Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Who's Drivin' This Thing?

Mother nature certainly works in mysterious ways. A major northeast snow storm dumped about 10 inches of wet, heavy snow on us Saturday, two days before Halloween. Can't remember anything like it in my lifetime. And with many trees still hanging on to their leaves, that meant a lot of them came down. Talk about a huge mess. Initially there were something like 800,000 people without power in Connecticut alone. Several school districts in our area have cancelled classes for the entire week. We were among the very lucky ones here. Our power went out late Saturday night, but came back on Monday afternoon. Reports are saying some will be in the dark until at least Saturday.

As a result of all this, the truck sits covered. Looks like we'll have to wait for spring to get it rolling, unless we get some Indian summer and I can manage to come up with the money for the front bearings and brake drums I need at the same time. Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, I suppose. I've waited 30 years to drive this truck. Pretty sure I can handle a few more months.

In any event, I thought this might be a good spot for "John: The Interview." I got the questions from one of the truck message boards I'm on and thought it was a great idea. But it looks like they've discontinued the feature since I haven't seen anyone's interview posted, so I figured I would post it here. Hope you like it!

1949 Chevrolet 3100, 5 window
Green (originally blue)
Powered by a 1961 Chevy straight six
Chrome package, three on the tree
To get it running again: New gas tank, new fuel pump, rebuilt carburetor, rebuilt starter, tune up

What is your name?
John "Perry" Schneider (Perry is the radio name I have gone by since I started in the business in 1984)

Please share a few things about yourself:
I was born in upstate New York and grew up in Connecticut, where I live with my better half Meg. We have two dogs, two cockatiels and a bunch of chickens out in the back yard. Nothing like fresh eggs for breakfast! I also love Pop Tarts (sometimes toasted, sometimes right out of the package) with my morning coffee. One of those kid things I never got over, I guess. Hobbies include playing guitar, softball and of course fiddlin' with my truck.

How long have you owned your truck?
About eight years.

What made you decide to buy this truck?
I've been in love with it since my older brother drove it home from Missouri in 1981. He used it as a work truck for a couple of years, then parked it in his garage, where it sat until his kids became old enough to drive and he needed the space, and Meg worked a deal with him to make it a birthday present for me.

How do you store your truck?
Outside, unfortunately. We don't have a garage. It had been garaged the entire time my brother had it, and for about six years after we got it, but we had to bring it here to the house when the guy storing it for us needed the space. I do have a cover for the winter.

What do you enjoy about your truck the most?
The thought of just driving it down the road, with either Meg or my dog riding shotgun, and maybe a bale of hay in the back for the chickens.

Who or what was your biggest influence in building your truck?
The memory of Mom, who passed away right at the time the truck came into our family. Today would have been her 80th birthday.

What has been the biggest obstacle you have faced in working on your project? How did you/do you handle it?
Unemployment. I lost my morning radio job in November of 2010 when the company decided to consolidate their operations. Of course, this means there is rarely any money to spare for the truck project. I handle it by doing as much work on it as I can that doesn't cost anything, checking out the truck forums for ideas, and watching re-runs of "Overhaulin" for inspiration.

What/who is you favorite/best part source?
I have used LMC, Classic Parts and Chevs of the 40's, and been very happy with all of them. I've also been able to get a few things locally, which is great.

What are some things that have helped your project to be a success?
The willingness of friends to lend a helping hand. If not for my friends Brian (who rebuilt the carburetor and helped me get the new fuel pump on) and Jim (who got us the spark we needed to get the truck running again and is helping with the wiring), this truck would still be silent.

What is the history behind your truck?
Perhaps the best thing to do here is just direct you to
the first post on my blog. It covers everything from my brother's purchase of the truck up to now.

What do you use your truck for?
Nothing yet, since I still need bearings for the front and a couple of brake drums. One front and one rear were bad when I sent them to be turned. As soon as we get that little issue solved, we'll be able to do the brakes and "take 'er down the road!"

What is your favorite memory with your truck?
Without question, the day this summer when we got it running again for the first time since 1984. Here's the video.

Whats your favorite modification done to the truck and why?
Up to now, the main mission has been to just get it operational again. Other than that I plan to keep it mostly original with a few modern updates.

If you had one thing to do over on your build, what would it be and why?
I'd probably have someone who knows what the heck they're doing reupholster the seat. My effort works but looks pretty lame, especially since I figured out after it was all done that the cover is on backwards.

What are your future plans for your truck?
If finances ever allow, we'll do a full frame off restoration, drop in a V8 to replace the old Stovebolt, add AC and lay a nice hunter green pearl finish on it. Until then I'll still get endless joy out of just driving it.

What words of advice do you have to people who are just starting out with their project?
Don't be in a hurry to get things done. If your story is anything like mine, your truck is a labor of love. If you take time to enjoy the process, the final result will be that much better, and finally getting behind the wheel in your completed truck will be that much more rewarding!


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