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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Check out the picture. That's me standing in front when I was 16 in 1970. That's what we called The Field Beater. It is a shortened '57 Chevy pick up frame and suspension with a '60 SBC 283 with 3 speed on the column. It would go like crazy in the fields and logging roads. It was put together from vehicles I got for nothing. We had lots of fun with that thing. Amazing we didn't get killed. That's what started it all.
 

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Been there, done that!
Built one with a 51 gmc front end. No rear suspension though. Welded the rear directly to the frame. Used a 283, glide and rearend from a 64 nova. Built it all so no need for a driveshaft, just a u-joint. Throttle was a longer stud on the carb.
No brakes!
Brakes are for sissy’s!
Just kicked it into reverse or neutral to slow down.
Screaming fast! Saw 80 mph a couple times! Following a buddies Torino on a country road.
Good memories!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Later on we took the rotten floor out and bolted a hood from a '62 Nova to the frame. The rotten truck bench seat went and buckets from a '63 Corvair went on. We got a hold of some big 15" studded snow tires from an old Cadillac Hearse. I put in a second tubeless valve stem opposite the original stem. Took out both stem cores and hooked up a garden hose to get water in and air out. Put the cores back in and brought tires to proper pressure with air. Now we could get some traction. Wind up 1st gear pop 2nd gear and wheelies were common. Roll cage, seat belts, who needs 'em. I don't think we had 20 or 30 bucks in the whole thing.
 

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One of my uncles had something similar. He got his hands on a '39 Dodge bus with a flathead 6. Shortened frame, roof & body removed, rear axle welded to the frame, open exhaust, and I think the seat was bolted to some boards on the frame. When the starter died, we had to tow it out to the pavement with the pickup to pull start it. You were done if you choked it off out in the woods... He called it the "Short Dog".
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
We did have brakes, parallel leaf spring suspension and shocks all around. The front had the original I beam. In the rear we took out 2 leafs because we were obviously carrying a lot less weight. The gas tank was from a fifties English motorcycle. I sold the original behind the seat gas tank for $20 to get the Caddy tires. It did start on battery power and the charging system did keep up the battery. Amazing!
 

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Here in Upstate NY on the farms, these were called Doodlebugs. Originally, farmers who couldn't afford tractors during the Depression would build em, and then the kids just kinda picked up where their dads left off. I even know of one with a Packard drivetrain, and another with a Franklin aircooled 6. One of the farms had one with a dodge 350 B-engine in a chopped up powerwagon chassis. I imagine it was a brute LOL

Love stuff like this, and the red board-n-batten siding really takes me back. Thanks so much for this!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yup, ya gotta love the Beater. Recently I had an '88 GMC 1/2 ton pick up with 4 wheel drive, 305, and 5 speed manual. The TBI was all messed up and a 2 barrel carb with HEI would have been a piece of cake. The body was a mess. It was given to me for nothing. Just like in 1970. I was going to make a beater out of it like the one in the picture. It would attract a lot of attention at the shows. Maybe after I finish the street rod I'm working on now.
 
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