The Gipsy Owl: 1946 Chevrolet 2-Ton Stake Bed

Reader Tomas V has owned this Chevrolet truck for a long time, as a matter of fact, it was his first vehicle. He bought Gipsy Owl, what he named this 2-ton truck when he was 17 years old and he ended up traveling the country in it. Prior to his ownership, it was being used to haul watermelons from Long Island to New York. He retained the stake sides but turned it into a house truck. He had some amazing journies in this truck, but it’s been parked in a warehouse for the past 30 years and he’s decided it’s time for Gipsy Owl to go to a new home with an owner that can drive and enjoy it! If that person is you, be sure to contact Tomas via the form below. You can find it in Atlanta, Georgia with a $9,500 asking price.

From Tomas – This is a 1946 Chevy 2 ton watermelon truck. Her name is the Gipsy Owl. I bought her when I was 17, it was my first vehicle. She was sitting in an Esso gas station up in Oysterbay, New York, and we barely made it back to my home. She used to haul watermelons from Eastern Long Island to NYC for 20 years. Gipsy already had a 1953 235 engine put in it, not the original flathead 216. I rebuilt that 235 engine, it was the first time I ever rebuilt an engine. Then I put some bows across the top of the wood stake sides and put a canvas over it to make a covered wagon. I had a potbelly stove in the back, had a loft to sleep on, and I traveled around the US as a gipsy. I built musical instruments and repaired them, and I am a musician, so I had my fiddles with me and mandolins and guitars and played in various bands, and winning several fiddle contests.

As I wandered through the US, I collected many license plates in all the states I visited, and as it got colder I started nailing the license plates between the slats in the sides of the truck because the wind would blow in under the canvas in the cold. If you look you’ll see a few of those plates still left up there. The whole stake sides are oak. The last place it was licensed was Wyoming, as you can see from the bucking bronco. By the time I got out west, that 235 was not enough for the Rocky Mountains, so I bought and installed a two speed rear end in Tucson all by myself. I almost got killed when I had it up on concrete blocks and one broke and I was pinned underneath, but obviously survived. It is a vacuum takeoff rear end and gives you four more gears. That also brought it up from 1.5 ton to 2. I traveled for several years until finally coming back home to New York and finding my parents were getting divorced and selling the house, so I towed one of my Morris Minors with Gipsy and moved down to Atlanta. Once here I didn’t drive the truck that much, I rented it out for a couple of movies like Greased Lightning with Richard Pryor, etc. But then it has sat here for 30 years in the back of this warehouse. Vandals used to throw rocks at the building’s windows and break my outside windows and then also break the windows of my cars. But the glass is all flat glass so it’s easy to repair.

I was going to restore her last year, and bought a 6V battery, which I keep well charged. I also bought a lot of the specialty bulbs and lenses for this truck, and also bought a very rare expensive crank for the front windshield (which I will only sell separately). This car also has a front crank starter that you can do manually, but you gotta watch out because it will hit you in the face and knock you out if you’re not careful. There are also giant tires on split rings that are dangerous from what I’ve heard. But I’ve never had any problem with them. This is my first love, and whoever buys it better love her as much as I do. The photo above was when I was 17 somewhere in TN. BTW you probably already know this, but she has no synchros, so you must double-clutch to change gears. It’s a ton of fun to drive. Even back in the ’70s as I traveled, every passing truck driver would honk or wanna stop and see her. Whoever buys her can hear a lot more stories about my adventures with this incredible vehicle if they want. It is a magical truck with very good mojo, and if you take good care of her she will bring you a lot of joy in your life. But I will most likely cry when she sells…

I can only imagine the stories this truck can tell! I sure hope that Tomas has written some of his adventures down and that he’s willing to share them with the next owner. It doesn’t add value, but it’s still cool to know the stories and people behind vehicles like this. I want to thank Tomas for not only listing his truck with us but for sharing his story as well!

  • Asking Price: $9,500
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Title Status: Clean
  • VIN: 53G221P

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  1. Chebby Staff

    Wow what a great truck and great story! It’s on my bucket list to build a housetruck and have adventures like yours, Tomas.

    Like 3
  2. Don H

    216 was not a flat head

    Like 4
  3. Chuck

    I have the vaguest memories…. Did I see this at your place when I worked for Christine Sibley back in the 1990s?

  4. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Cool…nice story and hope it doesn’t get restomodded…….

    Like 2
  5. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Great story, cool truck. I also have had similar experiences. I bought a 59 Ford one ton truck in Provo, Utah in 1984, it had a 390 v8 and 4 speed with dual rear wheels and 8’x12′ flatbed with cattle racks and a wooden ramp that extended out the back. I drove that truck up through Idaho into Oregon and on to Seattle Washington. Then a year later drove it down through Oregon into California pulling a 5’x8′ covered trailer then over the mountains to Kingston, Arizona and on all the way to Miami, Florida before selling it.
    God bless America

    Like 5
  6. Mark M

    Bumpy ride how many watermelons would be destroyed delivering them?

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