She is a 1957 Chevy 3600 ¾ ton pickup. Her life began when a gentleman ordered her in 1957 when he retired. He mounted a camper in her bed when she was brand new so that he could see the country with her. She made trips from North Carolina to Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Washington. She stayed parked in his barn when he was not using her as a camper.
He ordered the ¾ ton model to get the longer bed and the heavy duty upgrades such as the 17.5” rims (I wish it would have come with the optional 19.5” wheels due to the low gearing), the split drive shaft, the floor-mounted emergency brake connecting to the prop shaft, the four speed with the granny and the larger brakes. He ordered the factory options of the steering column mounted turn signals and the deluxe heater. He had the dealer add a few accessories such as running lights on the cab that were available on the two ton model, a spotlight on the driver’s side, sun visor on the passenger side and the oil bath air cleaner. She was upgraded to a very early Delco Remy alternator, probably because of the electrical load of the camper. This might have also been installed by the dealer at the time of delivery.
When her owner died in 1985, his family traded her for a new Pontiac. The owner’s son had used her in his locksmith business. She had lost some of her original beauty under his watch. The dealer kept her in his storage shed and never transferred the title, so we technically became the second owners when we bought her in the early spring of 2010.
¾ ton pickups are somewhat rare because most were completely used up as either farm or work trucks. They literally wore out. Maybellene’s story as a happy traveler is what saved her. Because she had a camper installed in the bed when new, she has never hauled a load other than the camper. The camper preserved the bed and kept it almost pristine.
Maybellene has about 65,000 miles on her. She is a hybrid in that she is not completely restored, but she is not totally original. We have tried to recondition her to look as she would if she was bought new and well maintained for her entire life. If something works but is a little tarnished or pitted, we left it alone. If it needed replacement, we replaced it. Some areas needed more love than others. We refurbished or rebuilt whatever we could to avoid replacement. We painstakingly reconditioned the original Brewster Green paint. We left as much original paint as possible and blended in repairs. On some areas where the original paint was too thin to buff, we shot clear over the original paint to preserve it before color sanding and buffing. Any missing parts such as the hubcaps, jack assembly or the Amity-GM spotlight have been replaced. The electrical system was restored to a generator. The seat is the original material. The headliner is original as is about half of the interior paint. All glass is original except the driver’s door because I cracked it when trying to retrieve it after it had slipped off the window regulator and fell inside the door.
We added a few things that are not original to personalize Maybellene. All are period correct. We added the hood rockets, fingernail protectors on the door handles, peeper mirrors, steering wheel spinner and windshield sun visor. We changed the side view mirrors to chrome. (The driver side was broken and the passenger side was missing.) We had the rims bead blasted and powder-coated white instead of the original black. We varnished the Southern yellow pine bed instead of repainting the wood Brewster Green. (The beds came from the factory either painted black or painted the body color, depending on the assembly plant.) We added the fog lights. (What a find! Amity-Chevrolet fog lights off a ’41 sedan that I found in AZ!) The fog lights were converted to 12 volts and wired into the headlight switch to operate with the running lights, so no additional switches were added to the dash. The side boards for the bed were made out of Southern yellow pine to match the wood in the bed. The angle iron that I used to mount the mud flaps on the rear and the fog lights on the front were installed through original holes in the frame, so no additional holes were drilled. We added the rear view mirror (not necessary when the camper was on the back). We added seatbelts—these are the only item that is not period correct.
Other pictures can be seen at www.photobucket.com/maybellene.