1955 Second Series Chevy 6400
07 February 2007
From Nick :
I have always been intrigued by old pickups. To go along with this, I have always had a desire to own a pickup, but have always backed off because it was not a need -- just a want. This all changed on December 23, 2006.
It was one of those love-at-first-sight moments. You know, when the entire family gets whiplash as you attempt to turn the corner at medium-fast highway speed because you “spotted something.” There she was -- covered in 50 years of dirt, dust, oil, grease and about everything else imaginable.
“I gotta call this number, honey -- just to see…”
And the rest is history. The price was right. It runs great. The hydraulic bed hoist works awesome. It runs great. No brakes but it runs great.
Due to the fact that it is winter and the truck has no brakes or heat, I decided to figure out a way to trailer it home. In the picture, you can see that a younger cousin of the truck actually helped out with that project!
I got her home and decided to take it for a drive before taking it to the farm. I headed out for town on the maiden voyage. You might be thinking, “What is he thinking, with no brakes?” Well, this is rural North Dakota. Other than the occasional pheasant or deer, you seldom have to even slow down.
I got about halfway to town and smelled an unusual odor and saw a little smoke. I thought, “Great, just got this truck and right away wrecked it!!” I added a few extra words that I shouldn’t add here.
I opened the hood, looked in there and saw a steady stream of gas coming out of the carb and onto the exhaust and intake manifolds. I am a chemistry teacher, but it doesn’t take a chemistry major to realize that gas plus a hot thing equals bad.
So now, insert a few more words, higher blood pressure and pulse rate, etc. Turned the sucker around (which is a challenge due to no brakes) and headed back to the farm. Got to the farm with no fires started. And actually, the carb hasn’t leaked since.
Later that day, I took my Father-in-law to the Hutterite colony to do a little business. This was the voyage right after the maiden one. I should have learned my lesson! On the way home, I decided to mess around with the high and low range button thing. I clutched, pulled it up, and it didn’t seem to make a difference. Pushed down, no difference. Pulled it back up and let it be.
About a mile later, we came up to the farm. Remember, the only brakes I have is the ability to downshift. Well, I downshifted and nothing. Tried another gear, nothing. Another!? ANOTHER!??! And looming in the distance was THE HILL.
I envisioned one of those runaway truck ramps like they have in the mountains and how nice it would be to have one right now. Anyway, I looked down at the gearshift and realized that my gloved hand had pushed the button halfway between, leaving no gear at all. I pushed it in, got a gear, and the day was saved.
All is good except for one thing -- the Wife. “Honey, do you like my pickup?” To which she replies, “It’s not a pickup. It’s a truck.”
OK, I can live with that. “Honey, do you want to go for a spin?” “No, I’ll wait till it has brakes.”
I guess she doesn’t have the same excitement for it as I do. Actually, there were quite a few people in the bar on New Year’s Eve that, as I told them the whole story, I sensed that their eyes glassed over. Oh well, they don’t own a true piece of history either!
You are looking at a 1955 (title said 1956, but VIN indicates 1955) Chevy 6400. The truck is now at home, smack dab in the middle of North Dakota’s banana belt! My major goal with this truck is to learn about auto mechanics and to bond with this vehicle by slowly restoring it. I have been quoted by saying, “A true bond is made with your vehicle when you shed blood with it.” I am sure that is coming up soon!! I will keep you updated!
Thank you Stovebolt for having a wonderful web site!! And thank you anyone out there that has input for me. I am sure I will have a million questions here in the future!
The project is on hold for a while, as the greenhouse season is picking up. The truck is parked in a snowbank now. Was a sad day actually ....
Bolter # 13402
LaMoure, North Dakota
This was such a great story, and most of the country right now is going through some sort of freeze, so I thought I'd preserve the big image of the truck. It's a perfect shot and truly captures what Nick is in for! Thanks Nick and welcome to the Bolt! ~~ Editor
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