1947 Chevrolet 3100 Thriftmaster 6EPJ3165, original 216 engine, built in Oakland Ca, 65th 3100 made!
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, but hey, if you like other old cars besides Alfa Romeo’s, raise your hand. I thought so. I’m not alone here. Here’s the story: around the time I was born (late 1972 for those who don’t know me outside of my ramblings here) my dad brought home this truck. It was owned since new by a local Blacksmith shop. I doubt my dad paid much for it. Over the years I rode around in it with him, notably driving several times from San Bernadino California to Bremerton Washington (some 1200 miles -just under 2000 km for my rest-of-the-world readers) for Christmas visits with my grand parents. It always started right up and got us wherever we were going. I can still remember the sounds and smells of riding in this truck -last time I was in it when it ran was probably in about 1990.
This truck has been waiting a good 20 years to get back on the road. That sign on the door is pretty sweet. Funny how memories of something like this truck can be so strong when other stuff so easily fades. As a kid I would climb all over this thing and the metal was so thick I doubt I made even the slightest dent.
Doesn’t look so hot but the inner and outer fenders have been in bare metal since about 1992. My dad had moved to Abilene Texas and decided to take it apart to ‘restore’ it. Family tragedy saw him move back to southern California -leaving it apart, literally a pile of parts in a friends barn, for about 12 years. Rust isn’t bad for the amount of time it spent in bare metal.
Cab, doors and hood are in original paint. I am looking for a pair of front fenders in original crappy paint to assemble to this rather than try and repaint things to match the patina. Both doors got the signage.
Dad (Bruce) spent about $1200 having the original 216 straight six rebuilt with a 235 crank and (I hope) connecting rods, crank, pistons, oil pump and the lot. Sadly it was abandoned only months after pick up from the shop. Doesn’t turn over now. Plan is to just pull it apart, figure out what’s stuck, free it up, re-ring and gasket it, then reinstall it.
I have to add to the story here. So my dad moved to Gulfport Mississippi in about 2000 for work and took the opportunity to retrieve the truck from his friend in Abilene. It sat in his garage and he messed around on it a bit but work, fixing up his house etc took precedent and by the time Katrina rolled through it had seen little attention. Katrina flooded it (he was about 1/2 mile or less from the gulf beach) above the differential, transmission and oil pan- no surprise it’s frozen. Again, other tasks kept his attention and it just sat.
I have spent some time on eBay/Craigslist/stovebolt forum etc over the last few months and seen a lot of cabs. This cab is easily the best original I’ve seen. Typically the floors rust, the corners rust and basically a bunch of metal work needs doing to make them roadworthy. This truck still has the odd light gold matte finish paint on the interior surfaces.
Okay. The plan? Get the engine apart, replace what needs replacing, lube it and put it back together. Buy a 4 on the floor transmission, rebuild the rear end etc etc. Nice thing is he bought boxes of new stuff for it that will finally be attached to the truck. Good times. I’ll drive the Sprint the two hours up to his place when I can to keep the Alfa content to at least an acceptable minimum.
Don’t worry, I’ll only be posting about this truck every other week, and I promise -I’ll do some work on the Sprint and Fiat too.