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Posts Tagged ‘1948’

1948 Chevrolet ½ ton Funeral Hearse

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

It will be difficult to ever top this Feature Truck of the Month! Rarely do we find a Chevrolet ½ ton so unique. It may not have been a one of a kind but in today’s world it is close to it. The truck is a 1948 Chevrolet Funeral Hearse on an all original ½ ton chassis.

We discovered this unusual vehicle seeing photos of a recent club truck driving event in the country of New Zealand, though the other trucks were very interesting, this stood out as so much different than the others. This Chevrolet is probably the only 1947-55 Funeral hearse now surviving! So different and yet it is obviously an Advanced Design 1947-53 truck

The reason for a hearse body on a Chevrolet ½ ton is simple. In the US as well as other countries, small communities do not have the population to justify the expense of a top of the line hearse. The request for a more affordable vehicle for the “last ride” has always existed. Some vehicle body companies realized this need and marketed a hearse at a fraction of the cost to funeral homes. During the 1950’s and before, most people in many countries and the US had very little disposal income. Thus, a lower cost funeral was a requirement for so many families.

With extra research we found the owner was the Chevrolet Enthusiasts Club of New Zealand. We made contact with two of their members: Grant Williams (long time member and often the hearse driver) and Rob Webster (the club president.) Between the two members, we were able to learn of the hearse history or as much as is known.

When new in the 1950’s the frame, mechanicals and no bed were shipped from the assembly line in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada where GM’s right hand drive trucks were produced. Many were then shipped to New Zealand and other countries to a specialized local manufacture to make and install the hearse body.

The club members state it has been owned by their National New Zealand Club for about 20 years. It is perfect for carrying merchandise for club events and always seems to have the required room for what is needed. All club members refer to it as their bus or van.

Rob (one of the longest running club members and now their president) remembers them buying it from the fourth owner. This person had used it basically as is. It was the third owner of 4 years that removed the dark blue velvet material from the sides and ceiling, a wood dividing panel with a small sliding window behind the bench seat and all the funeral related apparatus.

The enclosed photos show it for sale on the street in the late 1980’s with the traditional black paint.

For sale in the 1980’s

It is understood during the beginning years two funeral homes had ownership, one buying it from the first owner used.

It is so much like a usual ½ ton. Wheels are 16’ with 6 holes. The dash is reversed like most New Zealand GM Advance Designs trucks with right hand drive. Engine is the correct 216 valve six cylinder and still has the original 6 volt system. This 1948 has a floor shift 3 speed transmission. (In the US, the last year for this early 3 speed was 1947.)

The change in the hood (bonnet) size is very interesting to appear less like a ½ ton pickup on the front. The body manufacturer created a high hood from the Canadian import to appear much like 1946-48 Chevy cars. After all, a hearse should not look like a truck! Good sales feature! It even appears to have a Chevy chrome hood ornament very similar to a 1948.

FROM A CLUB MEMBER

Note: During the email exchanges several questions were asked to Grant. Here is our questions in black and Grant’s answers in red.

–          Made by a body company in Australia?

Body was definitely made in NZ. All Chevy pickups and panel truck were given the final assembly in NZ. They were not imported as complete vehicles. It would have come from Canada as a rolling chassis with bonnet (hood), front guards, front windscreen, and running boards. Everything else was made in NZ including the doors.
You will note that the bonnet is higher than standard to line up with the rest of the body (this alteration can be easily seen on the underside of the bonnet)

–          Know anything about the body company and did they only make hearse vehicle’s and only for Australia? Sold to NZ?

Not sure which company but there were several that made bodies in NZ at the time.

–          Is it on a ½ ton chassis? 6 bolt wheels?

Yes it is built on a ½ ton chassis. It has 16’ wheels and not the 15’ split rims that the heavy duty trucks had. Yes, 6 stud wheels.

–          Original engine?

Yes, original 216 & 3 speed floor shift transmission.

–          How long have you owned it? Where did you get it?

The club had owned it for over 20 years and it has just been used as we purchased it, the club has only kept it in useable condition and has not been restored. One of the previous owners had it for four years and in that time it was stripped out and entered into the “Variety Bash” which is a fundraising rally for all types of vehicles from race cars to fire engines and everything in-between. The bench seat was removed at this timeframe and fitted with the current seats. The wall behind the front seats were originally a complete wall with sliding windows and not the current walk through arrangement.

–          Was it used in small towns?

It was used by at least two different undertakers and they were in smaller towns in NZ.

–          Original paint?

The paint is not original as this was, of course, black and done up in blue velvet with all the usual equipment. By the time the club purchased this vehicle all this equipment was well gone.

–          Is the bed bottom wood planks?

The bed in now plywood.

–          Front sheet metal like a pickup?

Originally yes, but the hood and guards (fenders) were modified. The overall effect makes it look more like the 1948 car.

IS THIS UNSUAL OR WHAT?

Take a closer look:

The body sides extend out to the edges of the running boards. Yes, the boards are the same as on the conventional ½ ton pickup! This gives the passengers the convience of stepping up into the cab easier. See following photo. Therefore, the front doors must be constructed by the body builder and the fenders were also modified. VERY interesting.

Front View Shows tall reworked Hood
CLOSED                                                                                OPEN

Good Distant View
Full view Dash                                                     Different seats added later

 

 

Flat door Panel probably once covered with blue velvet as the rear. Door remade with non-opening wing-vents. Running board still in place!

The normal 216 engine. Oil add position on both draft tube and valve cover. Hmmmm!

Horn may be aftermarket!

Probably how it left Canadian factory in 1948 (maybe ever more disassembled and without rear fenders)

Proudly owned by

If you have any questions on this unique hearse contact Rob Webster at : robwebster@slingshot.co.nz

1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton “Deluxe” Pickup

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017
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This is one of the better examples of an Advance Design “Deluxe” pickup. General Motors offered this extra above the standard model. As extra money was limited during these years, most settled for the no frill model. After all, pickup trucks were for work duties. Spending extra income (which most did not have) was not spent by buyers that were just one generation out of the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

To make a 70 year old pickup as nice as this Feature Truck, it certainly had to be disassembled and rebuilt from the frame. Most all areas were kept as factory original as possible. Even the Windsor Blue color was retained.

The proud owners are Dave and Julie McBee of Independence, Missouri. During nice weather Dave and Julie can be seen in their little ½ ton around town or on the open highway for a Sunday drive. Here are the items that make the McBee’s 1948 a factory “deluxe” pickup:

Five Window Cab (the main feature)
Chrome Grill
Stainless Outside and Inside Door Window Trim
Two Inside Sunvisors
Arm Rests
Stainless Outside only Windshield Trim

Two special extras were added to give it more “Keep up with Traffic” qualities. The original 216 cubic inch engine (90 horse power) was exchanged for a 1954 235 high oil pressure engine (145 horse power). What a nice upgrade. This 1954 inline six cylinder, first year for this 235 power plant, was the factory unit in a 1954 Advance Design pickup. Thus, this is a “drop in” exchange with no alterations. It looks almost factory but has 55 more horsepower.

The other important extra was exchanging the original 4.11 ratio ring and pinion with the recently offered 3.55 ratio. This gives about 20% lower engine RPM and higher road speed. What a difference these two extras have given this pickup!

To obtain even less engine RPM, Dave will soon remove his later 6 bolt 15” wheels. They will be replaced by 16” original” wheels plus radial white wall tires that look in tread like the original bias ply design. (The taller the tires, the lower engine RPM)

AND NOW FOR THIS MOST UNUSUAL CHANGE OF ALL!

Julie had been in love with this pickup since they bought it 3 years before. However there was just one item that was not to her liking. It had a 3 speed standard transmission with a column shift lever for changing gears! She would drive it this way but always wished it had an automatic transmission.

Dave soon picked up on Julie’s wish and began to research if any upgrade could be added. What a surprise! He discovered Jerry’s Chevy Restoration Shop in his own city. The owner, Jerry Rivers, can do most anything if it has to do with an older Chevrolet / GMC truck or car.

On their first meeting, Jerry thought about using the same year Chevy passenger car transmission. That automatic (a cast iron case Power Glide) it was introduced in 1950. The car and truck engines were the same. They both had about the same wheel base and they shared a closed drive shaft. Surely, with some yet unknown problems, the automatic could be transferred to a ½ ton. Maybe if it was not too impossible he might even mount the shift lever assembly to fit like the car. After all, the production years were about the same and maybe the same GM engineers shared some of their designing between ½ ton and passenger car. The only way to find out was to try the transfer on a very tired loaner ½ ton to see if he could make it fit. There was no sense tearing into Dave’s really nice ½ ton and find it was not possible! Dave liked Jerry’s cautious attitude so the agreement was made.

Jerry thought he could do it but locating all Chevrolet car parts would be a challenge. It was agreeable to Dave so they both began the parts hunt. From the first day hunting until the finished product, four months passed. It was really a learning experience for Jerry Rivers even though he had done most anything else to 1947-54 Advance Design trucks.

Here are some facts that were discovered when Jerry (with Dave’s help) finished the very unusual automatic transmission instillation.

The early cast iron Power Glide is the same length as a 1948 pickup 3 speed transmission. This saved them from using an open drive-line and a different differential. The ½ ton closed drive line and all its rear end differential could be used. That included axle housings, brakes and wheels. This had been a real concern. Wow, it fit together. What luck!

Even the rear yolk of the u-joint and the middle cross section was still used from the pickup. Just the readily available Power Glide front u-joint yolk was required to slide in to the transmission.

Jerry used a 1953-54 cast iron Power Glide transmission, bellhousing and flexplace. This is because it has a “kick down” that automatically drops to the lower gear during passing on the highway or other extra RPM requirements. It was discovered that the earliest Power Glide (1950-52) required the shift lever to be manually moved to the next segment by the driver to get the higher RPM’s.

The last year for the cast iron Chevy Power Glide (some were a different design) was 1961. After that an aluminum case was used. Check carefully if you make this change to a Power Glide. We do not know if the later cast iron unit will exchange this well!

Surprise Problem: The steering column on the car is one inch longer than the pickup. This created a problem because the small factory hole in the mast jacket that kept the pickup shift box from moving was no longer spaced correctly. To keep the Power Glide shift rod just like the car in length Jerry made another hole up the mast jacket that would hold the lower shift assembly in just the right position. Thus, the shifting mechanism is now exactly like the Chevrolet car engineers designed it 70 years ago.

New Surprise! It was discovered that because the car steering wheel has a center hub lower than its outer round edge the hand shift lever will not fit the flat pickup steering wheel without touching. What now? No, Jerry would have no part in substituting a with a modern street rod steering wheel! Therefore, the car shift lever was given a cut about 75 % deep and then bent before welding about two inches. The shift knob was now in just the correct place. Genius!

The Chevrolet car column linkage fits just right. Years of linkage use were corrected by welding the wear and grinding to exact dimensions. It now moves perfectly. All were zinc plated to look new.

The Power Glide starter is a perfect exchange on the 235 engine. No foot starter. This starter is now engaged with a button under the headlight switch, just like the car.

The Power Glide fluid is water cooled. Jerry found an original Chevrolet car fluid cooler that connects to the lower radiator horse position and is secured to the timing cover for stability. A perfect match for the 235 transplant engine. The attached photos show how nice the finished product now looks. Unless you are a real 1950’s Chevrolet expert you would think the Power Glide on the ½ ton was a GM assembly line product.

Another Nice Surprise: Top of the line “floor mats” are now produced with markings on the back for pedals and 4 speed transmissions cuts if there is a need. Thus, this ½ ton has no unnecessary visible holes for a clutch pedal!

Yes, the running boards have been painted lower body color by mistake. Dave will soon have them repainted to factory black.

NOW LET’S GET BACK TO DAVE AND JULIE. It was so difficult for Dave to explain to his wife why the pickup was away for 2 or 3 weeks for major repairs. The truth was this “Power Glide Pickup” was to be her surprise Christmas present for 2016. She had no idea and Dave said it was difficult for this to remain a secret until Christmas morning. What a surprise! Julie was overwhelmed. It then all came together why their pickup suddenly needed to be in the repair shop so long. Now this little pickup is driven by her as much as Dave.

It actually required months to get all perfected and gather parts. Jerry had a worn out ½ ton as the test truck to fit the many components. A few weeks before Christmas all the altered parts were then transferred to the McBee’s ½ ton. This is why Julie was told 2 to 3 weeks for “some” type of repair.

You can contact Dave and Julie McBee with questions at dlmcbee@hotmail.com

HINT TO READERS: Here is a thought. If your left leg is tired of the clutch or your spouse says an automatic would make the family Advanced Design pickup just right, contact: Jerrys Chevy Restoration Shop at 816-833-4414. Don’t forget to provide him with the Power Glide Transmission, all linkage, and most related do-dads he needs. (He has only a few extra items for the conversion) jerrysbodyshop@comcast.net

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Full side view

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Deluxe cab window trim

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The 1947-48 Hood Emblem. Only years made of Die-cast

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From the rear

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Light in bed roll for turn signal plus 1948 truck license plate

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Last Advance Design pickup under bed tank

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All original dash

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Fresh air heater works so good

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Two words say it all

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New old stock door panels

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Fog Lights. Nice Accessory

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The Power Glide Transmission after its rebuild

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Transmission rear on modified 3 speed cradle

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The modified rear transmission cross member

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Engine, Bellhousing and Power Glide together

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Transmission dip stick tube

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Lower shift column linkage control

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Transmission dip stick tube beside starter

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The Car Power Glide Shift indicator fits correctly

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Reshaped shift lever

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Starter button below headlight knob

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Floor mat with no extra holes

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The 1954 high oil pressure engine. Fits perfect

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Transmission fluid cooler attached to lower radiator hose (beside front of engine)

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Jerry Rivers, The early GM car and truck expert!

1948 Chevrolet ½Ton

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Truck

Owner: Tad Shadid

Combine a love for vintage vehicles plus a strong support for the “home team” and you have our Feature Truck of the Month. The pickup is a deluxe 1948 Chevy ½ ton rebuilt on its freshly powder coated frame. The exterior was carefully restored just like it left the factory except it is the official color of the Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK. Note the cab interior that is also based on the same color as the university.

The owner is Tad Shadid a lifelong vehicle enthusiast and a graduate of OSU. He is a retired veterinarian but now is the owner with his brother of another business in his home town of Oklahoma City. Tad is a perfect example of the old saying – If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person!

He has always been an old car enthusiast. Tad bought his first vehicle (a 1929 Chevy 1 ton) at 14 years old. He did major repairs so it would be ready to drive at 16 when the state allowed a driver’s license. After graduating from veterinarian school he completed a major restoration of a 1931 Ford Model A Coupe which became his second car for about 10 years.

The current 1948 Chevy ½ ton entered Tad’s life about 3 ½ years ago when we found an advertisement for his life dream, a 1956 Chevrolet convertible. The little ½ ton was setting beside the convertible. It was “love at first site” for both vehicles and Tad soon had them home. The convertible still sets in the same corner of his garage untouched. It is the little pickup that made him more excited! He personally rebuilt the truck in 2 ½ years.

1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Truck

Except for the color, the 1948 deluxe ½ ton is “bone stock” on the outside. The mechanicals probably look very original to most but several major upgrading makes the pickup very special. A rebuilt 261 cubic inch Chevrolet six cylinder engine was a drop-in after removing the original 216. The extra performance was not only for the highway but, it easily supports the air conditioning system.

Tad kept the original 4 speed transmission and the bullet-proof closed drive shaft system. To get 20% better highway speed he changed the differential gears from the original 4.11 ratio to a 3.55. The front disc brakes are hidden from view but Tad feels much safer with this upgrade. The electronic ignition system plus a 6 volt starter and flywheel causes the engine to start before every one engine revolution.

As is correct for only the 1947 and 1948 GM pickups, it has retained the under bed gas tank location. It remains on the inside of the right frame rail and is well protected from most all accidents.

1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Truck

For easier steering he replaced the drag link and third arm from a 1953 ½ ton (a GM improvement that year).  The two tie rods are now of the modern design introduced in the 1960’s. There is no necessity for power steering!

This beautiful pickup couldn’t be more ready for an across the country trip or just being a part of OSU’s many sports events.  Our feature photo shows the college mascot, Pistol Pete beside this pick up with Tad.  How great Tad has spent so much time and money to remain connected to the student body and their sport activities.

To contact Tad email at: tad@actionliquor.com

1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Truck
1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Truck
1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Truck
1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Truck
1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Truck
1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Truck
1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Truck
1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Truck
1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Truck
1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Truck
1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Truck

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

1948 Chevy Truck – Heartbeat of America

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

1948 Chevy Truck –“ Heartbeat of America”
Owner: Luke Stefanovsky
1948 Chevy Truck
This was my 1st project of this sort after dreaming about it for years. I did not start the restoration, but have finished the interior, exterior, the engine bay, and performed some undercarriage work. Once starting the restoration, I was “all in”! It became a great stress-reliever from the daily responsibilities of being a middle school principal in a state hard-hit by the Recession. I spent more time in my waking hours thinking about the truck that I should; it occupied my dreams as well! The truck was back on the road August 2009, and it now has approximately 1600 miles on the completely rebuilt 235 c.i. 6 cylinder engine pulled from a 1955 Chevy. It has a 4-speed stick (floor) with a 4:11 rear. The truck is now my summer daily driver in West Branch, Michigan (approximately 90 miles from my home in Alma, Michigan).

The truck was in the service fleet for the Road Department in Mineral County, Nevada (county seat is in Hawthorne) sometime until the mid/late 1960s. I have corresponded with the man who purchased it from them; it has had multiple owners since then. The truck was originally purchased by the Road Department from the Chevy dealership in Hawthorne, which is no longer in existence. The Mineral County seals on the door sides were compliments of the current Road Department supervisor. I purchased the amber Federal service light and mounted it on a pole in the front-left of the truck bed; the switch is now under the dash. The patched holes from a roof-mounted service light were clearly visible before the headliner was replaced. I’d love to find a rare 1948 Nevada “highway exempt truck” license plate to mount on the front of the truck, which would replace the standard 1948 Nevada truck plate.

Evidence of the truck’s past includes “cleats” of some sort, which can be seen below the tailgate area and the various holes on the side-rails. Holes in various other locations around the truck where unknown items were mounted can be seen. One such set of holes on the upper left of the dashboard were for a small rubber-bladed electric fan. I found a rare N.O.S. Casco rubber-bladed fan and installed it in that very same location! Another hole on the dashboard was where the wiring for the vintage N.O.S. illuminated Hull compass is now located. I completely restored the original Harrison heater that came with the truck, which must have come in handy on cold Nevada mornings/evenings out on the Mineral County roads. IF THESE OLD TRUCKS COULD ONLY TALK!

Amongst a very long list of things done to this truck, I’ve added vintage Guide turn signals, a horn, amber Guide 5-3/4” fog lights, a rear passenger tail light, Guide back-up lights, the side-mounted spare tire, decorative hood ornament, a restored radio/antennae, under hood lamp (a rare accessory), refinished the bed, and added seatbelts (the only way my wife and son were going to ride with me!). A N.O.S. Casco cigar lighter was installed. New wheels were painted/striped and mated to a new set of tires, along with new hubcaps. The cab was striped. The driver’s side inner door panel, the driver’s side upper hinge detents, hinge pins, and the passenger side door latch were replaced. I had to also replace the driver’s side stainless steel window trim. Original “high dome” bumper bolts, along with Marsden nuts, were restored and used on the bumpers. An original jack/handle and complete tool set were also placed under the bench seat. A finishing touch was finding and mounting a GM accessory chrome grille guard. The truck was completely rewired, maintaining the original 6 volt electrical service. Instrument gauges were also restored.

New friends have been made through the project the past few years—some over the phone, others via the Internet, and many in person. The information, help received, and locating miscellaneous parts from the Stovebolt, H.A.M.B., V.C.C.A., and Chevy Bomb forums has been much appreciated. I also found eBay a good place to find parts.

Younger brothers Joe and John were a big help on the project. Joe was a huge help on the electrical side of the project, as well as the body finish. John completed the restoration by building a set of bed racks/rails out of red oak left behind by our deceased Grandpa K.—“the Judge”—who ironically retired from the Bay County, Michigan Road Department.

Driving the “Heartbeat of America” on a regular basis and attending classic car shows has validated for me that completing this restoration was a very worthwhile project to others as well. Attending the 50th V.C.C.A. Anniversary meet in Flint, Michigan July 2011 sure was quite an event! The truck has appeared in two calendars and has been featured in the V.C.C.A.’s Generator and Distributor monthly magazine. A newspaper article was also written on it in the Mineral County Independent-News. The “Heartbeat of America” has come back to life and lives again, 63 years after its creation in Oakland, California. At age 50, I see this restored ’48 Chevy truck as a tribute to the rich auto heritage of our great state of Michigan—which has fallen on hard times recently. Like this truck, we will survive to thrive once more some day again.

1948 Chevy Truck 1948 Chevy Truck
1948 Chevy Truck

If you wish to contact Luke, please send him an email at: lstefanovsky@mtpleasant.edzone.net

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

1948 Chevrolet Suburban

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Year/Make 1948 Chevrolet Suburban

Owner: Jerry Rivers

1948 Chevrolet Suburban

It’s a great day for a car show! This is one of those rare Saturday cruise shows when the temperature, a light breeze, and no rain make it a picture perfect day. A few hundred vehicles, antique and street rods, fill the parking spots gather around the old city square.

The display overflow extends onto connecting side streets. Vehicle owners have gathered to enjoy a common interest, a love of special interest and restored cars and trucks.

As the day continues spectators are outnumbering the vehicle owners 3 to 1 as they stroll among the special cars of all early ages and marquis. However, it is obvious that one vehicle is attracting more than the usual passing interest. A constant flow of onlookers are staring at a large blue car or is it a truck. We wait for a place to get a better view of this “large people hauler”. It’s a beautifully rebuilt 1948 Chevrolet Suburban! The color, workmanship and engine bring most people to a stop as they are walking by this display.
The owner is Jerry Rivers of Independence, Missouri. The interest from the crowds prevent our questions but Jerry agrees to allow us a later interview for pictures and questions.

In a week we are at his small antique Chevrolet parts store with all his attention. The more we looked and discovered the truck’s special features, the more it was important to place this vehicle as our monthly truck of the month section.

Jerry bought this Suburban 13 years ago from the original owner in North Missouri. A friend was hunting and noticed the tired body in a back field along a fence row. Rusted out floors, broken glass, and a totaled engine was the package. Jerry saw the great potential plus he had always wanted an old Suburban. He is a retired body man, so to him the challenge was not so threatening. He began the rebuilding after a total disassembly. His parts business requires much time but he allowed himself one night each week for Suburban duties. Thus, thirteen years for restoration! It’s unveiling was June 2010.

He wanted an original appearing 60 year old vehicle but added many special accessories plus additions to make it freeway friendly. Jerry has no concerns about driving a long distance. It’s built as a driver but, of course, it gets extra care as one would with a collector vehicle purchased from a new car dealer.

Jerry provided us two pages of extras he carefully added during the 13 year rebuilding. These are items you may not notice as you view the final product. We list them here as he did for us.

Accessories

  • Guide back-up Lamp and Shift Box Switch
  • 15″ Wheels
  • Wheel Trim Rings
  • Bumper Guards
  • AM-FM Radio
  • Oil Bath Air Cleaner
  • Right Hand Rear View Mirror
  • Right Arm Rest
  • Glare Proof Inside Rear View Mirror
  • AC Oil Filter
  • Rear Turn Signals
  • Guide Traffic Viewer (prism)
  • Fulton Outside Sun Visor
  • Right Hand Inside Sun visor
  • Guide Turn Signal Switch on Steering Column

New Old Stock Parts

  • Left Front Fender
  • Both Inner Fenders
  • Front Lower Grill Baffle
  • Core Support
  • Hood Emblem
  • Complete Hood with Center Strip
  • Upper and Lower Hood latch
  • Rear Splash Apron
  • Front Splash Apron
  • Upper Gate Hinges
  • Right and Left Latches
  • Inside and Outside Door Handles
  • Steering Wheel
  • Radiator
  • Shift Box
  • Misc. Mechanical and Suspension parts

Up Grades

  • 1954 “261” Engine
  • HEI Electronic Ignition
  • Alternator
  • All 12 Volt Electronics
  • 3.55 Differential (replaces original 4.11)
  • Radial Tires
  • Tinted Windows
  • Custom Rear Lower Tailgate
  • Bucket Seats
  • YF Carter Lean Burn Carb
  • Heavy Duty 10 3/4″ Clutch and Pressure Plate
  • Electric Wiper Motor
  • Rear Dome Light
  • Seat Belts
  • Air Conditioning and Heater Combo
  • Special Paint Color Combo in Centari Acrylic Enamel

Parts Suppliers

  • Jim Carter Classic Truck Parts
  • Bowtie Bits Truck Parts
  • Tom Myers Truck Parts

We should note three very special extras that make the Suburban even more of a real show stopper.

The Tailgate opens to the side and operates as if GM did it. (This is a Jerry Rivers Creation). No leaning over in the rear just to reach the body.

Its Power Plant is a pure 261 six cylinder from 1954. They were originally in school buses and 2 tons only. It was a drop-in and moves the Suburban easily to 70 mph. (Of course the high speed 3.55 ring and pinion helps too) Many don’t know this 261 engine even existed. It really steps out in today’s traffic!

Cold Air Conditioning? Certainly. The custom made system is for the 1947-53 Chevy truck with a 261 engine. No cutting on the body. Note the concealed two control levers in what was once slots for the original factory radio speaker. Yes, it keeps the large body Suburban comfortable during Missouri days of high humidity and temperatures.
Jerry has had the Suburban completed and at car shows for only three months. Two trophies and so much public interest! It attracts so many he calls it his “Magnet”. His last show required a 400 mile drive. Did he have any mechanical problems? Of course not! He made it to be a new 60 year old Suburban.


1948 Chevrolet Suburban

1948 Chevrolet Suburban

1948 Chevrolet Suburban
1948 Chevrolet Suburban
Here He Comes! Custom Tailgate Accessory Back-Up Light Jerry’s Grand Daughters
1948 Chevrolet Suburban 1948 Chevrolet Suburban
1948 Chevrolet Suburban
1948 Chevrolet Suburban
Factory Dash Smooth Headliner Accessory Taillamp Prism
1948 Chevrolet Suburban 1948 Chevrolet Suburban 1948 Chevrolet Suburban 1948 Chevrolet Suburban
261 Engine Power Plant A/C Items Bucket Seats with New Covering
1948 Chevrolet Suburban 1948 Chevrolet Suburban 1948 Chevrolet Suburban 1948 Chevrolet Suburban
Pickup Dome Light New Carpeting Interior There He Goes!

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

1948 Chevrolet Dump Truck

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Year/Make 1948 Chverolet 6100
Owner: Herb Bliven

1948 chevrolet dump truck

This is my 1948 Chevy 6100 Series, 2 ton short dump truck. I used it for remodeling business in Ledyard, CT. The truck has been in use by me for 8 years. After purchasing it, I have sought to keep her looking as original as possible. This is a long term project. This truck has earned its keep and then some. I love the attention my truck attracts ever where I go. I have purchased many parts from Jim Carter Antique Truck Parts. Thank you for helping me keep this work horse on the road where it belongs.

1948 chevrolet dump truck

1948 chevrolet dump truck

1948 chevrolet dump truck

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.

1947-1948 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

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

1948-1953 Horn Bracket Location Changes

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The horn location on the intake manifold of the Chevrolet 216 six cylinder changed position with the addition of the accessory oil filter. This oil filter was attached to the front of the intake manifold. A special shaped horn bracket was necessary to move the horn forward away from the filter. This bracket was included in the box with the new oil filter package.

From 1947 and older, even the 3 speed transmissions shifted on the floor. There was no column shift. Without a shift box on the steering column, the oil filter could be placed on the rear of the intake manifold. Thus, the moving of the horn forward does not apply during these early years.

The attached photos show the two styles of horn brackets used between 1948 and 1953. On 1954 and newer the horn is attached to the radiator support.

1948 horn bracket 1

1948 horn bracket 2

1948 horn bracket 3

1948 horn bracket 4

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

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.

1947-1948 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.

1948 Chevrolet Suburban

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Owner: Unkown

1948 chevrolet suburban

Finding a forgotten 60 year old stored vehicle to restore is very unlikely in today’s world. They have been already found and junked or are in the hands of a new owner. The most unusual exception is our feature truck of the month.

This 1948 Chevrolet Suburban has been setting behind a storage building or machine shop so long it is buried to the axles in dirt and sand. No garage! The dry air of the area has slowed weathering, though a light surface rust film has developed. No dents and most original parts still remain. Note the GM grill guard, spot light, and optional rear signals.

What a find for a serious rebuilder. Most experienced restorers know the year or more to obtain the parts for this series of Suburban. Here, most all is in place even down to hubcaps and seats. Covered on one side with sage brush, photos on the one open side could be taken to show the detail.

As soon as we begin to say this is just too good to believe, we found it is. The owner states “It’s been in my family since new and I am going to fix it up someday”. Have we ever heard that comment?

The person that recently found this Suburban is also hoping to buy it sometime. Therefore, he traded me these pictures for the promise I would not mention any contacts including him. Sorry!

1948 chevrolet suburban 1948 chevrolet suburban 1948 chevrolet suburban

1948 chevrolet suburban 1948 chevrolet suburban

1948-1949 COE & Chevrolet 1/2 ton

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Owners: Bill and Ken Wedelaar

1948 chevrolet coe 1949 half ton

What a traffic stopping combination! When this pair hits the road, even the non-truck enthusiasts take note. The proud owners are Bill and Ken Wedelaar in Midland Park, New Jersey. Bill and Ken have a local auto electric shop and the restoration of these trucks has been their hobby when time became available.

The little black 1949 1/2 ton is one of the best examples of how they left the factory as it shows only 11,000 miles. Bill has owned it 15 years with almost no repairs needed except cleaning and detailing. It had been repainted when Bill found it and he added the whitewall tires. If you want to know what a pure 1949 was like when new, ask Bill or Ken.

The 1948 Cab-Over-Engine (COE) is a piece of artwork. Bill and Ken even bought another COE to get the best parts and then restored it to almost all authentic specifications. A 1954 Chevrolet 235 six cylinder is about the only update that was added. This 2 ton has been his for 25 years. Before his purchase, it hauled a large dozer to construction job sites.

Bill and Ken are obviously enthusiasts and artists in truck restoration.

They can be contacted by email at: kensautoelectric@gmail.com

1948 Chevrolet 3100

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Owner: Scott Scheibner

1948 chevrolet 3100

Years ago when I lived in Washington State, I had a 1950 Chevrolet 3100 that I restored/rebuilt customized from the frame up. It was my hunting and fishing truck and I loved it. During a time when I was getting ready to build an addition to my house here in California, I got talked into selling my 50. Never felt such pain as I did watching it drive away. My wife hugged me and told me that someday I could get another one. That day finally arrived about 10 years later when I saw my 1948 Chevy 3100 online for sale. It was someone’s project and had a few things done to it that were what I had planned on doing to a truck. I bought the truck and began the long process of re-doing many of the things that were done half assed. It has turned out to be a very special truck even though I’m still working on it.

As with all of my vehicles that I have had and those that I still do, I seem to continually turn to Jim Carter for those parts that aren’t always the easiest to find. I also check with Jim Carter and compare prices because most often his prices are better and he doesn’t gouge you on shipping/handling. I want to thank Jim Carter Classic Truck Parts for always being there with advise, parts and great customer service.

1948 chevrolet 3100 1948 chevrolet 3100 1948 chevrolet 3100

1948 chevrolet 3100 1948 chevrolet 3100 1948 chevrolet 3100

1948 chevrolet 3100 1948 chevrolet 3100

1948 Chevrolet

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Owner: Roger Darrow

1948 chevrolet

* 1948 Chevrolet
* 6 volt system, all original, floor starter
* 1972 blazer wheels (so I could run radial tires)
* Factory 4 speed

1948 Chevrolet

Thursday, May 1st, 2003

Owner: Mike Klepp – Wichita Falls, TX

1948 chevrolet pick up truck

I bought my 1948 Deluxe cab 3104 in 1995 and have done a complete on-frame “restification.” Everything is stock appearing, but closer inspection will reveal the upgrades I have made in the name of safety and performance.

The drive line is a 1954 vintage 235 that is totally rebuilt. It is disguised with a 216 valve cover. Behind the engine is a 1965 3-speed overdrive coupled to a 1959 open drive rear axle with 3.90 gears. I still have good acceleration, but I can cruise at 65-70 mph all day.

The front and rear suspension as well as the steering are totally rebuilt. To stop the beast is a Nova dual master cylinder connected to upgrade Bendix brakes with new lines and hoses. Radial wide whitewall tires, gas tube type shocks and a panel truck sway bar complete the handling package.

Inside the gauges are rebuilt, seat covered in gray tweed material, steering wheel restored, and new headliner and floor mats added. It was a granny four speed originally, so I collected and installed stock column linkage to shift the newer 3-speed OD.

Outside the body was quite rust free, but 50 years of dents and dings took their toll. The body was stripped, straightened, and painted. Much of the bed is reproduction metal, but all four fenders and both doors are connected to the original cab. Since the truck was black originally, I decided to keep it that way.

The truck does very well at local shows: several firsts, a couple bests of show, and a best paint awards. What I like most is the looks and thumbs up from others as I go down the road. It is a blast to drive.

Mike Klepp
Wichita Falls, TX

1948 chevrolet pick up truck 1948 chevrolet pick up truck 1948 chevrolet pick up truck