1950 CHEVROLET 3100 PICKUP On loan from Buddy Conley, Ruby, NY
Like so many prized restorations and rebuilds, Buddy Conley acquired his 1950 Chevrolet 3100 Pickup by being in the right place at the right time.
“I purchased the disassembled pickup in 2008, when I went to look at a 1953 3600 long-bed pickup, a drivable truck I decided I wasn’t interested in,” recalls Conley. “I was about to leave when the owner told me he had another pickup, which turned out to be the truck I was looking for. He said it would be free, but only if I purchased the 1953, because he needed to make room in his garage for his wife’s new car. So I purchased the ’53 knowing I was going to put it up for sale, because the day before I had also purchased a 1947 and three old trucks needing work are way too many.”
Conley and the owner then had to walk his property, gathering the various pieces of the truck, which were scattered everywhere.
“He called me a few years later and told me he had found a few more pieces and wondered if I wanted to come pick them up,” added Conley. “But the saddest part was when he told me he’d purchased it just as it had been driven back to New York from Florida, then dismantled it and let it sit outside for 12 years, where the cab had rusted beyond repair. Luckily, I located a former fire engine cab in absolute mint condition and added the only new exterior paint after a color match to the rest of the original paint.
“From day one I planned on keeping the sheet metal and paint the way I found it while completing a full frame-off mechanical and interior restoration. I started by removing the updated Stovebolt ‘235’ and selling it on eBay to a Corvette collector, as it was a 1954 Corvette block. I then purchased a GMC ‘302’ for the added torque and horsepower.”
The GMC “302” now sports Venolia forged pistons, an Iskendarian cam, Cloyes straight cut timing gears, a Clifford 4 bbl. intake manifold, Fenton dual exhaust manifolds, a NOS Mallory dual-point distributor, Pontiac dual valve springs and Corvette stainless valves. It’s mated to a Muncie wide-ratio M20 transmission.
Conley added a dropped front axle with drum brakes, relocated spring hangers and a 10 bolt rear end. For period correctness, he used only cloth covered wires, and chambered exhaust. The wheels are ultra-rare 15” GM “artillery” wheels with wide white-wall tires.
“Today, the truck visually is extremely close to the way I found it, with all its nicks, bumps and bruises,” sums up Conley. “People ask me all the time about Elvis being painted on the door. It’s because the former owner told me the truck sat in front of one of the Staten Island Amusement parks painted up like that. Staten Island has its fair share of amusement parks, the main being "South Beach," which some retired co-workers from Staten Island reminisced about when I was trying to find information about the truck.
“I’ve posted ads on Craigslist trying to get more information on it but so far, I haven’t had any success. But the truck sure draws attention wherever it goes, especially when I take along my board-track motorcycle racer.”
BOARD-TRACK MOTORCYCLE On loan from Buddy Conley, Ruby, NY
Some people are captivated by Buddy Conley’s restored pickup truck while others ignore the Chevrolet and turn their attention to the motorcycle he generally has strapped in the pickup box. “I started with a Paughco frame, which I modified, then I built almost everything else myself,” explains Conley when asked about the bike’s rather unusual appearance. “I guess you could say it started as a Harley iron-head Sportster and morphed into what you see now.” Those who know motorcycles generally ask about the bike’s performance in board-track competition but Conley has no first-hand information. “I’ve never raced it, but the previous owner said it was raced and it’s had extensive engine work, which seems to fit the racing theory. And I was the first person to register it, which may also be a good clue.” Either way, the motorcycle is a sure-fire attention getter and conversation starter. “People usually think the bike is an old Indian and are amazed when I tell them that I built it,” summed up the proud owner. “It's extremely hard to say which of the two I like more. I think I love the bike most when I'm out riding it. But then I have the same thought about the Chevy when I'm driving my truck. They’re both just big parts of my life!”