Owner: Cecil White, South Africa
We always try to find more unusual GM haulers for our Feature Truck of the Month series. This design of the 1959 Chevrolet 1/2 ton pickup has probably never been seen in the United States. You would need to travel to Africa to find another!
It was made at the GM assembly plant in Port Elizabeth, South Africa as were thousands of others at that time. Because the country of South Africa was influenced by England, their vehicles were and still are all right-hand drive to operate perfectly on their roads.
Our feature truck is owned by Cecil White of Rivonia, South Africa. He is a strong Chevrolet truck enthusiast. He bought this little 1959 two years ago to drive while his 1941 1/2 ton is being given a ground up restoration. Cecil states it is about all original except the paint and upholstery. Its 235 six cylinder engine and three speed column shift operate like new. The 85,500 miles on the speedometer relates to only 1,650 miles per year!
Though much is like the US version, it has several areas that are South Africa only. The stepside bed is a real focal point. The South Africa plant produced them during these years with a ribbed metal bottom and not the wood plank type. How unique to a US truck owner.
The right-hand drive system is always an attention getter in the US. The dash was redesigned by GM as are some of the steering components. No place provided for a radio or a deluxe fresh air heater. The knobs are the same as US but positioned differently.
Cecil made a special comment on not only the bed floor but the tailgate. This South African tailgate has inside chains and a pair of large hinged handles which latch when the gate is closed. What an unusual feature on a US truck this would be when an owner wanted his pickup a little different than original!
Several years ago, it was given new paint but was kept the original Dawn Blue. This is a perfect match for the color of the untouched horn button.
The ID plate remains on the left door post like in the US, but confirms it was assembled in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Note the left hand column shift. Wouldn’t that make the US brain say “Why are you reaching for the left side to shift?” The clutch and acceleration linkage must be for right-hand drive only. They required some real engineering to accomplish this feat!
Cecil White is always available for questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org