1964 Chevrolet C60
With a new farm, not a lot of money, and a lot of work to do, I was in the market for a large truck. After weighing out options, I was pretty well stuck until this girl came across the screen. I fell in love with her immediately just from the first picture, and before I knew it was standing next to her checking everything over. She was a runner, wouldn't stop though, and needed some work/tlc.
She came from the Fort Wayne Plant in '64, was shipped to a dealer on the North Central Indiana/Illinois state line, and purchased by a lumber company where she served as a primary company hauler for a long time. When the company went out of business, she went to the family farm of the owners where she continued to work. In 2016 she was found by a local classic car restorer in the North Central part of the state who brought her home with plans to build her into a shop truck for him. Plans never came to fruition and he posted her up and that's when I found her in late '19. She was barn kept her entire life until 2017-2019 with the restorer, and to say the body is in phenomenal shape is an understatement. She is a true survivor.
2 speed 15k rear axle
C80 brake system
We struck a deal and within a week she was on the lowboy headed to the primary farm shop where, once she arrived, she refused to cooperate. I am a believer that every vehicle has a personality, and it is my belief that she was scared. Every last thing down to plug wires was original. New wires, plugs, rotator, some fresh fluids, and readjusted choke and she was running. New rubber hose for the axle vacuum lines and she was shifting. New steel and hydraulic brake lines from the cab back and she was stopping. I ripped the rotting bed off and got her on the road where I discovered her eating oil at 1qt every 25 miles. Closer inspection showed oil coming from the bell housing drain indicating bad rear main as well.
Initial goal was to redo the bed and then run her and do a repower in the near future. With the findings at hand that goal went out the window and I focused on rebuild. I made the journey (45mph max) the 90 miles to the other farm shop for long term park where I could pull the powertrain, which we proceeded to do a week later. Got the engine on the stand and pulled the head and found a full 0.020" wear ring on each cylinder causing near zero compression and indicating she had turned over the odometer more than once. Further amazement of the condition of the truck with this new knowledge.
Engine went to the engine builder and trans was dropped off at the big truck shop for rebuilds. I replumed the entire brake system with custom bent/flared stainless lines and rebuilt the brakes on all 4 corners with new parts and added a new master. The entire vacuum system was rebuilt, as was the front axle (still original kingpins). Rebuilt the fuel system and added modern filters, and rebuilt the old Rochester B. Replaced the RH5's with lock ring wheels and new steer rubbers. The engine came back as a stock rebuild bored 0.040 over and the trans came back after a full stock rebuilt as well. Custom stainless exhaust with Massey Ferguson muffler dumping behind the cab. All the original wiring was removed, used as a guide, and a 100% new complete wiring harness was made complete with modern Blue Sea Systems blade fuse panels and primary fuses under the hood. All lights were disassembled and rebuilt with hardwired grounds and the ignition system replaced for all new.
Original mirrors were removed, mount bars refinished, extensions added, and new big truck mirrors installed along with CB antenna hardware. In the cab I added a retro-sound stereo with a dash mount 6x9 speaker, a CB with external speaker, and a Blue Sea Systems electrical station to allow 12V charging as well as voltage monitoring (original charge gauge on dash not currently wired in). Additional accessory switches were added which will control the external field lighting to allow loading/work in the dark.
Focusing on the bed, I started by straightening and repairing the original dump frame before adding additional rigidity. Then 6" C-channel uprights were added near the cab and to that a massive headache rack system built from 3" square tubing. All of this was welded to the dump frame and then additional 45* supports added for ensured rigidity. Log bunks were fabricated from 6" I-beam and 4" square tubing and then centered just forward of the rear axle and welded to the frame. More 6" C-channel then spans the area between the bunks and completes the sub-frame. 2" angle iron was attached along the outer side to serve as the outer strapping points for load tie downs. Large 4x6 wood beams then span each log bunk and subframe crossmember as well as the full frontal and rear positions to serve as the bed floor attachment. 1.5" thick tongue and groove lumber treated in linseed oil then makes up the bed floor. Stake pockets are cut along the exterior and custom 2' tall stackable bed sides were fabricated to turn the flatbed log configuration into either 2' or 4' tall box configuration. Everything is topped off with custom lighting, mud flaps, and undermount toolboxes for storage of equipment/tools.
Inaugural first run was conducted in September 2020 with a lite load to test everything and work out the kinks. Runs progressed until October when she went under the knife for a different clutch, and again in December for a new stainless rear axle brake line. Since 23 December 2020 she has been rolling steady the 75mi between both farms and hauling loads non-stop. She's clocked 5k miles now between Dec. 2020 and May 2021 without issue. With the fresh engine she purrs like a kitten in 4hi sitting at 56mph with enough top end still left to be able to accelerate thru any steer tire loss situation. Unloaded she clocks around 8-9mpg, loaded up to 3ton around 7mpg, and loaded at 6ton hits around 6mpg. This past week's load was the heaviest yet; 17 logs, and she grossed very nearly the 26k mark she is plated at with farm plates. Nothing to make a habit of, but she handled it without sweat.
She is not restored, and I have no plans to. Every scratch, dent, blemish, etc is a battle scar that's hard earned in a life that was anything but easy for this girl. I am beyond happy that I was able to save her, restore her mechanical capabilities, and allow her to get right back to what she was born to do. She will continue to do so indefinitely as well. She is the primary wood hauler but also hauls dirt, stone, sand, manure, and every manner of materials I need at the farm. She is the primary hauler for the reclaimed materials of barns that I dismantle as well as scrap that I move. Only factoring in cost savings via hauling wood for wood heat at the farm, she will be paid off in just under 4 years of wood heat vice propane. Factoring in all the other items she does, she is about paid off in full now, a mere 9 months since hitting the road.
She rides like a washboard compared to modern vehicles and you don't drive her, you very much so operate her. There's no creature comforts, there's no safety features, and there's no rushing to get where you are going, but the pure bliss that is sitting behind her wheel is unmatched. I get lots of comments over the CB, at gas stations, and elsewhere that all just make me smile. I am yet to even see another of the same era still on the road let alone still putting in work (sans show truck). She is without a doubt one-of-a kind.
Last edited by HFfarms; Thu Dec 23 2021 01:58 PM.