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Old 04-13-2017, 02:58 PM   #1
Hardly Davidson
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Smile Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

I'm not as good a writer as a picture taker. Hopefully I can cram enough photos on here to tell the whole story. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Or is that ten-thousand words? Anyways, I was in Kansas visiting my brother-in-law about 4 years ago, when he told me about this old Chevy that was for sale. I wasn’t really lookin’ for a project as I had enough of them already.

Jus’ for kicks and somethin’ to do we took a drive out to Alta Vista, Kansas where this ole’ boy Ken Kemp had the truck parked. I looked her over real good and was hesitant at first. It looked like a heap of money was needed to git things runnin’. That would be a hard one financially, especially getting’ approval from the boss for necessary funds.

The wife was in good spirits that day. Lo and behold a week later I had the pickup in a trailer headed to Arizona. That’s where we live.

Tearing things apart I noticed Air Force markings everywhere. There was a tag in the glove box and one on the dash with Air Force lingo. Air Force signage was under the rust and primer. McConnell Air Force Base was stenciled under the tailgate. There were propeller emblems on front and back. That got me to thinkin’. “This must be an old U.S.A.F. truck!”

From that moment on I started researchin’ things. I talked to former owner Ken Kemp. I chatted with former military personnel stationed at McConnell. I dialed up the base historian and talked to him. I even talked to the guy owning the truck back in the ‘70’s. William “Dub” Wharry is the one giving me the most information. I did a whole heap of talkin’ to folks throughout the country.

I decided after all this conversation that I'd leave the truck in ‘as found’ condition except for drivetrain. Knowing them former owners said it needed more horsepower I was inclined to add just that. That 215 6-cylinder motor just didn’t cut the mustard. Things under the hood were upgraded a tad.

I’ll let the rest of my talkin’ be via these here photos. You can read more about the truck at the end of this presentation. It tells the tale quite simply in so many words. For those of you thinkin’ I should have kept it all original in the engine and transmission department, the thought did cross my mind. I kept all that 6-banger stuff jus’ in case the crazy notion ever came to pop it back in.

So here it be: My 1950 Chevrolet 3100 series former United States Air Force "FOLLOW ME" pickup truck. When I see that photo of it with hood up, I can't help but think it's salutin' all them former military drivers.

“Oh the stories this thing could tell!”
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Last edited by Hardly Davidson; 04-19-2017 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 04-13-2017, 04:57 PM   #2
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

Welcome!

Sounds like a cool backstory and will be an interesting build.
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:40 PM   #3
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

Thanks! I have 130 photos from start to finish. Looks like I can only add 5 per day?
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:46 PM   #4
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

Nice back story on your truck..unless I'm mistaken you can post as many pics per day as you want but only 5 per post..somebody correct me if I'm wrong..I've never seen a limit per day when I've posted pics..
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:50 PM   #5
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

Thanks for the info. I'm looking now to see how to do it.
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:56 PM   #6
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

Try post reply each time and it should give you another 5 pics.some people have a lot of trouble with pics..depending on what your using to post em with
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Old 04-13-2017, 08:05 PM   #7
Hardly Davidson
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

Figure it out. Thanks!

Last edited by Hardly Davidson; 04-16-2017 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 04-13-2017, 08:25 PM   #8
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

Read thru this..http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...security+token
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Old 04-13-2017, 08:52 PM   #9
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

It was in fairly good shape compared to many I've come across.
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Last edited by Hardly Davidson; 04-16-2017 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 04-13-2017, 08:56 PM   #10
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

Taking it home to Arizona. I like parking with the big rigs :-)
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Last edited by Hardly Davidson; 04-16-2017 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:02 PM   #11
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

Dismantling was fun! Rodeo sticker on the rear window was put there by William "Dub" Wharry back in the early '70's. Dub rode bulls back then.
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Last edited by Hardly Davidson; 04-16-2017 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:08 PM   #12
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

The old 215 engine, transmission, and differential were saved. Generator and voltage regulator were huge. Most likely spec'd that way by the military.
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Last edited by Hardly Davidson; 04-16-2017 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:18 PM   #13
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

Learned this trick by watching others. I sure didn't invent the idea :-)
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Last edited by Hardly Davidson; 04-16-2017 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:25 PM   #14
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

Sent the frame out for sand blasting.
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Last edited by Hardly Davidson; 04-16-2017 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:25 PM   #15
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

I'll tag along for the story and pics...Jim
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:30 PM   #16
Hardly Davidson
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

There was lots of Kansas mud on this thing. Plenty of mud-dabber and wasp nests as well.
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Last edited by Hardly Davidson; 04-19-2017 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:36 PM   #17
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

Frame came out nice. No damage which is rare!
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Last edited by Hardly Davidson; 04-16-2017 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:38 PM   #18
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

I replaced the front support bracket even though it would have worked. Quite a bit of corrosion.

Bed wood was long gone. I used oak, taking a router to make worm lines for effect. It's all covered anyways.

Had a few people tell me I ruined perfectly good wood :-)
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Last edited by Hardly Davidson; 04-16-2017 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:44 PM   #19
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

Spoiler was used as a "FOLLOW ME" sign. I could've used plywood like they originally did. I wanted something more subtle as I drive this thing. Don't want to be holding up traffic if you git my drift :-)
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Last edited by Hardly Davidson; 04-16-2017 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:47 PM   #20
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

Aluminum was too shiny. A little salt water and vinegar took care of that. I also used heat and steel wool.
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Last edited by Hardly Davidson; 04-19-2017 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:49 PM   #21
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

Many different directions I could have went on this. The aluminum pieces are ultra-light which was what I was looking for.
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Last edited by Hardly Davidson; 04-16-2017 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:55 PM   #22
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

Cab had the typical corner rot on one side. I elected to fix that. Everything was beefed up for safety sake. It may look like it's ready to fall apart but she's solid as a rock.
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Last edited by Hardly Davidson; 04-16-2017 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 04-13-2017, 10:21 PM   #23
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

Cool that you found the light and siren..
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Old 04-13-2017, 10:56 PM   #24
Hardly Davidson
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

On ebay of all places :-)
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Old 04-13-2017, 10:58 PM   #25
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Re: Old 1950 "AIR FORCE" Truck (build)

You did a super job including documenting the progress. I wanted to do that but just kept a camera handy snapping as I went.

Last edited by Hardly Davidson; 04-16-2017 at 08:24 PM.
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