Garry's Chase TruckHere's the story of Garry Pardini's '52 Chevy told in his own words. "This particular 1952 1/2 ton was sold brand-new by Chase Chevrolet to Stephens Marine in Stockton, California. After it served its time as a parts truck, Stephens passed it down to an employee. From there it changed hands a couple of times between others in the company. I purchased the '52 Chevy in 1974. My inspiration to own a truck of this vintage came from a photograph of a '48 Chevy 1/2 ton my dad used as a delivery truck for his retail store called the Toy Box, located here in Stockton. It was a black and white image, but my dad told me it was dark green in color. The '52 was a driver when I got it. The chrome was dull, the body had small dents here and there and the paint was scratched and faded. The floorboards were rusted out from a leaky cowl vent and a missing drain tube. The bed wood was rotted out. The engine was the original 216-inch inline six. The transmission was a three-speed column shift. I ran across a roof visor off of a blue '54. My best friend who at the time had been taking some body shop classes at the local J.C. offered to paint the visor. He also wanted a shot at the dents on the driver door and fender. When it was time to paint we decided to include the roof and interior. I picked Seacrest Green from the original '52 color charts. The shade was quite a bit different from the faded avocado green. I ended up with a two-tone green truck.
In 1975 Joe and Don Pierano at Pierano's Garage advised me to swap the original 216 for a 235-inch engine. It's been a great engine over the years needing only oil changes and tune-ups.
In 1977 we decided to open a new Toy Box location. Lightning was sent to Joe Genecco's American Body Shop here in Stockton. His men cleaned up the body, repaired the grille, and sprayed the truck Seacrest Green. From the paint shop it went to Scott Bros. Sign Company for the new Toy Box logos on the doors and some original style pinstiping. Lightning was now the official Toy Box delivery truck. Not the original but good enough for locals who remembered the good old days to ask if it was the same truck. It spent the next many years delivering toys to good little girls and boys all over town. Along the way the paint got scratched and the body took on some dents.
In 1990 we shuttered the Toy Box and Lightning sat in the garage while I went on to become a car and truck salesman at none other than Chase Chevrolet where it all began. One of my perks from Chevrolet was a trip to Hot August Nights. While wandering the swap meet I spotted and purchased a pair of vintage '50's license plate frames from Chase Chevrolet. That jogged my memory about a time when when I was about 12 years old, my cousin took me to my uncle's long-out-of-business construction company office. He had passed before I was born and the property was being sold. My cousin told me to take anything I wanted. Upon looking in his desk drawer I spotted an unopened envelope from the California D.M.V. Inside was a pair of 1950's commercial plates. I took them home put them in my desk and almost forgot about them.
About the year 2000 with the advent of the PC, I started surfing the net. When I typed 1952 Chevrolet truck into the search engine it produced a number of interesting sites. One was Chevy Duty, now Classic Parts. I ran across replacement floorboards among a whole array of other cool parts that were available for Lightning. I went ahead and ordered the floorboards and various other replacement parts to restore the interior.