When it comes to the various models of Chevrolet’s iconic pickup truck, the sub-model listings can get confusing – Silverado, Cheyenne, Scottsdale, the list goes on. But, how many of you have ever heard of a Chevy Bonanza?
Jesse Timmons of Lakeland, Florida, has a very strong attachment to this particular Bonanza, “It was ordered new by my grandpa. He used it to pull his boat, and I was told that in the the early ‘80s, he put wide wheels and running boards on it. I still have the receipt from 1982.”
In 1990, just a few days before Jesse was born, The Timmons Patriarch passed, and Jesse tells us, “I never got to meet him, but I heard he was a great man.” The truck was passed to Jesse’s mother, and it sat for many years, until “mom” sold it. Jesse laughed as he told us, “As a kid, I used to go out and play in the truck and make engine noises. I wanted it to be my first truck, but looking back now, it’s better that I got it when I did, because now I have the means to fix it up and enjoy it.”
Sometime in 2014, Jesse was talking to his wife about trucks, and asked her if she had ever heard of a Chevy Bonanza, she said she didn’t, so he pulled up a couple pictures on the Internet and showed her what he was talking about. One thing led to another, and when he found himself at an online classified webpage, he typed “Bonanza” in the search option. To say he was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. “I couldn’t believe my eyes, I saw a red and white truck, and I instantly knew that was my grandpa’s old truck. For some reason I feel like this truck found me. I called the owner and told him not to let anyone else touch it, I was coming to get it. I spent many years looking for this truck, only to find out it 20 minutes from my house.”
Jesse told us that the person that owned it did not take very good care of it, as the interior was shot, the suspension was worn out, and the truck needed a lot of work. But none of that mattered to Jesse, as he had a plan. “As soon as I got it back I decided that I wanted to keep it original, yet make it modern.”
To accomplish this, he replaced all of the worn suspension parts, and installed a lowering kit that dropped the truck 4 inches in the front, and 6 inches in the back. But as much work as the suspension needed, Jesse says he spent most of his time in the interior. “I did some rust repair, put sound deadener on the floor, replaced the carpet, dash cover, door panels, and gauge cluster, then completely rewired the interior.”
When Grandpa bought the truck, a 250 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine was the means of power, and still is to this day. Jesse says, “As many know, these motors can’t be killed. I drive the truck as long as the weather is nice, and eventually I plan to swap the six cylinder for a small-block engine.”
Jesse says that he plans to leave the original, aged paint on the truck, as he likes the look of patina, but he will eventually clear coat it. According to Jesse, “My truck isn’t perfect, it still needs a lot of work, but has come a long way since I bought it back. I’ve been building it on a tight budget, and it’s taken a lot of hard work, time, and many saved paychecks to get it to where it is today.
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