Building a clone of grandpa's service truck

Discussion in '1947-1954' started by SinclairChevy, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. SinclairChevy

    SinclairChevy Member

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    Greetings folks,

    I'd like to start a build thread here for a couple of reasons:

    1. This forum seems to be really active.
    2. The host has some great products available to keep our ol' pick-ups on the road, and I'm going to be frequenting their website (and possibly storefront) quite often.

    I'm working on building a clone of my grandpa's service station truck. The station was actually in my family from the late 30's to the early 60's. My great-grandpa, grandpa, uncle, and dad all ran it at one point or another. Anyway here's the only good picture of the truck I have to use as a guide for the build:

    [​IMG]

    It took me several months to find a truck to begin the project. The first one I brought home was a 1950 3600. The body is in really good shape, and it was complete except the engine and transmission. Here's a shot of it:

    [​IMG]

    A couple months later, I brought home a 3100. Its body isn't in as nearly good of shape as the 3600, but I really only wanted the 3100 for the chassis anyway. Here's the 3100:

    [​IMG]

    Work has progressed a bit over the past month or so. On my third try, I found a 235 engine worth rebuilding. It has been machined and is ready for final assembly and paint. I'm holding off on that though, until the frame is finished.

    The frame of the 3100 has been disassembled and is nearly ready for sandblasting. Unfortunately, the spring shackles are severely wore, and I'm going to have to find replacements. I'm planning on just removing the shackles on the frame, then I'll have the frame sandblasted so I can paint it. Then I can paint the new shackles and bolt them on with stainless hardware. Here's a shot of the frame in close to its current state:

    [​IMG]

    I've since removed the engine bay splash guards, the battery splash guard, and the emergency brake mechanism near the rear of the frame. I still need to grind off some running board welding 'repairs' before I can have the frame blasted.

    Anyway, there's the project. I'm using a Chevy 235 inline six, and mating it to an S-10 T-5 five-speed and an S-10 rear axle. Other modifications planned include power steering and brakes, as well as a steering column, pedal assemblies, and an emergency brake from an early 70's Chevy truck.

    Any questions, comments, stories, tips, etc. are most welcome!

    Damon
     
  2. ol' chebby

    ol' chebby Member

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    Use an s10 4x4 rear axle, it fits much better. A newer colorado should have the 6 lug wheels, If I remember correctly.
     
  3. SinclairChevy

    SinclairChevy Member

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    If I can find a 4X4 axle reasonable enough, that's what I'd like to use. But I have two 2WD axles already, through a parts trade.

    Also forgot to mention that I'm going to add front disc brakes. I've read where the stock wheels won't work with a front disc brake conversion. So I was planning on using the S-10 axle I have along with a five-bolt disc conversion up front, then ordering hot rod style steel wheels. They're very similar in appearance and use the same factory hub cap.

    Thanks for the comments and tips!

    Damon
     
  4. SinclairChevy

    SinclairChevy Member

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    I also wanted to thank you for the documentation and sharing of the assembly you did on the '53 (I think) pick-up. Great work!! I've already bookmarked it and read the whole thing. I'm sure I will visit it often for reference and motivation.

    Damon
     
  5. brit 50

    brit 50 Member

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    2 cents

    Just my opinion but why not keep it stock?

    Your families old shop truck was so cool, love the sign writing on it.
     
  6. SinclairChevy

    SinclairChevy Member

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    Brit,

    I plan on using this truck as a daily driver, and will be traveling long distances with it. I want to make it interstate-worthy with all safety systems (steering, brakes, etc.) in tip-top condition.

    Sorry I didn't clarify earlier... but the exterior of the truck will appear just as it does in the top photo. I will be building a push bumper, just like the original... and the paint scheme will include the company logos and family name. I want the truck to look like it came out of the 50's (to the untrained eye, anyway... yes, folks in our hobby will recognize the non-stock items like the open driveline), but perform more like a modern vehicle. I'm keeping the stock solid front axle, leaf spring suspension, etc. This will not be a truck that's completely "rodded" out... just updated here and there.

    I really love the look of the company logos all over the truck, I agree 100%. Thanks for your comments!!

    Damon
     
  7. vwnate1

    vwnate1 Member

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    Welcome damon !

    I eagerly await the posts detaling this excellent project .

    Remember to only buy rubber parts from Steele Ruber Co. , they're made in AMERICA and fit and won't rot away like the Chinese crap our good host sells .

    I bet your local lLibrary or Historical Society can help you to find pictures of the rig you're trying to duplicate .

    Maybe old yellow pages etc. .
     
  8. SinclairChevy

    SinclairChevy Member

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    Thanks for the welcome!

    I will keep any and all product recommendations in mind so I can make educated choices, please keep them coming.

    In talking with my uncle (he's the only one left of the family that ran the service station, great grandpa, grandpa, and my dad are all long gone), they never did much advertising. They relied on the word of mouth method by satisfied customers. I've checked old newspaper microfilm and phone books anyway, but the only reference I've found to the station was the phone book listing (I'm listing the original three-digit phone number on the cab, just like the original truck).

    I have more photos of the station itself, I will post a few if there's interest.

    Damon
     
  9. vwnate1

    vwnate1 Member

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    Service Station Photos

    ALL of them ! you proffered , cannot back out now .

    I was a very happy youn man when I ran the Island of a Richfield Station that had been built in the 1920's....

    Clean & spiffy it was and everyone got good Curbside Service when I was On Duty .
     
  10. SinclairChevy

    SinclairChevy Member

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    Hahahaha... ok, here's what I have.

    The first photo is of the second part of the family bizz... a trailer rental service. It was run out of the same building that the service station occupied.

    [​IMG]

    The second picture shows the station from a distance. It was on the corner of the block across the street from a school. I've been told by the old timers at coffee that the service station was a popular spot before and after school to pick up pop, gum, and candy. You can see the service station truck on the right, parked in the lot.

    [​IMG]

    The third photo shows the service station again. Note that they had both Coke AND Pepsi machines out in front of the service bays. Gas stations today can't seem to get away with that for some reason. If you look closely, you can also see the nose of another AD pick-up poking out from the rear of the station at the left.

    [​IMG]

    The last photo I have is, I believe, the mystery logo on the rear splash guard of the pick-up, right above the running board. To save a long and boring story, I scoured eBay and Google for hours one day, determined to figure out what the logo was. My uncle couldn't remember, and it was very difficult (at best) to read. The logo I found, which I believe is the match, is for RD-119. It was a Sinclair gasoline additive that prevented rust in your vehicle's fuel system. Take a look at the photo of the logo and the zoomed in portion of the splash guard and let me know if you think I'm on the right track.

    [​IMG]

    That's all for now. I really enjoy going to coffee in the mornings and hearing stories about my grandpa, uncle, and dad at the service station. Serves as good motivation for getting this project kicked in the rear.

    Damon
     
  11. bowtiesr4me

    bowtiesr4me Member

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    Man those pic's are GREAT!
    Have you thought how you r gonna redo the lettering, Hand or stickers?
    Hope you can find somebody there that can do the truck justice.
    (hand painted)
    Wonderful project!!!!!!!!!!!!!! keep the pic's coming:D
     
  12. destryrideagain

    destryrideagain Member

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    This is very cool! What happened to your Gramps old truck? Maybe you can still find it...
     
  13. SinclairChevy

    SinclairChevy Member

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    Unfortunately, no one has a clue what happened to the original truck. My grandpa died in 1960. At the time, my uncle was already out of the house... through college, the air force, etc. My dad ran the station for a short time after grandpa died (I think), but was soon drafted for service in Viet Nam.

    Believe me, I certainly wish I had more answers to my questions, too! :D Still a fun project. Thanks for all the comments, folks.

    Damon
     
  14. ol' chebby

    ol' chebby Member

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  15. Kens 50 PU

    Kens 50 PU Member

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    Awesome pictures!

    I was at the office this morning, cussing the firewalls we have, because none of the pictures would come through. I love old pictures of life in this great country of ours, and brother, you've nailed Americana at its best! Thank you!

    I am very excited for you and look forward to many more posts and pics of this project! Keep us advised of your progress!

    I have very fond memories of Sinclair. Dad moonlighted at Sinclair service stations in Denver and Omaha while in the Air Force and always brought home promo items for me to play with. I love Dino the dinosaur to this day!

    Ken
     
  16. SinclairChevy

    SinclairChevy Member

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    Ken,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm a huge history buff myself, so I appreciate old photos like these too, even when they don't have anything to do with me or my family... or even my direct interests. I'm a fireman by trade, second generation I'm proud to say. The history of our fire department is another passion of mine. My first restoration project (now on the back burner for several reasons) is a 1948 American LaFrance aerial ladder truck. The long and short of it is this: I've had the fire truck for six years now, and not much has been accomplished. I quickly learned is MUCH easier to find parts for a 1950 Chevy pick-up than it is for a 1948 ALF aerial. I'm not giving up on the fire truck, as I know it will happen someday. But the pick-up has priority now.

    I'm very moved by the enthusiasm the members here are showing towards my project. Believe me, if I was sitting on a mountain of cash, this project would be done in no time at all. It consumes many of my off-duty days as it is, but progress is slow. I'm just gonna keep plugging away at it 'til it's done. And it will be done right the first time, I don't wanna have to go back and fix something I half-assed in the early stages.

    That's great about your dad working at Sinclair stations! It's good to have things in common with members of a message board. So often you don't actually get to meet the folks you get to know through this avenue. Maybe someday when my Sinclair Chevy is complete, I'll take a take a nice long road trip to meet some of the great folks with whom I've been in contact here.

    Thanks again everyone!

    Damon

    PS. I forgot to address it earlier. The plan is to paint all of the signage on the truck. A guy I know cuts custom vinyl decals and he told me that he can get masking material in a format that works with his cutters. I really like the idea of someone hand-painting everything on the truck, but I'd be very concerned about the longevity of their work. If I can have stencils made, I could airbrush everything on there, then give it a few coats of clear to protect it. Not exactly an authentic look, I know... it's just a thought. I still have oodles of time to make those decisions.. I'm still working on the frame! :cool:
     
  17. Blueflame236

    Blueflame236 Member

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    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
  18. vwnate1

    vwnate1 Member

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    The Project

    Damon ;

    THANK YOU for the pix ! . they take me right back to where I wish I still worked .

    FWIW , paint will always outlast any decal or transfer so I vote for that .

    Just keep plugging along , " Baby Steps " you know , one day you'll be surprised at home much got accomplished .
     
  19. SinclairChevy

    SinclairChevy Member

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    Thanks, Nate.

    I vote for paint, too. The question is: will I go with the stencil/air brush/clear coat plan like I'm thinking at the moment, or go with the suggestion of having them hand-painted on by an artist? Tough call.

    Damon
     
  20. Blueflame236

    Blueflame236 Member

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    Authentic or not ?

    Damon

    I vote for hand painting aswell but you need an profesional carpainter that pinstripes and decorates cars to do it. It is nice to see that the paintwork is done by hand, that the lines and curves in the adverizement/billboard dont have a 100% excact same thickness .

    Just a thought Martinius.

     

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