1946 Chev 1/2 Ton shortbed
Introducing “Nadine”, a 1946 Chevy ½ ton shortbed pickup. I bought her in Talent, Oregon on Sept. 16, 1995, from the original owner’s son, Ron. Nadine was purchased and registered in 1947 and had always remained on the family farm in Talent. The registration date implies that the model year is ’47, and I have read many articles about this confusing issue, but I prefer to call her a late model ’46 (also, my birth year). Ron asked me, “If you don’t have a chosen name for her, I would like it to be Nadine,” which was his mother’s name. I said that was a fine name, and that I would keep it because it was also my mother’s middle name. [pic 1]
After driving around the farm a bit, I drove her to a shop in Medford for a chassis re-do. My plan for restoration was to retain the original stock appearance with updated drivability. Remember, this was 1995 and my first attempt, so I didn’t know what I was getting into. Anyway, the shop guys found a donor car: 1976 Olds Omega (ala Nova) with a 350 V8 setup. It sounded cool, so I gave the go-ahead. The sub-frame conversion was done, and now I had a sleeper hot rod. All the required systems were jerry-rigged enough to make it drivable to a body shop in Ashland that specialized in restorations.
Up to this point, the project looked promising and exciting. I thought I had left it in capable hands. Then reality happened. Living 300 miles away and busy with family and work made progress difficult. Nadine basically sat for 20+ years, in various stages of disassembly, prep, partially painted, parts primed, untouched, or missing. [pic 2]
Fast forward to December 2019, after retirement and 10 years of medical issues/recovery, the spark was re-ignited. Actually, my wife said do it or sell it. I therefore found Brothers Garage, a newly formed son-father team willing to take this project on with me. I would provide the finances, go-fer duties, research, and grunt labor. Brothers would provide the build expertise (their second build project!). Nadine was then rescued from Ashland and hauled to Portland. Once in the garage, the first step was to inventory all the parts and pieces and assess their condition. Given the amount of neglect and rust, the original plan was modified to do a complete frame-off restoration. The general build philosophy was to re-build original parts where feasible and replace with new OEM parts or performance upgrade parts when available, with a little “customizing” as needed.
Then the fun began. While going through the inventory, the realization hit: I had neglected to collect the documentation for the donor car, so without the VIN we were flying blind (lesson 1). The first step was to remove the engine and tranny and then do a lot of research to discover what we had. What did we discover? An Olds Rocket 350. I knew it was a 350, but not a Rocket. What a surprise and what a history. I had this re-built by a local engine shop as stock with a mild CompCam upgrade. I also discovered that this GM engine was built by the Buick division, so the top-end replacement/upgrade parts were confusing to find (not necessarily interchangeable). The TH350 transmission was re-built by a local shop upgraded with a stage 1 shift kit. The alternator and starter were taken to a legendary local shop. When I picked them up, the owner told me that they were re-built with original Buick parts. The front-end suspension was original Omega, so finding upgrade performance parts was straight-forward. The bed was completely missing except for the two bedsides, and no bumpers. And lastly, the bench seat seems to have disappeared over the years (still searching).
Since Covid-19 hit, progress has been slow, which seems to have been a blessing, because during my research I found Stovebolt.com. From what I have read in the forums, etc., there is a ton of knowledge out there. Now that Nadine is close to the “figure out how to put it together” stage, I know that I will have many questions and be looking for those hard-to-find parts; and sharing what I have learned thus far the hard way. [pic 3]
West Linn, OR
Last edited by Peggy M; Sun Jul 17 2022 06:57 PM.