You think just building a classic truck is a tough task? Try restoring one-it's not as easy as it may sound. The majority of street rod/classic truck hobbyists have at their fingertips an abundance of aftermarket manufacturers and suppliers that offer practically everything under the sun to complete an entire vehicle. On the other hand, finicky restorers are typically left with having to hunt down hard-to-find bits and pieces, and in the world of Chevrolet, that translates into rare and expensive accessories. Oftentimes, those collectibles will require you to spend another arm and a leg just to bring them back to life-as opposed to simply opening the package a new part comes wrapped in. No, restoration isn't for everyone, but those who do undertake the daunting task know what they're in for-or better yet, what to expect when all's said and done. Just ask David Franco.
No stranger to the super-pricey world of vintage Chevrolets, Los Angelino David Franco knows full well what it takes to resurrect a rare Canopy Express. This curvaceous hauler isn't his first foray with a vintage 3107-Series commercial, as he's also got a restored '48, as well. With the exception of color choice (Buick Ocean Blue), if you didn't know better, you'd think somebody took this one straight off the showroom floor and tucked it safely away in storage for the last half-century-that is, not without first acquiring all the fine dealer-option accessories for it! In reality, David searched far and wide (eventually locating the '47 in Virginia) before spending the better part of three years getting it to look as it does today. With the assistance of shops such as Epstein Restorations, Garvey Auto Body, and Area 51 Upholstery, the Canopy was carefully re-crafted to its former glory...and then some. Contrary to the statements above, however, there was one aftermarket manufacturer who did play a major role in the project in supplying the majority of restoration parts-Chevs of the 40's.
As for the truck itself and, more importantly, its history as a General Motors product, it is considered by some a member of a landmark family of vehicles. While many history books contradict themselves in the actual "birth date" of Chevrolet/GMC's all-new truck line-it is, indeed, 1947-the fact remains, the new trucks hit the market before the bread-and-butter passenger car models! There's quite a bit of speculation on just how and why this came to be, but nevertheless, Chevrolet enthusiasts like David Franco are very fortunate to have not only a fairly decent surplus of original '47-53 Advance Design trucks to tinker with, but quite the abundance of dedicated GM-licensed reproduction parts companies, as well. Among those trend-setting post-war pickups to emerge from GM's assembly plants and arrive on the streets of America in the summer of 1947, the Canopy Express may just be the crown jewel of them all-at least it is in the eyes of Mr. Franco.