Independence High School 1948 Chevy Panel Truck
Frame-Off Restoration Project
By: Wade Stahr
The Chevy Panel Truck took six semesters to complete which equates to approximately 540 class periods that are 90 minutes long. About 810 hours which equaled 101.25 eight hour days or about 3.4 months worth of eight hour days. On average I have about 12 students in the class a year so around 72 students total.
The Panel was purchased in Guttenberg, Iowa the spring of 2002. It really looked to be in better condition than it turned out being as we found out. That didn't detour us from tackling the project in our Automotive Restoration class. This class is offered for half a year and is in 90 minute blocked periods. We made quick work of the disassembly; taking just over a week- also trying to catalog parts and pictures for future reference.
This was the start of a frame-off restoration project: students sand blasting the frame and removing any unwanted frame member. Installing a new Mustang II front suspension; along with a new leaf spring suspension in the rear that was donated to us by Chassis Engineering from West branch, Iowa. The power train tots a stroked Chevy 400 CID engine and a 700 R4 transmission that were both rebuilt at the school by the students. A ford 9-inch drive axle with 3:70 ration gears puts the power to the pavement and a four-wheel disc brake system to slow it down.
The bodywork to the vehicle was the most time consuming element of the build, having to fabricate sections of the sheet metal to replace and repair rusted or broken panels. Some patch panels could be found for for the front section of the truck but the rear section we were on our own, using an English wheel and planishing hammer to fabricate the rear section panels behind the rear fenders. We also fabricated a reaer roll pan for the back of the vehicle; a student who had some fiberglass working knowledge prior to the class tackled that and did a fine job. The front roll pan was a donated part from Sachse Rod Shop; which set off the truck nicely. Frenched headlights and billet taillights illuminate the truck and a set of Dakota Digital Classic guages are fitted for the driver's use which were sold half off to us. A set of Smoothie Fabrication rumming boards set off the panel along the side and a custom hood scoop fabricated in house to give it the look in the front. The color was all donated from E & T NAPA of Independence.
West edge auto salvage - Independence, IA also donated materials to the project
Yogi’s- Calamus, IA, Donated rear wheels and gave a price break on many other items
Borgeson universal- Torrington, CT came through with a price break on a steering pump
Iowa Transmission- Independence, IA Technical support
Be bops glass works- Discount on rear fenders
Dunlap motors, Independence, IA – donated engine heads, and price break on parts
-400 c.i.d. Stroked Chevy Engine
-Ford 9" rear axle with 3.70 gear ration
-Four wheel Disc Brakes
-Dakota Digital Guages
-American racing wheels