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1954 Chevy 6400 2-Ton

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  Owned by George VanOrden
"Napco Man"
Bolter # 14272
Fulks Run, Virginia
12 January 2009
# 2510

From George :

This is my 1954 Chevy 6400 2-Ton Advance Design Big Bolt. This truck had been owned by a well-known local (around these parts) for years. He's had it so long, he can't remember where he got it, or how long he's had it.

About 10 years ago, he loaned it to a friend who put a water tank on the back and used it as a water truck on his farm for about three years.

He then let another friend use it as a water truck for another seven years. He said the truck was in great mechanical condition and the body was straight and in good shape prior to the last guy borrowing it.

It's current condition is pretty bad. The frontend is torn up. The roof of the cab is pushed down. There is rust here and there. The oil pan looks like it was hit by a lawnmower blade. I think somebody lifted the front end with a forklift and shoved a fork through it.

I can't turn the engine by hand, but I'm getting ready to hook a 12 volt battery to it and see if it will spin (it is still a 6 volt system).

The last guy that borrowed it dropped the truck off at the owner's farm a couple months ago and I had been checking it out every time I drove by. It was parked against a fence about 100 yards from the main road and all I could tell was that it was an AD big bolt truck. The more I looked at it, the more it looked taller than a normal truck. I was sure that it couldn't be a Napco 4 x 4, since AD Napco's are extremely rare and AD big bolts don't exist ... at least I thought they didn't exist.

I was driving by with my wife the other day and pulled in the drive to finally figure out what it was. My wife said "not another truck!" When I saw what it was, I knew I had to have it. The Napco tags on the axle and transfer case were not visible, as they were covered in grease, but I knew it had to be a Napco.

I paid the owner $1,500 and had it towed the three miles back to my house. The owner said he is sure he has the title, but could not find it when I bought the truck. I hope he finds it, but if not, I'll be looking for a donor truck / title to get this thing registered. I bought the truck for the running gear anyway.

When I got the truck home, I took a rag and WD 40 and wiped off the brass Napco tags [ pix ] and they looked like new. I also found a picture of a 1954 Napco 2 ton in an old Napco Installation Manual that looks exactly like this truck. That picture and this truck are the only two I've ever seen or heard about.

As for the history of the truck, I assume it originally belonged to the power company, because I can make out some words and emblems on the door stickers. The truck has metal tags [ pix ] on each side of the cowl showing that it was "Equipped By Cole-Kelly Equipment Company, Dabney Road, Richmond Virginia." They would've been the people who installed the Napco system and maybe the bed.

The bed is in rough shape and I will probably scrap it. It is a utility bed that has tool compartments and slots for tools made out of wood. I wish it was in better shape, because I'd love to keep it.

That is all I know for now, but I will try to keep the Bolters up to date on my progress and what I find out. If you and the other Bolters come over this winter for the Junkyard tour, you can check it out and give me some knowledge / tips.

Take care,


George also has a 1955 Second Series Napco 4 x 4 Suburban Carryall already in the Gallery. So, he needed a new project, eh? And what a great find. Look forward to more pictures and progress as you move along. ~ Editor


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