Jeremy Schmidt’s 1948 Cummins-Powered Chevrolet Loadmaster

Andrew Anthony Schmidt Jr. purchased this 1948 Chevrolet Loadmaster to use on the family farm along with his two sons in 1950. He had the doors lettered and put the machine to work. Around 15-years later his oldest son Andrew III “Buddy” died in a drowning accident leading Andrew Jr. to scrape his name off the truck door while he was grieving the tragic loss. The truck in its original form was used until around 1980 then put into storage in the family Quonset building with around 65,000 miles on the odometer.

Flash forward around 30-years: family members were cleaning up the property and came across the nearly forgotten family farm truck stashed away in the storage building. Realizing that the truck was in pretty darn good shape Jeremy Schmidt decides that his grandfather’s truck should be pulled out of storage and put back on the road once again. But rather than mess with the WWII era chassis, driveline and performance Schmidt wanted to put a “modern” 12-valve diesel under the vintage cab.

The Work Begins

Schmidt is a plumber by trade but did not let that stop him from wrenching on his family truck to turn it into a dream truck that his grandfather Andrew Schmidt Jr. would be proud of. After getting the truck out of storage he went to work removing the cab and bed from the original chassis. Then he went on the hunt for a donor truck with a chassis and drivetrain that was in good shape to carry around the 5-window Chevy cab and wood flatbed. He found a single cab 1995 Dodge Ram 3500 DRW truck with a running 12-valve backed by a NV4500 5-speed manual transmission for less than $4,000 that would make a great donor for the ’48 Loadmaster project. To retain and protect the patina on the cab Schmidt sprayed it with several protective coats of Eastwood satin clear to make it ready for its new home on the ’95 Dodge chassis.

Lifting the vintage hood reveals the ’95 Cummins 12-valve engine that came along for the ride with the chassis swap. While the engine is mostly stock it still provides way more grunt than the original engine ever dreamed of!
Being a plumber by trade it is no surprise that Schmidt used copper tubing complete with soldered joints in place of standard rubber hoses for the coolant path to and from the radiator to the engine.
The radiator overflow tank (as small as it is) utilizes more copper tubing as well as a vintage Schmidt Beer (no relation) can that is mounted to the firewall.

After getting the ’95 pickup home he began removing the cab and bed to make room for the vintage sheet metal and wood bed and fabricated mounting points to mate the Dodge chassis to the Chevrolet cab and wood bed. Surprisingly centering the front axle in the wheel wells took very little effort and the ’95 steering column, pedal assembly and master cylinder practically bolted up to the ’48 cab with very little modification needed like they belonged to be together. The interior didn’t need much work with the original vinyl bench seat still in good condition, but Schmidt still gave it some custom touches including fabricating a fence post shifter handle and custom steering wheel he created using parts found in the family machine shed by welding a chain, gear sprocket and 4-way lug wrench together.

Drivetrain

Mechanically Schmidt left most of the ’95 components stock including the 12-valve Cummins engine and NV4500 manual transmission as well as the front and rear axle assemblies. But when he was plumbing the cooling system his plumbing skills came into play with him fabricating cooling tubes from the engine to the aluminum radiator using copper tubing and fittings that he soldered together for a leak-free seal that gives the truck another personal touch. Additionally, he installed a Schmidt Beer (no family relation) can on the firewall as an overflow catch can with more copper tubing linking it to the radiator. To power the truck, he installed a single Optima Yellow-Top battery on the center of the firewall above the engine.

The passenger side of the Cummins engine makes use of the stock exhaust manifold and turbo charger with enhanced breathing through a Spectre open-element air cleaner.

The stock turbo inhales through a Spectre open element air cleaner then sends the compressed charge over to the intake through an JDM intercooler that he mounted below the radiator core support. Spent gasses are funneled to a pair of 4-inch stainless steel stacks mounted between the cab and the bed. Fuel is held in the stock ’95 fuel tank under the bed and sent up to the engine by a FASS Titanium fuel pump and filter system. The combination is not a powerhouse in terms of what we commonly see in the Diesel World, but it is far more power than the original engine every produced and perfect for cruising to and from shows and events in unique rat-rod style.

Boost from the turbo is carried through painted steel tubing and RDT Motoring silicone boots to the JDM intercooler mounted below the radiator core. You can also see the aluminum radiator in the background.

Schmidt decided to give the family farm truck a sense of big rig style by installing a set of Arrowcraft 10-lug wheel adapters and 22.5-inch Alcoa polished aluminum wheels on all four corners. The wheels are wrapped in Double Coin 255/70R22.5 RLB490 rubber to put the power to the pavement while providing a decent ride as long as they are not aired up to maximum capacity.

The original patina-finish sheet metal cab rides on the 1995 Dodge Ram dually chassis with Arrowcraft 10-lug wheel adapters and highly polished Alcoa 22.5-inch wheels wrapped in Double Coin 255/70R22.5 RLB490 tires giving the vintage truck a big-rig feel.

As you can see Schmidt renovated his grandfather’s truck giving it a new lease on life that Andrew Schmidt Jr. would certainly be proud of. By keeping the original body patina and family history intact then melding it with a nearly 50-year newer chassis and drivetrain he created a truck that pays respect to the family heritage that is enjoyable to drive and show off. His hard work paid off as he was awarded the Best Custom Diesel trophy at the 2019 Scheid Diesel Extravaganza.

The truck sports the original lettering from 1950 on each door preserved under an Eastwood clear satin finish that Schmidt applied to maintain the patina. You may notice that “Andy” was scrapped off each door, tragically Andrew “Buddy” Anthony Schmidt III was lost to a drowning accident when he was only 18-years old. The best the family can tell is that Andrew Anthony Schmidt Jr. scrapped of the “Andy” lettering while he was grieving the tragic loss within the family.
Looking up under the rear of the chassis you can see the beefy Dodge 3500 rear axle assembly as well as the compressor and air tank that Schmidt added to the truck to drive a set of air horns and run an air hose when needed.

Looking below the wooden flatbed you will find the Dodge Ram 3500 chassis along with the FASS Titanium pump and filter system as well as the modern composite fuel tank along the inner frame rail and the fuel filler neck extending out to the edge of the bed frame.
Opening the door, you will find a sparse but functional interior complete with the original vinyl bench seat and unique steering and shifting implements.
The wooden deck boards of the flat bed still look to be in great shape, but don’t provide a place for small items so Schmidt installed the antique Made Rite Sandwich Co. box to hold small items that might slide off the deck otherwise.

Schmidt fabricated the steering wheel by welding an old chain along with a 4-way lug-wrench and sprocket together to give the rat rod pickup a unique feel using parts scavenged from the family’s old machine shed. The custom long-throw shifter handle is made from a recycled fence post.
Schmidt’s ’48 Chevrolet Loadmaster still has the original bumper, grille and emblems on the vintage truck.
Directly behind the cab Schmidt installed a set of twin 4-inch diameter stainless steel stacks to send spent exhaust gasses skyward from the 12-valve Cummins engine.

As far as Schmidt knows the graceful swan hood ornament has been on the Loadmaster since his grandfather purchased the truck in 1950. It may be a little worse for wear, but it is awesome, nonetheless.

 

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