Ex-Dave Maple 1954 National Chevrolet Ambulette now in Tennessee.

Jeremy D. Ledford

PCS Volunteer Chapter President
Haven’t been around much on the forums for a while but some or most may already know about this but here it is, posted here! So the big unveiling for those who don’t know or whom were unaware!


1954 National Chevrolet Ambulette ambulance!

Like Dezi Arnez (Ricky Ricardo) would say in one of his lines from the 1950’s TV show I Love Lucy, “Lucy you got some splainin to do” since this is a bit different situation than just generally buying a professional car any other time! This is something that has been transpiring for the last 5-6 months now (prior to October). Been kinda hard to get it all fully processed and registered in my mind and this is still not fully set in yet! In the professional car hobby this is a recognized and known car! For the past forty or so plus years it has been owned by Dave Maple of Shelby Township, Michigan. He had and has done very extensive work on this car over the past few years doing what’s basically called a “restomod” restoration on the car. It has had pretty extensive modifications done to the overall mechanicals of the car. 350 Chevrolet small block V8, automatic transmission, power disc brakes all around, rack and pinion steering, aftermarket heat and air, aftermarket instrument cluster, full 12 Volt electrical system, chrome smoothie wheels, added tunnel lights and siren, aftermarket steering column, bucket seats and various minor interior modifications. Overall the car is pretty much mechanically new! So this car is not going to be for the “purists” by any means! To get into a little of what the situation was over the last year or so Dave’s health has been failing. It was of his wishes that I would be the one whom would take over ownership and be the next owner and caretaker of this car! I was contacted by a couple of his family members back in May about what was going on with Dave and was told that this was his wishes that were expressed to them and that they seen that were granted and carried out. So after a couple months of phone calls with his brother-in-law and sister and to Dave a few times as well we were finally able to set a date to go to Michigan and get the car ready to transport back to Tennessee. So this past weekend (October 6-8, 2023) my mom, stepdad and myself traveled to Michigan to retrieve the car and it is now in Tennessee leaving out on Friday morning and arriving home (Sunday evening October 8th) having an uneventful trip! With this being a “hot” weekend for pro-car activities in the areas of travel and along with the situation with Dave and to respect him and his family I chose to keep this a covert and secret mission only known to a very, very, very few chosen and not to be general information until the car was home here in Tennessee.

Now, a little on this car! As I’ve stated “It is a restomod, it’s modified”! So it is not in it’s original configuration, so yes I’m fully aware of that! I do however have plans to finish the rear interior to stock appearance, change the aftermarket bucket seats to a stock era correct 50/50 bench seat, replace the steering wheel with a reproduction 1954 Chevrolet steering wheel, replace steering column levers with mid 1950’s era correct levers and in the future will also look into maybe changing the ride height back to stock height along with maybe putting era correct painted steel wheels and wheel covers back on to make it’s outward appearance look pretty much more stock and era correct. I will also be placing an era correct ambulance cot and era correct ambulance equipment (all that I already have on hand) into the rear compartment as well. But mechanically the car is going to remain modified! And yes, as some know “modified” is an evil and bad word in parts of the professional car hobby! As for some known history it was originally converted on a standard wheelbase 1954 Chevrolet 150 Series Sedan Delivery by the National Body Manufacturing Company (aka National Coach Co) of Knightstown, Indiana as a plant ambulance for the Nitrogen Division of the Allied Chemical Company located at South Point, Ohio. It served there as a plant ambulance there until sometime in the 1970’s. In the early 1980’s it was acquired by Dave Maple residing most of it’s retired life in Michigan and then acquired by me October 7th, 2023.

So yeah, it’s kinda of an overwhelming (and still not fully processed) deal the way this all has transpired. It’s amazing to think about this and how he thought of me on the future of his car. But I’m glad he did and the cars future will remain good. Needless to say I’m pretty blown away over it!