Joel B 1949 Chevrolet Series 3600 3/4 Ton 2dr Pickup

Always Have The Right Tool

When I was in college in Colorado, I bought my 1949 Chevy Truck with a friend for a couple of hundred bucks. It was a beater. We enjoyed it, and when I moved back to my home town of Chicago in 1979, I left it parked in a lot with 50 or so non running wrecks owned by my buddy Joe.

15 years later, my wife shamed me into getting it back running, and with my friend's help we did. Evidently it was less than reliable, and eventually my friend's wife told him to get rid of it. Time to bring it back to Chicago. Joe agreed to get it ready for a road trip. We cut off the old low rear end and swapped one out of a 1977 Ford, replaced the rear brake lines, fixed some electrical issues, changed the fluids, replaced the lower radiator hose, and myriad other things we found. Took us 3 days working round the clock.

Finally it was time to take off. We stopped at Wal-Mart and bought a cheap tool kit for the trip, along with oil, antifreeze, and whatever else we thought we'd need. Started it up, drove it a mile up the road and back. It started and it stopped so we figured we were good. We hit the road, from Puelbo CO to Chicago. We drove the back roads at first because we wanted to keep the speed low until we got some confidence. By day two we were on the highway cruising at 85mph. (Which was impressive as I had never hit 55mph before.)

Day three and we were feeling really confident. Crossed the Mississippi into Illinois and figured we were home free. Got as far as DeKalb and white smoke started billowing from under the hood. I pulled it over to the side and shut her own. We'd blown the upper radiator hose. Why we didn't change it when we changed the lower hose? I have no idea. We started laughing like hyenas. Joe asked me, "Now do you know what you need to get it fixed?" I said "of course, I have everything we need", and I pulled out my cell phone to prove it to him.

Joe replied, "No, you idiot! Duct Tape! It's in the box in the bed. So we taped up the radiator hose, added some coolant which was also in the back, and drove into town to find a replacement hose. We were back on the road in under an hour, and finished the trip uneventfuly.

Since then, I've had the body restored, and it looks and drives like new, well better than new. And I always make sure I have a full set of tools wherever I go...and duct tape.

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