Here's the story of my relationship with Lurch, my 1927 LM one ton cattle truck (and old coot).
Back in early 1996, I had the parts to a 1927 Chevy 1 ton truck that I was going to make into a 12 passenger wood-bodied bus. I imagined that the front view of the bus would look like Herman Munster's head, so that truck was named Herman. That build never came to fruition for me, but the parts live on elsewhere.
At a Vintage Chevrolet Club of America (VCCA
) meeting, one of the guys (George Childs) said, "I've got a rolling chassis for one of those trucks that you can have for $100." I shook his hand so fast that he almost fell over!
When I brought that chassis home, my son Josh (who was 14 at the time) said, "Well, if the first truck is named Herman, then this one is Lurch!"
The rest is history.
I built Lurch with parts from three dead trucks:
- The chassis, wheels, and what's left of the sheet metal came from one truck (from George Childs).
- The engine and transmission came from the second truck (also from George).
- The flatbed and cattle cage (and other sides) came from the third truck (Mike Quezada).
I had been messing around with some other one ton trucks for about six years (with no discernible progress) before getting the parts for Lurch. I was REALLY motivated to create a drive-able vehicle so this effort only took about six months of dedicated time. Many thanks to my family for putting up with my shenanigans!! See the second photo above with the bare chassis in my driveway in the spring of 1996 and the third photo showing the grain-holding sides.
After getting Lurch together and running, I could not wait to share my joy with my coworkers. Halloween 1996 was on a work day, so I donned a cow costume and drove him to work for the day. Now, I had a 52 mile (one way) commute, so by driving on city streets it took me 3 hours each way! It was an equal opportunity giggle for everyone! BTW, my manager would not talk to me that day because she said the costume was too disgusting. See photo number four.
Photo number five shows Lurch, my daughter Jen, and me at the first VCCA car show we went to. It was in Livermore (around 23 miles from home) and it took 1 1/4 hours to drive there. It was on a Sunday morning. I actually took the freeway there, with my Dad following me in his pickup with the emergency flashers going! The radiator boiled over once, but we made it in one piece. One long-time VCCA member (Bill Sanders) said, "I don't believe he actually drove that thing here!".
Photo number six was Lurch making an appearance at a car show put on by the now-defunct local chapter of the Chevy/GMC Truck Club. Getting to the show was quite a story and Lurch tells it best here: Old and Ugly is Beautiful
After that fiasco, I got a better tow vehicle, a 1958 Chevy panel truck with a 350 and three speed automatic transmission (see photo number seven). In this photo, we are carvaning with a number of other Chevys to a local car show known as Friendship Day. It is a bring whatever you've got and let's enjoy each others toys kind of show. Notice that I've got the cattle cage folded down flat for towing Lurch. Lesson learned!
Photo eight shows us at Friendship Day with Betsie the cow in the driver's seat. I asked a good friend of mine (Mark Johnson - an artist) to stuff the costume that I wore to work in 1996 as an accessory for Lurch. Unfortunately, a few years later, after being in the sun at many car shows, Betsie's teats got sun burnt and brittle, so they fell off. She went to bovine heaven.
Photos nine, 10, 11, and 12 show Lurch at some local car shows.
In 2007, Lurch decided it was time to give an update of his activities to his fans. The 13th photo is from Jimmy's Old Car Picnic in San Francisco, which is the setting for the beginning of Lurch's long winded tale here: 2007 Memoirs
By the time 2017 rolled around, Lurch's engine (1928 four cylinder) was giving up the ghost. He could hardly get himself onto and off the trailer! So, I spent most of the year rebuilding his engine. Here where the adventure is documented: Resurrecting a '28 Chevy 4 Banger
Another place I routinely take Lurch is to the Auto Shop class at the local High School. It's a lot of fun to let the students climb all over him and learn about the technology of bygone days. See photo number 14 for one of those sessions. It shows Lurch up on the lift and the students checking him out. ;-)
When COVID-19 hit and classes became virtual, in-person visits to the Auto Shop class were not possible, so Andy Shyers (the Teacher) came up with the idea of making a video tour of Lurch. Here is a link to the video on YouTube: Tour d'Lurch
Photos 15, 16, and 17 are some other shows we went to. In photo 17, the cattle cage is folded down and my friend Mark and me are dressed to drive the 5 miles to where the trailer is waiting for us.
In October 2019, Lurch went to the World Infamous Concours d'Lemons show near Monterey, CA during the Pebble Beach week. The goal of the show is to win the Worst of Show! He was not decrepit enough to be the top dog, but he did win the worst of the Rust Belt American GM class! Photo number 18 shows the prestigious award and photo 19 shows the Judges reaction to Lurch. ;-)
The last photo is me with my son Josh at a car show in Alameda, CA. He drove Justin (my 1928 Chevy Canopy Express) and I drove Lurch. It was a great day! For more info about Justin, following this link: 1928 AB Canopy Express (Justin)
Lurch's latest adventure was in May, 2022. He and I attended the 30th Anniversary Chevy Four Cylinder Tour with the VCCA. We hooked up with around 40 vehicles, all of which were from 1928 or earlier! We toured around the Porterville, CA area and here is a link to Lurch's telling of the tale: https://vccachat.org/ubbthreads.php/topics/470144/lurch-goes-on-tour.html