Restoration Timeline

May 29, 2012

The day finally came yesterday.  We displayed the Fallen Hero's Dream Ride at Six Flags St. Louis on Memorial Day.  What a fantastic response we received.  This venue allowed us to present the truck to thousands of visitors.

Now that the truck is complete this will end this blog.  We hope you will follow Fallen Hero's Dream Ride on our Events page as well as on Facebook.  Thank you to everyone that had a part in making Phillip's dream come true.  Of course we all wish he were here to drive the truck, but at least he has a smile on his face looking down on it from above.

May 19, 2012

Here is the video of starting the engine that I promised you.


May 18, 2012

We've had some long days this week to make the Memorial Day deadline.  Wednesday I took the truck out to Roy.  Even though everybody that has seen it has been impressed with the clear coat, Roy insisted that he buff it to make it even more shiny.    He ran the buffing wheel on it from 4 to 11 p.m. while I tinkered on some small projects.  
I had a small disappointment on Tuesday.  After starting the truck when I turned it off the generator began smoking.  Apparently the cut-out circuit in the after market regulator failed.  When the generator quits turning the cut-out should remove voltage.  I haven't had a chance to work on that problem yet.
Yesterday Jason, Bart and I went out to Jerry Sexauer's shop to pick up the upholstery.  It looks better than I could have imagined it.  When I tried to pay Jerry he refused payment and said he was proud to be a part of the project.  Where do I find guys like this?  If you need some nice auto upholstery done his number is on the Sponsors page.

The Historic Vehicle Association has a nice article about Phillip on their website.  You can read it here:  Thank-you Bob Butz.

The list of "to-do's" is getting pretty short.  We need to fix the voltage regulator issue, have Artie and Gramps replace the windshield glass we broke, install the visor, install the headliner and complete some of the wiring.  We should make it! 


May 14, 2012

IT RUNS!!!  There was never any doubt, but today Skip, Jimmy (Monsignor), Bart, Jason and I fired up the engine for the first time.  Other than a small water leak at the heater shut-off there were no problems.  Man, does it sound cool with the split manifold dual exhaust.  Claude at Part Stop did an outstanding job on the rebuild.  I have a video of it starting, which I'll try to get uploaded in the next few days. 
Jimmy donated a set of headlight bezels, which he installed.  I also installed the new wheels and tires and was happy to find there are no clearance issues.

Check out the smile on my face in the third picture.  It was a good day. 

May 08, 2012

Bart came over today and we installed the running boards, roll pan, and rear bumper as well as installing the radiator and heater hoses.  This evening I installed some cab rubber seals.  Did I mention that Gramps and I broke the windshield a few days ago?  I'm glad he's the one that has to tell Artie about it.  Jason is picking up another piece of glass from Floyd Glass.
We received more information from Six Flags today about the unveiling and discount tickets to the park.  More on that in the next couple days.

May 05, 2012

The garage was crowded today.  Skip, Gramps, Bart, Roy and I all spent the day working on the truck.  We got the front clip mounted.  Roy got the doors adjusted and checked the fit of his modified visor brackets.  He also brought with him the tailgate, roll pan, visor and running boards.  We installed the tailgate with hidden latches.  Skip took part of the latch system with him to his shop to machine some parts that, redesigned, should work better.  Skip looked the motor over in preparation for starting it next week.  He and Bart pressurized the oil system.  We won't discuss the mess on the floor.

May 03, 2012

We now have a date and location for the unveiling of the Fallen Hero's Dream Ride.  It will be on display at Six Flags St. Louis on Memorial Day.  Check back for details.

We just got the truck back from the exhaust shop.  Complete Automotive and Custom Exhaust did a beautiful job.  Judge for yourself: 

May 02, 2012

It's been a difficult week for Phillip's family.  Last Wednesday Phillip's Grandfather, Kenneth "Roy" Southern passed away at age 81.  We are very saddened that Papa Roy was not able to see the completed truck.  Yesterday morning Phillip's brother Corey and his wife Rebekah gave birth to Phillip's first nephew, Gabriel Sebastian Vinnedge.  Gabriel was with us for 2 hours and 24 minutes before joining Phillip and Papa in heaven.

The truck has been delivered to Complete Automotive and Custom Exhaust in St. Peters to have the exhaust system installed.  They are donating a compete stainless steel dual exhaust system.  Thank you!
We were contacted by TuffColors Powder Coating regarding the wheels.  They had already donated a 50% discount on their service.  They told us that a friend of theirs had asked what the balance owed was and then wrote out a check for that amount.  The support we are receiving continues to overwhelm. 

April 28, 2012

Gramps came over yesterday while I was on a PGR mission for LCpl Benoist.  He brought his buddy Artie that works in the auto glass business.  They got most of the glass installed.  Thanks guys! 
Today we had Corey, Jason, Julie and Amy helping to install the wood in the bed and set it on the frame (Rebekah would have helped, but being 8 months pregnant we excused her from working).  Wow!  My brother Dan did an amazing job on the wood.  We still need to install the stainless angle strips at the edges.  Tomorrow we will be hanging the rear fenders, then on Tuesday it will go to the exhaust shop.  


April 27, 2012

We want to extend our condolences to the family of LCpl Logan Benoist.  LCpl Benoist was killed in an auto accident here in St. Louis.  He was currently a Marine Reservist serving with the 3/24 located here.  LCpl Benoist was a veteran of Iraqi Freedom.  Semper Fi Marine!

If you haven't yet noticed the link at the upper right of our web pages, we now have a Facebook page.  Thank you to Scott Greenwood (Social Media Victory) for creating this page.  There is no place to leave comments on our website, but we encourage you to visit our Facebook page and leave your comments there.  We would certainly appreciate it if you would click on the "Like Us" button.  Here is a direct link to FB.

April 26, 2012

As fast as things are progressing, I should be making more frequent updates here.  Harry is finished with his artwork.  I could not have imagined it so impressive.  Today Gramps and Bart came over and we removed the front clip to get access for installing the exhaust.  We had a bit of disappointment while working, as we found a broken gear shift box.  It looks like I over tightened it and broke the casting.  Hopefully they are available at the parts houses.  I haven't had a chance to look yet.  Tomorrow Gramps will be bringing a friend over that owns a glass shop to install the glass that was donated by Floyd Glass.  Then over the weekend we need to get the bed installed so the truck can go to the exhaust shop on Tuesday.  Roy called me tonight to tell me he had all of Harry's artwork clear coated, so I made a quick trip out to Washington to pick up the bed and rear fenders.  I promised you all a peek at the artwork on the truck.  Here is the rear of the front driver's side fender.  It represents the destroyed MATV that Phillip, Vic, Justin and Joe were killed in and their C.O., Nick, kneeling at a battlefield cross. These images are very hard to photograph because they are so shiny they reflect and glare a great deal.  (That's actually a good thing.  Thank you Roy!) 


April 18, 2012

I delivered the cab with doors to Roy for clear coating.  He expects to get them ready to spray by the weekend.  Harry expects to have the rest of the panels done by Friday.  With the paint coming to a completion we are now planning to unveil the truck on Memorial Day.  We are looking at a couple different venues to do this, so stay tuned.  I just spoke with Jerry in regards to the upholstery.  That is a go and should be no problem.  Other major items to be completed include the installation of the window glass, exhaust system, wood bed and wheels.  Oh yeah, the whole body needs re-assembled.  Good thing there are 24 hours in a day and lot's of great people will to donate their time!  I may just put a teaser photo on the website in the next few days, so check back often.

April 08, 2012

Harry is almost done with the artwork.  He would be done if Julie had not given him another image she wants on it.  He should now be done by the end of this week.  It's just awe inspiring.  I can't wait to see it with a clear coat over it.  That's the next step.  Once Harry is done it will go back to Roy's shop for him to clear coat.  Transporting it will be a nervous adventure, as it is the clear coat that will protect Harry's art.
While Harry is painting I have been taking some time to work on the trailer. It's practically impossible to find a stock trailer with a door height to accommodate the truck.  I spent yesterday modifying the door to gain the needed height.  To do this I had to remove the "garage door" spring that assists in opening and closing the door.  This will be replaced with an electric winch.  I just need to find the proper pulley's to make this work.

 March 18, 2012

This weekend Roy painted the bed box.  Today we took it to Lou's shop and set it in place for Harry to be able to airbrush.  Once it was in place we were able to determine the modifications required for mounting the roll pan.  These trucks did not originally come with a roll pan.  In fact the rear bumper was an option that this truck did not have, however we are adding one along with the roll pan.  We needed to mark the cuts in the roll pan for the bumper brackets, which Roy then skillfully cut while everyone else played the role of supervisor.

Harry has been progressing nicely on the artwork.  I can't even draw a stick man, so Harry's talent is simply amazing to me.

We would like the ability to take the truck to events outside of the St. Louis area.  To do that we needed an enclosed trailer.  Roy came through once again, parting with a trailer that he owned.

March 14, 2012

Harry arrived on Monday to start the artwork.  He estimates it will take about 3 weeks.  We saw the hood template this morning.  All I can say, is this is going to be amazing.  I'm headed back to the shop tonight to do some "scuffing", and should see some paint on the hood.  Skip was kind enough to make a sign to keep people from inadvertently opening the door to the paint booth while Harry is working. 

We would like to send a big thank you to Dave Glover (a local radio show host).  Dave is a never-ending supporter of our military and veterans.  He recently held a promotion in conjunction with the Midwest Marine Foundation raising tickets to a St. Louis Blues hockey game for local Gold Star Families.  About 60 of us had an evening of fun watching our Blues take the lead in the NHL points with a win over the Anaheim Ducks. Go Blues!

Today we loaded the truck on a trailer and headed for Automotive Unlimited, owned by Lou Puricelli.  Lou has graciously offered the use of one of his paint booths for Harry to do his airbrush art work.  Although a little on the chilly side, we had a beautiful day to make the move.  Also, I spoke with Roy today.  He is working on the bed box, and we discussed his ideas for a tailgate support system.  I'll be glad when Roy is finished so he can get back to work on his '62 Nova which he has put on the back burner to do our project. 

February 21, 2012

I spent today putting the dash together.  I was able to get most of the under dash wiring done as well as the heater and ductwork.  I used the original defroster hoses, as they were in as good of shape as when they were new 60 years ago.  Pretty amazing the quality of parts back then.  I then assembled the dash panel, glove box, etc. 

Tomorrow would be Phillip's 21st birthday.  Besides visiting his grave at JB, we will be toasting him at Hooter's.  Based on the number of receipts to Hooters we found in Phillip's personal belongings it's obvious he enjoyed the place.  Stop by if you're in the neighborhood (St. Peters, MO).  


February 20, 2012

Today was a very good day with lot's of visible progress.  I had picked up the doors from Roy on Saturday.  Bart and Jason came over (Julie even helped) and got the front fenders and doors installed.  We couldn't resist setting the hood in place just to look at it, although it needs to be left off for Harry to airbrush.  In fact all of the body panels are temporarily installed as it all has to come apart after the art work is complete for Roy to clear coat.

Then to add to the excitement, the wood for the bed was delivered from Phillip's Uncle Dan and Aunt Shirley in California.  The wood is quarter sawn white oak.  I tried to take photos, but just can't do the mirror finish justice in a picture.  I guess that's the good part of having the project take longer than we had hoped.  Dan told me every time I would tell him the completion date was delayed, he would put another coat of finish on the wood.  You will all just have to come see it in person to appreciate it.  Here's a short little story about Phillip and his Uncle Dan's relationship.  When Phill was growing up his extended family was spread all over the world so he did not spend a lot of time with his uncles/aunts/cousins, etc.  When Phill was 6 he attended his Grandma Eva's 80th birthday party at his Uncle Dan's in California.  Dan and Shirley had a lemon tree and orange tree that had cross pollinated producing very sour fruit.  Phillip loved sour things.  For the next 12 years when Dan's name would come up in conversation Phillip would comment, "He's the uncle with the good oranges."  Dan and Shirley live only minutes from MCRD and Camp Pendleton, so once Phillip was in the Marines they had several opportunities to visit with each other.  I know that Phillip enjoyed these visits and getting to know his Uncle Dan a little better.  Thank you Dan & Shirley! 

February 02, 2012

Saturday Skip went out and helped Roy finish the cab.  I picked it up yesterday and had a "put the cab on the frame" party today.  Attendees included, Jason, Gramps, Skip, Bart, Kerri, Mike & Leisa.  That was plenty of muscle and even left enough supervisors to get the job done.  It actually went pretty easy.  Although Julie couldn't attend, she made up a deli plate so everyone even got fed.  The cab looks great.  Well done Roy!  I now have lot's of work to do putting the cab back together, ie. dash, shifter, pedals, etc. 

January 24, 2012

Jason came over today and we assembled the front fenders.  We ran across one bolt in the radiator support that had been broken off and missed prior to sending it to the powder coater.  Minor issues like this are sure to come up in a project such as this.  It's pretty exciting to start to visualize the truck coming together.  Can't help but wonder what Phil would have to say about it.  Here's your first look at the exterior color: 

January 19, 2012

This past weekend Roy got paint on the cab.  Because there will be multiple colors on the cab it takes a lot of masking prior to spraying.

It's time to figure out where Harry will be doing his painting.  There are a few options, each with pros and cons.  The location I'm leaning toward is a garage that a friend, Rob Campbell, just built on a piece of property in St. Charles.  The location and size is perfect.  The downside is it's not currently heated and with Harry due here in early March I will need to figure out how to get some heat into it.  Other options are the offer of a paint booth in south St. Louis.  A paint booth would be nice to use, but it's a 45 minute drive from our house.  Another option is my two car garage.  It's insulated and heated, but not a lot of room.

I have all of the pieces for the front clip painted, so I will start assembling it next week and then once the cab is finished it will be a fairly easy process to install it as a complete unit.

I have a lot of requests for photo updates.  Unfortunately, for the most part, we are going to make you wait for the final product.  Here are a few:

January 13, 2012

Fallen Hero's Dream Ride would like to wish everyone and happy and peaceful new year in 2012!

We now have a deadline for having the truck ready for the airbrush artist, Harry Did It .  Harry is scheduled to arrive in St. Louis from Nashville on March 7th.  The pressure is on. 

This weekend Roy will be working on the cab.  (Hope to have the interior painted).  We should have it ready to install on the chassis in the next two weeks. 
The tires donated by Firestone (thank you!) have been sent to Diamond Back Tires in South Carolina to have the whitewalls installed.  Diamond Back is providing us with a very nice discount on their service.  Thank you Diamond Back Tires!

Have you visited Johnny Bulford's webiste lately?  His music is only outdone by his character.   Buy a CD.

December 13, 2011

We have had some good progress on the paint.  I have the inner fenders back in final paint.  The cab and hood are in the process of final paint.  Roy is putting a lot of time in to making sure it meets his standards, which are quite high.  If you have not checked our sponsor page lately, please do so.  We are still receiving wonderful support.

This weekend Fallen Hero's Dream Ride helped out with a really cool charity event.  One of the charities we support, Snowball Express, flew nearly 1000 kids who had lost a parent in the military along with a parent or escort for a total of 1700 people to Dallas Texas for 4 days of fun.  I had the honor of flying one of the 9 charter flights donated by American Airlines.  Our flight started in Orlando, then picked up more kids in Savannah Georgia, Pensacola Florida and Houston Texas before finally arriving in Dallas.  In Pensacola the Blue Angels met our flight and came on board to greet the children.  Julie worked the entire event in Dallas as a volunteer.  The activities included a day at 6 flags, a rodeo, Lt. Dan Band concert and much more.  It was great to see the kids laugh and make friends with other kids that know the same sadness that comes from losing a parent in the military.  FHDR is proud to be associated with this organization and we encourage you to find out more by visiting   

November 12, 2011

After attending a Marine Corps Birthday Luncheon hosted by the Semper Fi Society of St. Louis I headed over to Roy's shop for a "sanding party" to prepare some of the body for paint.  Gramps, Skip & Roy were already there when I arrived.  A little back story...When I took the cab to the body shop that did the metal work and primer we discussed some waviness in the back panel.  We decided this was a factory condition that would not show once the bed was installed against the cab and thus chose not to correct it.  Gramps, having one of these trucks disagreed and got a measurement from his truck as to how high the bed would come on the back of the cab.  He was correct.  The condition would be visible.  With this unexpected new work, Roy started working to repair the panel while Skip, Gramps and I began sanding other pieces.  I have never really watched a skilled bodyman straighten a panel like this and was amazed at the skill and quickness with which Roy was able to make it smooth.  He started by manipulating the metal to what my untrained eye thought looked great, but then added a fiberglass skim coat to finish removing any imperfections.  As you can see in the pictures, we finished our sanding while Roy continued to work on the cab.

November 11, 2011

One day last week, Bart with PGR came over and we got the transmission installed.  I twisted off one bolt in the process of connecting the driveline.  Of course it wasn't a standard hardware store bolt;  1/4" x 3/4" fine thread but the kicker was it has a 3/8 wrench head instead of the standard 7/16" that most 1/4" bolts have.  After a lot of searching we found a replacement and the job is now complete.

Last weekend I got together with Roy to discuss paint over a church sausage lunch.  I think that part of the project is full steam ahead.  We now have sketches of all of the art work.  It's a conglomeration of the work my nephew Sam did and the person that will be doing the airbrushing, "Harry Did It".  Sorry, I'm not going to show you the sketches, but you can see Harry's work at

Today I refurbished the steering column/box.  It's primed ready for final paint.

Jason picked up the remote oil filter hoses from Pirtek.  They made and donated a very nice set of braided hoses.

We have an issue with the rear suspension that I've been avoiding.  That will need addressed in the next couple weeks.

Today being Veteran's Day I would like to say thank you to all that have worn the uniform.  Your service is truly appreciated.  Phillip's middle school honored Phillip today at their Veteran's Day program and presented us with a plaque that will be displayed at the school.  It was a beautiful program.

October 30, 2011

Last week I picked up the hood, inner fenders and a door from the body shop that put them in primer.  Mike did a really nice job.  That just leaves a few odds & ends of small parts needing primer.  More exciting, I delivered the cab to the painter (Roy) and picked up the front fenders from him.  They were the first panels in top coat that let's us see the color we picked out.  Roy did a super job and the color looks great.  Sorry, I don't have a good picture that shows the true color so you'll have to wait to see them.  This week I plan to get with Jerry (upholsterer) to discuss an idea I have with the door panels.

October 10, 2011

On Saturday we held a 1-year Remembrance/Toys for Tot Drive for Phillip. Five of Phil's combat buddies and his C/O came out for the weekend. Vic Dew's mother also attended from California. I could go on for pages about others that attended and various special moments. I'll let the pictures tell the story. The only way it could have been better is if Phil had been with us in body. He was certainly there in spirit.   video

September 10, 2011

In conjunction with the 9/11 anniversary we attended "Remembering The Brave" ceremony in Denver, CO.  video

September 04, 2011

The Missouri Military Memorial Foundation (MMMF) held a 5k "Walk For The Heroes" today.  The goal of the foundation is to raise funds to build a memorial to all of Missouri's military that have died defending our freedom since 9/11.  "Team Phillip" was comprised of around 85 people and raised over $2000.  Thank you to everyone that participated.

September 01, 2011

Bob Ryan called a few days ago.  He said he had the transmission back from Weber Chevrolet.  Their delay in finishing the transmission had been a worn part that they could not locate and ended up having to mill a new one.  Thank you Bob for coordinating this and to Weber Chevrolet for donating the work.  For those of you not in the St. Louis area, many of Weber Chevrolet's advertisements are patriotic and pro-military.  They don't just "talk the talk", this shows they "walk the walk". 

August 24, 2011

There is not a lot of work to do until we get the body panels back from paint or the transmission back.  I have just uploaded a couple videos to the website.  If you look under the "Media" menu at the top of the page you will see links to a video of the Memorial service held in Afghanistan by Phil's battalion.  You will also see a link for a video of when Phillip went skydiving and talked his mom and brother Jason into going.  You'll notice his mom and brother did a tandem skydive while Phillip elected to do an Advanced Free Fall.

August 13, 2011

I spent a few hours today tinkering on the engine.  Installed the manifolds, carburetor, fuel pump and a few other items.

August 09, 2011

The truck cab had to be re-media-blasted and go to a new body shop. The new shop, Maze Collision Repair, told me it would be 3 weeks to finish. They called this morning, 1 week after dropping it off, and told me it was done. It looks great. A big thank you to Mike Lifritz for a nice discount on the bill and to Bob Abrams for spending his weekend doing a superb job on the body work and paint.  

August 08, 2011

Bill Clark of Firestone in Kirkwood, MO came by to donate 4 new Firestone tires.  Bill is also a member of the local Patriot Guard Riders.  Thank you Bill and Firestone!

July 31, 2011

Julie and I attended the opening of the "Remembering Our Fallen" traveling memorial in Jefferson City.  You can view the tour information here.

July 23, 2011

Corey and I did some work on the bed today.  We needed to get accurate measurements for Uncle Dan to drill the various holes in the bed wood.


July 13, 2011

Phillip's Uncle Dan, who enjoys woodworking as a hobby, asked if he could build the new wood bed for the truck.  He found some beautiful quarter sawn white oak (thank you Frost Hardwood & Lumber)  and got started on it today. 

July 9, 2011

I spent the day trying to fix a couple issues.  First, when installing the fan to the water pump there were rivets on the fan that were holding it away from the face of the pulley.  After discussing the issue on a forum I found out the original pulley had recesses for the rivets to sit in.  A few minutes with the grinder and the fan now sits flush to the face of the pulley.

Next was the rear shocks.  With the shocks fully extended they were still about 1 inch short from the bottom mount to the top mount.  Again, after consulting others online I found I was not the only one with this problem.  I am in hopes that once the weight of the bed, bumper, etc are added it will settle to the correct height.  Time will tell if this problem is really a problem or not.

Last, I cleaned up and converted the oil bath air filter to accept a modern paper filter and retain the look of the original.  Still need to get the top half powder coated and am waiting on the odd size paper filter I had to order. 

July 6, 2011

We received some parts today that were powder coated by Tim Brown at HP Powdercoating.  I'm not sure what I expected, but wow, these turned out much nicer than I thought they would.  Thank you Tim.

June 25, 2011

It's Marine week in St. Louis.  Much of the week has been spent attending various events, several of which will be very memorable.  On Tuesday Julie and I attended a welcome home and PGR escort of Cpl Justin McLoud.  Justin is a triple amputee from Phillip's battalion.  Wednesday Justin threw out the first pitch at the Cardinals game.  My son Jason and I joined the PGR in a flag line on the field. 

Friday we attended a mock hostage rescue at the arch grounds on the Mississippi river.  Marines parachuted, rappelled from a helicopter and arrived by amphibious assault vehicles as well as demonstrations of the harrier, osprey and air refueling of a helicopter.

Today I installed several engine accessories; draft tube, water pump, distributor, as well as the brake master cylinder and starter linkage.

June 23, 2011

I installed a hidden latch system to the tailgate to replace the original chain and hook latch.  Sorry, I took it apart for paint prior to taking photos.

June 13, 2011

I just added a video by Daniel Robert to the website.  It is an 18 minute documentary about the 3/5's deployment to Sangin Afghanistan narrated by Lt. Col. Morris.  Please take the time to watch it and take note of the printed quote near the end, "When you go home tell them of us and say, We gave our tomorrow for your today".

The video is accessible via the "Articles" dropdown menu at the top of the page.

June 11, 2011

Gramps and my buddy Mike came over today.  We installed the clutch and mounted the engine on the frame.  Gramps also brought over the distributer and carburetor that had been rebuilt by Skip.  Thanks to everyone for your help. 

June 03, 2011

I picked up the bed box from Glendale Chrysler Jeep this morning.  They did a super job and Gentry even offered to do more panels if needed.  Thank you to everyone at Glendale Chrysler Jeep that worked on it. 

I also just recently received my new gold star motorcycle license plate. photo


Woo Hoo!  We now have a rolling chassis.  The suspension and brakes are complete (except the master cylinder that is back ordered, and the wheel cylinder block that I threw away with the old wheel cylinder and am now trying to track down a replacement.)

May 15, 2011

Today I got the brake lines ran.  I should receive the rest of the brake parts (master cylinder, shoes, springs, etc.) Monday or Tuesday.  I noticed I'm missing a Tee that mounts to the rear axle to split the brake line to each side.  It's on my last parts order form, so I'll have to make an inquiry call tomorrow.  I also got the hubs cleaned up and painted ready for assembly  when the parts show up.  Once the brakes are done I'll throw a set of wheels/tires on and then be ready to mount the engine.  I hope to have the transmission back in the next week or so.  Thanks for reading and please, Never Forget, why we are doing this.

May 7, 2011

Today Corey and I took a couple hour drive to Illinois to meet Jerry.  He had contacted us to let us know he had seen the article about our project in "Classic Trucks" magazine and had some parts from his restoration that he wanted to donate.  He gave us a nice set of wheels and some other parts, plus we got to see his very nice truck.  Thank you Jerry!  

May 4, 2011

Things have been going slowly.  It's nice to report on a big step.  Today I picked up the rebuilt engine from Part Stop.  Man, is it pretty.  Claude said that once he got it opened up, it was the best looking engine of this era he has seen.  Basically, the only things replaced were bearings, a new set of rings and hardened valve seats.  The manifolds sure cleaned up nice.  Note the new machined spacer Claude built to mate the original intake with the corvette split exhaust. 

April 18, 2011

I had hoped to have the front end finished by now but a stubborn part slowed it down.  We are replacing the original style tie rod ends with a modern style.  To accomplish this requires removing a ball stud from the steering arm.  The instructions say to grind off the peening and drive the stud out with a punch.  Sounds easy enough.  After doing the grinding there was no chance the stud was going to move with the persuasion of a big hammer and punch.  I tried pushing it out using my bench vise.  No good.  I ended up taking it to a machine shop and having them press it out.  Turns out the hole was counter sunk and the end swedged in.

I had been asking around about a shop that still turns brake drums.  The name that kept coming up was the Brake Shop in St. Charles.  I dropped off the front drums only as I had not installed the bearing races in the rear and they were required to put them on the lath.  When I returned with the rear drums and picked up the front I asked what I owed and the answer was "no charge".  Thank you Curly and Lonnie.  These guys are great.

April, 13 2011

Today is 6 months since Phillip died for us.

The past few days has been spent rebuilding the front end.  The reconditioned springs are installed with new bushings.  King pins have been replaced.  Once the paint dries on the new tie rod it will be installed and, other than brakes, that should finish the front end.  Next will be the rear suspension.  I also replaced the battery tray.  Today Jason and I rode out to Jerry's upholstery shop and delivered the seat material with the embroidered Eagle, Globe and Anchor (Thank you St. Charles Printables).

April 2, 2011

My good friend Bob Ryan is a UPS driver.  He called a couple days ago to tell me he had talked with the GM at Weber Chevrolet, which is on his route, and they had offered to rebuild our transmission (and provide any other mechanical work we need).  He stopped by this morning and picked it up to deliver to them.  Thank you Bob & Weber Chevrolet.

March 31, 2011

We picked up the frame from CARSTAR this morning.  A big thank-you to Russ, Tim, & Hutch for doing such a nice job.  The project just took a big turn from tear down to building.  First we need to get the suspension back on and then start with the brakes.  It will be nice to have most of the dirt and grease behind us. 

March 24, 2011

We made a road trip to Kansas City to pick up our parts order.  Visited two major Chevy parts suppliers and enjoyed a little Arthur Bryant BBQ.

March 23, 2011

Delivered the front fenders to Roy.  Roy is the generous man that has offered to paint the truck.  He gave me paint books which we now need to go through to pick the base color.

March 16, 2011

Received fenders from Elite Customs and Collision.  First body panels completed.  Also received a call from St. Louis Springs that our leaf springs are ready for pickup.  That was quick.   

March 15, 2011

Delivered the leaf springs for the suspension to St. Louis Spring.  They are donating refurbishing them.
We made a decision today not to do a disc brake conversion.  We decided for how few miles it will see, that we'd prefer to keep it original.  Drum brakes all around.  If you see us in your rear view mirror, please don't stop short.

March 9, 2011

There has not been a whole lot to report on lately.  Mostly it has just been the slow work of cleaning and refurbishing of the smaller pieces. 

There is one bit of exciting news.  Jim Rizzo of Classic Trucks Magazine printed our story on page 8 of the May issue.  Thank you Jim!  Everyone please go buy a copy of the magazine.

March 6, 2011

We attended a T*A*P*S seminar at Camp Pendleton in California.  We had the opportunity to tour the 5th Regiment's camp where Phillip had been based.  Even though we arrived unannounced, Sgt. Maj. Hoopi was truly excited that we had stopped and spent about 2 hours showing us around.  He took us to the 3rd Battalion's headquarters where Phillip's photo, along with the other 24 3rd Battalion Marines who have lost their lives on this deployment were proudly displayed on a wall of honor.

We spent much of the weekend getting to know the families of LCpl Victor Dew and Cpl Justin Cain, two of the other Marines that were in the vehicle and died with Phillip (The family of LCpl Joe Rodewald was unable to attend).  At dinner we met the guest speaker, Col. Buhl, Commander of the 5th Regiment.

February 25, 2011

Picked up the chassis from Blastco and delivered to CARSTAR for paint.  AWESOME job Blastco.  Thank you!

February 22, 2011

I took the day off from working on the truck, as it would have been Phil's 20th birthday.   We visited Phillip's grave in the afternoon and then had a block party in the evening.  Phillip enjoyed fireworks, so that's what we did.  I'm sure Phillip enjoyed looking down on them.

February 16, 2011

I know it's been a while since the last update.  Most of the past 10 days has been spent doing research.  I had a phone call from Roy and Skip.  Skip has finished rebuilding the carburetor and distributor.  Today we got the frame delivered to Blastco for sandblasting and started reconditioning small parts (linkages, brackets, etc.).  Next on the agenda is to get a major parts order put together, and continue with reconditioning various components. 

February 7, 2011

We delivered the engine to Part Stop engine rebuilder in Illinois.  It will be interesting to see it in 4-6 weeks looking as fresh as it did in 1951.  As part of the rebuild the babbitt rod bearings will be machined and replaced with modern insert bearings.  The 216 utilizes a splash oil lubrication system that only produces about 15 psi.  We had considered having it modified to a full pressure system, but after talking with several knowledgeable people decided the cost/benefit did not justify it.

February 6, 2011

Gramps brought his cherry picker over and we removed the 216 engine from it's 60 year resting place.

February 4, 2011

I picked up the body panels from Miller Soda Blasting in Steelville. The trip home became a bit exciting.  About a mile after getting on I-44 one of the tie downs holding the Chevy bed on the top of my truck bed came loose. The snow covered shoulder made it difficult to pull over. I limped along about a mile to the next off ramp where I did a better job of securing everything. When I got to St. Louis I delivered them to various body shops. It was definitely a good day. 

January 26, 2011

Picked up fenders from being blasted and delivered to Elite Customs and Collision.  Originally they were donating reconditioning of one fender.  When I showed up the owner said, "Give them all to me".  Thank you Elite Customs and Collision!

January 25, 2011

Delivered body panels, cab, hood, doors, bed, to Miller Soda Blasting.  Thanks for the trailer Roy.  Had a message from Gramps that Beiers Auto Parts donated a water pump and Beiers U-haul donated a fan belt.  Thank you Beiers! 

January 21, 2011

Gramps, Skip and Roy came by to discuss paint.  Roy has offered to do the paint.  His supplier has offered to donate the material.  How cool is that? Started disassembly of the engine.  Removed accessories, starter, generator, water pump, carburetor, manifolds, distributor, etc.

January 18, 2011

Finished disassembly of cab; removed heater, wipers, windows, etc.

January 16, 2011

Gramps and Skip from the Patriot Guard Riders came by to help work on the truck.  We got the steering column and pedals removed as well as most of the dash apart, wiring harness removed, the doors off and the cab unbolted from the frame.   

January 15, 2011

Removed bed box, exhaust, and gas tank.

January 14, 2011

Disassembled bed.  60 year oil soaked wood and cutting torch make for an interesting project.

January 10, 2011

Delivered fenders to media blaster.

 January 9, 2011

Prepared some panels for media blasting.  Began removal of interior.

January 8, 2011

Removed front fenders, radiator, running boards, rear fenders.

January 4 2011

First day of work.  Disassembled grille and bumper.


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