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The New 1955 Chevrolet Truck

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

The 1947 through early 1955 Advance Design Chevrolet Trucks were great sellers however General Motors realized that a changed body style would soon be in order. The competition was strong and if Chevrolet was to stay “Number One” in truck sales, a new planned body style would be necessary.

It all came into existence in mid-1955. The totally new cab and front sheet metal was introduced as “The Task Force Trucks”.

There was even a slight resemblance to the new totally redesigned 1955 Chevrolet cars. The Chevrolet truck design was so different than the Advanced Design body style America was accustomed to seeing. It certainly out dated the Advance Design truck. Sales continued strong and kept the mid 1955 Chevrolet trucks “Number One” in the nation.

By this time US citizens had a little extra disposable income. GM had seen this coming as more options and accessories were sold in 1954 than ever before for the Advance Design trucks.

REASON FOR THE MID-YEAR 1955 INTRODUCTION OF THE NEW 1955 CHEVY TASK FORCE TRUCKS AND NOT AT THE FIRST OF THE YEAR:

For almost all of 1954, GM had been heavily advertising the coming of the NEW 1955 Chevrolet passenger car. It would be a totally different vehicle. Even a V-8 came optional and a 12 volt electrical system was standard! The new Chevy trucks would also offer an optional V-8 engine and standard 12 volt electrical system. GM spent so much money to make people aware of what was coming! They used television, local newspapers, radio, magazines, mail-outs, posters in dealerships showrooms etc. to keep these new coming Chevrolet cars in the minds of the American public.
General Motors decided the way to get the very most for their advertisement dollar was to hold back the introduction of the coming new 1955 Chevrolet Task Force Trucks. These were not to compete with the new Chevrolet cars. Some smaller Chevrolet dealers could just get one or two vehicles in their showroom and GM wanted it to be passenger cars in early 1955. GM would wait for the 1955 Chevrolet Task Force truck showing until after the show room car introduction and the crowds slowed.

Then the new 1955 Chevrolet truck advertisements were started and a totally different group of customers were expected to be in the showrooms. Their many passenger car ads they had used for the new 1955 car were GM’s guide on how to do it again but this time for trucks.

The dealers loved it! They never had so many people looking at cars and trucks in one year. If a dealer did not make more money in their history during the 1955 year, they just were not trying! (and GM might find someone else to own their Chevrolet dealership!)

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

American Ingenuity

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Needed are some logs without bark and a table saw. Cut in half and add tongue and groove. You have a truck flat bed!

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