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Hood Ornament, 1947 – Early 1955

During the 1947-1955 years, no less than four different front hood emblems were used during regular production on the Chevrolet 3000 series trucks. Though all can be made to interchange during this 7 1/2 year series; for the perfectionist, there are only certain types for certain years.

hood ornaments 1a

In 1947, the 1/2, 3/4, and 1 ton Chevrolet trucks began production by displaying a chrome plated die cast emblem with dimensions of 3-3/8″ x 19″. The Chevrolet letters across the center are red and a small royal blue “BOWTIE” is above. On the back side their four attaching points (part of the casting) are threaded and extend outward to better provide metal to hold the securing screws. Because of the length of these four extensions, the hood must be provided with appropriate dimples. These dimples are necessary so the emblem can be pulled snug against the hood front.

Sometime in late 1948 and early 1949, depending on the assembly plant, this emblem changed to chrome plated stamped steel. Visually, it has the same dimensions and painting as the earlier style but is much less in weight.

In late 1952, the front of this emblem was again changed. It was now stainless steel. The four hood attaching clips (welded to the front stainless) and the threaded studs remained plain steel as in the prior style. The dimensions were as in past years. This design was carried through all of 1953. Forty five years later this stainless steel emblem is often seen at flea markets with the front skin in excellent condition but the four welded-in clips either gone or rusted beyond repair. These clips, hidden between the stainless emblem skin and the hood front, did not dry quickly between rains and the morning dew.

Because the hoods are larger on the 4000 and 6000 series 1-1/2 and 2 top Chevrolet trucks, the front emblem was formed to conform to their bigger size. Width and length dimensions are the same as the smaller 3000 series trucks and will interchange. However, to help compensate for the larger hood size, these big truck emblems are almost 1/4″ thicker at their widest point in comparison to the smaller 3000 series. Their construction materials changed during this series as did the smaller 3000 series trucks.

The 5000 series Chevrolet COE bodies (CAB OVER ENGINE) did not change their initial die cast hood emblem. It continued identical from it’s 1947 introduction through 1953. The dimensions 3-1/2″ x 26-1/2″ were much longer than the conventional cabs due to the COE’s massive one piece hood.

The 1954-1955 hood emblem was a different design and better related with the totally new grille. As Chevrolet was now stamped on the top grille bar, these letters were no longer on the emblem. The “BOWTIE” trademark became larger and the overall emblem continued with a stainless skin and plain steel inside attachments overall dimensions on the 3000 series trucks is 3-7/8″ x 21″. With this new design, the clips did not extend back as in prior years. Therefore, the dimples were not stamped in the hood. This is a quick way to tell the 1954-1955 from the earlier 1947-1953 hoods.

On the 4000 and 6000 series the 1954-55 Chevrolet emblem has an overall increase in size of approximately 20% or 4-1/8″ x 24″. This was necessary to better conform with the larger truck hood. The emblem remained a stainless steel stamping with the same appearance as the smaller trucks.

General Motors designed the 5000 series or COE emblems on the 1954-55 the same in size and style as those on the conventional cab large truck hoods with two exceptions. This COE emblem is chrome plated die cast and lacks the notches for the bullnose strip. The unique one piece size of the COE hood eliminated the need for a center divider strip and thus no center notches were in the emblem.

Early 1955 COE

All the truck “BOWTIE” emblems in 1954-1955 were Chevrolet royal blue however the valleys between the twenty four vertical ridges were painted red in 1954 and white on the early 1955 series. The GMC trucks between 1947-55 did not have a front hood emblem. Die cast GMC letters were attached to an upper grille housing.

Hood ornaments were an important part of automotive styling in the 1940’s through 50’s. However, as trucks were basically for work GM created specific ornaments for these vehicles but made them a dealer accessory. They are rare and in demand today as hobbyists now look for General Motors accessories to add to their restored trucks.

To help the dealer install the 1947-1953 Chevrolet accessory ornament correctly, the factory placed a small hole between the hood halves 33″ from their rear edge. This is for positioning the rear threaded stud of the ornament. The dealer would then drill two pair of holes on either side of the hood divider strip and the result was a perfect fit.

On the 1954-1955 Chevrolets, the accessory ornament was totally changed in design. A chrome eagle with low wings was attached to a die cast base. To save expenses GM used the same eagle that was also an accessory on 1953-54 Chevrolet passenger cars. The mounting base was not the same partially due to the difference in the width of car and truck hood bullnose strips. Between 1947-55, the dealer installed GMC accessory hood ornament did not change. It had a very narrow die cast mounting base attaching directly to the bullnose strip. This supports an attractive streamlined jet plane. It does not resemble the Chevrolet ornament.

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