The truck

I’ve been working on this 1948 Chevy 2 ton truck off and on for years now… Little did I know back then that I’d want to take it on a honeymoon road trip with my new bride.  Unfortunately even with over a years notice It’s not looking good for finishing in May… simply not enough time for everything.  One day when the truck is done we are planning a road trip.

Having driven and worked on my 1952 1 ton pickup from age 17 on I was both pretty familiar with the 48-53 Chevy trucks and had a good idea what I wanted in an updated and improved version. The general idea is for it to look original, yet function and perform more like a new truck with modern features cleanly integrated throughout. I have attempted to construct it as if Chevrolet had my preferred (newer model) drivetrain back then and built the truck perhaps as a prototype. That is to say, it will be well built throughout, clean, simple, purely functional, and most importantly, it will look as if everything belongs and fits. Although it will be a working truck, great care and attention has and will be given to every part, detail, and decision concerning its construction.  Additionally, ease of service and repairs will not be overlooked.

The first few steps were to come up with a plan and a basic list of components, then search for those items.

A central component and perhaps the main attraction is the two cycle four cylinder Detroit Diesel engine; fitting that the first big step in this truck project was finding the engine, way back in August of 2005. It came in a 78 model GMC 6500 purchased quite cheaply on ebay and driven home from Delaware, an 8 hour ride. It even came with enough fuel in the tank to make it. However, it didn’t come with a radiator that held water… That’s a different adventure…

New used Detroit 4-53T engine and the donor in the background

Next logical step was to find the ideal truck. Knowing I wanted something a little larger than the 1 ton so I could haul more and also strong enough to hold the weight of the somewhat heavier Detroit, a 2 ton seemed the perfect match. Most importantly, I wanted a truck with no rust. My job at the time was in a restoration shop replacing and repairing rust damage on antique cars, so I knew first hand how much time, money, and trouble rust can be. Other things I wanted were the optional corner cab windows and the single piece door glass found in the pre ’51 trucks. What I didn’t need was a bed, engine, or transmission as I was going to be changing all those. I placed a wanted ad over on The Stovebolt forums and in short order had several possible trucks to chose from. One stood out as the best fit and also the best deal even though it was in the middle of South Dakota.

Loading the ’48 in Quinn, SD

With truck and engine on hand the next step was to fit the engine in the frame.  I managed to strip the truck down to the frame and fabricate motor mounts while working on it in an open warehouse (with no power).  Small pieces I could work on after hours at the shop and eventually brought the chassis and engine to work for the final install.

The old front and rear axles were swapped out for a newer set with disc brakes that at the time were in the 52 1 ton.  Scouring ebay and the junk yards I rounded up more components like the Roadranger 10 speed transmission and a nice aluminum 75 gallon fuel tank.

More to come…



Well not much more.  Going on 8 years now (wow that’s a long time)  it looks like it’ll be a while longer yet, which I guess is really no surprise…  It’s been difficult for quite a while to find time for the truck between everything else going on and real paying jobs in the shop.  Even with help from friends every so often the project hasn’t progressed much in the last couple years.   It’s now to the point of needing sheet metal work,  paint and final assembly.  The drivetrain and chassis is essentially done and even running and driving.  Most all the parts are on hand for finishing it; nothing big or hard to find left on the shopping list, well except for professional paint work.

For your enjoyment here is one of my favorite videos from early on in the process.


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