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Posts Tagged ‘1947’

Suburban Rear Quarter Panel Holes

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

The full rear quarter panels for the 1947-55 Chevy/GMC Suburban were made all the same at the metal stamping manufacturer.  To save money these panels were not made different if the Suburban was to have the double doors or the tailgate style opening in the rear.

Thus, when the Suburban was provided with a lift and tailgate combination the 4 holes for the “double barn door” hinges in the quarter panels were filled with rectangular rubber plugs.  This was not just for appearance but prevent rain water from reaching the body interior.

These photos show the plugs painted in body color; however it is questioned if this is correct.  By 1950, Suburban buyers had the choice of the 12 pickup colors.  It would have been more economical for all to have black rubber plugs instead of 12 boxes with the optional color prepainted plugs on the assembly line.

The other thought:  These plugs were painted when the full body was given its final color.  This would mean GM planned on the enamel body paint being of the quality that would successfully adhere to rubber over the years.  We don’t usually see this combination in other GM vehicles.  Special paint for rubber only is used!

Comments on how it really occurred:  Email us at jcarter@oldchevytrucks.com

1947-1955 GM panel truck seats

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Attached are some pictures of the correct 1947-1955 GM panel truck seats. The right side was a factory option. This would be special ordered if the owner was planning on two passengers. Though they have been recovered with cloth instead of factory “leatherette”, they are correct in all other ways. What is interesting is how GM made the optional right side seat to fold up against the dash. This was necessary to allow easier access to merchandise up front. No need to unload freight to get to the front storage area. It appears the seat frame and floor is painted the original grey color. A thin sheet of insulation is placed between each of the body supports. This was to lessen road noise and slow some heat from entering the cab on hot days. Another interesting feature on panel trucks; the single horizontal oak board on each side of the interior helps prevent damage to the exterior sheet metal walls. If a stack of transported items tipped while the panel truck was making a corner, there was less chance of dents being placed on the sides. Note the long metal lid over the floor box which is under the factory optional right seat. This is only provided in the panel truck and canopy express bodies.  It kept the driver’s papers in a neat compartment so they did not slide or blow across the floor.

1947-1955 GM panel truck seats 1947-1955 GM panel truck seats

1947-55 Suburban/Canopy Express Tail Light

Monday, June 25th, 2012

What an ingenious way to keep a tail light in view! General Motors realized that with the tail gate in the lowered position the center tail light still had to be seen by the following traffic. At times the gate will stay lowered when longer freight is carried.

Therefore, the 5” round light is attached to a swing bracket. This bracket is moved by a ¼” vertical rod inside the tailgate. As the gate is lowered, the rod is moved by a hidden attachment on the edge of the body. Thus, the light is always visible!

These photos are of a 1953 Canopy Express owned by John Dunkirk of Southaven, New York.

1947-55 Suburban/Canopy Express Tail Light 1947-55 Suburban/Canopy Express Tail Light

An Inner-Line Oil Filter

Monday, October 10th, 2011

An Inner-Line oil filter from Long Island, New York!  Rarely seen today but a popular early aftermarket option.  It secures to the engine block after removing the oil distribution cover.  No oil lines.  No moving the horn forward to make room for the intake manifold mounted oil canister.

Inner-Line Oil Filter Inner-Line Oil Filter
Inner-Line Oil Filter

Aftermarket Dual Rear Wheels

Monday, April 18th, 2011

What a unique invention. When you have a 1947 through 1959 single rear wheel 3/4 or 1 ton GM truck and need more pulling power, this is the answer. American ingenuity at its best!

This new steel center hub extension includes eight long bolts to reach the original wheel studs. This holds the factory wheel in place and then provides a threaded end for the original eight lug nuts which are holding another matching wheel.

The buyer of this aftermarket kit just had to be sure his new outer tire was the same height as the original inner tire.

Pictures and data from Scott Golding, Stratton, NE.
email: scottandbetty@hotmail.com

1947-54 Radio Antenna Installation Warning

Friday, April 15th, 2011

It is very important where to drill the hole for the new radio antenna. The results of making a slight mistake will stay in your mind for many years to come!

Radios during these 1947-54 Advance Design years were never installed at the factory. This was done by the authorized GM Dealer. In the box that contained the new radio was a paper template that prevented mistakes when drilling the antenna hole. This hole in the cowl was so close to the belt line that the body to the antenna seal gasket even lacked an edge where it touched this body belt. Even with GM moving the antenna so close to the belt line there is still only about 1/2″ clearance to the hood when it is open. See photo.

The sad realization occurs later when a new radio antenna is installed by an amateur. He drills the hole in the cowl (correctly on the driver’s side) about another 3/4′ forward. He smiles as the radio works great. He doesn’t smile a week later when he tries to raise the hood to check the oil. It won’t raise! The rear hood edge hits the antenna. A rubber plug later put in the new hole is always a reminder of what a 1/2′ can do.

Hood Closed Hood Open Hood Open

Split Rim Wheels

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Article courtesy of Rob English (rob@oldgmctrucks.com)


The issue of multiple piece rims and safety comes up frequently. There seems to be a quick rush to judgment about any rim that has more than one piece, and while certain types of multiple piece rims have indeed been outlawed and are no longer made, many others are not only still in service, they are still made new.

1947-1954 light duty trucks offered split rims in 1/2 ton (optional only) up to 1 ton trucks. Many people are unaware that there was a 1/2 ton two piece 15″ six lug rim option available in GMCs and I presume Chevy too. More often than not, we run into eight lug two and three piece rims on 3/4 ton and one ton trucks and these are the subject of most of the misinformation.

There were two types of split rims offered originally a 3/4 ton GMC; 15″ TWO piece split rims (Kelsey-Hayes type WK-3), and optional 17″ THREE piece split rims (Kelsey-Hayes type WK-4)

The two piece split rim uses a lock ring that is fixed and is one solid piece. There’s a notch in the rim where you can remove and reinstall the bead retainer ring while mounting and breaking down tires. To remove, you tip the ring at an angle and then slip it by the notch. To mount, do the opposite. This type DOES NOT require prying apart the ring and if you try to pry it off, you’ll ruin ix

The 17″ split rims originally would have been the Kelsey-Hayes type WK-4 and are three pieces; the rim, the bead ring, and the lock ring. They are put together pretty much the same way they do now-a-days on big truck rims. The tire goes on the rim, then the ring slips on and then the third ring is “zipped” on/off using a sledge hammer and pry bar.

The safety of these rims is directly dependent upon their overall condition. I have split rims on all three of my vintage GMCs. You will find knowledgeable truck tire places will work on them without hesitation and car tire places will go screaming in circles with their hair on fire spewing misinformation about “suicide” rims which may or may not be applicable, but does more to spook people than inform them with facts.

I have many many miles on my original split rims and find them to be great for my purposes. Others may have different views of what works for them. See the illustration below to understand the three basic types of original stock rims you’ll find on the old GMC trucks.

View PDF Chart of 1947-1954 Split Rims Click Here

Jim Carter follow- up on this article by Rob English:

I have three 1 to 1 ½ ton Chevy’s that were restored at least 10 years ago.  They all have the correct split rim wheels.  There has been absolutely no problem with any of them.

The tire quality in today’s world is so superior to that of 50 years ago!  In the 1950’s I would see someone on the road changing a flat tire almost every two weeks.  Now, it has changed to about once in 6 months.

Suggestion:  To improve the appearance of your split rims, zinc plate (like GM did when new) or paint the small lock ring silver.  This will nicely contrast with the painted wheel.  You might say they even look a little like white walls!  It really helps the appearance!  See photos.

1 ½ and 2 Ton ¾ and 1 Ton

New Cigarette Lighter

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Purchasing a 1947-1953 optional cigarette lighter assembly from some vendors provides reproduction that is far from original in appearance. A manufacturer recently offered the optional lighter assembly but used a knob from the headlight of a 1947-1953. There is no similarity to the real lighter!

Don’t be embarrassed at a show where your vehicle is being judged.

new cigarette lighter 1

Reproduction (above)

new cigarette lighter 2

Image of original (above)

1947-1954 Rear Spring Alignment

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Tech Tip from Ron Hansen
Wakefield, Massachusetts

Jim Carter Truck Parts

Alignment Solution for Installing a Late Model Rear End in a 1947-1954 Pick Up

On the original rear end, the spring centerbolt is offset to the front of the spring by 2″to 3″. If you install a modern rear end (with an open driveshaft) and retain the original springs, the wheels will end up offset forward (inside) of the original wheel openings in the fenders. To correct this problem, remove the original springs and reverse them end to end (front to back) as they are the same on both ends. This will bring the spring centerbolt to the rear of the axle and place the new rear end in the center of the fender wheel openings.

Click to enlarge

Jim Carter Truck Parts

Advanced Design Lighter

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

To keep the 1947-1955 GM trucks base price low, their 6 volt cigarette lighter was a dealer accessory. The vehicle always came from the factory with a round blank out plug at the lower center of the dash.

To save tooling costs both the Chevrolet and GMC truck divisions used the same lighter as was found in Chevrolet’s passenger car. It did not match other knobs in the cab. Its double ring chrome head is exclusive to General Motors though it does not carry their logo. They are often seen at swap meets and flea markets mixed with lighter accumulations from all makes. The chrome head is easily unscrewed when a replacement heating element is needed. It will attach to either a 6 or 12 volt element. The in dash receiver also must be changed. GM made a slight difference in element diameters so 6 and 12 volt units. An owner in later years could not accidentally mix the two different voltage types.

advance lighter 1

advance lighter 2

1954-1955 Example (above)

1947-1948 Recirculator Heater

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The Chevrolet and GMC dealer installed recirculator heater was much different in 1947-48. In 1946 and older plus in 1949 through 1957, they sold the traditional round core design but for 1947 and 1948 it was all different.

The attached photos show the 1947-48 GM recirculator heater. Its rectangular core and vertical mounting studs are reserved for just these two years.  Except for the logo plate they are the same for GMC and Chevrolet. To be sure the dealers mechanic installed these accessory heaters correctly, holes were placed in the firewall during the trucks construction.

In this photo of a 1948 firewall, arrows point to the factory holes to make sure the heater is installed just right.

An additional point of interest on this 1947-48 heater:

The defroster appears to be an extra cost item. Note the picture of the truck with the side mounted defroster. Also see the separate heater with a round factory plate covering the defroster position. It appears you could order a style of recirculator heater depending on the climate in your area.

1947 heater 1 1947 heater 2

1947 heater 3 1947 heater 4

1947 heater 5

1947 Laundry Truck

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1947 Laundry Truck

Its early 1947 and the U.S. has been struggling over a year to get factories back to producing domestic goods for the new post World War II economy. Car and truck hungry customers are expecting a year’s wait for each new vehicle ordered.

In Lowell , Mass. , the Centralville Laundry is struggling with the daily use of their seven year old pre-war ½ ton panel truck. Unexpected break downs and parts shortages create havoc with necessary daily pickup and delivery of their customer’s laundry.

The laundry business was good. Since the U.S. entered the war in 1941, a large percentage of housewives entered the job market both for financial reasons and keeping the factories producing. For the Centralville Laundry Company, this was great for business. After working eight hours at the factory and managing a family, the last thing the lady of the house needed was to come home to hours of laundry. Home automatic washers were almost unheard of and most of the clothing was washed by hand.

On a March 1947 Saturday night, Jim Nigzus, the laundry owner, spotted the back of a shiny panel truck through an open door of the town’s Chevrolet dealer’s rear storage building. He called the dealer at his home at 9:30 p.m. ‘What have you got in that building? Is it for sale?’

What a surprise! The local furniture dealer had just rejected this new panel truck because it was a 1 ton and not the ½ ton that had been ordered the year before. Jim Nigzus couldn’t believe his eyes. He not only could buy this panel truck, but it was new. He cared less about it being a large body 1 ton. His company needed a panel truck now. The vehicle was bought verbally on the phone and the Centralville Laundry had a new panel truck the next Monday afternoon.

That day began a relationship with this 1 ton that has lasted 55 years and over 500,000 miles! Jim is now retired but keeps the old company panel looking just like in its working days. A coat of company blue paint, some bodywork and new side business logos have helped slow the rust that is so determined to keep attacking this worker of over 40 years on Lowell, Mass. city streets. The truck has its original 17′ split rim wheels and an optional passenger seat. Extra lights were added 50 years ago to make the panel more visible in the evenings while delivering during the shorter winter New England days.

This one ton has had almost no modification and is powered by the proper low oil pressure 216 cubic inch six cylinder in front of the correct non-synchronized 4 speed transmission. The panel truck’s size and extra hauling capacity proved to be an instant advantage over ½ tons in the needs of the early laundry business. As money was limited during these years, families would save a great deal by having their wash delivered wet! The laundry was then line dried by the customer and ironed at home. The heavy weight of ‘wet wash’ deliveries made a 1 ton a success not only on weight capacity but more stops could be made for each run from the laundry building.

1947 Chevrolet Laundry Truck

1947 Chevrolet Laundry Truck

1947 Chevrolet Laundry Truck

1947 Chevrolet Laundry Truck

1947 Chevrolet Laundry Truck

1947-1955 Air Filter

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the Advance Design Truck years, two air filters were available when an order was sent to the factory. The base air filter (no extra cost) was the oil-wetted design from earlier years. The owner was expected to place a thin layer of motor oil on the filter media. Dirt particles would be caught by the oil as it passed through the mesh material. This metal mesh looks much like the material in a kitchen pot and pan copper scraper. The owner was reminded to clean the mesh every 2000 miles for it to be effective.

For an extra $5.00 an improved oil bath air filter came with the new truck. Most everyone who used their GM truck for work duties chose this filter. It required less maintenance and was more forgiving if neglected. GM recommended cleaning in kerosene each 100 hours or 5,000 miles minimum. Part of the filter media actually sets in an oil reservoir that has a pint capacity. The oil is slowly drawn up into the filter material and collects dust particles as the air travels to the carb. * NOTE: For best results use non-detergent oil. Dirt is not held in suspension with non-detergent oil and it settles on the bottom of the reservoir. At the same time held particles slowly sink toward the oil reservoir and accumulate at the bottom. Thus, this filter is always effective due to the oil upward movement. When the oil is changed in the filter pan or reservoir the dirt is also removed.

As with other manufacture’s air filters, they will cause fuel mixture problems when not maintained. A very dirty air filter will restrict air flow into the carburetor and result in increased fuel consumption.

1947 air filter 1

1947 air filter 2

Oil Wetted (above)

1947 air filter 3

Oil Bath (above)

1947 oil filter 4

Oil Bath (above)

1947-1948 Accelerator Rod

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

By January 1949 GM realized there was an engine noise in the new late 1947 Advance Design cabs that needed correction. If a truck customer complained, the dealer was given a solution by modifying a part from a Chevrolet car.

The problem was engine noise entering the cab through the horizontal accelerator rod where it touched the floor hole. On many early Advance Design models there was not yet a pocket to hold a felt floor seal and insulate this rod. Metal to metal contact was inevitable.

The enclosed article is from a GM product service bulletin issued January 31, 1949. It was sent to all dealers.

Note: It is doubtful if all this work required of the dealer in the bulletin was ever very successful. The real noise problem was actually from attaching the back of the accelerator pedal to the accelerator rod. Metal contact here brought noise into the cab and then to the floor where the accelerator pedal made connection. By 1951 a new pedal to rod connection was used (like the car) and the problem was corrected.

1947 GM accelerator rod 1

Wheel Striping

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the 1940’s through 1950’s placing pin stripes on automobile wheels occurred on most all brands. It was an inexpensive touch that added a little flair to the appearance of a new wheel. The stripe could be added quickly with a machine on a rotating wheel. The factory didn’t need a human as on the body stripes.

GM was no exception. They had been striping most new car wheels for almost 10 years. Beginning with the 1947 Advance Design trucks, this striping even was used on ½ tons that had the deluxe package (not the standard models). This extra was continued through the 1947-1955 body style.

The attached photo shows a used original never repainted 16″ 1/2 ton deluxe wheel. Note how perfect the 3/4″ stripes are applied. With the addition of the small chrome hub cap, the wheel drew attention

wheel striping 1

wheel striping 2

1947-1955 Tail Lights

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The Chevrolet and GMC left commercial taillight used during 1947-1953 is an excellent example of GM’s conservative thinking towards trucks. The number one purpose for trucks was work! Therefore, if a part had been very successful on a prior body design, it just might be adapted later as a part in some new styling. Savings were in production costs and tooling. The results were still a good practical part for a working vehicle.

This type of thinking it shown in the Advance Design 1947-1953 pickup taillights. The same light assembly had not only been in use on trucks since 1940 but the red lens and chrome bezel was first used in all taillights on the 1937-38 Chevrolet passenger cars.

With the introduction of the new 1947 body style, this same six volt light continued to be used. It was now turned 180 degrees, so that the clear license light lens was at the bottom, and did not shine upward as in prior years. This allowed for a smaller taillight bracket with low mounted license plate. On earlier models the high positioned license caught the wind. This plus the use of trucks on rough terrain often caused bracket failure. With the left light illuminating the license plate, the optional right taillight did not have or need this lens opening.

Because the same lens was used on the 180 degree reversed taillight in 1947-1953, the red lens letters were now upside down. This was not a problem to GM as trucks were for utility purposes. Changing the lens tooling just to make the cast letters show upright was not a consideration. The red lens sold by authorized Chevrolet or GMC dealers normally had STOPRAY block letters at the top and either GUIDE letters in script or “STIMSONITE” in block letters at the bottom. In 1949 GM changed the red lens from glass to plastic. This thinner material reduced overall weight and gave a brighter red when light passed through. The various aftermarket lens manufacturers also followed GM’s procedure. Even their lens lettering is reversed when placed on the 1947-53 trucks. It appears they also designed this lens with the 1937-1938 car in mind.

The light on the pickup and larger truck has a rectangle shape with dimensions 4 inch high x 2 1/2 inch wide. An authentic 1940-1953 GM light bucket will have the block letters GUIDE-MADE IN USA stamped on the back. These letters are not visible when attached to the factory taillight bracket. In 1947-1953 the 1/4 inch block letters STOPRAY were stamped in the top of the light bucket. These letters, prior to 1947, had been stamped in the area at the rear of the license lens on the opposite end when the bucket was reversed. In this way “STOPRAY” is always seen on the top in this series of taillight. The running light bulb (illuminating both the license and red lens) is three candle power. The stop light bulb, positioned behind the center of the lens, is 21 candle power. The bezel was chrome over the black bucket until copper shortages occurred in 1952-1953 due to the Korean War. The bezel then became black.

One minor change in this design over its early years was the reversing of a very small water drain hole in the lens retaining bezel. Engineers knew this water escape hole would be needed for drying and to drain moisture from within the bucket as the cork bezel gasket began to deteriorate within several years. This drain hole was centered in the bottom of the original light bezel; however, between 1947-1953 when the light was reversed, the bottom drain went to the lower right. This was due to an internal securing bracket welded the middle of the bezel and preventing there being a place for a center drain hole.

This taillight as used on pickup and larger trucks is mostly unprotected from the elements when located beside or under the bed. Tests quickly showed that some type of seal would be necessary in the hole where the two light wires from the bulb exited the taillight. As a modern rubber seal had not been perfected, GM skillfully came up with a solution. An approximately 2 ft. long, 5/16 inch diameter cloth woven black lacquered tube was inserted one inch into the bucket taillight wire hole. The inside end was flattened on the two wires with a heavy metal staple. This prevented the loom from being removed, protected the wires, and prevented water from entering the housing.

With the total redesign of the step bed in 1954, the six volt taillights were also changed. They became round four inch diameter units with one light bulb having two filaments of three and twenty one candle power. The lens retaining bezel was chrome plated on the more deluxe truck, painted black like the bucket on the standard models. The clear license lens was in the bottom of this bucket to illuminate the plate below. With the optional rear bumper on pickups, the license plate moved to the middle of the truck and the taillight did not have the lower lens window. As before, the right light was an option.

The 1947-55 taillights on the panel truck, suburban, and canopy express (single unit bodies) had no similarity to those on the pickup and big trucks. On panel trucks a single light was placed near the center of the left “barn door”. The lens retaining bezel was chrome with dimensions of 3 inch high by 4 1/2 inches wide. A decorative stainless two inch wide strip on top of the housing has the stamped letters GUIDE R17 T. A single socket in the housing holds a double filament bulb of 3 and 21 candle power. The license plate bracket is secured to the rear of the bucket and allows illumination of the tag below the light. During these Advance Design years, this panel truck lens and chrome bezel were also used on the rear fender of the Harley Davidson motorcycle.

The canopy express and suburban bodies also displayed a single taillight with suspended lower license. It was attached to a cast metal swing bracket on the center of the tailgate. This bracket plus a special vertical connecting rod made up an ingenious design. When the tailgate was opened to its horizontal position, the taillight and license would swing 90 degrees so that it could still be seen by the following traffic.  This round taillight was normally black with a 4 3/4 inch diameter chrome lens retaining bezel. Inside are two sockets holding individual bulbs of 3 and 21 candle power. Block letters on top state GUIDCOLITE STANDARD. To save costs GM adapted this light from a prior application. It had been the GMC pickup taillight from the late 30’s through 1946. During these Advance Design truck years the light was also found on General Motors station wagons through 1952.

As the 1950’s progressed, there were increasing requests for a right tail light.  This was a GM dealer installed option to be placed on new or pre-owned vehicles. On pickups it was easy! The option included a right side light and bracket closely matching the standard left assembly.

Adding a turn single option today 1947-1955 single unit body created problems for GM designers. Neither the single factory taillight on the double door or the center unit on the tail gate were in a good position to be matched with a second live assembly. GM solved this by offering a turn signal kit containing two matched taillights. These were dealer installed beside the vehicle belt line near the doors and above the edge of the tailgate. These small bullet shaped lights were actually from a 1939 Chevrolet passenger car. It appears GM dusted off the ten year old car taillight tooling and kept expenses on this option to a minimum. The letters “DURAY” are stamped in the top of the painted housing. The chrome bezel retains a 2 5/8 inch diameter red glass lens. Due to a small water drain hole, there is a right and left on these turn signal lights.

NOTE: It is interesting that both the pickup truck and the tailgate lights, each developed during the late 1930’s, continued with separate bulbs and sockets for each filament. The door mounted oval panel truck light, introduced in mid 1947, was provided with a more modern double filament bulb in one socket.

1947-1953 GMC Parklights

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

A redesigned parklight assembly was started with the introduction of the 1947 GMC advanced body style. It was placed in the front fender 3-1/2 inches below the headlight ring. A 2-5/8 inch diameter bezel held a domed glass lens to its housing by two barrel screws.

1947 gmc parklights 1

1947 gmc parklights 2

The unit was not meant to be a combination turn signal and parklight assembly and held a 3 candle power single filament 6 volt bulb. As with other car and truck parklights prior to 1968, it did not operate when the headlights were on.

This round lens and chrome ring soon found other uses. They were placed on the parklights of Chevrolets new Corvette sportscar between 1953-1962! The ring also held a different lens to the rear of certain GM cars when they had the optional backup light assembly.

1947 gmc parklights 3

1947 gmc parklights 4

During 1952-1953, GMC used an enlarged parklight assembly only different than the 1947-51 unit in size. Dimensions were increased to 3 inches diameter to give more light area. It fit in the same front fender location and the securing ring was now painted white as was most other 1952-53 GMC trim during the Korean War shortages.

This larger glass was shared with several larger GM cars as their parklight lens. The same rings, however, were chromed. These chrome rings were also used to hold a different clear lens on several GM cars for their back up lights.

1947-1953 Dash

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

When observing restored 1947-1953 Advanced Design trucks, we rarely see the removable dash parts painted correctly. Though at least half the owners paint these parts to their personal taste, many truck restorers want the dash appearance as original. Surprisingly, we rarely see two alike even on trucks that are said to be restored just like they left the factory.

The following is factory correct! With a little extra effort your dash can look just like what the original owner saw 50 years ago.

1947 to Late 1951

This is the early years of the series before the Korean War shortages. At this time, chrome and stainless steel trim was used more abundantly.

The glove box door has a stainless outer ribbed skin and the upper and lower speaker grille horizontal trim strips are stainless. To create the original look, polish the speaker grille trim plus top and bottom wide glove door ridges to a mirror finish. Paint the speaker grille, ash tray cover, plus the remainder of glove box door interior cab color.

Now comes the detail work. Cut masking tape the width of the valleys between the smaller ridges. Put in position after placing the tape on your pant leg to reduce the sticky surface. You don’t want to take the paint off when you remove the tape later. Next comes the silver paint. This is placed over the small ridge tops on both the speaker grille and glove box door. The result is similar appearing horizontal ridges nicely running between the two dash items just like GM produced them.

1947 dash 1

Late 1951-1953

These are the years of the Korean War shortages. The glove box door, ash tray cover, and horizontal radio speaker grille trim were stamped from earlier tooling, however, were now changed to painted steel. They are all interior color and there is not even silver paint on the horizontal ridges. Therefore, if you have these years, restoration is easy. Just paint these items cab interior color and your job is done!   NOTE:  The following image is from a 1953 Suburban which has the red and brown interior.  The pickup has the more metallic medium brown interior paint which will be like this Suburban except for the color.

1947 dash 2

1947-1948 Underbed Gas Tank

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Among the many updates in the new Advance Design body style in 1947, one that certainly stands out, is the change in gas tank positioning. For the first time since 1936 it was placed outside the cab and under the bed.

The dimensions of this 16 gallon tank were based on the limited space between the right frame-rail and the torque tube drive shaft. It was very close to the wood bottom pickup bed and extended over six inches below the actual frame rail.

GM used this type gas tank in pickups during mid 1947 and 1948. For assumed reasons explained in an adjacent article on this website, it was placed back in the cab 1949.

This less than two year tank on the pickup (It was even a different shape between 1/2 and 3/4 ton trucks) has become very difficult to find in recent years, so the 1/2 ton was perfectly reproduced in 2008. Restorers no longer have to accept the high priced “just close” stainless 1/2 ton tank usually accepted by the rat rod enthusiasts.

These 1/2 ton gas tanks have recently been reproduced to exact original specifications. They even have inside an outside zinc plating. Check with Jim Carter Truck Parts, Part# MEG149.
Dimensions are: length 24″, width 12 1/2″, and depth 13″.

This gas tank is the same as the 1/2 ton “Single Unit” body trucks (Suburban, panel, and canopy express) during all the Advance Design years, 1947 through early 1955. With the 3/4 ton the truck has a longer frame so its gas tank could be longer and thus thinner yet it held the same fuel volume. it is important to realize this less depth allowed the tank to be higher above the ground. Therefore, it eliminated most tank contact with “high center” road rocks on dirt roads as with the 1/2 tons. To date, the 3/4 ton gas tanks are not being reproduced!

underbed gas tank 1

Bottom View (above) 1/2 ton

underbed gas tank 2

Top Left View (above) 1/2 ton

underbed gas tank 3

Top Right View (above) 1/2 ton

underbed gas tank 4

Outside View (above) Without Grommet

underbed gas tank 4

3/4 ton tank longer and thinner with same capacity

Hood Ornament, 1947 – Early 1955

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

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.

Battery Shields

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

As time progressed, GM realized their under floor battery position needed extra protection. The battery on the 1946 and older trucks were only protected by their partial tray. No doubt some hard working vehicles in rural areas lost their battery from fractures.

Thus, the 1947-1955 trucks were provided with a front vertical metal shield. The attached photos show a bare frame with this shield still in place.

battery shields 1

battery shields 2

Difference – 1947-55 GMC Grilles

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the Advance Design years, 1947-55, Chevrolet and GMC each changed their grille designs twice. GMC made the change at the end of the second year and Chevrolet made the change at the end of the seventh year.

Possibly to save tooling cost GMC, not Chevrolet, always used the same grille on all truck sizes in any one year. As Chevy used a similar but slightly larger grill on their 1 1/2 and 2 ton. GMC did not change the size on trucks between 1/2 and 2 tons.

In 1947-48 GMC used a three bar heavy gauge chrome steel grille. Actually, it was for the heavy weight for the 2 tons but fit in the 1/2 ton by using a smaller grill surround.

The big grille change for GMC was in 1949 when it was made as a four bar design. To the non truck enthusiast, it looked somewhat like the earlier years which is probably what GMC designers planned.

Current GMC grille reproductions are often sold as 1947=55. Actually they are the four bar type for 1949-55. The 1947-48 GMC owners get a surprise due to the modifications needed to fit the later reproduction grille into their early housing!

Click on images below to enlarge

1947-1948 Three Bar Grille 1947-1948 Three Bar Grille C.O.E Four Bar Grille
Three to Five Ton Four Bar Grille
Half Ton to One Ton Four Bar Grille
Half Ton to One Ton Four Bar Grille

1947-1953 Chevrolet Grille Restoration Tips

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1947 1953 grill restoration 1

 

Between 1947-1953 the Chevrolet 1/2, 3/4, and 1 ton grilles were made from the same tooling. However, the paint colors and some with chrome plating made a difference. For the perfectionist, the following data will help you build a correct grille during your restoration.

Painted Grilles

1947-1948

The standard grille has inner and outer bars the body color. Horizontally, a pin stripe is run on the edge of the five outer bars. It is the same color as the cab stripe.

1949 to Mid 1951

Standard grillexs have outer bars the body color without a horizontal stripe. The inner back splash bars are Waldorf white.

Mid 1951-1953  (Korean War Years)

Outer bars on standard grilles are the body color as prior years. The back splash color changes to Thistle Gray (light gray) to match the newly introduced gray hub caps and bumpers due to Korean War shortages.

Chrome Grills

1947-1948

The deluxe grill has the five outer bars in chrome. The four inner bars remain the cab color.

1949-Mid 1951

Chrome grills for these years are plated on the outer bars. The back splash color remains the same white as the painted grill.

Mid 1951- 1953

Chrome grill bars were not available due to Korean War copper shortages.  Thus, these grills are the same on deluxe and standard trucks.

Vertical Bar Supports

1947-1953 Both Painted and Chrome Grilles

The two outer vertical bars touch the fenders and are therefore their color. Unfortunately, the reproduction grilles are easily recognized at shows because the owners have not often painted their outer bars fender color!  The three smaller inner vertical bars are semi-flat black. This prevents them from being easily seen when viewing the vehicle at a distance.

NOTE:  We see no reference to chrome outer bars being offered during the 1947-53 Chevrolet Advanced Design years.

1947-1948 GMC Grille and Bumper

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Used only the first 1 1/2 years into this body style, these GMC grilles stand out for their different shape and very heavy duty construction. Because of it’s weight this assembly, it sets on the frame and is given extra support by a pair of steel rods extended at an angle to the frame rail.  See photo.

The grille has three horizontal bars and uses a heavier gauge metal than the four bar grille introduced in 1949. This same unit is found during 1947 and 1948 in all 1/2 ton through 2 ton GMC trucks.

On these early 1/2, 3/4, and 1 ton trucks the splash apron from the grill to the bumper is even different. The front bumper is the most unusual. It is rounded much like an automobile and has three bumper bolts on each side.  They all have the small grill guard on the 1/2 and 3/4 ton.

Some suppliers of 1947 – Early 1955 bumpers and grilles state they are all the same.  But, they are not.  The 1947-1948 stands alone!

1947 1948 gmc grill 1

1947-1948 “3” Bar (above)

1947 1948 gmc grill

Note the 3 bumper bolts.  The center secures the front splash apron and securing braces.  The other two are used by the dealers to attach GMC accessory larger grille guards to the bumper.

1947 1948 gmc grill 2

1947-1948 “3” Bar (above)

1947 1948 gmc grill 3

1947-1948 Angle Grille Support (above)

1947 1948 gmc grill 4

1949-1955 “4” Bar (above)

1947 1948 gmc grill 4

1947-1955 Suburban Interiors

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Since their beginning in 1935, the Chevrolet Suburban was always the “people hauler” of General Motors commercial fleet of trucks. They were designed to carry more weight on rough roads than was the passenger car station wagon. While trucks were carrying freight from the time of their purchase, Suburban’s were reserved for passengers! It became an immediate success with the military, as a school bus on smaller rural routes, for transporting people from train and bus stations to hotels, etc.

After WWII, the Advance Design Suburban body design (introduced in 1947) began to attract more individual owners for family transportation needs. To better provide this with limited expense, General Motors added just a few extras for appearance. This was tan rubber floor mats and a two tone painted interior. Neither was like what was on the pickup or large trucks.

The Suburban interior colors are Pecan Brown and Wicker Brown. This all harmonized with the brown headliner, floor mat and seat upholstery. All makes a nice interior package with little extra expense to GM.

The following should help the restorer have an even a better idea of the 1947-53 Advance Design Suburban when new. Photos are of a 1953 untouched Suburban that was left with original paint and used as a fire department ambulance in Lamont, Illinois. Photos taken about 2005 after being bought from the city of Lamont.

Because General Motors always kept production cost as low as possible on truck related models, they designed the Suburban on the pre-existing 1/2 ton pickup chassis as well as using the same sheet metal on its doors, front end, and dash. To dress up the body for passengers, GM added these extra appearance features not found on their trucks. Though these additions were nice, they were still a long way from the appointments on the cars and station wagons being sold in the same dealerships.

The door panel frames and removable interior window trim of the 1947-53 are a shade darker, Wicker Brown as in photo E. Even the seat frames were also this darker brown, photo f. The seat upholstery is brown Spanish grain while trucks in 1947-1953 were maroon. The cardboard door panels match the seat texture and color. The tan floor mats and red brown door windlace colors are Suburban only.

The lighter Pecan Brown was placed on the body sheet metal that became part of the total assembly. This is inner quarter panels, doors, dash, tailgate or double doors, and front seat riser. All was painted at one time after being welded together as a single unit. See Photos.

One very different touch on the Suburban over the truck is the color of the seven horizontal ridges on their 1947-1951 dash. Note picture A and B. These ridges are the color of the darker interior trim. Photo C shows the truck (not Suburban) dash ridges which were silver to closely match the upper and lower dash horizontal stainless.

By 1952-1953 the dash stainless had been exchanged for painted steel due to Korean War shortages. Then both the Suburban and truck dashes were without contrasting colors but still kept overall interior coloring. See photo D.

In 1954-1955 the Suburban and truck body shared a new redesigned dash panel and the interior body colors were also changed. The two body styles now used the same pearl beige color on their interior metal. A medium brown Spanish grain vinyl was on the seats of both body styles. Contrasting color interior window frames were not on the 1954-1955 Suburban as seen on earlier Advance Design models. They were the color of the main body panels.

If you have decided to restore your rare early Advance Design Suburban as it left the factory, these tips can separate the men from the boys in serious judging. To some it may be just as important for the daily driver.

1947 1955 suburban interiors 1

Photo A (above)

1947 1955 surburban interiors 2

Photo B (above)

1947 1955 surburban interiors 3

Photo C (above)

1947 1955 surburban interiors 4

Photo D (above)

1947 1955 surburban interiors 5

Two Tone Door Panel (above)

1947 1955 surburban interiors 6

Photo E (above)

1947 1955 surburban interiors 7

Photo F (above)

Advance Design Speedometers

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

No less than five speedometers were used in Chevrolet trucks during the Advance Design years, 1947-1955. If you want your truck just right, be sure you understand the differences. Restoring one you have on a shelf or purchased at a swap meet may not be proper for your year. The following will provide a description of differences.


1947 speedometer

1947

Red-Orange needle. Lower two tabs 4 3/4″ apart. 80 MPH (A clear needle means the color has faded away.)


1947 speedometer

1948

Red-Orange needle. Lower two tabs 6″ apart. 80 MPH


1947 speedometer

1949-1951

White needle, lower two tabs 6″ apart. 80 MPH


1947 speedometer

1952-1953

White needle, lower two tabs 6″ apart. 90 MPH


1947 speedometer

1954-1955

Totally different from earlier years. Silver needle over black face. Few parts interchange


Then there is the GMC speedometers used during 1947-1955 (Only 1952-1953 are the same.) That is another story!

Advance Design Gauge Cluster

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The Chevrolet “Advance Design” gauge cluster looks much the same between 1947 and 1953, however a few differences do exist. For the perfectionist, these changes are important.

In 1947-1948 the gauge needles are short (5/8 inches) and painted red. Between 1949-1953 the needles become longer (3/4 inches) and are white to match the change in the new speedometer needle.

The other variable is the temperature gauge. Though not calibrated different, its numbering changes from a maximum of 212 degrees to 220 degrees in 1953. With anti freeze and now a pressure radiator cap, fluid could reach a higher boiling point than 212 degrees.

1947 Speedometer

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

One of the numerous differences in the new 1947 Advance Design trucks is the different position of the mounting tabs on the speedometer. Reasons for doing this on both Chevrolet and GMC are as follows: with the introduction of this body style in mid-1947, both 3 and 4 speed transmissions were the floor shift design. However, in 1948 with the introduction of the 3 speed column shift transmission, the new shift linkage was now parallel and above the steering column. The distance between the two lower tabs on the speedometer case was widened from 4-3/4′ to 6′. This got the tabs away from the new shift linkage.

The person restoring a 1947 Chevrolet or GMC should be aware of this change. If he turns in his speedometer core to a re-builder on exchange, chances are good he will not receive a 1947 style in return. Few, if any, re-builders will notice this tab repositioning and will exchange from their stock!

1947 speedometer 1

1947 Left | 1948 Right (above)

1947 speedometer 2

1947 Left | 1948 Right (above)

Suburban Panel Body Rust Repairs

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Replacing major rust-out between the rear fender and door of the 1947-1955 Suburban or panel truck can be easier than you think. The curvature in this area is the same shape as the adjacent door.

Therefore, locate a 1947-1955 donor door of limited value due to butchered radio speaker holes or a badly rusted bottom. Remove the outer panel. It has the correct metal gauge and round shape as the Suburban and panel truck body.

Hood Receiver Plate

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The hood receiver plates through all of the Advance Design years (1947-1955) interchange. It is their attached hood release lever that is different due to the grill change in 1954.

Note: The accompanying photos show the extra length of the 1954-1955 lever. To add extra stability to this length, a groove was stamped in the lever to prevent bending.

hood receiver plate 1

hood eceiver plate 2

1947-1948 Brake Release

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The following article was released by GM on May 15, 1948. It was sent to all Chevrolet and GMC dealers and was to correct a problem with the location of the 1948 Brake release handle.

Brake Release Handle – Change of Location – 1/2 and 3/4 Ton Models

Some requests have been received for a method of changing the position of the brake release handle on the above models to prevent some operators striking their knees when entering the vehicle. The present location of the release handle is shown in Fig. 75.

1947-1948 brake release

In cases where it may become necessary to change the location of the handle, the position shown in Fig. 76 is recommended.

To re-operate proceed as follows

1. Remove the brake release handle, the release rod and the bracket at the instrument panel.

2. Drill two holes in the instrument panel for the new position of the bracket, 1- 1/2″ to the right of the original bolt holes.

3. Turn the bracket around so that the offset is towards the front and assemble to the new holes in the instrument panel, as shown in Fig. 76.

1947-1955 Running Boards

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the 1947-1955 Advance Design years three different stock running boards on pickups and panel trucks were produced. Features such as width, number of ribs, thickness of metal, and length of under-braces are the same. When placed together, a difference in length is obvious.

The longest unit was used on the 1 ton pickup and panel trucks with 134′ wheelbase. The pickup bedside has four stake pockets and bed wood length of 107′.

A middle length running board is seen on the ¾ ton pickup (no panel trucks were that length) with 125 wheelbase. The bed side has three stake pockets and bed wood length of 85 3/4′.

The short running board is seen on 1/2 ton pickups, Suburbans, and panel trucks with 116′ wheelbase. The pickup bed side has two stake pockets and bed wood length is 76 7/8′.

When found off a truck at swap meets or in salvage yards, the running boards can be distinguished quickly by observing the number of holes where bolts connect the filler splash aprons. The 1 tons have 5, 3/4 tons have 4, and 1/2 tons have 3.

The adjacent photos are of un-restored running boards with no alterations.

1947 1955 running boards 1

1947 1955 running boards 2

1947 1955 running boards 3

1947-1955 Optional Wide Running Boards

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

One of the most unusual and rare options for the 1947-1955 1/2 tons are ‘wide running boards’. The adjacent picture is from the 1949 Chevrolet Salesman’s Data Book. The photos below are of used original boards recently found at an Oklahoma swap meet.

They consist of ‘short’ running boards as used on all flat bed ¾ and 1 ton trucks plus a matching wide rear board extensions. The splash apron is totally redesigned to properly fill the different opening between the board and bed. See photo.

GM marketed these optional boards to allow more standing or foot room near the front of the ½ ton bed. Normally a person can not place his complete foot on a stock running board in this area. This option gave more comfort to the person spending much time on the running boards moving merchandise at the front of the bed.

1947 1955 optional wide running boards 1

1947 1955 optional wide running boards 2

1947 1955 optional wide running boards 3

Radio Trivia

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

  • Push buttons were discontinued at the end of 1953 and did not reappear until 1967
  • Prior to 1959 radios used mechanical vibrator tubes. They would operate with either positive or negative ground. A low buzzing sound could always be heard from the tube area before the radio warmed up, once the sound began, the speaker made the buzzing difficult to hear. In recent years a major change has occurred. Vibrator tubes have been gradually replaced with a modern solid state style These are ruined if the battery is reversed. A positive ground tube cannot be placed in a negative ground vehicle
  • The 1947-1955 four staff cowl mounted antenna could be extended almost four feet. This helped pull in at least one station in rural areas
  • With a totally redesigned dash in 1954, the radio was given a major change. It remained AM only but with push buttons discontinued, it became almost half the size of the previous model
  • From 1959 and older, GM truck radios had two lead wires. One usually attached to the headlight switch so the dial light went on with the dash lights. The other wire attached to a 20 amp fuse and then to the ignition switch “hot” connection
  • The AM-FM radio was first available in GM trucks in 1970, not in 1967. These units have one sound track and are not stereo
  • In 1947, with the introduction of the Advance Design body style, GM trucks for the first time had a place in the dash to install a radio
  • In relation to wages, early radios were very expensive. A 1949 radio had a retail price of about $74.50 when it was difficult to carry $5.00 in groceries
  • The dash on the 1954-1959 GMC and 1955-59 Chevrolet has no place for a speaker opening. Thus, the factory speaker is placed between the sunvisors above the windshield

1947-1955 Deluxe Panel Truck

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

For the Perfectionist

During the first half of the Advance Design years (1947-1955), GM offered a special panel truck as an option. This deluxe model was designed for a company wanting to give a more upscale appearance to their retail customers.

During the era of one car families, the lady of the house looked more toward home deliveries for essentials. GM knew there was a demand for this type panel truck in nicer residential neighborhoods. They targeted stores and shops that provided home deliveries. With a relatively small investment GM added a stainless steel trim package that gave their pre-existing panel truck a very special look. The chrome grill and bumpers plus stainless trim around the windshield and side door windows was already being used on the deluxe pickup.

GM then created some extras for their panel. Three horizontal strips at the lower edge of each fender, a long narrow horizontal spear toward the top of the front fenders, and a stainless edging surrounding the two rear door windows added to the panels appearance. Wheels were body colored with three stripes, not black as on the standard model.

The slower selling one ton panel was also available with this deluxe option. This nicely appointed larger panel was right at home in new exclusive suburbs delivering carpet rolls, furniture, carrying pipe for the plumber, etc.

Production of these Advance Design deluxe panel trucks was ceased in mid to late 1951. Korean War shortages and the resulting high cost of stainless steel eliminated this optional package. After the war years this deluxe model with the many horizontal trim strips was introduced again as the 1954 through mid-1955. With limited production, the short lived optional deluxe panel truck is a very rare sight in today’s world. Locating most of the necessary parts to transform a standard panel to a deluxe model is now possible from Jim Carters Truck Parts.

1947-1955 deluxe panel trucks

1947-50 1/2 ton Deluxe Panel (above)

1947-1955 deluxe panel trucks

1947-1955 deluxe panel trucks

1947-1955 deluxe panel trucks
Factory Drawing

For Panel models, this option includes bright metal reveals for side door windows, rear door windows and windshield; garnish moldings for side door windows; arm rest for driver’s side door, bright metal moldings for front and rear fenders, right-hand sun shade and chromium-plated radiator grille. (Not originally available on Canopy Express models or Carryall Suburban’s, however will fit both perfectly.)

Early GMC Paint Schemes

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Since the introduction of GMC’s first 1/2 ton pickup in 1936, there has always been a sharing of most sheet metal parts with Chevrolet trucks. This was done mostly for economic reasons. However, when possible, each of the two brands tried to make inexpensive changes to be different than the other.

Some specific examples of this occurred during the Advance Design years (1947-1955). These two marques tried to stand apart from each other on most exterior features when it was financially possible.

Several very visible changes required no extra investment. Only a change in paint colors helped to separate the two trucks.

A. The running board splash aprons are one of the best examples. From 1947 through at least 1951 GMC painted these black. Chevrolet’s were the color of the cab and bed.

B. The front splash aprons on Chevrolets were body color. The GMC’s were black.

C. When the GMC carried a standard non-chrome bumper, it was black. Chevrolet did not offer black bumpers during any of the advance design years.

D. The names and shades of the exterior body colors are different. This was not difficult as Chevrolet and GMC were assembled in different assembly plants.

Note: We now find most restored Advance Design GMC’s have their splash aprons and bumpers painted the same color as the Chevrolets. As there are many more Chevrolets than GMC’s, people must assume that their GMC should be painted like a Chevrolet. The following factory GMC photos show a different story.

These factory photos provided, with permission, from the website www.oldgmctrucks.com

gmc paint 1

A. 1947-1951 GMC (above)

gmc paint 2

B. Front Splash (above)

gmc paint 3

C. Black Bumpers (above)

gmc paint 4

D. Paint Chart (above)

Advance Design Paint Colors

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

When observing un-restored GM trucks of the 1947-1955 era, one will notice the majority of these vehicles were originally dark green. An explanation is simple. Green was their standard color! If you did not specify one of the other approximately eleven non-extra cost colors, your truck would be delivered green.

The standard color of trucks had been though of as green since the late 1920’s on many brands. Though yellow, red, and orange was part of the non-extra cost GM paint options, they were mostly ordered by businesses that wished to gain attention or follow their company logos.

In the Advance Design years, conservative colors were the norm. The standard dark green was followed mostly by dark blue and black. Even maroon was seen on a limited number of GM trucks.

1947 Chevrolet Suburban Woody

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Owner: Don Bryant

1947 chevrolet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His eamil address is: dbryant@barnesconti.com

1947 chevrolet suburban woody 1947 chevrolet suburban woody 1947 chevrolet suburban woody

1947 chevrolet suburban woody 1947 chevrolet suburban woody 1947 chevrolet suburban woody

1947 chevrolet suburban woody 1947 chevrolet suburban woody 1947 chevrolet suburban woody

1947 chevrolet suburban woody 1947 chevrolet suburban woody 1947 chevrolet suburban woody

1947 chevrolet suburban woody 1947 chevrolet suburban woody 1947 chevrolet suburban woody

1947 GMC COE

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

Owner: Steve Neilsen

1947 gmc coe

Having grown up in a family that always had delivery trucks, usually sedan deliveries I have always loved trucks. The first truck I remember was a black 48 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery. Ten a 50,52,54 and than we went to wagons. Still working for my folks in the 70s I found a 48 Chevrolet like my dads and restored it with the exception of installing a 327 and powerglide I got out of a wreaked 68 Impala .All black with white walls and gold leaf sign. After leaving my folks Florist business I eventually ended up in the remodeling business. I always loved COE’s and finally I decided to replace my new cube van with a truck that didn’t go down in value.

After looking, and running some ads I found my truck in Montana. It spent it life as a wheat truck. It now out of retirement and goes to work with me if its not raining. We’re both semi retired. I mounted the body on a 1980 Chevrolet 1 ton chassis. I installed a Chevrolet 350 crate,350 Turbo and 1990 Chevrolet van steering. The box was off a Ryder Rental truck. The wings on the box I got off a 1947 GM school bus used to store parts in a wrecking yard. I finished it up and after years of building cars this gets the most wows so far.

Happy Trucking, and thanks for the great parts,

Steve Neilsen
Red 47 GMC COE

1947 gmc coe 1947 gmc coe