1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore / Rebuild_2: Prepping Chassis and Engine

THE CHASSIS

So, as you might recall from our first post on this project (1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore/Rebuild_1: Committing to the Project), we acquired this lovely hunka junka 1989 Chevy S10 for it’s chassis . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck
Chassis from 1989 Chevy S10

This is the same truck, stripped of the worst part of the truck . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

. . . or so we thought.

Surprise!

And here was our first surprise . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

Errrrr . . . those two big bars that look shifted to the right isn’t a trick of the camera. This baby withstood significant impact and the result was a seriously misaligned front end. Still, Mark decided he was willing to keep working with it.

There, that’s better . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

Now for a bit of cleanup . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

. . . and a few restored parts (cleaned and painted) from a variety of trucks that have now been added to the mix . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

. . . and we have ourselves a half-decent looking, rolling chassis, ready for an engine .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

THE ENGINE

Seems we were destined to put this demolished 2004 Chevy Silverado Extended Cab to good re-use. We were happy to pull from it the LS 4.8 engine we would use for our vintage truck restoration project.

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

The Silverado had seen better days, but her engine only had 112,000 miles on it. Plenty more to go, as far as we were concerned.

The engine looked a might frightful at first . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog . . . but not so bad after we stripped her of her wiring harness and computer, and gave her a good cleaning. Next, we used a forklift to lower the chassis over the engine (rather than trying to precariously dangle the engine over the chassis) . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

. . . and checked her for proper fit before we committed to the rest of the project.

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

She now looks good to go.

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

Next, we’ll install the truck bed, cab, engine, and transmission. And then we’ll trailer her back home where we can tackle the rest of the project in the comfort of our own garage.  Definitely something we’re looking forward to.

You may have noticed we’re pulling parts from a variety of vehicles for this project. Part of that is out of necessity. We were limited in our choice of chassis to match the 1950 Chevy 3100. Part of that is out of Mark’s desire for certain performance and reliability features. We will continue to walk that line and, in the meantime, have assembled a detailed spreadsheet, tracking where in the heck all the parts came from (especially VIN# of donor vehicles). Otherwise, fixing anything mechanical on this baby down the road (getting the right parts, in particular) would be a nightmare.

At the moment, our truck is in good company at the aircraft junkyard among several impressive rat rods (rusty on the outside, radically wicked power on the inside!).

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And by the time we’re done with our 1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restoration & Rebuild  project, we’ll have a hybrid truck that is retro and highly functional . . . a truck Dr. Frankenstein himself would be happy to ride in!

Stay tuned for updates!

Happy Restoring, Re-using, and Re-purposing to all you builders and restorers out there!


Related Articles in this 1950 Chevy Restore/Rebuild series:

1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore/Rebuild_1: Committing to the Project


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1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore/Rebuild_1: Committing to the Project

As the old timers used to say,

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!”

Along with the resurgence of love for vintage teardrop trailers, vintage, full-sized camping trailers, and pimped-out vintage decor, there’s also a significant resurgence of interest in vintage vehicles. Most everyone who owns or will own a vintage camper eventually toys with the idea of pulling it with a similar-year vintage vehicle.  But most folks don’t necessarily want to put up with the slow-moving, old-time nature of a vintage vehicle.

In the spirit of preserving one of those beautiful babies a.k.a. the fabulous vintage vehicles of the 40s, 50s, and 60s that look stunning pulling vintage trailers, we set out to acquire ourselves a vintage truck by keeping the babythe beautiful body that we loved so much. And disposing of the bathwaterthe old, under-powered, under-performing engine and chassis of a vintage truck.

The baby in question for us is a 1950 Chevy 3100 pickup truck. I’ve wanted to own one of these all my life. I mean way back, like when I was in a teenager, growing up in the 60s and 70s.

About a year ago, my interest was re-sparked, when I spotted this old beauty in a supermarket parking lot . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck
The Chevy 3100 I saw that became the inspiration for our vintage truck hybrid rebuild.

That natural green hue. Those beautiful curves. It was love at first sight.

Mark took a picture of her, because I uttered the words, “Someday, I want a truck just like this!”

When we talked about the possibility of acquiring a truck like this, we realized we wanted something not only vintage, but practical, too. We wanted it to be powerful enough to pull a large camping trailer, if we wished. And strong and safe enough to use for long-distance driving or short hauls with a heavy payload in the truck bed.

In other words, we knew right away that we wanted a hybrid restoration/rebuild. So when we talked about “someday” making a truck like this a reality, we realized we’d have to wait for when we might also someday live on a big piece of property with a large garage and no HOV-community restrictions. In other words, someday wouldn’t be any day soon.

Then. An opportunity.

Mark knows the owner of an airplane junkyard who said he’d be willing to allow us space on his property to tackle a build project. The fella and his sons were deep into building rat rods–some nasty, some fancy, but mostly big ole rusted-out trucks, chopped up and stripped down, powered by over-the-top engines, just perfect for street racing and fun.

IMG_0546_resize

The offer was the answer to our prayers. Mark jumped right on it.

Within a week, we found a 1950 Chevy 3100 on a Texas-centric Craigslist ad. We live in Arizona, but soon found we had to extend our reach if we hoped to find the exact truck we wanted. For $575, we found someone to transport the slightly drive-able, but definitely not road-worthy truck.

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck
The body of this 1950 Chevy 3100

After a massive amount of research, Mark found that if we wanted to preserve the vintage body, but beef up the underlying power and handling, then we needed a late 1980’s Chevy S10 chassis to match up with the Chevy 3100. One week later, we scored a 1989 Chevy S10 chassis on Craigslist from a local seller.

So, the body of this vintage Chevy 3100 pickup truck . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck
Chevy 3100 pickup from Texas

PLUS the chassis of this [technically an antique, I suppose!] 1989 Chevy S10 pickup truck . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck
Chassis from 1989 Chevy S10

EQUALS the TRUCK OF MY DREAMS in the making.

The rest of the build is all magic a la Mr. Google and Mark.

“Mr. Google, let me introduce to you the relentless research skills, metal fabrication expertise,  and mechanical prowess of my partner, Mark.”  🙂

Granted, it’s an ambitious project. But Mark is just the guy to tackle it.

About one month into the project and Mark has scored the body, chassis, low-mile engine, and transmission, most of which are originals, except for the transmission, which has been rebuilt. He has cleaned up the old and made much of it look new again, or at least new’ish. And he is finessing the heck out of figuring out how to pull it all together.

I can hardly wait!

Stay tuned for updates!

Happy Restoring, Re-using, and Re-purposing to all you builders and restorers out there!


Related Articles in this 1950 Chevy Restore/Rebuild series:

1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore / Rebuild_2: Prepping Chassis and Engine


Say, if you liked this blog post,
be sure to FOLLOW US by using the buttons/links
on the upper-left corner of this website
(email option, WordPress user option, TWITTER option, and FACEBOOK option are available).

If FACEBOOK is your thang,
we’ve made it easier on you . . .

just click right below to go directly to our FACEBOOK page
and then make sure to LIKE or FOLLOW us there!

PLEASE LIKE Teardrop Adventures on FACEBOOK!!!


Happy trails, y’all!

Sue J signature