Car History

My father brought home my 1947 Chevrolet Fleetmaster 2 door sedan sometime in 1963. I only remember that I was around 15 years old at the time. He said he bought it at a farm auction for $50.00 but I suspect he paid more since it would have been only 16 years old at the time. I guess he didn't want to upset my mother with a higher price.

The car has never been registered in all the time that we have owned it. The brakes never worked from day 1. To stop I always turned the engine off and started gearing down. It produced some interesting results. I went thru a few fences and gates before I got proficient at this task. The battery was not the best so I had to park it on top of inclines so I could start pushing it down, jump in and pop it into second gear.

The tires were 16 inches by 6 inches and contained tubes. I couldn't afford new tires so I got used jeep tires from our neighbor Wes Jordan and his sons Dennis and Reg. The only problem was that they were 6 ply and putting them on the rims by hand was very challenging.

We used to have pigs in a bush about a ½ mile from the barn and I used the car to haul feed down to them. I used to see how far I could drive into the bush before a tree stopped me. Now I am busy taking those dents out of the fenders.

Like I mentioned before I would have only been 15 and 16 years old at the time and it was exciting to drive your own car. I even took some road trips hunting for gophers with the Jordan brothers and Bill McGregor, but we tried to keep it close to home, since like I mentioned the brakes never worked and the car was never registered.

The car remained on the farm while I went off to Thompson to work at INCO, went to University of Manitoba, back to Thompson, got married and finally went to Red River Community College and graduated in Computer Technology.

This picture shows the first pictures that I can find of the car. They were taken sometime in 1978.

The 1964 Pontiac Strato Chief behind the Chevy is a car that I bought while in Thompson, drove for about 10 years and parked on the farm.

 

The original paint job looked like it was done with a brush. It worked well in keeping the rust off.

 

 

The ID tag on the left had 2 holes punched thru it for the heater hoses. This was done before we purchased the car (pre 1963). The model, trim, and serial number can still be read.

 



In the Beginning

My wife and I lived in apartments in Winnipeg while I went to RRCC and later when I started my 35 year career with Manitoba Hydro. In 1978 we bought a house in St. Vital.

Originally in 1978 I was going to restore the car to original. A couple of years later I changed my mind to a street rod build so that we could go on many road trips in style without worrying about breakdowns. The next few pages describe the procedures that I went thru when I still had the idea of restoring the car to stock.

I started by moving the car from the farm in Manitou to a friend’s farm (Ken Dyck) at Domain, Manitoba.

The first thing that I did was take the motor out of the car. Ken and I did this accomplishment ourselves with a 6 foot crowbar and a piece of chain. We lifted it out (transmission and all) and plunked it into the trunk of my current car – a Chrysler Cordoba. We took it to my house in Winnipeg and deposited it in my garage. It was probably the heaviest thing I had ever lifted and there is no way that I could ever replicate that feat.

Next, I took the body off the chassis (by myself). I brought out a portable sandblaster and sandblasted the entire body and chassis.

I primed the chassis and body and put the body back on the rolling chassis. I then moved the car into my garage in Winnipeg. This process took about 2 years.

 

The next step was to rebuild the 216.5 CI. motor. I took the head in and had it re-furbished. I re-aligned the head back on the block using shims between the crankshaft and a Pleistocene type compound to achieve the correct tolerances. This process had to be repeated about 10 times, tightening the head bolts to the correct torque each time and then disassembling to see how much the compound was compressed, adding more shims.

 

This picture shows the block with the crankshaft behind it.

 

This picture shows my daughter Lisa sitting in front of the car. This picture was taken around 1980.

I had painted the firewall the original car color according to the specification plate on the firewall.

 

 

Two manuals that I used exclusively for this process.

               

I ran out of time (life got in the way) and money at this point and moved the car into the back yard where it resided for the next 25 years as a home for the squirrels.

 

September, 2014

I purchased this book from Amazon last week. After studying the pictures in the book, I discovered that the front grill and hood on my car are from a 1946 Chevrolet Fleetmaster even though the VIN number on my tag says my car is a 1947.

 

 

The black and white picture is a 1947 Fleetmaster from the book and the other picture is a 1947 Fleetmaster owned by Omer Gautron (who will be doing my upholstery).




               


When comparing these 2 pictures with the 2 pictures at the top of this page and I can see the different grills and hoods. The 1947 cars did not have a full strip of chrome on the side of the hood like mine did and the emblem on the my front hood is for a 1946 car.

The car must have been in an accident prior to 1963 because I never changed the front end.

I have to decide now whether to keep the 1946 front or try and find a 1947 front. my front grill is at the Chrome Pit waiting to get chromed so I will be keeping it. I can always buy the hood from Omer and put it on my car!