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Three Mid-Year Body Changes

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

During the early years there were three occasions when General Motors decided it was in their interest to make truck cab changes in mid-year.  Thus, in today’s world, when these years are mentioned, one must always be sure which of the two trucks are being discussed.  The following will mention these years and why the unusual timing occurred in one year.


The “Great Depression” was in full swing.  To encourage truck sales and save some struggling dealers, it was felt a new cab should be introduced as soon as possible.  This new entry would later be referred to as “the low cab”.  It had a more modern body and it was hoped potential buyers would be impressed to own a newer truck for the same retail price.

It cost General Motors only a little more to produce.  The cab would set on the same frame rails and the total chassis was almost unchanged including motor, transmission, differential and radiator assembly remained the same.

The difference was in the cab and the hood with different side panel louvering position. For the first time GM offered a truck cab with an actual glove box in the dash.  Instead of many small cab pieces making a wood frame with sheet metal tacked on, there were only four large cab wood supports.  They made part of the cowl and supported the weight of the doors and windshield assembly.  The low cab roof was formed sheet metal and was welded, not bolted to the remainder of the body. The window and door handles, wood floor, seats, hydraulic brakes, and steering wheel were almost unchanged.  The same ½ ton bed was used.

This total new package gave the dealers something to tell their customers that an almost new truck was available for about the same cost.


During the first half of 1947, dealers had marketed the trucks offered before the war years.  There was often a six month wait for trucks (as well as cars) when factories opened for domestic vehicle production for the first time in 5 years.

General Motors could not produce the older pre-war body style trucks fast enough!  Therefore, GM decided to wait until sales demand began to slow before the new body style. Good Marketing!

If they had waiting lines for pre-world war II trucks, why stop production to make the factories ready for a more modern truck?  The 1947 year was half over before what GM called “the Advance Design” trucks were in the dealers showrooms. This new redesigned truck had been developed during WWII in anticipation of a later sales demand. They were introduced on Saturday June 26, 1947.

This sales technique was quite successful.  The many truck dealers in the USA couldn’t have been happier with GM’s strategy!  Truck buyers with money or at least good credit wanted to be the owner of this modern design vehicle.   The prewar body design was “old time”.

Therefore, once again there was a long line to have a new truck.  GM engineers that were not enlisted or drafted into World War II had many years to get ready for this new model.  However, it was the skilled GM advertising department that arranged the timing to get the “best bang for the buck”.


The totally redesigned Chevrolet automobile was introduced in late 1954.  So much advertising on television, in local newspapers and by dealerships built up buyer anticipation throughout the country.  The Chevrolet advertising department in Detroit knew not to take any wind out of the excitement in the unveiling of this totally new car.

Therefore, GM wisely made a decision to not introduce the new redesigned 1955 Task Force truck line at the same time as the car.  They would wait at least 6 months until the car excitement slowed.  Then with the experience of building up potential new 1955 car buyers, the Chevrolet Truck Division would do it all over again!

Just imagine how successful the Chevy dealers were to have two new 1955 vehicles in one year.  It was about the biggest sales year in Chevrolet history.

Note:  Because the new Chevrolet Task Force was not introduced until about May 1955 and the 1956 models came in November, this would certainly have been the shortest for any Chevrolet model year.  Once again, so many waiting orders were received by dealers.  Customers had seen the same body design for eight years and were ready for this new truck line.  For the first time Chevrolet offered some new major optional features to increase sales:

V-8 engine, 3 speed overdrive transmission, the Cameo “Boulevard” pickup, white wall tires, power steering, all new paint color etc.  A new standard feature was a 12 volt electrical system and wrap-around windshield.

A few other new no extra cost features were redesigned pickup bed with “grain tight” tailgate, a higher ½ ton differential ratio of 3.55, additional padding in seat cushion, and more convenient gas tank fill on driver’s side. A very important change was the first time was an open drive line on their ½ ton (also on the short lived 1955 First Series).

A real attention getter was for the first time in the history of GM pickup trucks there were no cab outside running boards! Overall, the new truck gave a very different appearance. Suddenly, all the buyer’s friends immediately knew that he had a different truck! It was certainly not the “almost same” truck with maybe a different color as during the Advance Design truck years.


WD 40 Who Knew?

Friday, December 1st, 2017

WD-40 Who Knew?
What is the Main Ingredient of WD-40?
Before you read to the end, does anybody know what the main ingredient of WD-40? No Cheating WD-40 ~ Who knew!

I had a neighbor who bought a new pickup. I got up very early one Sunday morning and saw that someone had spray painted red all around the sides of this beige truck (for some unknown reason). I went over, woke him up, and told him the bad news. He was very upset and was trying to figure out what to do. .. probably nothing until Monday morning, since nothing was open. Another neighbor came out and told him to get his WD-40 and clean it off. It removed the unwanted paint beautifully and did not harm his paint job that was on the truck. I was impressed!

WD -40 who knew? “Water Displacement #40”. The product began from a search for a rust preventative solvent and de-greaser to protect missile parts. WD-40 was created in 1953, by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. Its name comes from the project that was to find a ‘Water Displacement’ Compound. They were finally successful for a formulation, with their fortieth at-tempt, thus WD-40. The ‘Convair Company’ bought it in bulk to protect their atlas missile parts. Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you.

When you read the ‘shower door’ part, try it. It’s the first thing that has ever cleaned that spotty shower door. If yours is plastic, it works just as well as on glass. It’s a miracle! Then try it on your stove-top. It’s now shinier than it’s ever been. You’ll be amazed.

WD-40 Uses:

1. Protects silver from tarnishing.
2. Removes road tar and grime from cars.
3. Cleans and lubricates guitar strings.
4. Gives floor that ‘just-waxed’ sheen without making them slippery.
5. Keeps the flies off of Cows, Horses, and other Farm Critters, as well. (Ya gotta love this one!!!)
6. Restores and cleans chalkboards.
7. Removes lipstick stains.
8. Loosens stubborn zippers.
9. Untangles jewelry chains.
10. Removes stains from stainless steel sinks.
11. Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.
12. Keeps ceramic/terracotta garden pots from oxidizing.
13. Removes tomato stains from clothing.
14. Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots.
15. Camouflages scratches on ceramic and marble floors.
16. Keeps scissors working smoothly.
17. Lubricates noisy door hinges on both home and vehicles doors.
18. It removes that nasty tar and scuff marks from the kitchen flooring. It doesn’t seem to harm the finish and you won’t have to scrub nearly as hard to get them off.
Just remember to open some windows, for ventilation, if you have a lot of marks.
19. Remove those nasty bug guts that will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly!
20. Gives a children’s playground gym slide a shine for a super fast slide.
21. Lubricates gearshift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers.
22. Rids kids rocking chair and swings free of squeaky noises.
23. Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open.
24. Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close.
25. Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers.
26. Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.
27. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans.
28. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for easy handling.
29. Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.
30. Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools.
31. Removes grease splatters from stove-tops.
32. Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging.
33. Lubricates prosthetic limbs.
34. Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell).
35. Removes all traces of duct tape.
36. Folks even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve arthritis pain.
37. Florida’s favorite use is: ‘cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers.’
38. The favorite use in the state of New York, it protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements.
39. WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a little on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time. Also, it’s a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants
that are made for just that purpose. Keep in mind though, using some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing are not allowed in some states.
40. Use it for fire ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately and stops the itch.
41. It is great for removing crayon from walls. Spray it on the marks and wipe with a clean rag.
42. Also, if you’ve discovered that your teenage daughter has washed and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots with WD-40 and re-wash.
Presto! The lipstick is gone!
43. If you spray it inside a wet distributor cap, it will displace the moisture, allowing the engine to start.

P.S. As for that Basic, Main Ingredient

Well…. it’s FISH OIL!!!

The New 1937 Canadian GMC Pickup

Friday, August 4th, 2017

It appears the GMC Division of General Motors in the United States wanted no part of using a Chevrolet low oil pressure engine for their 1936 introduction into the pickup truck market. GMC had previously been GM’s big truck provider however the Great Depression of the 1930’s required emergency changes. Quickly.

Large GMC truck sales in the US had reached such low numbers that something (a small pickup) had to be introduced immediately. Many US GMC big truck dealers had gone out of business and others were surviving only by repair work or equipment selling, marketing used cars, and laying off employees.

In Canada the GMC financial disaster was not the same as there were no “stand alone GMC dealers”. A ½ ton GMC pickup would be good in Canada but no one would be required to have a “GMC Only” franchise. GM of Canada used Pontiac Buick car dealers to market the GMC pickups for many years. Each of the dealers were probably required to stock at least one pickup at the beginning and a supply of new very basic repair parts that would be needed. (In Canada, the new GMC pickup was introduced in 1937, not 1936 as in the US). Canadian sales were slow in the beginning, mostly because of the Great Depression years. Only about 800 found owners throughout Canada that year.

The Canadian Chevrolet car and truck dealer would also have a supply of new parts that covered everything that the GMC pickup needed mechanically except the aluminum pistons. Many Pontiac Buick dealers would probably obtain their mechanical parts in their town from the local Chevrolet dealer rather than wait for an order from the main GM supplier in Oshawa, Ontario of a week or more.

There was not a GMC with larger gross weight produced in the factory at Oshawa, Ontario. If you wanted a large General Motors truck made in Canada, you bought it from a Chevrolet dealer under the name Maple Leaf. Most all came with 20” tires as did the US made GMC 1 ½ ton. The Maple Leaf was available and assembled only in Canada from 1931 through 1951. Most all was like the US Chevrolets except for the grill, front fenders, bumper and related attachments. We assume GM of Canada gave it a more patriotic name to encourage sales as well as the front sheet metal looking much different than the US Chevrolet large trucks.

The new 1937 Canadian GMC ½ ton was to be (by tradition) a truck that provided more power than Chevrolet. Therefore, the total Canadian ½ ton truck would cost a bit more with a totally different front grill and bumper but lowered some production costs by not using an Oldsmobile engine that was in the US GMC at the beginning.

The new Canadian GMC powered pickup used a 216 Chevy engine with larger diameter cylinders to create 224 cubic inches. Bore size increased from 3 ½ to 3 9/16. Aluminum pistons also added more power over the 216 Chevy six cylinder engines with their heavy cast iron design. Note: This extra horsepower 224 sic cylinder (modified 216) was continued in the GMC pickup through 1939. It was in 1940 that GM of Canada began the traditional 216 as was in all Chevrolets. (The oversized aluminum pistons were no longer used). This 216 continue to be the GMC pickup power until the end of 1952.

1937 Chevrolet Bumper

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Currently only one factory in the world reproduces the 1937 Chevrolet ½ ton bumper. Basically a very nice chrome reproduction that will satisfy most all restorers.

Only one error in its production stands out. Sometimes perfectionist make comments but this is all there is! Either use it as is or straighten and re-chrome or re-chrome an 80 year old original.

The enclosed photo shows the extra rolling bend close to each end. We can only assume it was placed there to save some tooling cost by using the existing metal press in some factory.


Slight extra roll about 10” from each end

Suggestion: The 1937 Chevy passenger car uses the same bumper as the pickup and they were not exposed to abuse during regular work duties. There is a good chance a used car bumper will be better to start with for a successful restoration. The problem here is a nice used car bumper is usually still on the car and no one will allow it to be removed.

Double Engine Numbers

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

You think you have seen most of the characteristics of the 216 inline six cylinder of the early Chevrolet years then up pops something that you have never seen. What was the reason for an identical engine number stamped on the same block, on the same side, about 9 “apart?

While visiting Jerry’s Early Chevy Repair Shop in Independence, Missouri (816-833-4414) we noticed this double stamping. The 216 six cylinder had just been returned from a degreasing and reboring of the cylinders. Thus, this 1946 block was perfectly clean so the numbers were all exposed.

NOTE: The normal engine number, as we have seen, was on early Chevrolet six cylinder blocks beside the hole for the distributor. However, this engine also has the same number under the side plate gasket! It is not seen until the gasket is removed. See photo.

Why would a Chevrolet engine factory take the extra effort to stamp this number behind the side cover gasket? So unusual. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Yes, we thought a law enforcement person could see if the original numbers by the distributor had been ground off and re-stamped. However, certainly much extra effort taking a full side plate off a 216 engine block to see a factory number was not for a roadside check!

The usual place for a 216 and 235 stamped engine number

A surprise find. The same number on this block was behind the side plate gasket.

1937 GMC Sales Photo

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

From the front cover of a dealer sales brochure that was given to potential buyers by the dealers during the tough years of the “Great Depression”.

Notice they are appealing to the farm buyer where most of our population lived. This little ½ ton can even carry a cow!


1936-46 Crank Out Windshield Handles

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Getting more outside air in the early truck and car cabs was usually done by a swing out windshield frame (in addition to a top cowl vent). With no insulation on the inner firewall, engine heat was always radiating into the cab interior.

During the final 10 years of this hinged swing out on Chevy and GMC, the windshield opened by a center mounted splined turn handle.

For the perfectionist these handles slightly changed during 1936-46. The earliest handle (1936-38) will not interchange with later due to the dash shape. When you want your restored truck just right, the following photos should be of help. NOTE: All are available from Jim Carter Truck Parts and are exact reproductions.


1936-38 Chrome Die-cast Knob

1939 Photo Soon with Black Plastic Knob

1940-46 Tan Plastic Knob

Big Truck Front Bumpers

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Shortly after WWII the Chevrolet Truck Division introduced a heavier truck with a maximum gross weight of 16,000 pounds and was rated as a 2 ton. Up to this time their top rated truck had been 1 ½ tons with a gross weight of 14,000 pounds.

With this increase, a major change occurred in the front bumper. No longer was this bumper little more than a heavy duty ½ ton. They now used a totally different design. A top and bottom horizontal ridge and additional thickness did much to prevent bending when pushing another vehicle or by an accident.

The 1 ½ and 2 ton bumper, introduced in 1946 was not continued through the next series of trucks, 1947 through 1953. The next series no longer had the bolt heads in the middle. Now the bumper center extended out (even wider) and the recessed bolt heads were on the top and bottom. This gave more pushing surface without damage to the bolts.

1941 front bumper
1941 Front Bumper

1946 front bumper
1946 Front Bumper

1947-53 Front Bumper
(COE and Conventional the same)

Ground Hogs and Dirt Floors

Monday, August 18th, 2014

We assume the increase population of these little 12 to 15 pound rodents in the past 20 years is due to stricter in-city zoning that does not allow dogs outside without some type of restraint.
Beware! Ground hogs (woodchuck) are on the hunt for a dry place out of the rain to call home. They love a dry dirt floor barn or related storage building. These rodents continually dig their tunnels throughout which is protection from possibly any predators. They have keen eye sight, even can see you 200 feet away, and run for a tunnel!
Look at this 1959 Chevrolet Napco 4×4 stored out of sight about 5 years. Ground hogs placed one of their tunnels under the front wheels. The trucks weight soon dropped it into a tunnel and the straight front axle is on in the dirt!






But it’s my home!

The Demise of 1935 High Cab Pickups

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

The Great Depression has reached a level not ever expected. About 25% of the country’s work force is without income. The Chevrolet Motor Company introduces a less expensive automobile (The Standard) to try to stop vehicle sales from their gradual downward spiral.

The 1935 1/2 ton pickup is kept as basic as possible to still be rated as a 1/2 ton and continues to have an actual bed with sides and a tailgate. In some countries, to lower costs, only a flat wood deck was provided on the new pickups. In the US, competition prevented the pickup from being this basic. Manufacturers were concerned not to go quite that far for fear of losing sales. The cab continued to be sheet metal nailed to a wood frame to create the body’s framework. At that time it was the less expensive method of cab construction.

The 1935 cabs were so basic they offered no place for a glove box, heater, or radio.  Even the grills were black and not chrome.  If you bought a pickup in 1935 it was because you had a hauling need as they were not a weekend pleasure vehicle. From the very beginning, during the Great Depression, and even later they were for work responsibilities.

Their hauling ability was the factor. The Chevrolet dealers understood during the depression years not to stock miscellaneous non-essential replacement parts for pickups. Owners would not purchase them. If a pickup rear fender was bent against a tire by a farmer backing into a low stump, it was hammered away from the tire. It may result in just a welded crack. If a hubcap was lost, it was not replaced. These problems did not affect it hauling ability and money during the depression was in short supply! It was the repair of mechanical items that was the priority. So these everyday 1935 workers continued their daily tasks on farms and for small businesses in towns and cities even with body damage, broken glass, noisy exhaust, leaking radiators, etc.

Then the worst thing happened! The United States entered World War II in 1941 and almost all small truck production stopped. Yes, these little basic 1935 1/2 ton’s continued to do their daily work. No replacement pickups were there to allow them to be just a replacement standby. If major body damage occurred, they were sent to a salvage yard and soon became recycled for the metal needed for the war effort. Of course, their rubber tires were always kept from salvage and could be quickly sold to waiting buyers. New tires were not available.

During years after WWII, the returning veterans demanded new and more modern houses, appliances, cars, and trucks. It became the largest boom time in our nation’s history. Many older material things reminded the middle age generation of the prior hard times in the country. The new was in! More disposable income in the US was available than ever before. Factories found it difficult to keep up with the demand for new cars and pickups. What did this do to the little 1935 1/2 ton? It was the end for most of the remaining survivors! If they could drive it, it could at least be the down payment on a new pickup and the dealer would probably scrap them.

Another item that created the death of even a better 1935 was the wood frame that held their cab together. Most of these work trucks had no garage or barn for protection from the weather. To replace the rotting wood in a 15 year old cab was not a consideration.

It gets worse! As the price of scrap increased, those searching for metal looked for anything available. When you need money and have no appreciation of a very tired 1935 1/2 ton, it becomes a prime candidate for the crusher.

It gets even worse! If somehow an actual real 1935 is found by an excited restorer years later, his high hopes for its rebuilding fades away. He discovers the price of a cab wood kit can be near $3,000.00 and replacement metal body parts usually must be handmade.

The following photos show a few of the remaining survivors. The owners of their ground up restoration will assure you the expense and time to make them correct far exceeds even a pickup two years newer with its all metal body.

Owner: Roger Sorenson La Crosse, Wisconsin
Owner: Richard Wright Westtown, New York

Owner: Jim Johnston Springfield, Oregon

1934-35 Australian Chevrolet

Friday, February 15th, 2013

These photos might be of interest to US owners of 1934-35 Chevrolet trucks. The Australian design is very similar however there are just enough differences to catch the attention of the close observer.

Examples: The hood sides and doors are quite different. Check the curved door bottoms. Of course, this also makes the cab different.

Probably the most unique feature is the lack of roll-up door windows.  Maybe to help lower the retail price, Chevrolet used “side curtains”!  When the rain came, the curtains with see through inserts were snapped in place on the door exterior to keep the driver and interior just a little dryer!

The wheels, grille emblem and radiator shell are like the US. We suspect the drive train and frame rails are also the same.

Of course, the US ½ and 1 ½ ton use the same cab. No doubt Australia follows the same guidelines.

Photos provided by: Bob Johnson, Melbourne, Australia

1934-35 Australian Chevrolet 1 ½ ton 1934-35 Australian Chevrolet 1 ½ ton

Solving Bad Gasoline Problems

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Leaving your truck, car, or most all gasoline operated equipment in storage is asking for trouble!  Many of us, as hobbyists, collect more cars and trucks than we will drive at least monthly.  They sit in the back of your garage or are stored across town in a friend’s garage, barn, etc.

Three to five years later when it is time to move them, they usually won’t start.  You find in some cases, you cannot even get fuel to the carburetor.

After placing the blame on the carb, fuel pump, or filter, you finally (after hours of work) it comes down to bad gasoline.  How did this happen?

The answer is simple.  In today’s world ethanol is added to some gasoline as much as 10%.  It gives more fire power to the gasoline that has been reduced in octane partially with additives that help lower air pollution.

This ethanol (alcohol) is damaging to many rubber and neoprene seals in your fuel system.   Even worse, with the formula of modern gasoline plus ethanol, it will even change to sludge in your fuel system including the tank during long storage.  Additives placed in ethanol gas to prevent fuel deterioration is said to be effective not more than about 1 ½ years.

All this spells “Big Money” to clean your fuel system. Just taking your fuel tank out of your vehicle, having it cleaned at a radiator repair shop (there aren’t many of these businesses anymore) will cost a minimum of $300.00.

We recently visited a small engine repair shop where 30 hedge trimmers, chain saws, and weed whackers were waiting to be repaired.  The shop owner said 95% were there because of using gasoline with ethanol.

The answer to prevent this problem may be easier than you think.   If possible STOP using gasoline with ethanol in your vehicles that are rarely driven or started.  In our state, Missouri, there is no ethanol at many of the premium grade gasoline pumps http://e0pc.com/MO.php.  This maybe the answer in your area.  Check the gasoline pumps in your state and see if your premium gas is ethanol free.

Some of you may remember the days prior to the 1970’s when you bought a vehicle that had been sitting 5 to 10 years.  The gasoline smelled terrible but the motor would start.  If it had brakes, you could even drive around the block.  There was no alcohol in the gasoline.

Use premium gasoline in your stored vehicles or any yard equipment with limited use if it is without ethanol.

In Missouri, the approximately .20¢ extra per gallon for premium fuel far outweighs the headaches later!!

Solving Bad Gasoline Problems

Mice Love Old Chevy Trucks

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Short of cats? When older vehicles are left unattended, mice find a way to get inside. It’s their natural instinct! The damage they do with their families over a few years is a disaster to metal. They don’t seem to leave the nest when their bladder says “it’s time”.

This nest was recently found inside a 1941 Chevrolet ½ ton door when the inside panel was removed. There it was as you see it, the past home for many generations of mice.  It appears they removed much padding from the adjacent seat!

Mice Love Old Chevy Trucks Mice Love Old Chevy Trucks

See below this 1940 Chevy upper air dam under the hood.  What a perfect place for a mouse house. Out of the reach of cats, hawks, snakes, wind and rain! The little guys just keep bringing in more nesting materials. They make more and more babies and of course we know what else they do that rusts out the sheet metal.
Mice Love Old Chevy Trucks

Lost Engine Numbers

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

GM trucks titled prior to the mid-1950’s were usually registered using the stamped engine number not the body digits pressed in the door ID plate. This practice has created many problems in later years as states became stricter in titling.

Unfortunately, many older vehicles outlast their engine and owners rarely rebuild the originals. To save time and certainly expense, a rebuilt unit or a used one from another vehicle would often be installed. This worked great until years later when state safety inspections began or the vehicle was sold out of state. With a prior engine transplant, there was no ID numbers that would match the title.

Even today, this problem occurs as older trucks with different engines are pulled out of barns and from the property line of a farmer’s back field.

Lost Bumper Bolt

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

On 1937-55 1/2 and 3/4 ton rear bumpers there exists an unused center square bumper bolt hole that sometimes brings up questions from restorers. “Why does this hole exist and what is it purpose?” The answer relates to the attitude toward trucks during those years. They were for work and keeping their production cost low was a priority.

The bumpers during 1937-47 were the same front and rear. The center hole at the front held a vertical steel bracket which was needed if the truck was hand cranked. Rather than make a 4 hole rear bumper, GM simply used their front on the rear. Even in 1947-55 with a slightly different horizontal shape, the factory 5 hole punch was used on front and rear. Therefore, the rear bumper hole has no purpose. To cover this hole, GM produced a special bumper bolt that has become very rare. To save costs (it is a surprise that anything was used) GM created a one inch long stud held in place with a sheet metal speed nut. It has no threads and its head is covered with a stainless cap so it looks like the other bumper bolts from a distance.

Most of these original rare filler bolts will have dents and scrapes on the stainless cap. A skilled person can place a new stainless cover from a more common replacement bolt and make this rare unit look like new.

lost bumper bolt

GMC 1/2 Ton Long Bed

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Of the many differences between the Chevrolet and GMC 1/2 ton during the early years (1936-54), the GMC offering of a long bed pickup box was one of the more noticeable. Only GMC provided this option. To obtain this extra bed length on a Chevrolet, the buyer ordered a 3/4 ton.

This difference existed with the first GMC pickup in 1936 and continued through the end of the Advance Design series in 1955. Possibly the reasoning for this was the horsepower difference between these two marquis. The base 216 six cylinder Chevrolet engine provided 92 hp. The standard 228 GMC six boasted 100 hp.

To get the approximately nine inch extra GMC chassis length not only were the two frame rails longer but the drive shaft was extended. GMC engineers did this by developing an extension which was the connecting length between the standard short bed closed drive shaft and the rear of the transmission. None of this interchanges with a Chevrolet and both makes use a totally different drive shaft design on their 3/4 ton series.

The adjacent photo shows this unique connector link installed in its GMC. A 7 3/8 inch steel jack-shaft is surrounded by a cast iron housing (it is still a closed drive shaft) and includes an extra u-joint, bearing, and seal. Though, a strongly built drive shaft system, this portion becomes the long bed 1/2 ton’s weak link after 50 years of use and abuse. Without a doubt this link has performed almost flawlessly beyond the miles expected by its designers. However, it does have its long term limitations. The many prior miles, lack of regular maintenance, and occasionally overloading the truck makes the failure of an original in today’s world a definite possibility. Watch for sources for the rare replacement parts in this connector link just in case. Otherwise surprise damage in this area can keep your GMC 1/2 ton long bed out of service for quite some time.

long bed 1

long bed 2

long bed 3

Home Made Garage

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

When you would like to restore your truck and no workshop is available, there is a solution. Most all the repairs can occur in a temporary shop and at a very low cost.

Jim Valano of Marion, Indiana is a true example of ‘American Ingenuity.’ He purchased a ‘canvas storage tent’ and assembled it at a convenient location. He even made the floor using the backside of used carpet on top of sheet plastic. Its roll-up sides are adjusted for the weather.

Jim’s 1957 Chevrolet ½ ton is now almost restored and most of the work occurred in this canvas enclosure. It can later be removed and stored in the original box.

If you need a building for your restoration, this may be your answer. Just check with your city for possible zoning restrictions!

home made garage 1

home ,ade garage 2

home made garage 3

First GMC Light Duty Pick Up Truck

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Prior to the mid-1930’s, the two truck divisions of General Motors, Chevrolet and GMC, were mostly independent companies. If you wanted a 1-1/2 ton and smaller truck, Chevrolet (since 1918) could provide the model just right for your needs. If you needed a 2-ton and larger, GMC was the division to contact. They had been a large truck specialist even before 1920.

A gradual overlap began in mid-1936 with the introduction of the new “low cab” body. GMC brought out a line of light trucks in direct competition with Chevrolet. They were to give their struggling GMC dealerships additional sales during the Great Depression by fulfilling their customer’s light duty hauling needs. These new trucks shared most sheet metal with Chevrolet as well as transmissions, front suspension, wheels and differentials. A few minor changes were the grille, hood sides, lettered tailgate and hubcaps; however, the major difference was the engine.

We have heard from several sources that this first GMC 1/2 ton pickup was always a long bed of 126”. The short bed 112” was not available until 1937.

At that time GMC did not produce a small engine that could fit their new light duty trucks. Their totally new small six-cylinder overhead valve power plant was still three years away. The solution was to use a pre-existing engine from one of the General Motors other divisions. They adopted the 213 cubic inch six-cylinder flat head (valves in the block) engine from Oldsmobile. Its power, size and reliability in cars made it the best choice and replacement parts were already available from the Oldsmobile division.

This proven engine in combination with the new low cab body proved successful and allowed GMC to begin gaining ground in the small truck market.

This 213 full oil pressure insert bearing engine (updated by Oldsmobile in 1937 to 230) was main source of power during the early years of smaller GMC trucks, 1936-38. One exception was in the half-ton pickup in 1938. For this model and year only, GMC now used a different smaller flat head six-cylinder. It came from the Pontiac car division and it even has the Pontiac Indian head symbol cast in the right side of the engine block. It had 223 cubic inches. The 230 was retained on GMCs larger than 1/2-tons.

Few of these light duty GMC survive today. They not only experienced the usual heavy work jobs as trucks, but with World War II new truck shortages meant few GMCs were set idle in storage.  After the war, most were worn down to where it cost more to repair them than using them to make a down payment on a new truck.  Thus, the majority were lost to the crusher.

first gmc light duty 1

1937 GMC, Drawing by Bryant Stewart, Farley, MA.

first gmc light duty 2

1936 GMC T-14
(Photo compliments of Patrick Kroeger at pkroeger@tampabay.rr.com)
Not to be used without written permission.

Demise of the GM Panel Truck

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Even before the 1920’s, light commercial hauling using panel trucks had found a loyal growing customer base. With increasing numbers of small businesses and the population gradually moving to the cities, the panel truck found a place in our society. By the 1930’s, most all truck manufacturers had designed a panel body to fit on their existing pickup truck chassis.

Advantages of the panel over other trucks for small business are numerous. Their weather-tight body protects cargo from rain, snow, driving wind and summer sun. Very important is the security feature. Merchandise is out of sight and can be locked. They are economical over big trucks and much more maneuverable than the larger commercial vehicles. Panel trucks are just right for moving in crowded streets and narrow alleys.

demise panel truck 1

Retired panel trucks used for storage (above)

Even at the end of the panel truck’s life, auto wrecking yards often kept a few for storage. The bodies were excellent for protecting used parts (starters, generators, bearings, clutches, etc.) from the weather.

During the mid 1960’s, a major drop in panel truck popularity began. The vehicle that was once wanted by most every business in America was now being overlooked because of a ‘new kid on the block.’ The General Motors G-series van had arrived! This new van with short nose, had better turning radius, more cargo space on a like wheelbase, and a side freight door. It was the truck to buy. On most models the price was even lower.

The panel truck could not compete! It’s sales began dropping almost every year. Their popularity became so low that GM discontinued the vehicle even before the end of the 1967-1972 body style. This tells how the sales had dropped. Production was stopped even though the assembly line was operating and the tooling was able to continue stamping the body panels. In 1970, General Motors called it quits. The panel truck was history!

demise panel truck 2

1970 G Series Van (above)

With the major sales decline during the final years, you will see less of the 1967-70 units than of the earlier designs.

Even finding a rough final series panel is a rare occurrence. The newest is now over 30 years old. They were built for work responsibilities. Few were kept out of the weather. Most were owned by companies and driven by their employees.

demise panel truck 3

1941-1946 1 1/2 Ton Front Bumper

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

A major change in large truck Chevrolet front bumpers occurred during there years. Prior to 1946 the 1 1/2 ton bumpers and braces were little more that a heavier guage design of the smaller 1/2 ton.

The big bumper change was in 1946. (Possibly this was because Chevrolet introduced its first 2 ton model that year.) Now it was nothing like those on the 1/2 and 3/4 ton.

This new heavier, stronger bumper design continues on GM’s larger trucks to this day.

1941 front bumper

1941 Front Bumper (above)

1946 front bumper

1946 Front Bumper (above)

1939 New Zealand Right Hand Drive

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

General Motors right hand drive trucks, though unusual in the United States, have always been very popular in specific countries such as Britain, New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia. These vehicles were not produced in the U.S. but came from GM’s large assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario. Due to reversed dash boards, the change in steering components, differences in starter linkages, and tail light locations, etc., the lower numbers of right hand drive production was kept at this one Canadian assembly plant.

In New Zealand, special marketing laws required at least 25% of each new truck had to be assembled or produced in that country. This was mostly to help provide more local jobs. Thus for many years the GM Canadian facility exported truck parts only to the New Zealand assembly plant in Petone near the capital city of Wellington. Hundreds of freight containers supplying GM truck parts regularly arrived at this New Zealand assembly plant. The specialized parts from Canada were engines, frames, suspension components, disassembled cabs and front sheet metal. The New Zealand plant then assembled the truck and furnished parts they could provide locally. This included (at least in the 1940’s) the wiring harnesses, window glass, a wood cab floor, some rubber parts, an optional flat wood deck, etc.

To keep within the 25% government parts and labor requirement, a truck bed with sides as supplied on U.S. vehicles was not included. A locally made wood deck could be added during assembly. Either with or without this deck, the two rear pickup metal rear fenders from the Canadian plant were wired or otherwise secured at the rear of the cab. The finished vehicle was delivered this way to local New Zealand GM dealers. The lack of a bed would also allow the budget minded buyer to construct his own deck or hauling platform and better afford the new truck.

A New Zealand trailer manufacturer during these early years used pickup rear fenders on their finished product. Their small general purpose trailers were usually equipped with these new metal pickup fenders. A retired 88 year old manager of this company remembers having standing orders with all New Zealand pickup dealers (not just GM) to purchase their extras. This saved additional expense on their completed trailers.

The photos below are of three excellent 1939 Chevrolet 1/2 ton’s, all assembled at the New Zealand plant.

Their right hand drive feature is unique to American readers, however, these Chevrolets have another very unusual characteristic. As with most 1939 New Zealand Chevrolet trucks, their cab was assembled in the New Zealand Petone plant from pre-stamped pieces, and are a mixture of two types of trucks. The rear of the cabs and door outer sheet metal are of the U.S. 1936-1938 design. The cowl, windshield frame, hood and grill are the 1939-40 style. Yes, they do weld together nicely into a single unit but the horizontal door and hood lines do not match. Reasons for the GM ‘cab mixture’ are not known at this writing, however, it is assumed keeping New Zealand’s costs low was the main factor. Quantities of older 1936-38 style rear cabs, roofs, and door stampings were either already available or the prior tooling still had much remaining life. The lower cost could then be passed on to the retail truck buyer. Just another way of producing the New Zealand 1939 GM truck at the lowest possible price!

Another theory for this unusual combination cab is due to the beginning of World War II. Because of New Zealand’s connection with Great Britain, they entered the war September 2, 1939 over two years before the United States became formally involved. No doubt being in the war created an immediate demand for all trucks in New Zealand. Rather than lose sales while the cab tooling changeover occurred at the Canadian supply plant (1938 to the new design 1939 body) GM continued with the prior sheet metal for their in demand export truck. Exact new styling was not necessary to overseas buyers when the war demand was so high!

Truck #1 – Owned and restored by Steve Jones, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Contact Steve at chevytrucks49@e3.net.nz

A local newspaper ad brought Steve to this basically complete 1939 pickup. It had great potential for a complete restoration and was just what Steve had been wanting. It’s major two year rebuilding started in 1999 and most all work was done personally by the owner, Steve Jones. It is now authentically restored from the ground up. The only observable differences from its 1939 beginning are the addition of a non-New Zealand GM bed with sides and its whitewall tires. Steve even picked an original Chevrolet truck color, Armour Yellow.

One of Steve’s pictures, with this article, features the inside of the cab top without the headliner. Note: the factory welds where the early and late style sheet metal have been joined.

1939 GMC Right Hand Drive

1939 GMC Right Hand Drive

1939 GMC Right Hand Drive

1939 GMC Right Hand Drive

1939 GMC Right Hand Drive

Truck #2 – Owned and restored by Steve Bright, Feilding, New Zealand

This 1939 was bought new by Steve’s grandfather. He used it for it’s first five years on a rural mail delivery route (during World War II) as well as helping with the family sheep and cattle farm. After the war it continued with farm duties plus collected cream from surrounding dairies for a local butter factory. This was done until 1950 when this little ’39 had reached a mileage of 200,000. It was then used for the next 25 years by members of the family on the farm or for trips to town.

Retirement occurred in about 1978 when major mechanical problems developed. It was placed in a barn after having logged over 350,000 miles!! It sat in this same storage place until 1990, when Steve decided to give it a major restoration in honor of his grandfather.

He has now rebuilt it to look like it’s off the assembly line. All worn parts were repaired or replaced. The exception is the hand made bed built during the restoration which results in a longer overhang in the back. The tonneau cover protects the bed bottom and merchandise being transported.

Though the truck looks and drives almost new, it is not a “trailer queen”. Steve Bright has driven it 14,000 miles in the past six years.

1939 GMC Right Hand Drive

1939 GMC Right Hand Drive

1939 GMC Right Hand Drive

1939 GMC Right Hand Drive

1939 GMC Right Hand Drive

Editors Note:The above trucks were closely observed and personally driven during a recent trip to New Zealand. Each has the same unique features, so it can be assumed, they are correct from the factory.

An additional feature of these New Zealand 1939 Chevrolets: The gas tanks were below the bed and cab from the factory, not under the seat as in the U.S.A. The right side of the cab is even notched out to allow the tank to fit higher above the ground.

Steve Bright’s truck still has the original tank. Steve Jones truck gas tank was missing so he placed a replacement unit under the seat as on U.S. built 1939’s.

Truck #3 – Owned and restored by Graham Stewert, Wyndham, New Zealand

Contact Graham at 2 R.D., Wyndham 9892, New Zealand

This little 1939 1/2 ton is on New Zealand’s South Island. Its owner, Graham Stewert, has personally given it a complete restoration with all parts disassembled and then put back in place. Other than engine rebuilding and body repair, the owner did the work!

Graham bought this 1/2 ton un-restored in 2003 with only 76,350 miles. It immediately caught his attention because it was the same as his grandfather bought new in 1939. He well remembers grandfather using it for regular deliveries by the family dairy to homes and a dairy processing plant.

Thus, he decided to build it “bone stock” in memory of his grandfather and how it looked in 1939.

It is now the exact color as grandfather’s 1939 and the engine, transmission, differential, and interior, etc. is like Graham remembers in his younger days. It runs like new and is a pleasure to drive for fun transportation as well as to many vintage auto rallies.

1939 GMC Right Hand Drive

1939 GMC Right Hand Drive

1939 GMC Right Hand Drive

1939 GMC Right Hand Drive

1939 GMC Right Hand Drive

1937-1946 Deluxe Heaters

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Keeping the passenger area warm in cars and trucks during the winter was always a problem in the early years. Not only were the heater fans and cores small but the vehicles used recirculator heaters. Thus, the air in the cab was recirculated rather than using dry outside cold air being brought inside and warmed. This helped for quicker warming but with more passengers, the additional humidity from breathing caused the windows to fog inside. A wiping cloth would have been needed to clear the windshield.

To address this issue, GM provided an extra feature with the pictured “deluxe” heater. A blower motor attached to the top of the standard heater made it a “deluxe” model. This separate optional motor on top forced warm air into the defroster nozzles and onto the windshield. There were two switches under the dash, one for each motor. In colder climates, it is doubtful the small heater core could supply warm air from the two motors both at the same time! Although this is antiquated by today’s standards, it did allow some relief on colder days.

GM Deluxe Heater 1
Optional Defroster Motor on Top-Estimated 1939
Front GM Deluxe Heater
GM deluxe Heater 2
Air intake, back view ‘ Estimated 1939
GM deluxe Heater 2
Optional Defroster Assembly- Estimated 1939
Optional Defroster Assembly- Estimated 1939


1937-1938 Australian Half Ton

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The Australian 1937-38 Chevrolet trucks are much like those in the U.S., however on close observation, one can certainly see unique differences. This United States relative is obviously GM but not quite the same.

These Down-Under truck’s final assembly point was in the Holden plant in New South Wales, Australia. (Holden is a branch for GM in that country.) Much of the sheet metal was stamped at the GM Canadian plant in Oshawa, Ontario. Most all the GM trucks in the 1930’s and 1940’s that reached overseas assembly plants were from this Canadian location but unassembled.

In Australia and even in nearby New Zealand, local governments required a certain percentage of truck parts to be manufactured in those countries. This provided jobs for the local population. Parts supplied in Australia would be wiring harnesses, glass, tires, seats, a different design bed, etc.

The current photos we have of Australian 1937-38 1/2 tons are these furnished by Luke Randall from auto gatherings in Eastern Australia. He owns a 1938 to be restored so he has an interest in others of this design. You can contact Luke at lukerandall@hotmail.com.

Items of special interest on these 1937 and 1938 Australian trucks are:

  • The 3 stamped ribs on the can roof
  • A different bed design
  • The wide horizontal panel below the door
  • The double stamped belt on the cowl and door stop near the handle (In the U.S. the belt continues around the cab behind to the rear under the window)
  • The windshield is two a piece not like the one piece 1937-1938 in the U.S.
  • Doors are more rounded at the top
  • Right hand drive

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton 2

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton 3

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton 4

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton 5

Luke and passenger

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton 6

Luke’s 1938 to be restored

It’s finally complete! Luke’s many hours has paid off. What a special “one of a kind” 1938.

As the beds from the Australian factory were usually a flat deck to lower retail costs, Luke added an all wood bed in the shape of a US designed bed. Very nice!

1936-1942 Coupe Pick Up

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1936-1942 Chevy Coupe Pick Up

During the great depression of the 1930’s, almost half of the automakers ceased business forever. Most remaining manufacturers modified their vehicles and advertising techniques to appeal to a very conservative buyer. With limited disposable income the few people willing to purchase a car or truck were very careful.

To help boost or at least hold sales steady, the Chevrolet Division introduced a new model in 1936. It was referred to as the Coupe Pickup. With a small corporate investment a dual purpose vehicle was created to appeal to the buyer with a need for both a car and a pickup.

The new model was a standard coupe with a miniature pickup truck bed placed in the trunk area. This small new bed included wood planks, metal strips, sides, and tailgate much like larger ½ ton pickups. It extended out of the trunk about the distance of the rear bumper. To keep out dust and rain water, a custom made canvas snapped in place between the small bed sides and the coupe trunk edges.

To appeal to the conservative new car buyer during the depression years this vehicle even included a painted coupe deck lid wrapped in several coverings of butcher paper. In this way if the mini-bed was removed, the deck lid could be attached and the owner then had a car.

A popular use was by neighborhood grocery stores.  The coupe express was excellent to deliver grocery items in the neighborhood.  The owner could also use it as his personal car!

This unique model was available each year from 1936 through early 1942 when World War II stopped domestic car production. There is almost no survival of the original coupe pickups. The few that made it even to the 1950’s were almost always given their deck lid to transform them to a pure coupe. Few people wanted an older pickup with such limited hauling capacity when they could have a coupe with a somewhat youthful sporty appearance.

No doubt the major weakness of this model was the canvas between the bed and body. It soon deteriorated when the vehicle set outside leaving the trunk area exposed to rain and snow. This was just the beginning of major rust problems which in time totaled the trunk area and maybe even the complete vehicle!

Today, if one of these beds would appear at an antique auto swap meet, almost no one would remember it’s original application. When the Chevrolet lettering was not on the gate, most would pass by thinking it is probably home made for a forgotten use.

1936-1942 coupe puick up 1

1936-1942 coupe pick up 2

1936-1942 coupe pick up

1936-1942 coupe pick up

Below is an example of an excellent used insert that made the standard coupe a coupe express. Found in Montana in 2013, it is about as pure as one can find of an almost 75 year old Chevrolet accessory. Almost no rust damage and some original paint! It had to be placed in a storage building when the car was made back into a standard coupe.

1934-1946 Truck Tech

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1934-1946 Chevy Truck Model I.D.

We hope the following information on Axle, Transmission and Model identification will help many of you with your questions. Accuracy was a concern as we compiled this information. Because GM made so many scheduled as well as unscheduled changes, there is much discussion about these changes.

The following is used by permission from Pickups and Panels Magazine and artist Bryant J. Stewart


Series DB…Wheelbase 112…1/2 ton pickup and canopy top pickup, panel, canopy express, spc. pickup/panel, chassis

Series PA/B…..Wheelbase 131..1 1/2 ton truck – single/dual wheels

Series PB…Wheelbase 131…1/2 ton pickup dual wheels

Series PC/D…..Wheelbase 157..1 1/2 ton truck – single/dual wheels

Series PD……Wheelbase 157….1 1/2 ton truck, dual wheels


truck tech 1935

Series EB…Wheelbase…112…1/2 ton pick up panel,canopy express,suburban, spc, pickup/panel chassis and cab.

Series QA/B…..Wheelbase…131…1 1/2 ton truck single and dual wheels

Series QC/D…..Wheelbase…157…1 1/2 ton truck single and dual wheels


truck tech 1936

Series FB…Wheelbase 112…1/2 pick up panel, canopy express, suburban, spc. pickup/panel, chassis and cab.

Series RA…..Wheelbase 131…1 1/2 ton truck single wheels

Series RB…Wheelbase 131…1 1/2 ton truck dual wheels.

Series RC…..Wheelbase 157…1 1/2 ton truck single wheels

Series RD…..Wheelbase 157…1 1/2 ton truck dual wheels


Series GC…Wheelbase 112……1/2 ton pick up, panel, canopy express, suburban carryall, chassis and cab

Series GD…..Wheelbase 122-1/2……3/4 ton pick up, panel, flatbed, stake rack (11″ brakes)

Series GE…..Wheelbase 122-1/2……3/4 ton pick up, panel, flatbed, stake rack (14″ brakes)

Series SA/B…..Wheelbase 131-1/2…..1 1/2 ton chassis and cowl, open express, canopy express

Series SC/D…..Wheelbase 157……1 1/2 ton flatbed, stake rack, single/dual wheels


Series HC…Wheelbase 112…………1/2 ton panel, canopy express, suburban

Series HD…..Wheelbase 120-1/4……3/4 ton pick up, panel, flatbed, stake rack, (11″ brakes)

Series HE…..Wheelbase 122-1/4……3/4 ton pick up, panel, flatbed, stake rack (14″ brakes)

Series TA…Wheelbase 131-1/2……..1 1/2 ton panel canopy express, flatbed, stake rack, single wheels

Series TB…..Wheelbase 131-1/2……1 1/2 ton panel, canopy express, flatbed, stake rack, dual wheels

Series TC…..Wheelbase 157……….1 1/2 ton flatbed, stake/stock dual wheels

Series TD…..Wheelbase 157……….1 1/2 ton flatbed, stake/stock dual wheels


Series JC…Wheelbase 113-1/2………1/2 ton pick up, canopy express, panel, suburban

Series JD…..Wheelbase 123-3/4…….3/4 ton pick up, stake rack, panel, flatbed (11″ brakes)

Series JE…..Wheelbase 123-3/4…….3/4 ton pick up, panel, flatbed, stake rack, (14″ brakes) heavy duty

Series VA/B…..Wheelbase 133………1 1/2 ton panel, canopy express, flatbed, stake rack, single/dual wheels

Series VC/D…Wheelbase 158-1/2……..1 1/2 ton flatbed, stake/stock rack, single/dual wheels

Series VE/F…..Wheelbase 107-5/8……1 1/2 ton COE flatbed, stake rack single/dual wheels

Series VG/H…..Wheelbase 131-1/8……1 1/2 ton COE flatbed, stake rack single/dual wheels

Series VM/N…..Wheelbase 156-5/8……1 1/2 ton COE m-single/n-dual wheels


Series KC…..Wheelbase 113-1/2………1/2 ton pick up, panel, canopy express, suburban

Series KD…..Wheelbase 123-3/4………3/4 ton pick up, stake rack, panel, flatbed (11″ brakes)

Series KE…..Wheelbase 123-3/4………3/4 ton pick up, panel, flatbed, stake rack (14″ brakes) heavy duty

Series KF…..Wheelbase 133………….1 ton panel

Series WA…..Wheelbase 133………….1 1/2 ton panel, canopy express, flatbed, stake rack, single/dual wheels

Series WB…..Wheelbase 158-1/2………1 1/2 ton flatbed, stake/stock rack, single/dual wheels

Series WC…..Wheelbase 193-5/8………School Bus chassis, dual wheels

Series WD…..Wheelbase 107-5/8………1 1/2 ton COE flatbed, stake rack

Series WE…..Wheelbase 131-1/8………1 1/2 ton COE flatbed, stake rack

Series WF…..Wheelbase 156-5/8………1 1/2 ton COE flatbed, stake rack


truck tech 1941

Series AK…..Wheelbase 115………….1/2 ton pick up, panel, canopy express, suburban

Series AL…..Wheelbase 125-1/4………3/4 ton pick up, panel, flatbed, stake rack (11″brakes)

Series AM…..Wheelbase 125-1/4………3/4 ton pick up, panel, flatybed, stake rack (14″ brakes) heavy duty

Series AN…..Wheelbase 134-1/2………1 ton panel

Series YR…..Wheelbase 134-1/2………1 1/2 ton flatbed, canopy express, flatbed, stake rack, single/dual wheels

Series YS…..Wheelbase 160………….1 1/2 ton flatbed, stake/stock rack, single/dual wheels

Series YT…..Wheelbase 195………….School Bus chassis, dual wheels

Series YU…..Wheelbase 109………….1 1/2 ton COE flatbed, stake rack

Series YV…..Wheelbase 132-1/2………1 1/2 ton COE flatbed, stake/stock rack

Series YW…..Wheelbase 158………….1 1/2 ton COE flatbed, stake rack


Series BK…..Wheelbase 115………….1/2 ton pick up, panel, canopy express, suburban

Series BL…..Wheelbase 125-1/4………3/4 ton pick up, panel, flatbed, stake rack (11″ brakes)

Series BM…..Wheelbase 125-1/4………3/4 ton pick up, panel, flatbed, stake rack, (14″ brakes) heavy duty

Series BN…..Wheelbase 134-1/2………1 ton panel, canopy express, flatbed, stake rack

Series MR…..Wheelbase 134-1/2………1 1/2 ton panel, canopy express, flatbed, stake rack, single/dual wheels

Series MS…..Wheelbase 160………….1 1/2 ton flatbed, stake/stock rack , single/dual wheels

Series MY…..Wheelbase 160………….1 1/2 ton school bus chassis

Series MT…..Wheelbase 195………….1 1/2 ton school bus chassis

Series MU…..Wheelbase 109………….1 1/2 ton COE

Series MV…..Wheelbase 132-1/2………1 1/2 ton COE flatbed, stake rack

Series MW…..Wheelbase 158………….1 1/2 ton COE flatbed, stake/stock rack


truck tech 1946

Series 1st CK 2nd DP…..Wheelbase 115………..1/2 ton pick up, panel, canopy express, suburban (1st only)

Series 1st DR…………Wheelbase 125-1/4…….3/4 ton pick up, panel, flatbed, stake rack

Series 1st DS…………Wheelbase 134-1/2…….1 ton pick up, panel, flatbed, stake rack

Series 1st OR 2nd PJ…..Wheelbase 134-1/2…….1 1/2 ton panel, canopy express, flatbed, stake rack

Series 1st OS 2nd PK…..Wheelbase 160………..1 1/2 ton flatbed, stake/stock rack

Series 1st OW 2nd PL…..Wheelbase 160………..1 1/2 ton school bus chassis

Series 1st OY…………Wheelbase 195………..1 1/2 ton school bus chassis

Series 1st OE 2nd PV…..Wheelbase 134-1/2…….1 1/2 ton flatbed, stake rack

Series 1st OF 2nd PW…..Wheelbase 160………..1 1/2 ton flatbed, stake/stock rack

Series 1st OG 2nd PX…..Wheelbase 195………..2 ton school bus chassis

Series 1st OH 2nd PP…..Wheelbase 109………..2 ton COE flatbed, stake rack

Series 1st OI 2nd PR…..Wheelbase 132-1/2…….2 ton COE flatbed, stake/stock rack

Disclaimer: This truck I. D. information is correct and complete to the best of our knowledge and is only to be used as a guide. Pickups ‘n panels and/or the National Chevy/GMC Truck Association, and Jim Carter Truck Parts, make no guarantee of accuracy, and disclaim any liability incurred in the use of this information.

Buy Parts for 1934 to 1946 Trucks


1918-1933 Truck Tech

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1918-33 Chevy Truck Model I.D.

We hope the following information on Axle, Transmission and Model identification will help many of you with your questions. Accuracy was a concern as we compiled this information. Because GM made so many scheduled as well as unscheduled changes, there is much discussion about these changes.

The following is used by permission from Pickups and Panels Magazine and artist Bryant J. Stewart

1918-1933 truck tech


Series 490…Wheelbase 102…1/2 ton light delivery chassis, wagon

Series T…..Wheelbase 125…1 ton worm drive chassis, flare board and curtain top express


Series 490…Wheelbase…102…1/2 ton light delivery chassis, wagon.

Series T…..Wheelbase…125…1 ton worm drive chassis, flare board and curtain top express


Series 490…Wheelbase 102…1/2 ton light delivery chassis, delivery wagon 1 and 3 seat

Series T…..Wheelbase 125…1 ton chassis and cowl, flare board and covered flare express


Series 490…Wheelbase 102…1/2 ton chassis and cowl, open express, covered express 3 seat

Series G…..Wheelbase 120…3/4 ton chassis and cowl, open express, canopy express

Series T…..Wheelbase 125…1 ton chassis, open express, canopy express, canopy express 3 seat


truck tech 1922

Series 490…Wheelbase 102…1/2 ton panel delivery, station wagon

Series G…..Wheelbase 120…3/4 ton cowl cab chassis, express, canopy express

Series T…..Wheelbase 125…1 ton chassis, open express, canopy express, canopy curtain express


Series A/B…Wheelbase 103…1/2 ton chassis, canopy express, panel, station wagon

Series D…..Wheelbase 120-5..1 ton chassis, stake, utility express, delivery, cattle body


Series B/F…Wheelbase 103…1/2 ton chassis, light delivery, panel

Series D/H…Wheelbase 120…1 ton chassis, stake, flare board express, dump, enclosed cab


Series F…..Wheelbase 103…1/2 ton chassis, light delivery (early 1925)

truck tech 1925

Series H…..Wheelbase 120…1 ton chassis (earlt 1925)

Series K…..Wheelbase 103…1/2 ton chassis, light delivery (late 1925)

Series M…..Wheelbase 120…1 ton chassis (late 1925)


Series K…..Wheelbase 103…1/2 ton chassis, light delivery (early 1926)

Series R…..Wheelbase 124…1 ton chassis (early 1926)

Series V…..Wheelbase 103…1/2 ton chassis, light delivery (late 1926)

truck tech 1926

Series X…..Wheelbase 124…1 ton chassis, springfield suburban, screenside, stake rack (late 1926)


Series V…..Wheelbase 103…1/2 ton chassis, light delivery (early 1927)

Series X…..Wheelbase 124…1 ton chassis, springfield suburban, screenside (early 1927)

Series AA….Wheelbase 103…1/2 ton chassis, light delivery (late 1927)

Series LM….Wheelbase 124…1 ton chassis, panel delivery, stake bed (late 1927)


Series AB….Wheelbase 107…1/2 ton chassis, pick up, canopy, panel, screenside and sedan delivery, roadster pick up

Series LO….Wheelbase 124…1 ton panel delivery, stake bed, chassis


truck tech 1929

Series AC….Wheelbase 107…1/2 ton chassis, pickup, canopy, panel, screenside and sedan delivery

Series LQ….Wheelbase 131…1 and 1 1/2 ton chassis


Series AD….Wheelbase 107…1/2 ton chassis, delivery, canopy, deluxe, panel, roadster, screenside, sedan

Series LR….Wheelbase 131…1 1/2 ton truck 1st half

Series LS….Wheelbase 131…1 1/2 ton truck 2nd half


truck tech 1931

Series AE….Wheelbase 109…1/2 ton open/closed cab chassis/puickup, panel, canopy express

Series LT….Wheelbase 131-157…1 1/2 ton truck-single and dual wheels 1st half

Series MA/B…Wheelbase 131…1 1/2 ton truck-single and dual wheels 2nd half

Series MC/D…Wheelbase 157…1 1/2 ton truck-single and dual wheels 2nd half


Series BB….Wheelbase 109….1/2 ton closed cab pickup and canopy top pickup, panel,open and closed cab canopy express, spc. sed. delivery/panel/chassis

Series NA/B..Wheelbase 131….1 1/2 ton truck- single/dual wheels

Series NC/D..Wheelbase 157….1 1/2 ton truck – single and dual wheels


truck tech 1933

Series CB….Wheelbase 109….1/2 ton pickup and canopy top pickup, panel, open and closed cab canopy express, special pickup/panel chassis

Series OA/B..Wheelbase 131….1 1/2 ton truck – single and dual wheels

Series OC/D..Wheelbase 157….1 1/2 ton truck- single and dual wheels

Disclaimer: This truck I. D. information is correct and complete to the best of our knowledge and is only to be used as a guide. Pickups ‘n panels and/or the National Chevy/GMC Truck Association, and Jim Carter Truck Parts, make no guarantee of accuracy, and disclaim any liability incurred in the use of this information.

Screw On ID Plates

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

screw on ID plates

The body I.D. plate – every GM truck had one attached at the factory. Basically it states the vehicle’s gross weight limit (weight of truck plus its maximum allowed load) plus stamped digits that give the assembly plant year, size of truck, month built, and sequential numbers as it came off the production line. These plates are necessary for positive vehicle identification.

A unique characteristic of the 1950 and older GM truck is that the I.D. plate was not riveted at the factory but rather held in place by two small clutch head screws with a hexagon perimeter. Thus a wrench or a clutch driver can tighten or remove them.

Over the years if the two screws begin to loosen, the owner would either retighten them from time to time or often remove the plate for safe keeping. Usually this plate stayed in the glove box or at home and just never got reattached. Thus we find some of these pre-1951 GM trucks with no I.D. plates. In the early years this was often of little concern as most trucks were titled on the engine number.

After 1950 these I.D. Plates were riveted to the door post. Probably not so much to prevent vehicle theft (we lived in a different era) but just to keep them from being lost.

In today’s world this can cause big problems in registering particularly if the transfer is to another state and an I.D. number verification is necessary. Even if the I.D. plate remains secure with screws as it left the factory, a problem may still exist. Unfortunately most inspectors today weren’t even born when these trucks were built. Sometimes an officer refuses to OK the truck, saying that I.D. plates do not come with attaching screws and it is not legal. You now have an uphill battle with an inspector that really believes he is correct.

Yes, you can attach this original scratched and painted-over I.D. plate with rivets. However, what is this inspector going to say when he sees this worn and painted on I.D. plate attached with two new shinny pop rivets? Have you ever been accused of car theft? It is then you wish the truck was titled to the engine!

Remember, on a left hand drive truck (1947-55) the I.D. plate attached to the left door post. It is attached to the opposite side on the right hand drive truck. The two holes for the plate screws or rivets are punched at the factory in both door posts.

Trees and Trucks

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

There couldn’t be an easier place for a tree to grow. If you don’t move your truck for a few years, trees will find it. As they grow wider, the truck bends to fit!

Here livestock cannot eat the first growth.  Lawn mowers can’t reach it.

It’s free to grow.

tree trucks 1


tree trucks 1

trees trucks 2

trees trucks 3

trees trucks 3

The Finale

In this example this small young tree sensed the light coming through the square bumper bolt hole and grew in that direction.

It went on through the hole and continued it’s growth. All was growing good until a weed sprayer came on the scene.

Compliments of Jerry’s Chevy Restoration Shop. Independence, Missouri.



White Wall Tires

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Prior to the 1960’s, trucks were used as work vehicles. On Friday nights, most were parked for the weekend and the family sedan was the transportation vehicle.

It was a conservative era when you bought only basic necessities. A $5.00 grocery purchase was more than most could carry. Finding white wall tires on a truck (even a car) would have been a rare sight, indeed. Very few cars, except for most luxurious models, would have had white walls even as an option. It should be remembered, that most roads, except highways and those in the main part of town were gravel, dirt, or sprayed annually with tar.

Of course, a dealer would have been happy to install aftermarket white wall tires, if the customer made a specific request. For a price, the dealer would provide any option to keep a satisfied customer and make a few dollars.

On GM trucks, white walls became a factory option in mid-1955, partially because of the introduction of the Chevrolet Cameo and GMC Suburban carrier and also due to more roads becoming paved. These very deluxe pickups, as well as several of the other well appointed 1/2 tons justified a white wall tire for those wanting it all!

Almost none of these deluxe models would have been given their second set of white wall tires. By then, the pickup was older and being used more as a hauler, not for appearance.

Buy Parts for 1934 to 1946 Trucks


Wider Wheels on 3/4 Tons

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

When you need more room for wider 8 bolt non-split rim wheels on your stock 1946-1959 Chevrolet or GMC ¾ ton, there is a solution. (The long tie rod ends prevent the use of wheels much wider than the original split rims.) Customers have given us an answer! It is not difficult and uses all original GM parts.

After the left and right tie rod ends from a 1 or 1-1/2 ton. They are about one inch shorter. As their threads are reversed from the ¾ ton design (these replacement ends have male ends), you will need a tie rod from a 1 or 1-1/2 ton with female ends. Yes, they fit into the original arms beside the ¾ ton backing plates.

The tie rod ends are still available new, however, the long tie rod will need to be from a used truck. If you are lucky, the tie rod with ends will come together from the older truck. There is even a good chance the ends will be in great shape and won’t need replacing. If so, mark the position of the ends on the tie rod if you remove them. Another end can be replaced in the exact prior position. In this way your front suspension should stay in alignment and save you money and time in an alignment shop.

Note: If the used tie rod ends are good, remove the old grease. It probably contains road grit and will cause premature wear. Put some heat on the ends before adding new grease through the zirk fitting. This will soften the old grease. It will then come out when new lubricant is added under pressure.

Swing Out Military Windshield, 1936-1946 Chevrolet and GMC

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the early years of auto and truck design, most vehicles came with their windshields capable of tipping outward. This helped poorly insulated cabs to be more bearable during hot weather. Extra outside air would be forced into the cab and replaced some of the hot air radiating from the bare sheet metal firewall.

This idea was good but not without a few problems. Unfortunately, air movement depended on the speed of the vehicle. The faster the driving, the more air circulation. Too bad for the driver in stop and go city traffic during a hot summer day.

In GM trucks, water leaks into the cab developed as the rubber edge seal began to age. The under dash crank-out gear assembly (1936-46) was not easily reached and therefore almost never received lubrication. The gear would wear and later most became non-usable. It was then necessary to close the windshield frame permanently and the cab lost a major method of getting air flow on hot days.

The system was expensive to produce! A pair of swing hinges, a crank-out assembly, and two windshield halves added to production costs.

This windshield vent system was stopped with the introduction of the 1947 Advance Design cab. The two piece windshield now became permanently sealed. An insulated interior fire wall pad was standard. A left side cowl vent intake door forced outside air over the drivers feet and lower legs. (Of course, this was also when the truck was moving.)

A top cowl vent door (also on earlier trucks) now had a screen to prevent entry of insects. Thus, this was the end of the swing-out windshield. They were a great help on hot days when the vehicle was moving, but inevitable gear wear began a new set of problems for later years.

NOTE: During World War II, the military using civilian cabs on their larger trucks had no patience for this crank-out assembly. They wanted no malfunction in the open position while being in a Russian or German winter. They even placed the windshield hinges on the roof for less complicated repairs in the field.

Therefore, the military went back to the swing out windshield frame design that opened manually by the driver. This system was used on all 1936 and older High Cab Chevrolet trucks, Model A Fords, and so many other early automobiles that needed more ventilation. See Photos.

WWII Cab 9

WWII Cab 5


1939-1946 Replacement Seat Cushions

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Locating a pair of seat cushions for the 1939-46 truck has become very difficult in recent years. These early trucks increased popularity is the main reason for the shortage. Even when a pair of cushions are located the asking price often does not justify the purchase because of the age damage to the springs and frame of the lower cushion.

It is this lower cushion that has received the most wear in its 60 years. In a salvage yard the door or window left open for even a year allows rain water to soak the seat padding and hasten the damage.

As your hunt continues, here is a practical substitute that fits the cab well and gives the appearance of a re-upholstered original. Locate the common rear seat (not the middle) in a 1984-90 Dodge Caravan or Plymouth Voyager mini-van. You can even pull the factory levers on the back and the seat is quickly removed. Most salvage yards have many extras and their pricing should be under $50.00. You will even get the seat belts!

With less use of this rear seat in the van, you can find one with no tears or permanent stains.

The next step is cleaning. Simply place it in the bed of your late model pickup and find a coin operated wand car wash. The hot soapy water will make the cloth covered cushion like new for less than $5.00. Leave it in your truck for a few hours until the water drip stops. Then place the cushion where it can dry. In about 24 hours, the job is done! The padding is closed cell foam and does not absorb water.

You won’t need most of the lower metal attaching brackets. Remove them and attach the remaining metal and cushions to your trucks original seat riser. Here is where you can be creative but it is done and the remaining metal will not be visible.

For the perfectionist, the cab tapers inward as it reaches the cowl. Thus, the two doors are slightly closer to each other at the front in a standard cab. This new van cushion will touch the front of the doors because of this taper. If you don’t like this contact with the door, an upholstery shop can place a taper in the lower cushion to parallel the inside door panel. A small portion of the foam edge can be removed from the front sides of the lower cushion.

Continue to search for the original 1939-46 seat cushions. In the meantime, you have very comfortable clean cushions with seat belts. Most people will think you had your originals reupholstered.

The following article and pictures were received from Brett Courcier. He personally used this type seat and is very satisfied.

My name is Brett Courcier. I live in Fremont Nebraska. I own a 1946 Chevy pickup street rod. I wanted to take a few pictures of how my seat fit in my truck. I was trying to find a seat for my truck. I found a Plymouth Caravan minivan rear seat. It fit great. I cut off the latching pieces that go in the minivan floor and welded on a piece of 2″ square tubing to the front legs and a piece of 1″ square tubing to the rear legs. The pictures show them. My upholsterer added lumbar support to the lower back area and also added 2″ in heigth to the back of the seat. The seat comes with three seat belts and folds forward from the back of the cab. We added a full length pouch across the back of the cab for storage. I hope the pictures show enough for you. If you have any questions please contact me.

Brett Courcier

402-727-7127 or e-mail baccourcier@team-national.com


We just had an email showing another excellent seat for a 1939-46 Chevy / GMC cab. This photo is of a rear seat cushion from a 1990 Ford mini van. Nice fit. This person found a top of the line leather seat in a local salvage yard. A good cleaning made it a very nice inexpensive seat that fit really well!

seat 1 seat 2 seat 3

1984-1990 Dodge Caravan or Plymouth Voyager


1990 Ford Mini Van

Seat Cover Kits

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Our seat cover kits are produced with an emphasis on originality. The materials are top quality for many year’s service. Seams, ribbing, etc., are based on original seats.

seat cover

We recommend that installation be done by a professional upholstery company. However, if you wish to do it yourself, here are several important steps to follow:

1. Seat springs must be in original condition. No breaks, sags, etc.

2. Over springs, place one layer of burlap.

3. Over burlap, place two layers of cotton padding. Cotton must extend down over edges of outer springs.

4. Place vinyl cover over padding. Stretch evenly to eliminate wrinkles. Press special C shape clips at rear of springs to permanently hold cover in place.

5. If clips are put in place with pliers, cover the end with tape or equivalent to lessen chances to vinyl tears.

6. Wrinkles from storage will normally disappear in several days.

Early Gas Tank Danger

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

On most all early GM trucks their fuel line exited on the bottom of the tank. It was usually attached to a brass shut-off valve which threaded into the tank. In case of fuel pump or line repair, a person had to lay under the truck to turn the tank valve and stop fuel flow.

No doubt, this design resulted in many building fires as the trucks aged. By design, the tank is above the fuel pump. Thus, an un-noticed fuel drip or worse will continue until the tank is drained by gravity. What a dangerous mix in the many homes at that time with basement garages and nearby gas fired water heaters.

In 1954 the needed change occurred. The gas pick-up line now leaves the tank on the top but extends down to almost the bottom. In this way, the gasoline does not drain due to a line leak and sediment stays in the tank bottom.

For the perfectionist wanting his truck authentic, the original system does not have to be a fire hazard. Regularly check the short neoprene flex line between the tank and fuel pump. There is a limit on how long the non-metal flex fuel line can last.

For the non-perfectionist: Use a 1954 gas sending unit in the 1949-53 behind the seat gas tank. With a few line alterations fuel can no longer drip when parked. That is “peace of mind”.

early gas tank danger 1

1954 and newer (above)

early gas tank danger 2

1953 and older (above)