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Posts Tagged ‘v-8’

Introduction of the GM Fleetside

Thursday, February 11th, 2010


Though fleetside pickups are the common style today, they certainly had a unique appearance in the late 1950’s. Until then, the stepside body style with outside rear fenders was the norm. With smaller horsepower from available engines, the limited hauling capacity in the stepside box was well matched to the existing power plants.

If the customer required a pickup with more hauling volume, the stepside was simply made longer. To compensate for the extra gross weight, the manufacturer lowered the differential gearing. Thus the small engines continued to serve well but the result was a slower highway speed.

With the introduction of the Chevrolet high oil pressure 235 six and 265 small block V-8 engine, power was now available to allow for a radical new bed change. Pickup bed dimensions would be increased side to side in addition to length. Extra hauling capacity on the same wheelbase could be now handled by the additional horsepower. With the same wheelbase, an approximately 50% increase in bed capacity was created with GM’s new fleetside.

Both Chevrolet and GMC introduced the same fleetside in 1958. It came in both six and eight foot lengths on the 1/2 ton chassis. The eight foot box could also be ordered on the 3/4 ton frame. (If you needed a 1 ton pickup the prior long stepbed model still remained the only choice.) No doubt, these new fleetsides created much notoriety in a world of stepside pickups. To draw even more attention GM placed chrome die cast “Fleetside” lettered emblems toward the rear of each bed side.

This first GM fleetside box style was offered only two years until a redesigned side was introduced in 1960. The early bed 1958-1959 sides can be easily recognized due to their long 5″ wide horizontal spear stamped in the middle. These terminate at a unique round rear taillight which is also special to just this bedside.

A very deluxe optional model of this new fleetside was introduced in 1959. Some feel it was to replace the recently discontinued Cameo Carrier. It featured additional bed trim, stainless window moldings, chrome grill and bumper, plus a nicer interior. Its sides came with long stainless steel strips and die-cast ends beside the horizontal bed spears. This bed trim is very rare today! Unfortunately, the few original beds remaining make reproducing these horizontal trim strips financially impractical.

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The featured early fleetside for this article is a 1959 Chevrolet short bed. Its owner is Olen Moore of Odessa, Missouri. He recently completed a three year ground up restoration to exact factory specifications. Olen even used the correct Galway Green, a very popular color during that era. Notice the stamped side spears and upper rear fleetside chrome emblems.

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First Year Oil Filter

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

It’s the first year for the successful Chevrolet V-8. (This basic small block design continues even today over 50 years later.) One very unique characteristic of this first year V-8 is the lack of a traditional block connection for a positive flow oil filter. For this one year, this 265 engine carried the by-pass oil filter system much like the standard 235 six cylinder. It was dealer installed!

The filter canister has a welded on right angle bracket that is secured under the thermostat housing at the front of the engine. The supply and drain lines are small like the 235. If the filter becomes clogged and the oil stops flowing into the cartridge, the engine continues to run with good lubrication. These photos show an excellent example of the 265 V-8 accessory oil filter system, with it being a dealer accessory, it probably was placed on few engines when they arrived at the dealership.

first year oil filter

1960-1961 Chevrolet V8 Emblem

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

By the 1960-61 years, the V-8 emblems on Chevrolet were not placed on the truck’s doors or fender but were only on the nose of the hood. They were shaped different when the truck came with a 283 V-8 instead of the standard 235 six cylinder. The V-8 front emblems have become very difficult to locate. Most remaining trucks show much pitting on the chrome V-8.

1960 1961 chevrolet v8 emblem

1955-1959 GMC Emblems

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the mid 1950’s, V-8 engines began to gain popularity. Many became an option in full size cars and trucks that normally were provided with a six cylinder. When this occurred, most vehicles were given a body emblem advertising that the larger power plant was under the hood.

1955 1959 gmc V8 emblems

1955-1957 (above left) | 1958-1959 (above right)

GMC trucks were no exception. During the 1955-59 body style, two different shapes of V-8 emblems were used. Both die cast designs were attached to the front fender below the GMC letters. The above picture shows these V-8 emblems and the different GMC letters that appeared above them. If the truck came with a six cylinder, only the letter emblem was used on the fender. Today, as many older trucks are given modern V-8 engines, the original V-8 emblems have become almost impossible to find. The demand for these rare emblems has far exceeded their availability.

1961 Chevrolet Deluxe

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Owner: Greg Scott

1961 chevrolet deluxe truck

Have you ever seen one of these? Few were produced, almost none have survived.

This 1961 Chevrolet V-8 1/2 ton is one of a small percentage that came equipped with the deluxe trim package. Though most pickups at that time were standard work trucks, GM realized there was a small growing number of buyers that had a desire for a little extra on their truck.

This deluxe package not only included the unique stainless steel side trim (only available in 1960-1961) but also a stainless windshield molding, chrome bumpers and hub caps, plus rear cab trim panels behind the door window. Chrome dash knobs, right and left inside sunvisors, and a deluxe steering wheel added to the package.

Our feature 1/2 ton is owned and was mostly restored by Greg Scott of Independence, Missouri. The reason it was ordered new with such deluxe features was the needs of its original owner. A combination funeral home and cemetery operation in California used it for 30 years. They wanted the best appearance in the truck they used. The original paint was light blue and white. Greg kept the two tone paint division lines just like the original, but changed the truck color to red and white.

He purchased the truck two years ago from the second owner in central Missouri. This person had thrown away all the trim, but at least the attaching body holes remained. The long search for this trim leaves only one piece now missing. The horizontal right door strip has still not been located. Can anyone help? Yes, he knows the correct 1961 hub caps are needed. They are still on his want list. Greg says he has personally spent over 80 hours repairing the used stainless trim he found from various sources. While watching television in the evening he slowly removed dents, did surface sanding and polishing. The results are great! The photos show he placed this trim in just the right position.

The bed was removed and only the bare cab remained on the frame. All was sand blasted and then the slow assembly began. Fortunately, its 30 years in California had prevented body rust. It was like putting together a large model kit that lacked some of it’s parts.

Owner: Greg Scott 1-816-836-0960

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