The purpose of this Blog

This blog is to detail my 43 years (1973 - 2016) with a 1928 Chevrolet tourer, affectionately called "The Red Chev".

The acquisition, restoration, improvements and my experiences over the years are covered in as much detail as I can remember.

Some of the later postings include car club outings and other vintage car items that I hope will be of interest to people.

If you have the time, scroll back to where it all began in 1973 and follow the journey so far.

Thanks for dropping by.

Regards Ray Dean

See my new section "The Red Chev - Repairs, Improvements, Maintenance and Technical Details" located on the left hand side of the screen.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

1946 Chevy Panel Van

Found this on Ebay, very nice.
Worth just listening to the music on the video
The history on this panel is part documented, part information I have been able to gather from talking with folks, and part connecting the dots. The truck started life as a two-tone ’46 Chevy Panel Truck. Green body, black fenders and running boards. A.J. French purchased the truck in 1947 and I have the original title issued to him in ’47 with his name on it. It was then used as the shop truck for French’s Lionel Train House in the Seattle area.

 Many are familiar with this train shop and I’m sure more history can be acquired about the shop if wanted. Somewhere during their use of the truck they painted their logo on the sides of the panel. It was then painted over (I believe with a roller and house paint!) the entire truck with maroon. A new French’s logo was painted on the sides. If you look close, you can see the old logo under the maroon paint. I have talked to many that remember this truck at the train shop back in the 1950’s. 

I am unsure when French’s closed their doors, but it seems to be sometime in the 1960’s as I can’t find any information on them after that. The truck, however, sat inside a building boarded up for some time. Apparently it was moved in the early 1980’s to a carport next to their house on the same property as the shop. I have spoke with folks from the area that confirmed seeing it sit under the carport for several years. I think it’s fair to say it had seen very little (if any) use from the late 1960’s to the mid 1980’s. There were quite a few receipts in the glove box showing lots of repair work done in the mid 1980s.  
Things like brakes, electrical, tires, etc. There was also a page from an old auto trader ad in 1988. The ad states that the motor was recently rebuilt. I think it makes sense that they did a pretty good overhaul on the truck in order to sell it. Once sold, I’m unsure if it went directly to Utah or if it was in the Seattle area for a bit longer, but it did make its way to Utah in the 1980s. It sat in a garage (pictured) in Utah until a friend of mine found it and purchased it. He had it hauled to his shop on a flat bed. I immediately purchased it from him. The tires were still holding air, the brakes still had pressure, so he put a new battery in it and it started right up.

When I purchased it, I drove it a couple blocks to a gas station and put new gas in it. I misunderstood and thought the oil had been changed, but it had not. With new gas I decided to drive it home. It coughed and sputtered a bit, smoked for a couple miles, then she smoothed right out, stopped smoking, the gauges came to life, and it ran like a million bucks. Most fun I’ve had in a LONG time.


Several weeks later I drove it over to my friends shop for storage. This was about a 30 mile drive. We lost the old original fan belt on the way, but a replacement was easily obtained and we were back on the road. Got to the shop and parked it and it sat for a couple weeks.

 The next time I tried to start it I heard a banging noise that sounded like it was in the top end somewhere. Turns out some of the valves stuck causing several pushrods to bend. (remember the oil had not been changed in who knows how long.) Replaced the pushrods and cleaned/soaked the valves for a few days and everything broke loose and it ran just fine. CHANGED THE OIL. Ended up replacing the cap/rotor, cleaning the points, putting in a new condensor, and putting in new plugs in the process. 

That’s the story. It hasn’t been washed or cleaned up. It’s a true “barn find” vintage shop truck all the way down to the original hand-painted lettering and great patina! This is a time capsule. It is not, however, a turn-key daily driver. Please don’t expect this to be ready to drive cross country. It’s a great car, and I’ve put probably 60-70 miles on it, but it needs new tires, the brakes should be gone through to make sure they are safe, spark plug wires wouldn’t hurt, and just needs a good once-over to make sure everything is safe and functioning correctly.

The pictures and video show the details well. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions. This is truly a one-of-a-kind real deal time capsule. They don’t get any cooler than this! This will likely be the ONLY time you will ever have the opportunity to acquire something like this. Don’t pass it by.

The good:
  • - Comes with the original title issued to A.J. French.
  • - Comes with receipts for some of the work done in the distant past.
  • - Amazing unmolested 70 year old paint job with lettering.
  • - Runs and drives!
  • - Brakes work.
  • - Excellent throttle response.
  • - Starts right up!
  • - Very few miles on rebuilt engine.
  • - Trans shifts very smoothly, clutch feels good.
  • - Rear-end is quiet, no known issues.
  • - Door handles and locks work well.
  • - Has “Atlas” brand under-dash heater (not sure if this works, but the knob on the dash lights up when you turn it on.)
  • - Dash lights work.
  • - Temp gauge works.
  • - Pressure gauge works.
  • - Battery gauge works.
  • - Has working cowl vent.
  • - Has roll out windshield.
  • - Body panels are very straight.
  • - Very complete car.
  • - Wood floor in cargo area is original and in great shape (no rot).
  • - Drivers seat in good condition.
  • - New battery, coil, cap/rotor, condensor, fan belt and spark plugs.
  • - Recent oil change with zinc additive.
  • - Recent antifreeze change.
  • - Has trailer hitch (mullins anyone?)
  • - Has vintage after-market roof rack.
  • - EXTREMELY fun to drive! 
  • - Has a box full of NOS vintage parts that will go with it.
  • - Rear bumper and mounting brackets are in the cargo area.
  • - Comes with original 1950’s Lionel Train catalog stamped with French’s logo on the cover.
The bad:
  • - Has rust repairs roughed in on the bottom of each door.
  • - Has rust in rear rocker/quarter area on both sides.
  • - Has rust around the hinges on the rear barn doors.
  • - Turn signals do not work.
  • - Driver and passenger door glass is cracked.
  • - Windshield wipers do not work.
  • - Horn does not work.
  • - Speedometer does not work.
  • - One headlight is not working.
  • - One tail light is not working.
  • - Passenger jump seat needs redone.
  • - It’s sat un-used for the majority of the last 50 or 60 years, so it would be smart to do things like rebuilding the carb, going through the electrical, going through the brakes, etc if you plan to drive it regularly. Expect the obvious things that come with a car this age that has sat so long.
  • **Utah License plate and plate topper NOT INCLUDED


1 comment: