1937 Chevrolet 1 1/2T Cargo Truck

ordnance
Private 1st Class
Private 1st Class
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:16 am
Location: Damascus, Oregon

1937 Chevrolet 1 1/2T Cargo Truck

Post by ordnance »

There haven't been any recent photos of early trucks posted lately so I thought I'd pitch in. I was out with the brush cutter today reclaiming various trucks from the advancing blackberries and uncovered my 1937 Chevrolet SWB cargo truck. It's in horrible condition but is still OD....well, rust and OD paint, and will be restorable only because there are two other 1937 Chevs here to pick parts from.

Image

Even here in rainy Oregon, the rust isn't an issue for the unique military parts added to the basic 1 1/2ton 4X2 Chev chassis to make it GI. That's because EVERYTHING added is at least 1/8" thick steel or heavier. It would take another 70 years for something to actually rust away. The truck is very complete including virtually all of the military bits, rear window screen, cargo bed, front bumper, tow hooks, brush guard, pintle hook, rear channel and wood bumperettes, shock absorbers, heavy springs. and the unique cast iron vertical spare tire carrier behind the cab.

Image

Tailgate, bumperettes, and pintle hook

Image

Cast spare tire mount. The loops that act as pockets for the one-piece steam bent oak top bows are angled slightly at the front and rear and give these trucks a sort of "conestoga wagon" look with the canvas on.

Image

Very large front tow hooks appear like big horned sheep horns under the bumper.

Image
Guest

Post by Guest »

Hi Ordnance,

That is one nice truck! would you consider selling her? I've tackled trucks in worse state than that.

Regards,

Garry.
Mike W.
Corporal
Corporal
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 2:56 pm
Location: Ft. McCoy, Fla.

Post by Mike W. »

I know of a similar truck except a 1940 Chevy with the factory flatbed with the curved metal corners in front, sitting in the corner of an obsure yard in the Az. desert. Mil bumper and grille guard with rotating pintle hook on back, truck is complete from what I can see but the guy won't sell it as no one can find the VIN number anywhere. :? Painted black, looks to be factory paint so I imagine it was used at a Navy blimp base nearby as the Navy used black vehicles before WW2.
Mike W.
3rd generation US Navy Vet.
Ft. McCoy, Fla.
RWD

Post by RWD »

Those beds seemed to be used on al to of differnet vehicles of the era. I have 2 that are complete and in pretty good condition. It would be nice to find a decent vehicle to go along with one.
David DeWeese
Corporal
Corporal
Posts: 50
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 4:53 pm
Location: Plano, Texas

Post by David DeWeese »

Have a very good home for one of those beds, if you are interested in selling one.
ordnance
Private 1st Class
Private 1st Class
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:16 am
Location: Damascus, Oregon

Post by ordnance »

Garry,

Only a bunch of hard core truck geeks like us could look at my rust bucket and see it as a beautiful project truck. Of course, I feel exactly the same way and for now it's not for sale.

Regarding the 1930's beds, I've looked at a few over the years and really don't think they are as interchangeable as one might think. Most of them look very similar but differ in many small details and many large details too. The Oregon Military Museum has a 1934 1 1/2 ton 4X2 Chevrolet about 8 miles away from my truck. The beds of these two Chevs, produced only 3 years apart, are quite different in many details. And I've seen a bed from a Military 1932 or 1933 Chevrolet in Washington state that was also quite different from the Museum's 1934.

I feel the same is true for the Dodges and other brands from the 1930's. Too many minor differences in wheelbase, track width, location of spare tires, etc. to be truly interchangeable from brand to brand and year to year. I'd like to know how many were made by the truck manufacturers themselves as opposed to subcontracted by a body maker. Several of the original beds I've encountered have had maker tags from Woods, Anthony, and other truck body builders. I suspect most were built by them to manufacturer's specs with minor adjustments along the way. Most of my photos taken over the years are now prints from 35mm negs and piled in boxes somewhere. As time permits, I'll try to scan a few and post them.

But in the final analysis, for someone restoring a 1930's truck, ANY 1930's military bed is better than NO military bed. So much of the character of the pre-war trucks seems to be wrapped up in the bed, brush guard, and a couple other add on features that militarized a basic civilian truck, at least to my eye.
rwdfresno
Technician 5th Grade
Technician 5th Grade
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 9:01 pm
Location: Fresno, CA

Post by rwdfresno »

You may be right about the beds. I am definatly no expert on these older trcuks. I do have to say though that from pictures that I have seen this the beds that I have look very, very close to this bed and the beds on the mid thirties Dodge trucks and some of the Marmon Herringtons. Here are some pictures of the beds that I have. Looks pretty close to this Chevy bed. That is a great looking project, I really love that spare tire carrier, I'll bet they are not easy to find.

More pics at http://www.eaglefield.net/pictures/30sbeds/

Image
ordnance
Private 1st Class
Private 1st Class
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:16 am
Location: Damascus, Oregon

Post by ordnance »

RWD,

Great photos of your beds. Thanks. I'm not sure if they bolster or refute my thoughts about pre-war truck beds as they appear IDENTICAL to my bed. So they either came off 1937 Chevrolet cargo trucks or were put on other trucks and really were the same. Any idea what brand of trucks they were removed from? I wish I'd known about them in the spring as I took a side trip to Fresno from the Tower Park meet and would have liked to have seen them up close.

Your beds both have something mine is missing, namely troop seat brackets and hinges. Any chance I might be able to borrow one bracket for blueprinting and duplication?

I have also wondered if there was any length difference between mine and similar beds of the period. My bed measures 8'-1/4" along the top rail from front to back. As most trucks from the mid-1930s mounted the spare tire vertically in a well in the driver's front fender, I always wondered if the 9" or 10" of clearance behind the cab for the spare was created by shortening a 9' bed by a foot or just moving the bed to the rear to accomodate. As always on trucks like these, more questions than answers.

Regarding the spare tire mount, I believe I've only seen one other, and that was on a 1938 Chevrolet spotted in northern Utah about 20 years ago. If I can find the photos of that truck, I'll post them as there were several unique features different from my truck made only one year earlier.
rwdfresno
Technician 5th Grade
Technician 5th Grade
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 9:01 pm
Location: Fresno, CA

Post by rwdfresno »

Ordnance,

Do you have AutoCAD? My brother in law is a draftsman for an engineering company and he can make you an acurate CAD drawing of the braket and hinge..

Ryan
Guest

Post by Guest »

Ryan,

That would be great if you can convince him to draw one up. I work in a machine shop and can handle about any digital format for drawings and similar data. A few measurements of the board sizes from the troop seats would be helpful, too. THANKS! You should be able to send such files directly to my email address when he gets the time to draw them up.
68427vette
Technician 3rd Grade
Technician 3rd Grade
Posts: 310
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 3:27 pm
Location: ohio

would love to buy

Post by 68427vette »

that great truck!!,, i often have trouble restoring some trucks,, because the y look great, as they are,,,, but here in the MIDWEST rust belt,, we look at out stuff indoors,,, lucky west coasterss ,, jeff

if for sale email me at jefferychester@yahoo.com
Looking for a donor M38 w/ good motor, Scoutcars and Halftracks, VC's, VF401-406