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MARCH 26, 2013 (APRIL 2013) A 1951 CHEVROLET ‘MAPLE LEAF’ 3-TON TRUCK GETS OFF THE FARM FOR A SHOW

By on March 26, 2013
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We spotted this 1951 heavy Chevy truck at a mid-August show last summer and made sure we tracked down its owner because this baby looked like a working truck on a rare break from hard labor.

 

The truck was not pampered by any stretch of the imagination and its owner was a friendly farmer by the name of Mark Westling who was also on a little break from the farm that night.

 

Mark explained that he brought the truck to a show so that he “could get out of the house and not get beat” in his words.

 

We learned very quickly that Mark had a very well-developed sense of humor.

 

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Mark believed that the truck was originally a freight hauler, most likely for the Post Office. Mark’s family purchased the Chevy 3-ton from a neighbor who had put it to hard labor on his farm and then retired it to a bullpen.

 

The bulls were not gentle with the truck, in fact “the bulls ripped on it” in Mark’s words, but the old Chevy was built pretty tough and survived the ordeal long enough to be rescued by Mark’s family. Mark stated that the 3-ton was “beaten up by bulls and trees” before they bought it.

 

 

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The truck was used as a backup on Mark’s family farm after they purchased it and became a pet project for Mark when he found a little spare time. He describes it as a “work in progress” that took about three winters to get to this stage of the game.

 

 

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Mark found that most of its rust issues were found on the driver’s side of the truck because the winter road salt collected at the center of the road. He took care of that problem and he took the gas tank out of the cab so he could add a little extra safety to the truck. He put a saddle tank replacement on the Chevy to solve that problem.

 

 

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The truck still has its 246 cubic inch engine and gets down the road at a leisurely 45-50 mph top speed. No matter, because Mark is never in a big hurry when he gets a chance to spend some rare time away from the farm with the Chevrolet.

 

 

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Somebody changed the truck to a 12-volt system and Mark added a newer radio because “there was a hole in the dash”, to quote Mark.

 

 

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Mark fabricated a custom rear deck to “cut down on the wind” because a 3-ton truck with a 62-year-old six cylinder engine needs all the help it can get when it comes to road speed. He also changed out the mirrors to get a better view of the numerous vehicles that will inevitably pass him on the road.

 

 

The Maple Leaf symbols were fabricated by a buddy for a 24 pack of beer according to Mark.

 

 

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We liked this truck-a lot. The old farm truck said a great deal about its colorful owner and the story was a good one.

 

We look forward to a future update on this “work in progress”.

 

Jim Sutherland

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