One Family, 97 Years! 1926 Chevrolet One Ton

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Here’s an interesting find, it’s a 1926 Chevrolet one-ton flatbed with attached sides that was used in the feed business. The seller claims that it’s still with the original family but discloses little else detail. It’s stated that the seller doesn’t want to sell this heirloom but “needs to“. That’s unfortunate, let’s look it over and see what’s here. This almost century-old Bowtie is located in New Prague, Minnesota and is available, here on craigslist for $8,000. Thanks to T.J. for this tip!

As stated, there’s not much to go on here. Used in the New Prague feed mill business, this old Chevy appears to have been parked for a long time – last registered in 1970 claims the front tag. According to ancient Chevrolet promotional material, a one-ton chassis and cab cost $610 in ’26 and that was FOB Flint, where Chevrolet still builds trucks today.

The bed and its wooden sides are simple affairs that appear to be just bolted on. There’s no tailgate in place and the condition of the cargo bed is unknown. While the lettering for the feed mill is still visible, the green paint that adorned the cab, hood, and fenders have flaked off in large chunks. Other than surface rust, however, the cab body appears to be sound.

The engine is unphotographed and unidentified but it is likely a 26 HP, 171 CI, in-line four-cylinder unit. Assume that it’s a non-runner and could be seized considering the probable length of dormancy. The listing states an automatic transmission but obviously, that’s wrong, the gearbox should be a three-speed manual according to the Chevrolet sales brochure.

If you examine the floor of the cab you’ll understand where the term “floor board” originated as that’s what vehicle floors were at one time, a collection of boards. The seat is suitably trashed but at least the frame and springs are still there, reupholstering is a minor matter in the scheme of things. Interestingly, it appears that the door panels are actually “door boards”. Beyond that, the environment is surprisingly still intact.

New Prague Feed Mill – New Prague, MN Circa Mid 1920s

This truck is an amazing find, it’s a shame there’s no back story around its use, length of slumber, and the family that is claimed to still own it. As to what to do with it, that’s a tough one. One thought would be to see if the Feed Mill wanted to buy it as a static display but research indicates that it changed hands and closed in 2020 – so much for that idea. OK, suggestion time, what would you do with this relic from a very bygone era?

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  1. greg

    I would try to keep the outside as it is. It looks solid enough. But maybe an engine swap as it will not be the fastest thing on the road

    Like 5
    • PJ

      I don’t think that I’d want to go any faster in this old truck. This is around the block / parade car / show piece / novelty in 2023. I would love to have it, but like l say – not enough room, time, or cash to justify. it would be a fun project to get it back to an operational condition.

      Like 18
    • Richard Prause

      No engine swap. That would ruin it.

      Like 5
      • John S Dressler

        Then prepare to have it destroyed by some young idiot in a hopped-up junker. If you can’t operate a vehicle safely and effectively at speeds near the speed limit, then you are run over by other vehicles operating at or over the speed limit. This caution comes from 35 years of accident investigation experience in law enforcement. Not saying it’s right or wrong. Just telling you what happens in the real world.

        Like 2

    “Doesn’t want to sell but has to” breaks my heart. If the seller is in a position to continue to house the truck and someone starts a go-fund-me, I’d be in for $100 towards that 8000 goal

    Like 31
    • Grant

      Your too trusting. Needs to probably means wants to. Inherited it and cash sounds so much better than grandpas old truck that has gotten in his way for far too long. Needs to sounds like a hardship story and he figures good hearted people like yourself might not quibble on the price. Maybe I’m just old and crotchety but I have been around too long and seen to much to not question things like this.

      Like 34
      • HoA Howard AMember

        No, no, some may think Grant is family, and I wish he was, but no relation. I agree wholeheartedly, just shows what an “heirloom” is emotionally worth these days, bupkus. As is, its practically worthless. In the world I grew up in, memories like this should NOT have a dollar amount. Even as a younger man, I always held dear family heirlooms, by definition, should be kept in the family. My grandfathers Cormorant from his/our Packard is one I hold dear and not for sale. Now, whether, my kids have that same connection, not sure. THEY might, only because it was on our car, but here, the last person that had any connection to this died, and it’s just an old truck. Ironic it made it all the way to 2023, must have got their gas bill. I hope they don’t meet up with gramps somewhere again,,

        Like 9
      • Grant

        Howard, young people do not have the respect for heritage that comes with advancing years. We need to instill it in them ourselves when they are young so things like this does not happen. I have pointed out many things to our children and grandchildren that I have great love for. I tell them stories about them so they can relate. Right down to the trees I planted decades ago on our property that will far outlive me. Most of us will not leave a legacy when we are gone, our deaths will not be reported on the nightly news, but what we do leave is our descendants (hopefully well adjusted, good people) and a few things we owned. Hopefully some of my possessions will go through the family and the stories about them (and me) get passed on. Just part of the bigger picture of a happy and tightly knit family. That is really what this is about. BTW, I wish you were my brother too. I bet we would have a hoot at family get togethers.

        Like 7
    • fatherof7

      I’m in

      Like 7
  3. Johnmloghry johnmloghry

    Wash this truck many times over, upholster the seat, find someone who still knows how to pour babbitt bearings and rebuild this engine, grease all the linkages and park this beautiful truck out front of your business to draw attention. Drive it slowly around town from time to time to keep things working and to show it off. I don’t know about anyone else but my imagination runs wild thinking about all the fun that could be had with this truck. Of course I’m ancient of days myself, so I’ll likely be dead before this old truck.

    God Bless America

    Like 29
    • HoA Howard AMember

      You know, John, you’d think so, however,,,our little town has the 1st motorized fire truck they bought, a 1911 Kissel. It was totally restored several years back by the crew. It was at the 1st local car show I attended about 5 years ago,, I was the only one looking at it, a city heirloom, btw, and it was leaking coolant. The next year, and following years, it wasn’t at the show. When I inquired why not, a young fire fighter told me, “well, the guy who runs it is ill, and nobody can start it”, so it sits in a stall with a velvet rope around it. A local fish hatchery has one of their original trucks, a 30s IH, again, in poor condition, and no longer runs. Fun is a relative term today, and I think interest in this stuff will die with us, my friend.

      Like 16
      • Naptown Mark

        Certainly it’s a smaller group than it once was, but interest isn’t gone.

        The ability to justify stewardship of something like this is a different story. I’d love to have this; it would be a hoot to use it to take a load of brush trimmings to the mulch yard, or pick up something at the equipment rental place.

        This truck won’t last long if it doesn’t live in a barn or garage, and it doesn’t make sense to kick other stuff out to make room for such a limited use toy.

        Like 4
  4. Kevin Griffith

    Return it to it’s original condition if at all possible. Maybe replace the engine if absolutely necessary. Then drive it to all the “cruise ins” we have in our area in tge summer.

    Like 10
    • John S Dressler

      Would definitely need to replace the drive train, Kevin. That old engine would just get you run over by more contemporary vehicles on 50 mph and above roads.

      Like 0
      • Grant

        This is no fun as a road car anuway. Around town, back country roads, maybe a parade or two. For sure keep the original engine. That way you could keep the original skinny tires. Any performance engine would require much larger non original looking tires. Please do not hotrod this dear old lady.

        Like 5
  5. Jeremy Epstein

    Park it next to the town green and use it as a performance stage for the New Prague Feed Mill Barbershop Quartet And Cocktail Shaker Society.

    Like 7
  6. Jim in FL

    I would clean it, reupholster the seat and get running. Then leave it my in-laws house on Cape Cod. Keep my boards in back and use it as an errand vehicle and surf buggy. At that price it’s actually a thought but trailering it from Minnesota to Massachusetts would probably be half the OST of the truck itself..

    Like 6
  7. Vito Veccia

    I would get it running, and then leave it as is. There is always an overwhelming feel of nostalgia, when driving a vehicle from it’s time period as saying ” this is how it felt back then “.

    Like 10
  8. Jason

    Definitely restore it. Take detailed pictures of the door writing just in case it can’t be saved while getting rid of all the rust. Then, I would drive it everywhere possible.

    Like 4
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

      As someone who ran a restoration shop for 35+ years, I’ve seen quite a few older vehicles that were mostly original, and while I would love to make the $ off a restoration, I would often suggest to the owner of a vehicle like this one, that we only clean it up & get it running. At that point we would suggest the owner do the needed mechanical repairs to make it reasonably reliable, but try to keep it all original.

      Why? It’s a 97 year old truck, that’s only 3 years away from the magic number of 100. How many 100 year old trucks have you seen lately, even restored versions, & not turned into street rods or customs? It appears to have been kept inside and protected all those years, that’s why it still looks solid and is probably an easy job to make it run and drive again.

      It’s only original once. Yes it will need lots of work to make it run & drive again, but that’s mostly a process of repairing mechanical items, adding new tires, hoses, rubber items, replacing the windshield with clear AS1 spec glass for safety, etc. But when it comes to visual items like paint, upholstery, and trim pieces, I would suggest it be cleaned up, the flaking paint removed and the remaining paint waxed again, and repair or patch the upholstery. If it was mine, I might even find [& clean] an old horse blanket to use as a seat cover

      Had the truck been restored a couple of decades ago and then allowed to sit, then it’s not original, so go ahead and restore it if you like. However a potential owner should remember this is basically a 100 year old original vehicle. That alone is a reason to leave it original. Once restored, it can’t be put back original. Those doors have hand painted logos dating back to 1926.

      And to be clear, when I say “original”, I know it’s not equipped with every part it came with 100 years ago, but it’s original in the manner of a continuance of care with almost 10 decades of use. I hope the new owner will maintain that “continuance of care”.

      Like 20
  9. Steve RM

    If this vehicle made sense for me I’d go the survivor route as much as possible. Besides what it needs to be a good driver and doing something about that seat, I’d clean it up and do as little else as possible. Just make it something fun to drive and tinker on.

    Like 3
  10. matt

    I agree with Bill McCoskey.
    Get it running, fix the brakes and other safety items, then clean and drive on an occasional sunny day or holiday.

    Like 5
  11. Keith

    Take the body off & put it on a suburban chassis. Drop in an LS. Bag it and drop it in the weeds. A new set of 26″ wheels. Clearcoat the paint and maybe cut a sunroof in the roof. A pair of late model bucket seats, probably out of an import because of the narrow cab. And you have to have digital gauges.
    Now that I’ve pissed off all you old farts (like me) who read BF-only kiddin’.
    Bring it back from the dead but don’t get carried away.

    Like 3
  12. Paul Root

    This would be perfect for my frequent trips to the compost and to Menards. Plus the parade and all the car shows

    Like 0
  13. Brian Brunelle

    I think they should locate antique auto collectors and try to get a better estimate on it’s value as an antique. THEN adjust the price accordingly. They might find someone in the business of collectors who might want to restore it and give it the TLC that it needs.

    Like 1
    • John S Dressler

      Well said Brian.

      Like 0
  14. Geo Inkster

    I believe they have wooden framed bodies. I would use it for reference to build the bodies and make Hot Rods.

    Like 0
  15. Terry J

    I’ve had a couple of these trucks through the years (decades). This 1926 had the tough little overhead valve 4 banger that lasted through the ’28 model. This engine with it’s cross flow head could be found hopped up at many race tracks (occasionally driven by Louis Chevrolet himself). Look at the short hood on this ’26. In ’28 the hood area was longer but the famous Stovebolt 6 wasn’t ready yet so it still had the 4 banger. When the 6 came out in 1929 it was reliable enough but with only 3 main bearings had a “whippy” crankshaft. The 1929 engine was advertised a “A six for the price of a 4”. When it was redesigned for 1937 it was a 4 main engine often called the “Blue Flame Six” which soldiered on in various stages of development until 1962.
    My 1929 ( the old family truck) looked in about the same shape as this one but with steel wheels. But looks can be deceiving. Though always in a barn or shed the seemingly solid sheet metal was very thin. All the wood though OK looking would have to be replaced and any attempt a removing the cab from the frame would have been done in pieces. NOTE: This truck has a 4 speed transmission. See the rod that runs down the shift lever? That’s leads to a lever just below the gearshift knob that you lift with a spare finger as it is the “Reverse Gear lock out”. :-) Terry J

    Like 5
  16. Steve Trcka

    I purchased this truck last year, cleaned it up a bit and now have it on display. I would like to send a photo to this site, but am not interested in becoming a member. Is there a way to do that? Thank you, Steve

    Like 0
    • Jesse JesseStaff

      You could upload it somewhere and share a link. We have to require memberships because letting anyone upload would create a security issue.

      Like 0

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