Tyler Watts'

1953 Chevrolet 3/4-Ton 3600 Pickup

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12 August  2003

From Tyler :

           Hello. I'm enclosing some pictures of my 1953 Chevrolet 3600 pickup.  I got this truck when I was 15 as a gift from my Uncle.  He bought it to restore but didn't have the time or inclination to work on it. He noticed that I drooled over it whenever I visited him, and so he gave it to me. 

           This truck is the best (tangible) gift I've ever received.  It was my first and still is my main driver, serving as my transportation and work truck. 

           When I first got the truck, it had a 1959 235, which I ran (with difficulties) until I starved it for oil (make sure you put that dang distributor shaft all the way in!) and it threw a rod on the highway.  At that point I decided, at the advice of a mechanic friend, to drop a 350 in it. 

           Other than the 350 and some minor modifications accompanying it, and newer, one-piece rims, the truck is original.  I am a purist and was uneasy about even dropping the 350 in, but I kept it looking very original and believe me, it handles "original." 

           Since putting in the 350, I have put about 22K miles on it, driving from Colorado to Florida to Michigan, Canada, back to Colorado, etc.  It is pretty squirrelly on the highway, but I am used to it and can handle it pretty well (I won't let anyone, including close family, drive it on the highway without me along).  It always turns heads, especially on the highway. Frequently, when driving cross-country, I'll have old timers come up to me at gas stations and start chattin' away about their old trucks and they always admonish me not to sell mine.  I tell them not to worry because I intend to be driving mine when I'm an old man Besides, my fiancée won't let me sell it!  (You can see why I love her so much!)

           I learned most of what I know about auto mechanics on this truck.  It was a fun, frustrating, exasperating, time-consuming process, as I rebuilt/ restored it during my high school years.  Early on it didn't start too reliably, so I would always park at the top of the parking lot at my high school, and let it roll down and pop the clutch to start it after football practice.  I became quite adept at popping the clutch! 

           Putting the 350 in was a major project, and I couldn't have done it without the help of some mechanic friends and Internet resources like Stovebolt.com.  (Let this story serve as a big thank you!) 

           Now I've pretty much got all the quirks worked out of it (except I still can't get the doors adjusted perfectly -- oh well, it's a Chevy!) and it's a great runner for me.  It hauls big loads well (e.g. full size pool table) and even pulls trailers.  It's even been featured in a national truck magazine (Vintage Trucks, June '03)!  I love this old Chevy and I'm going to keep driving it and using it as pickups should be used -- for work -- as long as I am able.  Someday I might restore it back to its original configuration.  Until then, I'll keep on haulin'.

           Thanks for the excellent web site and the opportunity to show off!


Tyler Watts

Construction Worker
Bolter # 3639
Hillsdale College
Hillsdale, Michigan

           Stuart, Thanks for the great write-up. Sounds like your future "better half" is a keeper, JUST LIKE YOUR TRUCK!!! ~~ Curator "

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