The 1955 year put Chevrolet on top! All stops were removed in announcing and continual advertising of the totally redesigned passenger car and their first V-8 engine. Television, radio, news papers and dealers regularly told the public that Chevrolets best year had arrived.
It was not good timing to also begin an equal advertising campaign for the totally new truck that was ready for manufacturing. A good business decision by GM was to wait about six months until the car ads had slowed, then advertising could begin again for their redesigned trucks. This would hit the customers twice in one year on major changes in the Chevrolet market.
It was unheard of for GM to not introduce a new Chevy vehicle each year, therefore at least something had to happen with trucks at the beginning of the 1955 model year. The answer was later called a “First Series 1955”. Chevrolet would introduce the 1955 truck by making several changes to their pre-existing 1954. With the new “Second Series” only months away, little investment was made to the early 1955 trucks.
First Open Drive Shaft
The most noticeable change on the popular 1/2 ton was the first open drive shaft in Chevy’s truck history. This was actually created for the later 1955 trucks but with dealer demand it was moved up to be in the early body style. This major drive line change required a different 3 speed transmission, rear leaf springs, shift linkage and shift box.
1955 Hood Side Emblem
The outside visual changes were minimum. During the about 5 months production, the 1955 early truck was given totally different hood side emblems. However, to reduce costs the number portion of the emblem could be changed depending on the size of trucks. Example: 3100 on 1/2 ton, 3600 on 3/4 ton and 3800 on the 1 ton.
A no cost difference was changing the vertical stripes on the front hood emblem from red on the 1954 to white on the 1955
The paint arrangement on the non-chrome grill was also a non cost change for Chevrolet. The grill bars were changed from body color to white.
Interior paint (again a no cost change) was slightly modified from a pearl beige color 1954 to a light metallic brown.
Thus, with little extra investment Chevrolet had a new truck for the beginning of 1955. This was the final offering of this body style that began in 1947. GM referred to it as the “Advance Design”. It has become one of Chevrolet’s all time greats. It’s popularity today is as strong with hobbyists as it was with new buyers 50 years ago.
Then came the totally re-designed trucks in mid-year 1955. That will be another story!