Original Dutch-assembly, partially restored pre-war truck.
Back in 1936, most commercial vehicles were a merger of a mass-produced rolling chassis and coach-built cabins. In North America, Chevrolet sold its 1.5 and 2.5 ton trucks as a complete unit, with factory made bodies. Equipped with hydraulic brakes and overhead valve engines, these trucks were ahead of European competitors.
Made in Holland
Assembly plants for Chevrolet trucks were established in various European countries, the Netherlands being one of them. The cabins were made the old-fashioned way, using hand-formed steel panels over a wooden frame. The bulkhead was the same as the US trucks and the US-made roof panel was cut in half and extended with a simple piece of sheet metal. A Dutch-made Chevy truck had a wider cabin and offered more interior space than its ready-built American brother.
Don't mention the war
When WW2 raged over Europe, shortages of nearly everything quickly arose. Transport equipment was a scarce commodity and many trucks were confiscated by the German occupiers. Few of these trucks have survived, if not wrecked by wartime damage then surely they were overloaded, abused and worn out in the post-war years of scarcity.
We would have to guess about the history of this particular 1936 Chevrolet truck. It could have been hidden from the Germans, but might as well have been used by them. What is left of its wartime history is a patriotic inscription in the wood above the dashboard: “LEVE WILH”.
Long after having survived the war and becoming in disuse, the rusty Chevy truck was bought from a farmer in the Betuwe in 2018. The new custodian, a commercial vehicle mechanic, managed to get the machine running and driving. The first test drive in probably decades was a short one, since the brakes were no longer working. He decided to strip the truck down and started a restoration.
The chassis frame, rear axle and front suspension were sandblasted and painted black. Front and rear brakes were professionally rebuilt and a detailed invoice of all custom-made parts is available. With 6 new tyres on freshly painted wheels, the first part of the restoration was completed to a high standard.
Restoration of the body was started, but never finished. The wood frame is in surprisingly good condition and rust damage to the cabin sheet metal is limited to a few spots. Front fenders and bonnet parts will need some more extensive metal work.
Drivetrain and parts
Engine and gearbox were not touched yet. The engine turns freely and will at the very least need a thorough check up with replacement of seals and gaskets. The GM 206.9 cubic inch straight six is the original power unit, with a 1936 casting number. The truck has two fuel tanks: a small one for petrol, dangerously placed on top of the engine and a large one for petroleum.
On first glance, the vehicle appears to be complete. All parts were kept in boxes, sorted and labelled where possible. New parts include brake hoses, hand brake cables and a rebuilt master cylinder.
Numbers and registration
Chassis number: 45950
Engine number: 45950 (casting number GM K11 5 836010-8) The truck still has its pre-war provincial registration plate and was never registered in the national RDW system. A forensic analysis of the weathered license plate was carried out by a befriended police officer. The province code is likely either ‘N’ for Noord-Brabant, or ‘M’ for Gelderland. We will provide a commercial invoice, with which it is possible to register the truck in the Netherlands, and possibly other countries.
Visits and inspections by appointment at Dandy Classics in the Netherlands.