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1947 Chevrolet Suburban Woody

Owner: Don Bryant

1947 chevrolet

During the 1940’s and 1950’s a few body companies created their own design of truck not offered by the chassis manufacturer. In this case the Campbell Co. made their own “station wagon” body to fill a need of a small number of buyers. its all wood construction and 3 or 4 side doors made a very attractive package. It was similar to the GM all metal Suburban with 2 doors.

It this example the Campbell body was built for a Chevrolet or GMC truck. GM would provide the 1/2, 3/4, and 1 ton chassis with factory front sheet metal and windshield plus rear fenders to their dealer. Campbell offered a completed wood body as an exact fit. It could be shipped to a specialized body instillation company and then the local Chevrolet and GMC dealer would have it installed.

Campbell’s body was a replacement for the GM all metal Suburban body. It offered more accessibility and better seating for passengers. Thus, the extra cost was not a factor to many buyers. The Campbell fitted GM truck was perfect to transport people to and from airports and train stations, for school bus routes, hotels, country clubs, tours, camps, etc.

Below is a 1951 ad from the Mid State Body Co. in Waterloo, NY. Shown are the three different Campbell bodies that was available at that time.

This month’s feature is one of these rare Campbell/GM trucks. Few (even rare when new) have survived. This classic like new restored example is on a 1947 1/2 ton Chevrolet chassis and owned by Don Bryant of Oakland, California.

Don bought his 1947 Chevrolet cab and chassis totally restored in 1997. It even included the correct Chevrolet color, Windsor Blue. However, the Campbell body was not rebuilt. He states the “wood was in a large, gnarly pile”. A hunt began for a specialist in older body restoration. Recommendations led him to Ron Heiden in Encinita, CA. His good reputation resulted in Don waiting a year before his turn arrived.

It was in Ron’s shop for 10 months for this procedure! The next step was for even more fine detailed work at the Moonlight Woodies Restoration Shop in Cambrea, CA. The finished product is now for “show-and-go”. Its a work of art that is part of history. Don now drives the Campbell wagon on rare occasions up to about 75 miles from home. Of course, no rain allowed!.

His eamil address is: dbryant@barnesconti.com

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