I purchased my 54 3100 on January 1st, 2016. I had been looking for about 3 months. I had seen this truck on craigslist for about 2 months. I was interested but it had a flatbed. This made me hesitant but the look of the cab and interior kept me coming back. It also ran and only needed tires and brakes to get it road worthy. I had bid on a couple different trucks on eBay with no luck. Most of the trucks I looked at either did not run or the rot was so bad it was beyond my skill set.
On January 1st I took my adult son, a rented U-Haul car carrier and a wad of cash and made the 100 mile drive to look at the truck. Trying to hide my excitement we negotiated a deal and I made the trip home with my new project. As a side note, I bought the truck from a man in his late 70’s. He was selling the truck because his sons had bought him a fully restored Apache. He would not show me the truck he was selling until I looked at his new truck. I am glad he showed it to me. It was a beautiful truck and I understood his excitement.
The previous owner had the original fenders even though the bed was long gone. I was able to find an original 54 box at a salvage yard in Wisconsin and had it shipped. I ordered new period tires. A fellow bolter sent me a couple original wheels for just the cost of shipping (listed in the Swap Meet
forum) and I ordered all new brake components front to back. I quickly got to work and had it on the road in about a month (tires and brakes). I then replaced the headlight switch, converted to an alternator, replaced the gas gauge, replaced the door glass, replaced light bulbs all around and replaced the 6v motor in the heater with a 12v motor. I cleaned up the bed and fenders, painted and installed them on the frame by mid-summer. My number one goal was to have it ready for my son’s wedding in October. It didn’t have to be done, just look good and be reliable to drive.
I had it ready one week before the wedding. It was an outdoor wedding and my truck was used as a center piece for the shabby chic theme. This goes back to the sales pitch I made to my wife and how we could use it as a prop for various events.
I still have a lot of work to do. I need to replace the door rubber. The speedometer does not work. This has been a great journey for me. It does not have the history and stories that many bolters can tell about their trucks but I hope this is the start of a long history of memories. This past 4 years has been everything I hoped it would be. It has been great fun working on it, driving it and talking with all the people who get excited when they see it. I hope my kids and grandkids can build some memories along with me.
I have a number of photos located at the link in my signature that include many depicting the progress of my trucks restoration.