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51 1-Ton still earns its keep
#1376206 Mon Sep 07 2020 12:51 AM
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 284
In the fall of 1971 I was recently out out of the army and broke. I got $135 a month on the GI Bill and was cutting firewood for extra money. $35/cord delivered, split and stacked. Delivering too three trips with my 48 1/2-ton chev. This was not a get rich quick scheme. I found a 51 1-ton in the want ads for $175 and drove a hundred miles to look at it. I was going in that direction anyway so it's not a bad as it sounds. The dark green, 1-ton pickup ran, had assorted dents and a sound bed and slightly better than fair tires. What clinched the deal was the push-button turn-signal switch and the yellow wheels, just like Grandpa Burke's truck I'd last seen 6 or 7 years before and about 20 miles away. Grandpa was my friend Steve Burke's grandpa. I drove it the 90 miles home in about 2 hours. I didn't stop.

With this old beast I could haul a cord + each trip with no sweat. It wasn't fast but it got the job done. Its first paying job was to haul a load of used fire brick from Seattle to Bellingham for a local artist to line his kiln. He wanted to make the trip worthwhile and insisted we load it to the top of the box. I have no idea how much that weighed but we took some hills on I-5 at 35MPH, right foot beat clear to the floor, say that's all there is, there ain't no more.

I remembered that Grandpa Burke, who was a machinist at the Kenworth factory, had built up 235 to replace the anemic factory 216 and when I pulled the head to do a valve job I discovered my truck had a babbit beater 235. Maybe it really was Grandpa Burke's old pickup but he was now dead so I couldn't ask him and Steve had disappeared into a drug haze somewhere after the Viet Nam war.

Anyhow, the old truck hauled cord wood, gravel, rockery rocks, hay and eventually a camper. Along the way one of the backwoods hippies had scrapped out an old GMC log truck and saved the brownie, drive shafts, linkage and shift tower. He sold me the package for $100. I thought that was pretty steep at the time but I was tired of sitting in third gear waiting for the top of the hill to come so I bought it. What a difference! It took a while to get the angles right and the vibration damped out but it would get down the road a 60 mph not 48 and I could pull the same hills at 40 instead of thirty. It mostly just hauls the camper now and go to ATHS shows.[img][/img]

Attached Files
IMG_0249.jpg (404.46 KB, 105 downloads)
At Glacier National Park
IMG_1248.jpg (358.93 KB, 109 downloads)
Ready for the truck show
red truck.jpg (81.44 KB, 103 downloads)
Working hard in the seventies with a new red paint job.

51 3800 PU, 55 235 (w/cam, headers, 2 carbs, MSD ign.), SM420 & Brown-Lipe 6231A 3spd aux. trans, stock axles & brakes. Owned since 1971.
Re: 51 1-Ton still earns its keep
1Ton_tommy #1376211 Mon Sep 07 2020 01:28 AM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 199
Shop Shark
That's a great old hard working truck. A full cord of firewood is a load for any rig. You have done well with it..... and it has earned that easy retirement life.

Rasman 1971 Chevy C10 stock 260 6 cyl 3 on the tree manual everything.
1959 Chevy 1/2-Ton []

Re: 51 1-Ton still earns its keep
1Ton_tommy #1376215 Mon Sep 07 2020 02:08 AM
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 2,182
Big Bolt Forum Moderator
that is a great story! Thanks for sharing! Nice looking setup as well!


1955 Chevy 6400 ex-flatbed (no bed now!)
In the Stovebolt Gallery

1958 Chevy 6400 flatbed W/dump
In the Stovebolt Gallery

1959 Chevy Suburban Owned for almost 20 years, Daily Driver -- sold May 2016
In the Stovebolt Gallery

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof
Re: 51 1-Ton still earns its keep
1Ton_tommy #1376223 Mon Sep 07 2020 02:57 AM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 4,169
Moderator - The Electrical Bay and Rocky Mountain Bolters
Great story.. i'd like to think it was Grampa's ole truck.

Another quality post.

Real Trucks Rattle

HELP! The Paranoids are after me!
Re: 51 1-Ton still earns its keep
1Ton_tommy #1376238 Mon Sep 07 2020 04:11 AM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2,114
Workshop Owner
Very nice. thumbs_up Thanks for the story and the pics.


J Lucas

1941 Chevy 1/2-Ton
1942 Chevy 1.5-Ton SWB
1959 Chevy Apache 31 Fleetside
1959 Chevy Apache 32 Fleetside
1959 Chevy Viking 40

My Flicker Photos! []

Re: 51 1-Ton still earns its keep
1Ton_tommy #1376248 Mon Sep 07 2020 11:58 AM
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 1,274
Ditto to everyones responses. Grandpa is surely looking down with a smile. smile

Re: 51 1-Ton still earns its keep
1Ton_tommy #1376252 Mon Sep 07 2020 12:32 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 1,338
Camp Commandant
Well done! Thanks for sharing this great story with us.

Old Dominion Stovebolt Society
Exotic Animal Division

1946 Chevrolet Cab Over Engine
1946 Chevrolet 2-ton COE

1959 GMC 860

50 GMC 450 Flatbed W/W, Air Brake equipt (25% Owner)

1950 Chevrolet 3800

“ I’ve got a trailer and I’m not afraid to use it! “
Re: 51 1-Ton still earns its keep
1Ton_tommy #1376269 Mon Sep 07 2020 03:03 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 402
Stovebolt Photo Moderator
Great story. Haven't found a 1-ton I dont like......

In this world there are givers and takers. The takers eat well, the givers sleep well......

A link to a few photos:

1947 - 3800 dually known as "Deadwrench"

Moderated by  J Lucas 

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