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1953 Chevy 3600

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  Owned by Jason Wichlacz
Bolter # 20257
21 March 2009
# 2570

From Jason :

One broken board, two flat tires, a bad cup of coffee, and a tuna sandwich later...

Sometimes eBay can be a guy's best friend, without him even knowing it! I never would have found this the Stovebolt site if it wasn't for my broken pinion in my 1969 GMC 1/2-ton Camper Special. Actually, I was looking for parts on eBay when I came across the newest addition to my collection.

I found a 1953 Chevy 3600 in Tennessee that somehow called out to me. Maybe it was the primer, or the dually wheels, or even the rusty old license plate on the front fender. But something told me to give the owner a call. So I did.

The guy on the other end of the phone told me all about the '53 and even told me about this web site. I was hooked the minute I looked it up here at work. I hadn't even bought the truck yet!

So, I hit the "Buy it now" button and I owned a new old truck.

After making a deal with a guy at work to help me get it home, I was ready for the trip. The '53 had minor master cylinder issues and was not ready for a 400 mile journey home to Indiana, but the parts were already included in the sale. A buddy offered a trailer for use. It was "good to go" as he put it. I should have known better, but the only thing I could think of was my Stovebolt.

My other helper picked the trailer up with his truck and met me the next morning. We were off.

The trip to Tennessee went well. We cut almost two hours off our travel time by using two different maps and two different GPS systems. Go figure.

Loading was easy. The truck started with little hesitation and moved easily. The guy I bought it from was friendly and his Dad was a nice guy, too. They even asked us back for dinner and to bring the truck back for a cruise-in later this year!

We were off once again - back home this time. As the night fell, so did our luck.

We had already stopped for fuel and noticed that the right front tire of the truck we picked up had broken through a board in the trailer. We luckily brought a few boards along for loading ease. So, we jacked the truck up to place one under the tire for extra support.

I think it was about 60 miles or so before we had a blowout. We had no idea the tire even blew! The truck pulled so well that if it had not been for the lady next to us yelling that we were on fire, we probably would not have stopped!

We limped the truck to the side, put a spare on the trailer (which didn't quite fit due to the wrong hub diameter) and proceeded to the closest Super WalMart for a replacement. Wouldn't you know it -- they closed the tire center 15 minutes before we hobbled in!

After explaining our dilemma to the clerk, she helped us out once I offered to buy two tires instead of just one.

Once again we were on the road ... for now.

Just before we saw the Kentucky state line, we saw sparks. We grabbed the jack, the mismatched spare, and started limping down the highway once again. Now there was no place open to install a tire for us, even if we gave it to them! So we found a place with some light and a bit of safety from motorists barreling down the highway and got to work.

I remembered the childhood days of changing rubber on steel wheels with my Dad in the basement. What a pain in the behind! But now, I am older. Stuck in the dark, it's raining, and I have nothing else to do but laugh!

We grab the tire iron and the jack handle and work what is left of the flat off the rim and get the extra tire (which I luckily bought the first time) placed on the rim. We were going to use a can of starting fluid and a lighter to seat the beads on the rim. But we noticed a police car in the lot next to us keeping watch on what we were doing. Sitting between two gas stations probably wasn't the best place to do it either!

We grabbed a ratchet strap and tried it that way, with no success. I saw a worn out looking air pump at the station and thought we didn't have much choice. I went inside and asked the attendant for change. He inquired as to our actions and I explained our situation. As I went outside, he just watched from behind the counter. I plugged the old air pimp with my quarters and it fired up, shaking violently! We had to feed the old pump twice before it worked for us, but we got the tire beaded and filled to the proper pressure.

Then I heard a clink, clink, clink. I looked and a glimmer of hope shined on the pavement. Three quarters! Clink. Another quarter! I ended up getting all my money and making a buck twenty-five by the time the air pump was done coughing up cash!

My buddy had the tire back on the trailer and the attendant was approaching us. He offered us some warm coffee after we were done and insisted we come in to dry off and get cleaned up. So we did and he even offered us something to eat, but his kitchen was already closed. He was so impressed that we could change a tire without a machine! He went into the back and returned with half of his tuna sandwich out of his lunchbox since he didn't have anything in the kitchen to make us. I couldn't say no to the Southern hospitality.

The remainder of the trip went slower but smoother. We made it to my house and got unloaded without further incident. The guy who helped me is the new owner of my GMC Camper Special for all the effort he put into getting my Stovebolt back to Indiana. The guy who let us use his trailer now has $140 in new tires. He just needs two more! And this site has a new member, PunchBuggyRacer!

I grew up loving Herbie the Love Bug and have owned VW Beetles ever since I could drive (and toys since before then!) but I have long since had an old truck sitting around the yard for a backbone to use here and there. It was sad to see the '69 go, but the '53 has me all rev'd up! Feel free to contact me or watch for me on the Forums.

Love the site! Spend most of my lunch break on it here at work. Been addicted even before I bought the truck.

Jason Wichlacz

Supporting our Warfighter because I've been in their boots...

Oh Rah! ~ Editor


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