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The '37 1.5 ton dually story #823972 Wed Feb 08 2012 03:11 AM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 526
Husker Offline OP
Shop Shark
Hi all. I finally got around to writing up the story on the truck that began it all... for me that is. My very first classic truck! Here goes:

It is a 1937 Chevy 1.5 ton dually. Before I get into that, however, I should mention that I’ve liked old cars and trucks ever since I could remember. In Junior High when other kids were dreaming of brand new trucks and sports cars, I was perusing the pages of the “Old Truck Trader” looking for that special $800 obo truck that I could call my own. But not just own, I wanted to learn to work on it myself. Though I’ve always been interested in mechanics, somehow I never pursued that career path. So, I am here to learn.

Shortly after moving to the town in which I currently reside, I spotted this old truck. It sat in a pasture, with a home-made sheep camp built on the bed. It had dents, rust, metal straps holding the fenders up off the tires, hardly any window glass, no headlight lenses, no grille, flat tires, and all of the other characteristics that made me love it at first sight. This wasn’t your pampered, never-got-off-the-oiled-roads, type truck. This was a real workhorse that spent most of his used life on dirt, road or no road. Everything about this truck tells of a well-used ranch/country type life. I thought he was simply the best-looking truck in town, and I frequently made detours on my way home so I could pass it by and admire its charm.

The man who owned the truck passed away several years after I moved to town. The sheep camp was dismantled in an effort to “clean up”. A year or so after the truck became a camperless flatbed, I asked the owner’s wife if she would be willing to sell the truck. Much to my surprise, she said, “You’d really buy that hunk-o-junk?!” I exclaimed, “Absolutely!” A deal was made, and the truck was mine. smile

This truck had sat in the same spot for at least 25 years, up on a bit of a hill about three blocks from our house. I drove up there the next day with a little portable tire pumper-upper, and began working to fill those flat tires. Much to my surprise, they held a bit of air; enough to move the truck. My husband came up, and we made sure that the steering still worked. Then he said “Hop in!” I looked skeptically at that seat. It had springs poking up. It had what I hoped were old mouse nests scattered throughout what was left of the straw-like stuffing. I just wasn’t too sure I wanted to climb in there without a little cleaning and possible evicting of any current residents first. … Well, my excitement about FINALLY owning my dream truck AND the old coat that my husband put on the seat helped me to overcome my hesitance. In I climbed, and for the first time, I had a view out the glassless windshield and across the long narrow nose. It was a great view, and I forgot all about the condition of the seat!

A chain was hooked up and out of the pasture we (my new-found buddy and I) were pulled. Once on the road, my husband stopped right at the top of the hill, unhooked the chain, and moved our truck out of the way. Now we live in a very small country town with hardly any traffic, so it was very easy from that vantage point to see both ends of town. My husband looked both ways, and said, “The coast is clear, just keep it on the road” and went around back to give a push. Surprised, I hollered, “Are you SERIOUS?” as we started rolling down the hill. What a thrill it was to coast down that hill, make the turn onto the next street and make it half-way to our yard, before the truck slowed to a stop. Once again, we hooked onto the truck with a chain and drug it the rest of the way home.

Local gents have told me, that the truck was used as not only a sheep camp, but also the favored hunting camp of the locals. There is a huge depression in the roof of the cab where guys would ride as they road-hunted. After they got their kill, the deer/elk would be thrown up there and tied down. The windshield frame has been screwed closed to prevent the incessant rattling over rough terrain. Some of my favorite things about the truck are these: the mud flaps made out of some sort of canvas (conveyor belting?) bolted onto a length of pipe, the emergency box with three round signal flares still in it mounted under the bed, the metal straps keeping the fenders from sagging, the gas pedal made out of a gate hinge, and so many fencing staples in the glove box that the cardboard gave way spilling them out onto the floor. ... That does it. It’s official. This ain’t no citi-fied truck. grin

That was several years ago. I have put some sealer on what I believe could be the original wood bed. The bedwood is at least 60 years old, because the camper was on the truck by the early fifties. It is in excellent shape from having been covered for so many years. I did a little bit of numbers research of the engine with the help of my Stovebolt friends. It turns out it is a 1947 235 that came out of another 1.5 ton truck. By all reports from guys in town, it ran just fine when it was parked. Shortly after I found the Stovebolt page, a guy contacted me who owned another ’37 1.5 ton truck. Only he had bought his torn apart and in boxes. Being able to help him by taking pictures and measurements, and drawing out sketches was a lot of fun for me. He got his truck put back together and sent me a beautiful picture of it. Just knowing that my truck had a small hand in helping someone else’s truck is a really neat thing! Contrary to what some people may believe, my truck is NOT useless yard décor. LOL

Thank you!

Re: The '37 1.5 ton dually story [Re: Husker] #823983 Wed Feb 08 2012 03:44 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 453
healingbear Offline
Shop Shark
Husker, that is a great story about your truck!!! It is really neat that the local old timers remember your truck's history...

Like you, I still remember the first time looking out of the truck window for the first time...

Thanks for sharing...

1954 Chevy 3104 3 Window Hydra-Matic in my family for over 60 Years

Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right... "Scarlet Begonias" Grateful Dead 1974

Re: The '37 1.5 ton dually story [Re: Husker] #823987 Wed Feb 08 2012 03:51 AM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 14,802
Achipmunk Offline
Extreme Gabster
Well, Husker, you are now officially a DIY smile Good luck on your project and never never give up. You will get-R-done!! Thanks for sharing.

1937 Chevy Pickup
1952 Chevy Panel
Pictures in my Photobucket
1950 Chevy Coupe

52 Chevy Panel

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
Re: The '37 1.5 ton dually story [Re: Achipmunk] #824000 Wed Feb 08 2012 04:12 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 4,840
1953 panel Offline
Shop Shark
Nice truck with character. Hope you can get her roadworthy. Good luck!


Re: The '37 1.5 ton dually story [Re: Husker] #824069 Wed Feb 08 2012 09:50 AM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 26
fritter Offline
New Guy
Do you ever wonder if the designers of these timeless beauties ever gave thought to how their creations would touch so many so profoundly? Great truck...a wonderful addition to your family.

A Family of Task Force Trucks
1957 GMC 150 NAPCO
1957 Chevy 1/2-Ton Short Bed
1957 GMC NAPCO -2

Stories in the Gallery
More truck pix
Re: The '37 1.5 ton dually story [Re: fritter] #824117 Wed Feb 08 2012 04:04 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,433
Rich'sToys Offline
Shop Shark
I do like the looks of that truck. I hope you can get it going one day.
(I almost said get "her" going, but I noticed you called it "he". So I played it safe and stayed with "it"! grin )


'47 Loadmaster

Life is like a roll of toilet paper--the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!

Re: The '37 1.5 ton dually story [Re: Rich'sToys] #824126 Wed Feb 08 2012 04:44 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 526
Husker Offline OP
Shop Shark
Thanks for all the kind words guys.

Al and Leo, that is yet another reason I keep learning allI can about shops/garages. lol ! Gotta have space for my DIY projects.

Fritter, you know I think they DID take pride in building things that not only looked good, but that would last for decades (even a lifetime). The idea of owning "disposable vehicles" thankfully wasn't around back then. And you're right, he is family. smile

Rich, LOL. It's funny. The '61 is a she ("Susie Q") and the '37 is a he ("Hank Sr"). ohwell lol

Re: The '37 1.5 ton dually story [Re: Husker] #869396 Wed Jul 25 2012 03:19 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 16
doncraig65 Offline
New Guy
I love old trucks. I am restoring a '36 ton&half. Have taken it totally apart down to the frame loving every minute. Have had it 7 years and am ready for wheels. Mine are too rusty. Have you gotten to that point yet? I am looking for some after-market wheels because they don't make these like on yours and mine anymore. You have a challenge ahead of you but you will be surprised to find out how easy parts are to find-on Ebay and The Filling Station catalogue. Good luck. Thanks in Texas.

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