Greg Wheelock's

1937 Chevy Pickup


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14 August 2006
# 1622

From Greg :

           On July 7, 2006, Greg and Donnette Wheelock were awarded Best of Show at the 45th Anniversary national meet for the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America (VCCA). The VCCA has over 8,800 members in the US, Canada, Australia, Norway, and other countries. The VCCA holds a national meet once every five years, with 400-500 cars in attendance. This meet was held in Grand Junction, Colorado.

           The vehicle earning/deserving the award is our 1937 Chevy pickup, named Oscar.  A partial restoration of Oscar began the winter of 1996 when the engine was replaced and the body forward of the cab was repainted.  Upon completion of the partial restoration, I decided the rest of the vehicle needed restoring as well.  The previous owner had stored the vehicle under a tarp and the paint was cracked and discolored.  This second stage of restoration began about 2000.  Oscar was moved to his new home in pieces in March of 2001 and was ignored for over two years.

           After seeing top quality restorations at other VCCA meets and car shows, in November of 2003 I decided to do a complete frame-off restoration where the cab and body would be removed from the frame, and every part, nut, and bolt will be restored or replaced. I call this Stage 3. By now the original motor had been rebuilt, and many parts needed for the restoration had been purchased and shelved for later use. Stage 3 lasted about a week, as friends had a garage fire and needed our help for the next several months.

           Stage 4 of the restoration began in the summer of 2005. At this point, Oscar was completely disassembled, and many parts were sandblasted for the third time.

           By fall of 2005, the drive train was nearly completed, only waiting for a new ring and pinion gear set that would then let me drive at highway speeds without blowing up the engine.

           Wising-up and realizing I would never get this restoration done on my own (and in time for the upcoming VCCA national meet), in January of 2006 I decided to hire the painting out to someone else. The parts were painted in pieces and returned for reassembly by me and my trusty helper Dick Styer. The cab was set on the rolling chassis on April 26, and in May 2006 it was driven for the first time since 1996 (no seats yet, so I sat on a folded-up blanket on top of the gas tank).

           At this point, every spare moment was applied to the restoration efforts and parts procurement, working nearly everyday until about 11:00 pm. With a great staff at our business, I was able to take many days off and devote them to Oscar.

           With only two weeks before we need to leave for the VCCA meet, Dick and I assembled the box and bed / floor. It was a 12-hour day for 81 year-old Dick. But by the end of it, the box was back on the frame after nearly a 10 year absence.

           In this picture are Dick, me, and neighbor Fran. It now started to look like a real pickup again and the new paint looked great. Now all I needed were fenders, running boards, glass, interior, bumpers...and more time!

           Stage 5 was the last week of June and the most expensive stage -- paying the painter and buying a new enclosed trailer! Did you know you need a trailer with a taller door opening for these old pickups? Oscar was looking good and near complete. The only part left to install was the windshield. The first windshield didn't fit .. it was cut too small from a pattern I had purchased. The second windshield didn't arrive until the day before we needed to leave for the VCCA meet! Now that's cutting it close!

           [After posting the truck in the Gallery, I had some inquiries regarding the paint. I don't recall quantities but here is the color information. The brand is U-Tech and the product is Polybase]:

Cream | Colormap 424 B1
Brown | Colormap 415 H4

Gallon mix

  • C650 2475.5g
  • T286 2478.5g
  • T291 2489.1g
  • T225 2690.1g
  • T295 3986.8g

Quart mix

  • C650 619.6g
  • T265 637.2g
  • T295 653.2g
  • T286 674.6g
  • T280 896.3g

           With only about 15 miles of road testing on the restoration, Oscar was loaded up and we headed to Colorado.

           Once at the meet, we spent a few days looking at other cars, as well as cleaning and "pimping" Oscar for judging. This was the first time I had a chance to remove all of the buffing compound and give Oscar its first thorough cleaning. We received many compliments on the restoration results, although I am not sure that "cute" is one I would have used to describe Oscar -- after all, pickups were built for work, not to be cute.

           After judging was over, we put on over 300 miles touring the Grand Junction area, driving at elevations of nearly 11,000 feet. While winning Best of Show is a great honor and accomplishment, getting out and driving our collector cars is what the old car hobby is all about -- seeing the USA and meeting people. By the way, it took about eight hours to cleanup Oscar after touring. I probably would have spent only half that amount of time had it not been a show winner!

           A special thanks to not only Dick Styer, but also neighbors (Fran and others) who lent a hand lifting and holding, and to Donnette ... who let me shirk my household duties and allowed me to ignore my "honey-do list" in order to get Oscar done on time.

Greg Wheelock
Bolter # 10512
Mankato, Minnesota

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