Jim Carter's Old Chevy Trucks - Classic Chevy & GMC Truck Parts for all of your restoration needs! 1000's of parts in stocks now!

Posts Tagged ‘advance design’

1956 Opel

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Owner: Jan van Bohemen

1956 Opel

1956 GMC Opel

We just couldn’t resist placing this approximately 1956 Opel as this month’s feature truck. Did you actually think General Motors discarded the famous Advance Design 1947-55 truck cab tooling? To get a little more use of the tooling, it was modified in the late 1950’s as a German Opel truck.  Remember the small Opel car imported in the 1960’s and sold in Buick dealerships? They displayed the same lightning bolt emblem as the trucks.

Look closely at this pickup.  It has Advance Design all over it!

Its owner is Jan van Bohemen in Germany.  It started as a larger work truck, however he wanted a pickup so he made the bed and rear fenders to get the look he wanted.  Very impressive!

For your information…more data on the later-use of the Advanced Design Tooling.  Not only did they use this tooling in Europe but it was an assembly line produced truck in Brazil. Click here to see Brazil’s version.

1956 Opel 1956 Opel 1956 Opel
1956 Opel 1956 Opel

Advance Design Mirror Head

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

advance design mirror head

It’s surprising that an item placed on almost every 1947-55 Chevrolet and GMC truck has become so impossible to locate. Most collectors have never seen one!

The product is the five inch GM round mirror head. It was originally bolted to the cowl mounted mirror arm on the driver’s side. They were always black and had the pivot on the outside (most round similar non-GM mirrors have the pivot inside the housing).

The pictured mirror head is New Old Stock. Even the zinc plating, which reduces rust, is perfect. The acorn nut can be tightened just right so the head is still hand adjustable yet will stay in place on rough roads.

If almost 500,000 Advance Design trucks were produced each year between 1947-55, where are the original mirrors? The answer relates to the use of the vehicle. These trucks were made for work! Few were garaged. After several years of weathering the mirrors were in need of replacement. This was an easy do-it-yourself exchange and most owners could pay less for aftermarkets at an auto parts store or service station. Few genuine GM replacement mirrors were bought and thus the dealer kept very few if any in stock.

Advance Design Mirror Arm

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

No less than three different mirror arms were used on Advance Design Trucks (1947-1955). Though most vendor catalogs do not reflect these differences, the following should be of interest to those that want their truck restored correctly.

All left mirror arms attach to the same position on the cowl, however two designs were used. In the beginning years (1947-50) the arm pointed at an upward angle. This was much like earlier GM truck body styles between 1936 and 1946.

A change in design began in 1951 with the introduction of door wing vents. With the vent and door open together the mirror head could be hit and broken. Thus, a more horizontal arm was designed and it lowered the mirror. The rounded corner of the wing vent frame could no longer touch the mirror glass.

The right side cowl mounted mirror arm was a dealer installed accessory. Because of the limited space on the cowl (between the door and hood) it was necessary to place a curve in the arm. This brought the mirror head forward so that it could be seen through the lower right corner of the windshield.

advance design mirror 3

1947-1950 Left (MI108) (above)

advance design mirror 1

1951-1955 Left (MI109) (above)

advance design mirror 2

1947-1955 Right (MI125) (above)

Speed Up 1948-1959 GM Pick Up

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

We often get requests for a formula to make the Advance Design pickups more freeway friendly. Their original ring and pinion gears were created to make the truck’s six cylinder work well with a load and also keep up with the 1950’s traffic on gravel roads and two lane paved highways.

Though a higher speed reproduction ring and pinion was introduced several years ago, some owners still ask for another alternative to get in the “fast lane”. One method has been used successfully for several years and requires most parts from local salvage yards. Obtain the Borg-Warner 5 speed overdrive transmission from an S-10 pickup. It must come from an earlier model with a mechanical speed sensor (on the side of the case). It can not have the more high tech electronic speed sensor as used on the later S-10 pickups with computers.

This transmission will bolt against the original bellhousing of a 1948 and newer (a nice surprise). The clutch shaft which extends out of the front of the transmission is usually too long to allow the ears to bolt flat and secure to the bellhousing face. Therefore, if this occurs, shorten the tip of the shaft about a half inch and all will fit together. This is a must. Otherwise you can even break off a transmission ear when you begin tightening the four attaching bolts.

The ears that attach the transmission to the bellhousing are usually drilled for a metric bolt. They will need to be enlarged for a standard 1/2 inch bolt as is threaded into the bellhousing.

The V-8 Camaro 5 speed transmission is also similar to the S-10. It is said to not be as low geared and this makes it more desirable. The Camaro shift lever is too far back for the 1948-59 pickup. The bench seat is in the way. To correct this, use the S-10 tail shaft housing and case top cover. This will allow the vertical lever to come through the original floor in the correct position.

The input shaft of the 5 speed will have either 14 or 26 splines. Therefore, the clutch disc must match the transmission and not the 10 splines from the original 1948-1959 truck.

The attractive S-10 boot is still available from GM and the shift knob of choice is from a late model 5-speed Jeep. It screws on perfectly and looks great! The S-10 shifter clears the seat cushion and looks like it was installed by GM.

The next step is the differential. An open drive shaft style will be necessary to match up with the 5-speed but this is a subject for an totally different technical article.

The result of this change is lower RPM’s and speed to keep up with traffic flow on most modern highways.

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)

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

Proper 3100 Hood Side Emblem

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the Advance Design years no less than four different Chevrolet hood side emblems were used on 1/2 tons. Each of their two mounting pins are in the same place so the punched hood holes were unchanged during these years. All were chromed die cast even during the 1952-1953 Korean war chrome shortage.

The following pictures show the correct emblem for each of the years. Beware, some vendor’s catalogs do not list them correctly.

Note: Between mid-1949 through 1951, a separate small 3100 emblem was placed below the Chevrolet letter plate. Therefore, hoods during these years will have two additional factory punched holes. The longer Chevrolet emblem used between 1949-1952 are the same.

proper 3100 1

1949-1951 3100 Emblem (above)

proper 3100 2

1955 First Series (above)

proper 3100 3

1952 (above)

proper 3100 4

1953-1954 (above)

proper 3100 5

1947-1949 Thriftmaster (above)

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

Advance Design Door Weather Seal

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Installing the door weather seal on 1947-1955 G.M. trucks is not difficult, however some extra knowledge is required. Gluing it to the door edge incorrectly will limit it’s ability to seal drafts and add to wind noise. It is just as easy to attach this seal correctly.

The design of correct weather seal is square on the bottom that holds the glue. On the opposite end are two ears, each being a different length. The short ear is glued against the door and does not extend beyond the door edge. It should not be seen when the door is closed. The longer ear receives no glue and extends further up to touch more of the cab or body when the door is shut.

A nice touch at the two lower corners is to cut these ends at 45 degrees. The horizontal rubber bottom can be turned over so the metal lower windlace retainer fits in the groove between the two ears. It is a package that all looks very nice once placed together.

advance design door weather seal 1

A view of the 45 degree angle where the side and horizontal bottom door weather seals join (above)

advance design door weather seal 2

Here, the weather seal is installed on the door incorrectly. Note that the long ear can not reach the door post or body. (above)

advance design door weather seal 3

This photo shows an incorrectly installed door weather seal. Note the long ear is visible when the door is closed. Not correct.(above)

advance design door weather seal 4

Short ear side, glued against door | Longer side, mounted away from door (above)

Suburban Seating

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

suburban seating 1

An original drawing of a 1949 Chevrolet Suburban from their sales brochure. Shown with its rated seven passengers. NOTE: The lady driver emphasizes that it does not drive like a truck! (The hotel employee is probably wondering how he will place the suit cases and golf clubs in the space behind the third seat)

Suburban Seating

With the increased popularity of the Advance Design Suburbans (1947-1955), questions are often asked in regards to the proper seat arrangement. This eight passenger vehicle was the only GM “people hauler” on a truck chassis and still remains a popular carrier for the family.

This body style was only produced on a 1/2 ton 116″ wheelbase chassis (the same as a pickup except for 4 riveted right angle brackets to better support the body). The extra weight capacity and stiff ride of a 3/4 ton was not necessary for a vehicle carrying passengers and expected to do almost no towing.

Two seats at front consist of a 3/4 unit for the driver which can be adjusted several inches front and back. The far right non-adjusting jump seat is designed to tip forward and allow passengers access to the rear seats.

The middle unit is also only the 3/4 size. It has the same size cushions that are used by the driver, however, the framework does not adjust. It must be this 3/4 width to give room for passengers to reach the rear seat.

This back seat has full length “crowded” three passenger cushions. In today’s world, it is the rarest seat! Though all Suburbans originally had this back seat, many were removed to give more loading capacity for merchandise. They were probably put in storage or used as a seat in the barn and then forgotten years later when the Suburban was sold to the second owner.

suburban seating 2

suburban seating 1

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!

1947 Floor Pans

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the first year of the Advance Design 1/2 and 3/4 ton pickup, the standard three speed transmission was a carryover from 1946. Its top loader shift lever extended directly from the transmission through the removable floor pan.

When the column shift three speed was introduced in 1948, the floor shift hole was eliminated. Therefore, the 1947 three speed floor plate has the round shift hole as well as the hand brake lever hole. The 1948 and newer column shift transmission and foot operated park brake uses the same floor pan but the holes are not punched.

Note the short metal upper horizontal stiffener on the 1948-55 pan. Because of the hand brake oval hole, it was necessary on the 1947 model. To keep tooling costs low, the length was unchanged even after the shift hole was not stamped.

1947 floor plan

1947 on left | 1948-1955 on right (above)

Buy Parts for 1947 to 1955 Trucks

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)

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 Advance Design Cab

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The differences found on the cab during the beginning of the Advance Design years are subtle, yet on close study soon become quite evident. It probably exists on all vehicles when a body style is first introduced. Lab tests on a vehicle tend to overlook a few problems that later surface when it is in the hands of the consumer. Thus engineers made various corrections on the 1948 cab leaving the first year of this series with several unique differences.

Beginning with the Advance Design trucks in mid 1947, the top of the body cowl directly below the rear of the hood is smooth. This is the space between the rubber hood lace and vertical firewall panel. GM soon discovered that in this area an error in design existed. During heavy rain all water that flowed past the hood lace could run forward and then down the firewall. This allowed water on important items such as the voltage regulator, fuse box, wiring, fresh air heater motor, the rubber grommets that held tubes, lines and the original cotton braided wires.

By mid 1948, an appropriate stamping change was made which remained through the end of the series in early 1955. This was a groove or trough running side to side in the top of the cowl. These troughs drain rain water down the cowl sides onto the recessed area by the hood hinges and protect the firewall components. Now 50 to 55 years later we are noticing a rust condition due to these water drain troughs. Seldom will a 1947 cab have major rust in these hood hinge indentations. The cabs between 1948 and 1955 will usually be showing rust out or at least much surface rust when stored outside for many years. There is only so long this recessed area can resist the regular attack of water runoff from the troughs before it begins to show deterioration.

1947 advance design cab

No water troughs

Another very noticeable feature on only the 1947 Advance Design cab is the lack of a hump in the lower part of the dash above the steering column. On 1948-1955 cabs the hump is necessary to allow the three speed column shift lever to pass down to the shift box. During the developing stages of the Advance Design cab, after World War II, the 3-speed truck transmission with column shift did not exist. Both 3 and 4-speed transmissions were using the floor shift system and a column shift hump in the dash was not a consideration.

As the 1947 Advance Design trucks continued using the 3 and 4- speed transmissions of prior years, their park brake lever is also unchanged. It remains secured to the right side of the transmission and is a vertical hand pull lever. With the introduction of redesigned 3 and 4 speed transmissions in 1948 the park brake was activated by a foot pedal on the left side of the cab. This pedal was in 1/2 and 3/4 tons only. The 1 ton and larger continued with a hand pull lever design throughout the series.

The firewall on the 1947 cab is one of its most unique features. It is not only different from the other Advance Design years, but is an excellent example of changes that save production costs. Initially the firewall was a flat sheet of metal welded within the edges of the cowl, etc. To prevent possible flexing of this sheet, GM welded two vertical U-channels, 11/2 inch x 16-3/4 inch to the inside. These two channels are hid by the inside firewall pad and therefore are not normally seen by the owner. Close observation will show the channel spot weld dimples on the engine side of this firewall sheet.

This flat sheet type firewall differs from the other years. By 1948, the second year of this body style, a less expensive method was used. The welded vertical channels were discontinued and were substituted with stamped rounded ridges or stiffeners in the flat sheet. These could be made with one stamping while the necessary holes were also placed in the sheet at the same time.

NOTE: We are now discovering that the unique features on the 1947 cowls were carried over into the early 1948 suburban, panels, and the canopy express. As these large single unit bodies were much slower in sales, it was possible GM had an over supply of 1947 cowls at the particular assembly plant producing them. They continued to use these early cowls until supplies were used.

1947-1955 Rear Bumper Braces

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the Advance Design years the rear bumper braces on the 1/2 ton pickup are the same. Their cross section height is 1.75′ and thickness is .35′. These units are designed with a rolling drop angle to lower the bumper to the proper level below the tailgate and rear cross sill.

The 3/4 ton pickup rear braces accomplish the same purpose as the 1/2 ton but must have different angles due to the change in the two side frame rails width. They are closer together on a 3/4 ton. In addition, these braces are heavier than the 1/2 tons with 1/4″ additional cross section height. Their thickness remains at the .35′ as a 1/2 ton.

The 1/2 and 1 ton advance design panel truck (3/4 panel in these years were not produced) rear braces are slightly different from those on the same size pickup. These are dropped less because of the different level of the rear doors or lower gate.

These panel and suburban braces are very rare today and reproductions are not being made.

rear bumper braces 1

1/2 ton left | 3/4 ton right (above)

rear bumper braces 2

3/4 ton left | 1/2 ton right (above)

Advanced Design Spare Tire Assembly

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the early years of the Advance Design trucks there were many complaints by new owners about the rear bumper. They didn’t want it as standard equipment. Farmers and businesses could not get close to a dock with a bumper and they removed them soon after the truck purchase. Dock workers and live stock could step in the open slot created between the dock and truck bed. No doubt sprained and broken legs were, at times, a result.

Thus, in 1951 GM ceased placing a rear bumper on pickups as standard equipment. Before this, the rear bumper had nicely protected the under bed spare tire hanger from minor collisions.

Without a bumper the manufacturer was forced to redesign the spare tire assembly. It became suspended from the frame of the truck at an angle. The truck could now receive at least a parking lot collision without damage to the spare tire assembly even without a bumper.

An item of interest: The ½ inch hole in the middle of the rear cross sill that holds the spare tire hook on the 1950 and older pickups was no longer used beginning in 1951. However, the manufacturer continued to place this small hole in the sill through the 1953 year! (In this 1951-1955 photo the eyebolt in this hole is an owner installed add on.)

The two cross chains in this photo are securing the truck to the trailer and are not part of the spare tire assembly.

advance design spare tire 1

1951-1955 (above)

advance design spare tire 2

1947-1950 (above)

Advanced Design Bumper

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the 1947-1955 years, pickup’s front and rear bumpers are different due to the shape of the body. Unfortunately, the front can be fit on the rear during restorations.

More of this occurs on trucks between 1951 to 1955 when rear bumpers became a factory option. Years later when the rear bumper is wanted, some people locate a more plentiful front and place it on the rear – and it fits.

Once the front is placed on the rear, it is so rounded that it hits the license plate position. Now the license get relocated so it can be seen. (One problem leads to another.)

advance design bumper 1

Correct Rear Bumper (above)

advance design bumper 2

Correct Rear Bumper (above)

advance design bumper 3

Rounded Front (above)

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

New 1954 Radio

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

In upgrading the Advance Design 1947-1953 cab for 1954, GM engineers created a totally different dash assembly. It required that the radio be much smaller. With better electronic technology and no push buttons, the new 6 volt radio could be placed into the smaller space. They even placed a cardboard sheet above the ’54 radio to protect it from settling dust over the years.

Yes, the 1954 Chevrolet and GMC had different designed dashes but each of their radios were similar and fit the smaller area. In the follow photos you can see the major differences between the 1947-1953 and the new 1954!

new 1954 radio 1

1947-1953 Radio/Weight 14.75 lbs (above)

new 1954 radio 2

1954 Radio/Weight 10.75 lbs (above)

new 1954 radio 3

1954 Radio, Side View (above)

1953-1955 Side Mount Spare

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

side mount spare 1

During the Advance Design truck era, 1947-1955, most all spare tire assemblies were under the bed. Though not always convenient, this kept the extra tire away from the bed box and out of the way.

With encouragement to provide a more easy to reach spare tire, General Motors began offering a side mount unit in 1953. This continued, as an option, even through the later years of the GM step bed trucks.

This new option was added at the factory (not by the dealer) and included a steel frame attached to the left bed side. On the 1/2 ton, not the longer bed 3/4 ton, it was necessary to also have the rear fender with an indention at its front. This indention allowed the tire to be away from the cab and fit parallel to the bedside.

The indention on the 1/2 ton left fender was made no larger than necessary to allow for the mounting of the 6.00 x 16″ original tire. This spacing is so close that the current replacement 6.50 x 16″eplacement tire will sometimes not fit without touching either the cab or fender indention. This contact of the tire against the metal body and fender is not acceptable. The rubbing of a larger tire against the body or fender results in a squeaking noise and finally will wear through the paint. To prevent this, using a 6.00×16 tire may be necessary.

After the 1953 introductory year, it was discovered, the weight of the tire and mount could cause bed side and front bed panel separation (metal fatigue) on rough terrain. Therefore, in 1954 with the introduction of a redesigned stepbed, a small factory bracket was included with the spare tire option. This better held the left front of the bed side to the front bed panel.

An additional item of interest is found in the 1954 Chevrolet truck factory assembly manual. Due to the extra pounds of the added side spare tire and carrier weight, GM added a spacer (left side only) below the rear spring assembly. This helped keep the bed level even though the truck weighed more on the left. See the following Tire Carrier Instructions sheets.

side mount spare 2

side mount spare 3

Bedside Bracket (above)

side mount spare 4

Bedside Bracket Top (above)

side mount spare 5

Bedside Bracket in Place (above)

side mount spare 6

side mount spare 7

Rear Spring spacers for 1954-1959 side mount (above)

We also have two PDF files showing details of the side mounted wheel carrier.

Sheet 2 Model 3104 Click Here for PDF

Sheet 3 Models 3204, 3604, 3804 Click Here for PDF

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.)

Suburban Paint Colors

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the beginning of the Advance Design years (1947-1949) new Chevrolet Suburbans were sold in one color combination; Channel Green (light) on the lower body and Fathom green (dark) on the upper.

Unless the customer paid extra for a specific paint such as for school bus use or a commercial paint color for a company, the two tone green was the color your received.

Beginning in 1950 this changed. Chevrolet began also offering 12 colors as on pickups and large trucks.

suburban paint colors 1

The following is from a 1950 Chevrolet announcement pamphlet showing changes in trucks that year

suburban paint colors 1

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.

1955 Chevrolet Advance Design

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Owner: Marty Bozek

1955 chevrolet truck

This month we feature one of the most unique eye catching Advance Design 1/2 tons in the country. On daily runs it is a real traffic stopper. At car shows it is surrounded by curious admirers and trophies seem to be a regular occurrence.

This little 1955 1st series ½ ton is the creation of Marty and Jean Bozek near Tampa, Florida. It was bought from the second owner in 1983 after starting its life in 1955 near Colorado Springs, Colorado. The potential of this truck in primer with no prior restoration became a challenge. Almost all restoration and upgrades were done by Marty in the evening at his home near New York City. His goal was to keep it original in appearance yet add modern updates that would look different only to the expert. The result is a 1/2 ton that turns heads and puts out the performance of a V8!

Marty has given his truck a 261 six cylinder (big brother to the famous 235) a 4 barrel carburetor, Howard cam, Fenton cast iron headers, electronic ignition, aluminum radiator, and ‘old time’ Smitty glass pack mufflers.

The transmission is the very popular 5 speed overdrive once found in Camaros and Firebirds in the 1980’s. It’s overdrive 5th gear performs just right on the open highway but gives the low speed power Marty wants for in town performance.

Even the differential has 3.55 gearing. This was by adding a complete 1973 Chevrolet Blazer rear end assembly. The rear tires fit the wheel wells just right. No rubbing the fenders on rough roads.

Now retired in Florida, Marty keeps improving his creation. He often thinks about modifications and has added a few additional items to his little ½ ton. He does it in his own way so that it is just right for this type of truck. A few recent additions were adding the 5 speed overdrive transmission and cold air conditioning. (No it doesn’t run hot in Florida summers.) Even the doors, firewall, top, floors, and rear cab wall have been sealed with hidden insulation!

This Chevy 1/2 ton may not out run a telegram but the race is close. Marty says ‘It idles like a sewing machine and goes like hell. Why would I even consider a V8?’ It is ‘the’ eye catcher at any auto show. Trophies have been many but some stand out more than others.

In Tampa, FL a large monthly cruise night gives a best of show honor at the end of the year. All the monthly winners compete for ‘Best of the Best.’ Yes, this little yellow pickup received the top award. They don’t get better than this!

Marty painted this truck in 1994. Several years ago it received the ‘Best Paint’ award in a show with hundreds of participants in Northern Florida. How’s that for non trailered vehicle that was painted about 10 years ago?

In 1999, at the Carlisle, Pennsylvania ‘All Truck Nationals,’ this truck received a second place trophy in the older truck class.

If you wish to talk to Marty Bozek about his special truck, the email address is: eng261@aol.com. (You must identify yourself as a truck person so you don’t get mixed and discarded with the junk mail.)

1955 chevrolet truck 1955 chevrolet truck 1955 chevrolet truck

1955 chevrolet truck 1955 chevrolet truck 1955 chevrolet truck