John Gunnell - March 10, 2014 01:09 PM
The ½-ton 1946 Chevy Canopy Express at the start of the restoration.John Gunnell
The restored ½-ton Chevy truck debuted at the 2013 Milwaukee Masterpiece.John Gunnell
Ross Obermeyer often restores rare automobiles, but lately he’s worked mostly on two Chevy trucks that may be the rarest vehicles he’s ever restored at Obermeyers 41 Auto Body in Allenton, Wisconsin. The 1946 Chevy ½-ton Canopy Express that he started on in 2011 is finished. A similar 1½-ton model owned by the same customer is now in the process.
Believe it or not, the smaller truck—a Model 3107 Chevrolet Canopy Express that made its show debut at The Milwaukee Masterpiece (www.milwaukeemasterpiece.com) last summer—is one of only 10 of its body style made in 1946. The 1946 Model 4107 Chevrolet 1½-ton Canopy is a little more “common.” After all, they built an even dozen of them! Both commercial vehicles share sheet metal and mechanicals, but the 1½-ton unit is longer.
The team working on the two trucks includes shop owner Ross Obermeyer, his son David Obermeyer, Bruce Peters and Josh Wenninger. Ross says the ½-tonner spent years in a Nebraska salvage yard where weather and parts scavengers took a toll. Nearly every body panel on the vehicle had to be repaired or replaced. Many other components were either missing or damaged.
Ross tracked down several reliable sources of historical and technical information. The owner wanted every nut and bolt used in the repairs to be a match for the original hardware.
In order to insure the proper body alignments, panels such as fenders and doors were installed, adjusted, removed and re-installed when final body fitting was done. While some restorers prefer to refinish body panels individually, Ross Obermeyer and his crew waited until the truck was completely assembled and then their final panel fits were checked and confirmed.
Imagine owning two gorgeous vintage trucks that represent 10 percent of the total production of their model!