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1939 Restomod build #1286725
Fri Nov 09 2018 02:43 PM
Fri Nov 09 2018 02:43 PM
Canadian_guy  Offline OP
New Guy
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 12
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada
Hello all;

I haven't posted here much, but I have used the site a few times in the past year since joining. In February I bought a 1946 Chev 1/2 ton truck with the intent of modifying it. Modern suspension, 350 V8 - all the usual fun stuff! Even though I bought the truck not running, I figured I would get it running and drive it for the summer while I finalized plans and sourced parts for the build. Well, funny enough I fell in love with putzing around town in it. So much so that I began to feel guilty about planning to tear apart a running/driving all original 6 volt 1/2 ton truck. How many are left now, can I really tear it apart??
I began hunting for another truck, missing out on 1 great deal on a basket case being dumped for 1/2 it's value. I then got a hold of a 1939 1.5 ton truck at an auction. I can now have the best of both worlds, leaving the survivor whole and modify the rough truck.
I consider myself very fortunate as my wife works in the retail store that is an offshoot of a restoration shop. The owner very generously allows the employees to work on personal projects. That means I have access to a complete restoration shop where I can not only work, but get advice on what step to take next.
I started in on the '39 build by stripping down a 1946 1/2 chassis that I bought from a body-person at the shop. She had swapped the body to a S-10 chassis and was not going to use it, so for 200.00 it was mine. I stripped it down to the rails and rear suspension and sandblasted it. I left the rear suspension on it so that it was somewhat portable. While I do have access to the shop I need to move it in and out of a bay when I am working on it so as to not plug the bay up continuously.
Once word spread around the shop that I had started my build and was looking for a 350SBC for it, I lucked into 1980's Diplomat motorhome engine and transmission. The motorhome was rough due to water damage, but only had 70,000 original KMs on it. That converts to 43,500 miles for you Southern neighbors. I pulled the engine and confirmed it was a 4-bolt main and also found zero sludge in the oil pan and the oil gallery up top. I looked at the cylinder walls and there is still some faint cross-hatch visible! The engine is currently on a stand while I clean and paint it and ready it for install- Coming soon!
I decided on the rims/tires combo, which is a set of steel 10x16 (rear) and 8x16 (front) rims and will have them powder coated tractor Red. I bought some Michelin P265/75-R16(rear) P235/75-R16 (front) tires which I initially thought would fit. Turns out, the sizes mentioned on the website are not the mounted dimensions so I need to install some tubs in the box to make room for the rear tires. I could choose a smaller tire, but these are going ot look so cool that I am willing to spend the time to modify the box so they can fit.
In September I removed the body from the 1.5 ton and it dropped right onto the factory mounts of the '46. A few weeks later we installed a new Mustang II front suspension. I was really excited as the build was progressing nice with regular milestones to keep the momentum going. Since then, things have slowed a little. I have gotten bogged down a bit on the truck box. To start I had no box to speak of as the 1.5 ton had a flat deck and the 1/2 ton was the chassis only. I scrounged up some box sides and rails and then purchased new 47-54 fenders and front/rear panels. I spent a few days modifying the fender mounting positions as the box sides were originally from a long box. Long story short, I finally realized the hours I had spent and the hours I would need to spend were a huge waste of time. I purchased new box sides and started to move forward again. I left for work with the box 90% done so I can get on to the rear suspension when I return.
I purchased a Ford 9inch differential from the same lady that I got the '46 chassis from. The next task will be to narrow it and install the 4 link rear suspension. the pictures look a little goofy as the truck has way too much of a rake as it is still sitting on the original rear end. I am very excited to see it sitting on the new suspension and I want a look at the tires in the fender wells!

See the attachment for pictures.

More to come soon!

Attached Files
Last edited by Canadian_guy; Mon Nov 12 2018 12:16 AM. Reason: added attachment

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
Re: 1939 Restomod build [Re: Canadian_guy] #1297690
Tue Feb 05 2019 09:19 PM
Tue Feb 05 2019 09:19 PM
Canadian_guy  Offline OP
New Guy
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 12
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada
Well here it is 3 months later and a ton of work has been done, I have broken the 250 hour mark on the build...
Most of the big welding work has been completed, though some things have only been tacked in place. the rear 4-link suspension is in and I really like the stance of the truck now, low and mean looking! The entire frame will be gone over once all the fitting has been completed. The whole frame will then be sandblasted again and painted. The engine and transmission have been mounted, a small block Chev 350 and a 400R transmission. I changed the transmission as I was originally going with the turbo 350 I got with the engine, but when deciding on the rear diff gear ratio, I went a little lower and can use the 400R OD to get me to a nice cruising speed. This way I get the best of both worlds, if I want a little smoke from the tires I have the torque, but I can also cruise for days and get decent mileage.
The cab now has fresh controls; a tilt steering column, brake pedal assembly, gas pedal and E-brake. That was a milestone for sure when the steering was connected up and actually works. Prior to that, when the truck needed to be moved, you had to grab the front wheel and push/pull to steer the wheels. After repairing the firewall I mounted the master cylinder and brake booster. The brake pedal assembly mounting was a little tricky, but only because of the awkward body position required to work up under the dash.
The front bumper is next to be mounted, I need to fabricate some new brackets and then drill and bolt it to the frame. There is a picture of it sitting in place and I think it is going to look awesome! I lucked into a brand new set of old stock 5" fog lamps I will mount to the bumper as well. I also got an aluminium visor from my father-in-law and that will look cool too.
I had 16 x 8 rims on the front, but had clearance issues with the steering so I needed to reduce them to the 16 x 7 and a regular offset. I went with a Michelin LT truck tire and a set of white wall side inserts as they are much cheaper than a set of white wall tires. I wanted a really wide white wall and only had 1 option for the tire size I had and it was a very expensive tire.

Up next: Fabricate a gas tank, choose a radiator and mount it, fabricate a seat frame for the BMW bucket seats and sort out seat belts.

I am starting to feel the pressure of having this competed for spring, I am not sure I will make it but will keep pushing to try!

It is our 22nd wedding anniversary this month, I will be sure to take the wife out and say thank-you and show some appreciation for all the time she is letting me spend on this project!

I am looking for ideas on a box cover. I don't like the fibreglas style as it needs to be removed, nor am I a fan the fabric with snap covers. I really like the roll-top cover, but don't want to lose the box space to the drum. any thoughts, suggestions??
I have added a couple of pictures to the photo montage.

Attached Files

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
Re: 1939 Restomod build [Re: Canadian_guy] #1297907
Thu Feb 07 2019 01:44 PM
Thu Feb 07 2019 01:44 PM
tom moore  Offline
Shop Shark
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 457
New Hampshire
You are doing good work with some nice condition trucks. Keep updating. All interesting.

Last edited by tom moore; Thu Feb 07 2019 01:47 PM.
Re: 1939 Restomod build [Re: Canadian_guy] #1298398
Sun Feb 10 2019 10:57 PM
Sun Feb 10 2019 10:57 PM
Britcon  Offline
Shop Shark
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 1,335
Birch Bay, WA
Just having a look thru your Photo Album. You are doing some pretty nice work, and I like your choices for motor, trans, and rear end.
I have a couple of questions
1. I think you may have a 1940 Cab there. As far as I know, even tho the '39 & '40 are almost identical, the " 40's were the only year to have the parking lights on the front fenders ? Are those the original fenders ? Certainly
possible they could have been swapped out along the way.

2. You mentioned BMW seats ? That was one of the big issues when I was building my truck - the cab is so small, difficult to find seats that work. Could tell me which model / year the Bimmer seats are from ? Are you
planning on mounting on existing seat riser or redoing ?

Thanks for sharing

Re: 1939 Restomod build [Re: Canadian_guy] #1298487
Mon Feb 11 2019 12:36 PM
Mon Feb 11 2019 12:36 PM
EdPruss  Offline
Shop Shark
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 2,537
Longmont, CO
Regards seats in general, in my '37 GMC, I used mid '50's school bus bucket seats, very comfortable, adjustable. In my '47.1 truck, I used S-10 bench seat, fits just right.


'37 GMC T-18 w/ DD 4-53T, RTO-610, 6231 aux., '95 GMC running gear, full disc brakes, power steering, 22.5 wheels and tires.
'47 GMC 1 ton w/ 302, NP-540, 4wd, full width Blazer front axle.
'54 GMC 630 w/ 503 gasser, 5 speed, ex fire truck, shortened WB 4', install 8' bed.
Re: 1939 Restomod build [Re: Canadian_guy] #1298918
Thu Feb 14 2019 03:54 AM
Thu Feb 14 2019 03:54 AM
sfeldma  Offline
Wrench Fetcher
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 28
McMinnville, Oregon
Nice build! Keep us updated on the finished product.

1954 Chevy 3100
In the Stovebolt Gallery
More pix on my website
1953 f100 w/ v8
1953 f250 w/ v8
Re: 1939 Restomod build [Re: Britcon] #1298980
Thu Feb 14 2019 07:58 PM
Thu Feb 14 2019 07:58 PM
Canadian_guy  Offline OP
New Guy
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 12
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada
The seats I bought off a local Buy/Sell site and were already free from the car, I think it was a 3-series but am not positive on the year or model. It would have to be at least 10 years old as they have no air bags in them, not much help I know...
I can tell you that they are manual, leather but have several different adjustments. The coolest feature, and the reason I bought them is the height adjustment. As the seat is raised up, it also moves forward which will be very nice for when my wife drives the truck. I am 5'8" while she is 5', so having an adjustable seat will make her much more comfortable and safer when driving.
I will be fabricating a new seat mount as I want the space under the seats for electronics ( stereo amp, speakers, etc ) I will be making a new fuel tank that will be mounted under the box and behind the rear suspension.
I will post pictures of the seats and the gas tank once completed.

In regards to the truck year, I am not positive if those are the original fenders, but I believe they are. I could not find a VIN decoder for Canadian truck which is as good as what I could find for the US built trucks. From what I could find, I decoded it to 1939. I bought the truck at auction so I have no source for learning it's history, etc.

More soon!

Last edited by Canadian_guy; Thu Feb 14 2019 08:04 PM. Reason: added addition info on the BMW seats

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Moderated by  HandyAndy, John Milliman 

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