You have to “C” This 1920 Chevy Ice Truck

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There are not too many 1920 Chevrolet trucks in existence anymore, and seeing one that served as an ice truck back in the day is pretty special. This partially restored “C” cab truck is for sale in Hatfield, Massachusetts here on craigslist with an asking price of $7,900, and even if antique cars and trucks of this vintage are not your thing, this truck is very impressive.

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Quite a bit of work has been done on this truck already; it’s a great start, but there is much more needed before it will be driveable and ready for car shows.

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Chevrolet sold its first cars in 1912. The company was founded partly as a means to enable Billy Durant to take back General Motors, the early conglomerate he founded in 1908 and lost to the bankers soon after. And in fact, Chevrolet was quickly profitable enough for Durant to achieve his goal – he took back GM in 1918, while Chevrolet became a powerhouse in the low priced end of the rapidly growing automobile market in America after World War I.

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The first Chevrolet truck hit the market in 1918, so this 1920 model is very early in the storied history of Chevy commercial vehicles. Most likely it was delivered originally by Chevy as a chassis and cowl, with the cab and body being supplied by a third party company. It would be interesting to know who made this body originally.

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The “C” cab style was used by a number of body makers and evidently meant the driver and passenger were not protected from wind and rain. Hopefully, someone reading this post will know for sure, but I think this truck is a light duty model, and if so, mechanically it is the same as the passenger car of this year.

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There are some great pictures here, and a decent, but not very detailed description of truck. You can see from this picture that the truck’s wooden bed has been completely redone, but clearly hasn’t been touched in a while.

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The seller says that the engine, transmission and rear end have all been rebuilt but never run – it would be good to know more about who did the rebuilding and when it was done. But the truck still needs engine accessories to run, like distributor, wiring harness etc. I assume these can be found, but it will take some time and effort to locate useable pieces.

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The original wooden steering wheel looks beautiful in the photo. According to the seller, the original wooden wheels are also in great shape and it has the original rear doors and very cool rear stop light. All the body, cab and truck components are present.

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The truck’s body is primed in black. It doesn’t look to bad in black primer, but really deserves a quality paint job.

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I’d like to ask the seller more about this truck’s particular history. The where and when questions need to be answered. There is no doubt it is a rare and unusual piece of Americana and ought to be beautiful when done. So would take on finishing this project?

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Comments

  1. RoughDiamond

    Now that is some really cool history and what an awesome find.

  2. randy

    I totally agree, and truly hope it finds a great new home.

  3. Jason Houston

    One of the best finds I’ve seen on Barn Finds! Now… where do I get ice?

  4. Lee H.

    Looking at the picture of the engine, I don’t see any missing parts. The distributor, wiring harness, etc. seem to be all present. This would be a great project!

    • randy

      I was thinking the same thing, maybe the dist is bad, and mice ate the wiring?

    • David Wilk Member

      I think the distributor shown in the picture is not the correct one for this engine. Not sure about wiring but guessing maybe same situation – these particular pieces the seller has are not correct for this truck and correct pieces need to be found. Just guessing on this.

  5. Charles

    I like the looks of it.

  6. Howard A Member

    Not sure where the “ice” part came from, but as stated, these were just a chassis and and drive train and outside body builders did the rest. From what I uncovered, this looks like the Superior “B” engine, and looks correct. Exposed valve trains always freak me out, but must have worked, for a while. Great start to a very rare piece, and if someone mentions “resto-mod”, I’m going to scream.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyAU8jqWl8I

    • Dean

      Early one and two cylinder stationary engines were all exposed valve trains, and the ones used as grain lift engines at the elevators in the Prairies ran for hours on end in very dusty conditions, with very few problems. Tolerances weren’t very tight, and RPMs were low, so that helped. A lot of early aero engines also had exposed valve trains. They were supposedly lubricated by castor oil, which had some interesting internal affects on the pilots whose heads were in the slipstream behind the engine…

      • randy

        I bet they did, I remember those feelings well as I rode dirt bikes behind guys that used castor oil in their 2 strokes. Euphoria I tell you. It was probably the adrenalin though, the smell just added to the experience for me.

      • Dave Wright

        I have an exposed valve train engine still operating in one of my boats, hasn’t missed a beat in 75 years. The only trouble is the labor required to keep it going. It has to be hand oiled every 10 hours………….it is also a direct reversing engine that has to be stopped and restarted in reverse to back up. Pretty much requires a full time oiler (person) in the engine room.

      • randy

        Now Dave, you know you can’t say stuff like that……….without showing pics!!
        Don’t make me report your post! ;>)

      • Dave Wright

        I have some photos but don’t know enough to reduce the size to get them posted. This tablet is good but it can’t do everything a regular PC can.

  7. Jim

    Truly a piece of history. Sad that their value isn’t commiserate with their age. But I can relate to that!

  8. Brakeservo

    Is it true that Louis Chevrolet ended his days basically broke and working the assembly line in the Chevy factory??

  9. z1rider

    I would love to see some hoist shots. Those quarter elliptic front springs are very unique.

  10. Ken Lundberg

    It has found a new home, in NH. Just finished insulating my garage and ready
    to start the restoration. Had it running in two weeks. If anyone has pictures of
    what it should look like it would help. Metal sides- wooden sides-open sides ?
    I think you could get them any way you wanted.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Terrific, Ken, thanks for the update! Be sure and post some pictures for us!

  11. Ken Lundberg

    Here are some updated pictures for you all.

  12. Ken Lundberg

    some pictures

  13. ken lundberg

    Can’t seam to get the pictures to go, I’ll keep trying

  14. Ken Lundberg

    pics

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