The New Redline Rebuild Engine: Chevy 216 Stovebolt

The 401 Buick Nailhead has already bequeathed some good juju to the newest Redline Rebuild project: a 1950s Chevy 3600’s 216 Stovebolt. 

Tom Cotter discovered the Chevy pickup in this Barn Find Hunters episode barely 10 minutes from the Hagerty Garage in Traverse City, Michigan. Davin plucked the Chevy 3600, which was sunk almost to the hubcaps in mud, from an equally immobile gaggle of VWs, Oldsmobiles, and T-birds. (The sad T-bird that blocked the Chevy’s path to freedom had a frame so rotted that it broke in half as we pulled it out of the way). 

Freed from the Michigan mud and rodents of indeterminate origin, Davin set the 3600’s cracked rubber tires on blocks in the Hagerty garage. His first move is to analyze the straight-six’s electrical system, replacing spark plugs and connecting a new 6V battery to the newly cleaned battery cables. The starter spins—but doesn’t talk the engine into firing. 

1950s Chevy 3600 Interior
1950s Chevy 3600
1950s Chevy 3600
Ben Woodworth

Despite that, Davin is optimistic. “For this engine to turn over is phenomenal. We found a receipt that someone replaced a belt in 1970, but we presume the truck hasn’t run since then.” 

A new coil disentangled from the Buick Nailhead fails to make the magic happen—until the next day, when Davin comes in with an a-ha moment and a $2.40 part: a condenser.

The Stovebolt turns over and chugs into life, and Davin breaks into a huge grin. He caps the Dawn bottle he used to trickle fuel directly into the carburetor. “Wow, that’s cool. Not only does the starter work, it turns over, and it’ll run.”  

The 3600 was Chevy’s three-quarter-ton offering in the ’50s, and, in keeping with its farm-truck destiny, made “more torque than anything else.”

The goal, as Davin quotes “my good friend Matt,” is to get the Chevy to “stop and pull over” status. The ’50s truck won’t be putting on highway miles anytime soon, but some seriously cool rebuilding action is about to happen. Stay updated on YouTube and follow all the details of this Redline Rebuild on the Hagerty channel to see what comes next!

1950s Chevy 3600
Ben Woodworth