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1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton, South America

1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton
It’s the most southern town in the world, Punta Arenas, Chile. During February 2012 we are touring a sheep farm at the edge of the community. The exhibit in an adjacent barn is showing the sheering procedure to remove the one year growth of wool from a large male sheep.

After the demonstration, our attention turns to the back of the barn. As we walk around a partition, what a surprise! There sits a licensed un-restored 1953 Chevrolet ½ ton! This approximately 60 year old truck is said to be used weekly for driving to the town for supplies, church, or just for pleasure. To be honest, during most of their winter (over 60% of the year) it is kept in storage. It still has its original 216 six cylinder engine and 3 speed column shift transmission with closed drive shaft. Can there be any better example of the bullet proof construction of these little Chevrolet trucks?

The pickup has never been restored, but non-GM upgrades have been added over the years to replace worn parts. At the southern tip of Chile, you use what can be found to keep vehicles operating!

The changes are what we have often seen in the US as these trucks were kept roadworthy with limited expense. Our walk around this ½ ton shows the following:

New larger park lights allow for modern turn signals.

12 Volt battery.

A replacement floor mat has been cut from a larger rubber sheet.

In recent years, the red paint was added to freshen up the appearance.

It has chrome spoke wheels; however the originals (two have snow tires) are stored in the bed.

Look at the tail lights. Whatever they are from, they will certainly be seen!

The optional rear bumper has a replacement from some make of car.

A bracket from a 1941-1946 to help hold the hand crank has been welded to the middle of the front bumper.

The shoulder belts appear to be attached to the interior panel with sheet metal lag bolts. You can’t add a nut between the sealed inner and outer metal panels. We question if this bolt would stay in place during a major accident.

Look! A 4 speed shift knob from somewhere on the 3 speed column shift lever.

A 1947-48 Chevrolet car steering wheel. Was this a left over item used at the factory on this import pickup?

The bedwood required replacing. Thus, wood planks with no bed strips.

What unusual pedal pads.

In the most southern town in the world, you use the side mirrors you can find.

A modern third brake light is secured to the rear window.

Look at the unusual inner fender terminal blocks. With new recent wiring something had to be found.

A 1951-52 Chevy car hood emblem fits close but not exact.

All dash gauges are on the metric system.

In the US the Chevrolet original dash oil gauge face reads 0 to 30 pounds because of the low pressure216 engine. Using the metric system the gauge must read 0 to 60 as does our feature truck. Therefore, this is the same gauge face as used in the 1952-53 GMC trucks in the US with the high oil pressure engine. What a coincidence!

The most interesting is a pair of 1951 doors (pull down handles) are on this 1953. It should have push button handles. Of course, this is an export truck, no doubt the assembly line in 1953 used extra parts available to create this pickup to be sold in other countries.

1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton

US temp with
metric oil gauge

1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton

Metric speedometer

1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton

1947-48 Car steering wheel

1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton

Hand crank bracket

1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton

Aftermarket taillight
and bumper

1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton

Modern turn signals

1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton
The 1953 side mount
is correct
1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton
Modern shoulder belt
1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton
A 4 speed knob
1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton
The A third brake light
1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton
Replacement bed floor
1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton
Much like US
1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton
This 1953 has a
wide belt water pump
1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton
Dress up chrome wheels
1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton
Add on mirror brackets
1953 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton
Unusual terminal blocks


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