1939 Chevrolet Panel Truck Eric from California

In 1968 when Eric Johnson was 18 his friend brought him over to look at an old Chevy truck that he could use for work. Eric is a sculptor and his friend knew he needed something to carry equipment in. Eric went to look at the truck and it was in pretty bad shape with mismatched parts and normal wear and tear. Eric’s friend told him about how the vehicle was not even running but if he wanted it he would sell if for $20. Eric gave him $50 so his friend could not say later that he stole it.

In 1970 Eric’s grandfather told him a story about driving the same type of truck in 1939. The Department of water and power purchased 11 panel trucks for the surveyor unit to chart the Owens River project. Eric started sanding down the doors and found the surveyor seal on each door. Excited that there was some connection he drove the truck over to his grandfather’s where he crawled all over the truck pointing out the locations in the back where the bunks were bolted to the side panels. He explained that he had driven this truck, and slept in it, back in 1939.

Eric decided to keep this vehicle and do a full restoration, especially with the history with his grandfather. Eric is now 67 years old and just finished the restoration. He did get a little side tracked for a while, but this project was so important to Eric that he took last year off of work just to finish it. The engine was done professionally and everything else was done by Eric himself. This vehicle now sits in California as a piece of living history.

Heath Fall