surfing, I came across The Stovebolt Page. What a great find! There is all sorts of information about these old trucks. Seemed like a nice bunch of people with all sorts of knowledge. The education I got as a result of this site is invaluable. I visit the Stovebolt site at least three times a day now, reading everything I can on all the different aspects of these neat old trucks. Great stuff. Thanks to all who keep it going. I discovered the availability of parts I thought I'd never be able to find.
Stovebolt helped make the "finding a truck" process better. I was excited about finding a project.
One day I spotted this beauty on eBay. I sent the image home to Nancy and she responded "That's the one!" Well, I'm not one to jump into these things too fast so I figured we'd think about it for a while. You guessed it. It was off the market before I could decide. Seemed it did not reach the reserve but time ran out.
We contacted the owner the next day and he said he would wait a few weeks and then put it back on to give it another try. If it didn't go by then, he'd contact us. So we waited and watched.
Meanwhile I surfed and looked at others. There were a few. They asked more or less money with some being in better shape and some were in worse condition. So we looked and waited.
Then finally that eBay truck popped up again, but this time with a "buy it now" price. The bids were not close to that number yet so I waited a day or so. Then I thought "can't let it get away a second time" -- so we bought it on the spot. Hurray! We were now the proud owners of a rolling pile of 57 year old rust.
You see, it didn't run and it didn't stop once it was rolling. But that's what all the restoration adventure is about, right?
Next step was to get it shipped from Georgia to New York. Getting a non-operating vehicle shipped such a distance is a short story in itself and I'm sure many of you know what I mean. Here she is loading up for the trip to her new home. But we prevailed and she arrived [ pix ] July 24th, 2008 on a very rainy day with thunder and lightning greeting her to her new home on Long Island, New York. After a little dodging raindrops and wrestling the truck off the trailer, we finally had her in the driveway.
Best we can tell from the stories from the previous owners, my wife and I are only the fourth owners of the truck. Seems the original owner used it as a working truck on a farm and kept it up until 1990. He then sold it to a young fellow in Georgia who was going to make a low rider hot rod out of it. Seemed he ran out of ambition and money and lost interest in the truck before he could modify anything.
In 1992 he sold it to his uncle who had an interest in it right from the start. The truck was partially rebuilt and returned to active duty. It was used as a run-around vehicle for the family and farm use. As any vehicle ages, things start to fail and caused the truck to get less and less use.
The uncle kept the old girl running as best he could until one day it was parked and never ran again. They intended to do a restoration on her and even had their sons pitch in. But as a project like this sometimes goes, they were faced with major cost and time investments to bring her back to life.
So the poor old girl sat for the past two years until the decision was made to put her up for sale in the hopes that the next owners would be enthusiasts who would restore her properly. My wife and I are that couple.
Here she sits in our driveway [ pix ] waiting for restoration. I have already taken out the entire interior and started the welding and such on the seat "stuff." I have also dismantled most of the dash and wiring. I have removed the starter and it is off for rebuilding. It currently has an alternator installed but this will be replaced with a converted 12v generator correct for the period. The entire wiring system will be replaced and systems upgraded to 12 volts.
The entire brake system will also get some attention.
You all know the drill, right. We are moving along at a snails pace right now as I order parts and wait for parts, etc. We still have not heard the engine run and look forward to that day when the spark of life returns. Then it's full steam ahead for the rest of the restoration. We'd like to get it running, rolling and stopping for this summer so we can drive it around a bit and have some fun with it. Then next summer get to the serious sheet metal work.
I don't need inspiration. I have plenty of that! I just need some time. I have many interests and hobbies but the "day job" gets in the way. Besides my "day job" as an engineer for British Aerospace and the old car hobby, I also participate in model aviation (here is a picture of me with a Typhoon). Nancy and I run a sideline business in the modeling world. Nancy intends to use the '51 as our "delivery" truck making trips to the post office and UPS to ship our modeling products as well as traveling to some of the local car and truck shows. Maybe even transporting a model or two from time to time.
I'm rolling up my sleeves and getting dirt under my nails and rust in my eyes. Ah yes, heaven. What a great hobby.
I'll keep you posted.
Roy and Nancy Vaillancourt