With the advent of computers and all the gadgets and devices that have developed over the last 20 years, there's one element that nothing electronic can duplicate-personal service. Remember the days when you could open your front door and grab a couple of fresh-from-the-dairy bottles of milk that had just been dropped off...by an actual human being? If you can, then there's no doubt you won't have any difficulty recalling the days of a Chevrolet Canopy Express parked curbside in the neighborhood with its driver peddling crates of vine-ripe fruits and vegetables. A bygone era, that's for sure, as the giant supermarket chains have all but rendered personalized delivery service defunct.
Fortunately, thanks to people like David Gonzales, who not only have a huge soft spot for vintage Americana, but tirelessly pursue efforts to keep examples of such alive and well, those who weren't there back in the day can have the opportunity to appreciate some of the remaining relics of yesteryear. David's '54 Canopy Express has been fully restored to its factory condition, which unlike a standard pickup or even a panel delivery of the same era is not an easy thing to do. Obviously, there aren't many of these types of Advance Design trucks left to begin with, let alone parts (outside the chassis and drivetrain) to rebuild one. That first obstacle was overcome when David located a rusted vestige in Wisconsin back in 2002. To help facilitate the seemingly huge restoration process, and overcome that second hurdle, he was able to obtain a same-year 1/2-ton panel truck, for which 70 percent of its parts were used to bring his antique fruit-and-veggie hauler back to life.
With both body and frame on the Canopy practically rotted beyond repair, the panel's chassis was redone-from the 235ci engine to the parallel-leaf suspension and four-wheel drum brakes-before truck's unique body was pieced back together and subsequently united with its new foundation. Despite having to use spare parts from another source, David painstakingly erected his Chevy in mint N.O.s. fashion-he even displays it on occasion stocked with perishables, just as you would have seen it 50 years ago.