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#1403262 Sat Mar 27 2021 01:53 PM
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 19
5
'Bolter
I’m passionate about old iron, and a little long-winded, so bear with me…

Sometime in the mid 60s my aunt and uncle bought a 1952 Chev Suburban from a friend. They are in their eighties now, and my aunt and uncle don’t recall for certain, but believe they paid around $200. They say it was “beautiful… in perfect shape”. They were young newlyweds at the time, and with a twinkle in their eyes, casting knowing glances at each other, and in what I suspect to be an intentionally edited version of the story presented in an effort to maintain the saintly image they’ve established over the years, they vaguely describe the “fun” they had in the Suburban, driving around with all their friends, the weekend trips they made from their home in Ogden Utah down to Salt Lake City “to concerts and shows and stuff”. It was the 60s…

It seems the party wound down after awhile. My cousins came along. The suburban transitioned from the party wagon to my uncle’s commuter and became what I suppose would be considered a “beater” in today’s vernacular. Sometime in the late 70s the Suburban was abandoned at my grandfather’s property after my uncle picked up a newer G-Series Chevrolet van, but not before stripped the seats out of the back of the Suburban and installed them in his new ride that didn’t come with any. At that point the old Suburban was really starting to show its age and use (or abuse) and the years it had spent traversing Utah’s heavily-salted winter roads.

The Suburban added to my grandpa’s collection of antiques he had acquired over the years including a 1926 Chrysler Roadster, a 1928 Hupmobile, a 1930 Ford Model A Roadster, 1935 Ford Slantback Tudor Sedan, 1940 Oldsmobile 4-door Sedan, 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood, 1960 Chevy Impala, and a 1967 Chevy Impala SS (his daily driver).

In 1980, when I was 8-years-old, my parents divorced and my mother moved us from Arizona to live with my grandparents in Utah. My Grandfather took me under his wing. He became my best friend. He put a wrench in my hand and told me what to do, then a torch… then a grinder... I came to love the smell of PB Blaster and lacquer, associating it with that dear old man.

Without backseats, the old Suburban was used like a pickup truck by my grandpa. I recall many trips as a kid sitting on that little front folding seat on the way to and from the dump or the salvage yard, the 216 clattering away, watching the road roll by through the holes in the floorboard. Before I could even reach the pedals well my grandpa put me in the drivers seat, and behind the suburban wheel that I could barely see over I mastered the art of the stick shift.

When I turned 16 my grandpa let me drive Suburban “to school”. That probably wasn’t the best idea. Sufficed to say the Dionysian spirits conjured up by my aunt and uncle were reawakened by me and all my rowdy friends who sat in the back on beanbags… and a cooler… It was during that period the moniker “The Beastie” was affectionately and fittingly coined for the old behemoth. And the good news is, after a couple of years, and before I did anything too stupid, I eventually earned some money and bought my own truck, and I gave the keys back to my grandpa, the Beastie not too terribly worse for wear.

Growing up in the shadow of my grandfather it was natural that I took a job in a garage after high school. And in 2003 when my grandpa passed away and willed his collection of beautiful restored automobiles to his children, because of how tight we were, and as the only member of my family with any kind of inclination and mechanical ability, it was no coincidence that grandpa willed all of his unrestored vehicles to me including the 67 SS, the 35 Ford, and the 52 Suburban.

I was newly wed then. My own little people coming into the picture. Money was scarce. I sold the Impala to my nephew (still has it). And when the master cylinder started to fade, and then the fuel pump went out, we pushed the beast into the back yard and sort of forgot about it. And the vines took over…

A decade and a half later, college and graduate school behind me, I’m working as a counselor at an experiential-based boarding school for teens. And when the pandemic started things got weird. We couldn’t even hang out at the local park without getting chastised by police. We had to get creative to keep the hooligans occupied, so I came up with the idea to give the boys a little auto shop experience.

So we woke up all the spiders and chased them off, brushed away the cobwebs, filled the rotten tires that miraculously held air long enough for the boys to get the Beast pushed into my garage. We pulled out the greasy, rusty 216, stripped it down and sent it to Jenson Auto, the best machine shop in town. The crank and updated bearing inserts my grandpa had fitted were still in good shape. The block was bored, new pistons & rings, block and head resurfaced, valve job… Radiator and fuel tank removed and sent out for service, local armature shop went through starter and generator. We installed a new new fuel pump, new belt and hoses, new master and all new wheel cylinders, shoes and drums, packed wheel bearings, new wiring harness, new battery. We fixed all the corroded grounds and got all the lights working, cleaned the mouse nests out from under the seat and glove box, 4 new tires…

While my students and I were in the process of putting everything back together I took a trip out to my grandpa’s shop that the family still owns and where my 1935 Ford is stored (in pieces… my grandfather was in the beginning stages of that resto when he became ill…) I happened to glance up at the ceiling, and there in the rafters covered in the most obnoxious mustard colored corduroy and backed with thick, disgusting, 70’s era shag carpet were both the suburban back seats. Apparently my uncle had the presence of mind to remove and save the seats before he junked the G-series back in the 90s. Pretty sure I heard angels singing.

It took us several months but we got the Beast all put back together. I was surprised by how enthusiastic my students were. Working in my garage became their favorite activity. We’ve had a blast. We’re still working out the bugs, but the Beastie runs and rides pretty dang good. My old trusty FJ60 that’s been my daily driver for years has recently developed some engine issues, and so while I get that sorted out, and just like old times, the Beastie has become my daily driver... my grandpa’s ghost smiling, sitting shotgun.

So now I have old Suburban on the brain. Whenever I have down time I find myself scouring over this forum, watching YouTube videos, looking through parts catalogs. I’ve fallen back in love with this thing. I have big plans to start a frame off restoration. I’ve been building and off-roading Landcruisers for years, and I know very well how helpful a prolific technical forum can be. Super glad you guys are out there and I found you. I have so many questions I don’t even know where to begin. Looking forward to becoming part of, and hopefully a contributing member of the community ya’ll have built! And thanks for giving me a place to tell my story.

Shawn from Utah

Attached Images
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Last edited by 52Beastie; Sat Mar 27 2021 04:20 PM.
52Beastie #1403266 Sat Mar 27 2021 02:16 PM
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 149
P
'Bolter
Thanks for sharing an amazing story. The same passion of vintage trucks your grandfather passed on to you has now been passed on to another generation of stovebolters. Most of us have had someone make a lasting impression on us in our youth that reflects our interest long into our life,Pat66

52Beastie #1403268 Sat Mar 27 2021 02:18 PM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 2,647
P
AD Addict
Wow! That history that old truck has and the fact that you were part of it is fantastic. I love that you got your “kids” involved and I sure you planted some seeds that will grow a new crop of Stovebolt restorer’s.

Great story and great truck. Start a Project Journal in the forum and you already got one that will follow your progress. Good Luck!

Last edited by Phak1; Thu Apr 01 2021 11:41 PM.

Phil
Moderator, The Engine Shop & Interiors

1952 Chevrolet 3100
Project Journals
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‘59 235 w/hydraulic lifters
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52Beastie #1403269 Sat Mar 27 2021 02:23 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 10,959
Grease Monkey, Moderator General Truck Talk & Greasy Spoon
Welcome to the Stovebolt madness. There is no cure! shake


Martin
'62 Chevy C-10 Stepside Shortbed (Restomod in progress)
'47 Chevy 3100 5 Window (long term project)
‘65 Chevy Biscayne 4dr 230 I-6 one owner (I’m #2) “Emily”
‘39 Dodge Businessmans Coupe “Clarence”



"I fought the law and the law won" now I are a retired one!
Support those brave men/women who stand the "Thin Blue Line"! Hug a cop!
USAF 1965-1969 Weather Observation Tech (I got paid to look at the clouds)

52Beastie #1403325 Sat Mar 27 2021 09:50 PM
Joined: Mar 2021
Posts: 13
D
'Bolter
That is truly an amazing story. And that burb is a real beaut! I drag my 3 children on every "adventure" I can. This week we'll be trying to rescue a 47' Chevy 6400 from a field where it's sat the last 3 decades. Pretty excited to get it 80 miles to home.

52Beastie #1404240 Thu Apr 01 2021 04:48 PM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 15,898
'Bolter
Welcome to the Stovebolt. Great story, it hit home pretty hard as I remember all the wrenching with my dad back in the 50's. He couldn't afford having things fixed so we fixed them ourselves. How fortunate I was.....
......and how great it is to pass this on. Long live the Beastie and long live your legacy. Your doing it right.


1937 Chevy Pickup [stovebolt.com]

1952 Chevy Panel [stovebolt.com]
1952 Chevy Panel [photos.app.goo.gl]

1950 Chevy Coupe
[photos.google.com]



I'd rather walk and carry a Chevy hub cap than ride in a Ferd.
I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you smile
Achipmunk #1404341 Fri Apr 02 2021 01:54 AM
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 19
5
'Bolter
Originally Posted by Pat66
Thanks for sharing an amazing story. The same passion of vintage trucks your grandfather passed on to you has now been passed on to another generation of stovebolters. Most of us have had someone make a lasting impression on us in our youth that reflects our interest long into our life,Pat66

...I think you're right Pat. And at the time you don't even realize the impression you're making. My grandpa had a profound influence on the course of my life. I'm sure he didn't have a clue what he had done.


Originally Posted by Phak1
Wow! That history that old truck has and the fact that you were part of it is fantastic. I love that you got your “kids” involved and I sure you planted some seeds that will grow a new crop of Stovebolt restorer’s.

Great story and great truck. Start a Project Journal in the forum and you already got one that will follow your progress. Good Luck!

Good advice Phil! And I checked out your Journal... I had a chuckle and can seriously relate to, "I laugh today over what I, an 18 year old found appealing"

Originally Posted by Dan Beluscak
That is truly an amazing story. And that burb is a real beaut! I drag my 3 children on every "adventure" I can. This week we'll be trying to rescue a 47' Chevy 6400 from a field where it's sat the last 3 decades. Pretty excited to get it 80 miles to home.

Excited for you Dan! That will be a rad adventure I'm sure. Good Luck!


Originally Posted by Achipmunk
Welcome to the Stovebolt. Great story, it hit home pretty hard as I remember all the wrenching with my dad back in the 50's. He couldn't afford having things fixed so we fixed them ourselves. How fortunate I was.....
......and how great it is to pass this on. Long live the Beastie and long live your legacy. Your doing it right.

So I have to confess, there have been a few times over the last year when I've found myself alone in the garage working on the Beast and I've come across a weld or something that clearly had my grandpa's mark, and wound up sitting on the running board, head in my dirty hands, overcome with emotion.

Recognizing "How fortunate" you were in being less than affluent is pure wisdom Alvin, wisdom as uncommon these days as fixing things yourself.

...So when we were going through the engine I kept eyeing the horn, trying to figure out why it looked so weird and ratty. My grandfather was a sheetmetal worker by trade, and upon closer examination I realized it was clearly his doing. Must have stopped working and he "fixed" it haha! Clearly he was all about function and wasn't concerned about form on this particular repair. It was so ugly. I searched and I found a decent looking horn on eBay, but couldn't bring myself to replace the grandpa-ed original. So I had my students paint it up (like putting lipstick on a pig) and we bolted it down. Works great.

Thanks for the warm welcome everyone! You guys are great.

Attached Images
3B22C6BC-2E62-4322-971B-29E55F77088C.jpeg (154.66 KB, 117 downloads)
Last edited by 52Beastie; Fri Apr 02 2021 02:18 AM.
52Beastie #1404391 Fri Apr 02 2021 01:20 PM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 15,898
'Bolter
Nothing ratty there. That is pure character! keep on trucking brother!


1937 Chevy Pickup [stovebolt.com]

1952 Chevy Panel [stovebolt.com]
1952 Chevy Panel [photos.app.goo.gl]

1950 Chevy Coupe
[photos.google.com]



I'd rather walk and carry a Chevy hub cap than ride in a Ferd.
I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you smile
52Beastie #1404405 Fri Apr 02 2021 02:31 PM
Joined: Mar 2021
Posts: 13
F
New Guy
What a great story! Thanks for sharing The Beastie with all of us. I am new here, too, and so thankful I found this group. Looking forward to hearing more about your project as Beastie comes out of her shell.

52Beastie #1405198 Thu Apr 08 2021 04:03 AM
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 11
V
'Bolter
Great story and Beastie is a gem. I grew up riding with my dad in his 63 GMC Carry All, so I know the special feeling yours brings you. Enjoy!


Moderated by  Achipmunk, Rusty Rod 

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