Some say a lowered and shaved truck is the cream of the crop; others may prefer a clean factory look. But the question has to be asked, is building a restored truck easier than building a custom pickup? I would say both have issues when building, but I would not say one is easier than the other.
When restoring a classic truck the hope is that everything comes off easy and is not damaged or lost during the makeover. I should know about losing a part or two because it happens all the time in my garage, especially since there are thousands of nuts, bolts, trinkets, and doodads that all seem to move on their own. It's like a ghost is in the garage and starts hiding the small parts. I'm kidding, but it feels that way sometimes.
It all started when Mark Freund began to see his good friend Bill Wharmby's '62 Chevy take shape. The two guys were in mid restoration with Bill's truck and that's when Mark said "I would restore a truck, but it would be nice if the pickup was built the same year I was born."
The three-on-the-tree shifted OK, but Mark knew that both the transmission and 216ci stovebolt needed a rebuild.
A few weeks had passed and Bill brought over a local paper with a '51 Chevy pickup that was advertised for sale. So the two enthusiasts took a look at the truck, and before they knew it, the pickup was in Mark's hands. The previous owner stated that the truck was in a garage for the last few years, but before that, it was under a tarp outside for 10 years or so.
When Mark finally got the truck home he checked the engine to see if it turned over, and to his surprise, it did. The three-on-the-tree shifted OK, but Mark knew that both the transmission and 216ci stovebolt needed a rebuild. When the engine was cranked over before the rebuild it only had about 3 pounds of oil pressure and the valvetrain made lots of noise. There was about a tablespoon of oil in the transmission and it was black with dried oil all over it.
A large mousetrap in the headliner and a few interesting skeletons under the seat were cleaned out with rubber gloves and a dust mask. The wiring also looked like the elements and a few hundred varmints chewed on it, so with suggestions of a complete rebuild Mark started ripping the truck apart.
Mark said "I had a great time in the garage alone with some country music on the radio, just a man and his pickup truck." About this time Mark's nephew Andrew McDuffie was home alone during spring break, so what better way to spend time with him than having him help out with the build during summer break.
This was also around the same time when some other family members helped out: Mathew Radek, David Radek, Mark McDuffie, Walter Freund and Mark's wonderful wife Cynthia Freund. Before Mark knew it, the truck was back together with new paint, wheels, tires, and everything in between. Mark would like to think that the truck turned out a little better than when it came out of the assembly plant in St. Louis of January, 1951.
1951 Chevrolet 3100
Frame: '51 Chevy 3100
Rearend / Ratio: stock / 3.90
Rear suspension: leaf spring
Rear brakes: drum
Front suspension: straight axle
Front brakes: drum
Steering box: stock
Front wheels: stock
Rear wheels: stock
Front tires: Coker
Rear tires: Coker
Gas tank: stock
Engine: 216 inline-six
Valve covers: stock
Exhaust / Mufflers: stock
Shifter: stock on column
Fenders front: stock
Bodywork and paint by: Paint House
Paint type / Color: Forrester Green
Headlights / Taillights: stock
Outside mirrors: stock
Air conditioning: none
Steering wheel: stock
Steering column: stock
Upholstery by: owner
Material / Color: Naugahyde