Segment Five: 1947-1954 Advanced Design Pickups Author:
radically different 1947 Advanced Design light-duty trucks represented
a sea change in pickup design and appearance. The nation was entering
the exciting Post World War II era and after four long years of
war the American people, especially the veterans, were looking forward
to new opportunities in the world's greatest country. There was
no better way to put the past behind and look to the future than
with new lines of America's favorite form of transportation - cars
and light trucks. Post War automobiles followed a little
The Advanced Design 1947 pickups went on sale on Saturday June 28,
1947. Shown is a 1947 3/4-ton Model ER pickup. Power came from the
historic Chevrolet 216.5 cubic-inch Overhead Valve six cylinder
engine. This 3/4-ton pickup is rather unusual because it has all
the deluxe trim items offered in 1947 - a chrome grille, chrome
window trim and rear quarter windows. Usually this equipment is
found on half-ton pickups. (Photo: AAMA)
more than a
year later than the new trucks. GM was the first manufacturer to
release the new-look post War trucks late in the 1947 model year
as 1947 models. They were announced at Chevrolet dealer showrooms
on Saturday June 28, 1947.
There is so
much that could be said about the new Chevrolet pickups that we
could fill a small book. For lack of space we will stick to the
basics. Truck engineers typically began development work on a new
series by surveying truck users. Personal
interviews with business owners revealed the number one
with trucks was a larger, roomier cab with more comfortable seats
and better vision. Please note that owner interviews at that time
in history were held with business owners not with individuals who
owned pickup trucks for transportation only. The cab of the Advanced
Design pickups was eight inches wider and seven inches longer. By
pickup standards increases of this magnitude
This 1950 Chevrolet half-ton model HP pickup was photographed in October
1999. It is so typical of collector trucks which are almost, but not
quite stock. Note the later model hubcaps, a hood ornament, non-stock
yellow paint and the wheels seem to be undersized too. (Photo: Don
once in a lifetime. The cab's new size allowed the engineers to
fit in with a true three-man seat which was also fully adjustable
front and rear on an inclined plane to provide maximum driver vision.
The additional cab width and length caused the new pickups to look
much bigger than previously.
A new larger
windshield and bigger side and rear window glass and optional rear-quarter
windows vastly improved safety and driveability. Higher and wider
Chevrolet's largest 1950 pickup was the model 3800 one-ton which
was built on a 137-inch chassis. Its cargo box's inside measurements
were 108 1/4-inches long by 50-inches wide. A four-speed transmission
was standard as was its 216.5 cubic inch Thrift-Master engine. (Photo:
cab doors made
entry and exit easier. Another new feature which further contributed
to driver comfort and safety was a fresh-air heater/defroster system
which brought fresh outside air into the cab and forced used air
out through vents at the rear of the cab.
designed the new cab's construction to be entirely welded, as opposed
to partly bolted together as in the past. Consequently the new cab
was much stronger and featured a three-point type of suspension,
which contributed to a softer ride.
included three pickup truck types in the new Advanced Design Series
in three-sizes, half-, 3/4- and one-tons (models 3104, 3604 and
3804 respectively) with cargo boxes 78 inches, 87 inches and 108
three boxes were 50 inches wide, 16 1/4 inches high on the sides and
14 inches high in the ends. Wheelbases were 116, 125 1/4 and 137 inches.
For each model the cargo box was shifted forward for better distribution
of the load in relation to the rear axle and for better support by
the frame rails. All pickups continued to be built with wooden cargo
floors covered with steel skid strips.
The door vent windows were new in 1951 and push button door handles
in 1952. A 1952 e/3-ton pickup is shown. The 3600 Series trucks were
built on a 125 1/4-inch wheelbase chassis. The three-speed synchromesh
transmission was standard; the four-speed was an option. This truck
was Y2K ready and ready for sale on a used car lot in October 1999.
(Photo: Don Bunn)
Design pickup's engine was the 90 horsepower, 174 ft-lb. of torque,
216.5 cubic inch Thrift Master OHV six cylinder. The half and 3/4-ton
pickup's standard transmission was a three speed and a four speed
was optional. Only the four speed was available for the one-ton.
to pickups, the Advanced Design light-duty truck's with body line
continued to include half- and one-ton panels and canopy expresses;
3/4- and one-ton stake trucks; the Carryall Suburban and the automobile
based on the Sedan Delivery.
pickups continued through 1953 with only minor engineering and styling
upgrades. For example, in 1948 the four-speed transmission's gear
shift lever was moved to the steering column from the floor and
the parking brake was changed from a floor mounted lever to a foot
actuated pedal on the driver's far left. These changes cleared the
floor of obstructions for the convenience and comfort of the passenger
seated in the middle. The former four-speed spur-type transmission
was changed to a synchromesh unit to eliminate double clutching.
1949 the gas tank was moved to inside the cab behind the seat back.
In 1950 the 216.5 cubic inch six was tweaked to put out 92 horsepower
at 3400 rpm and 176 ft-LB of torque at 1000 to 2000 rpm. In 1951 the
left-side cowl vent was eliminated and was replaced by door vent windows.
New push-button door handles were a 1952 model year introduction.
This 1954 Chevrolet Series 3100 half-ton pickup is another not-quite
stock collector pickup. This was the first year of the Advanced
Design series in which extensive styling changes were made. Note
the one-piece curved windshield and new grille and parking lights.
(Photo: Don Bunn)
first, and only, major Advanced Design styling and engineering changes
occurred with the 1954 models. These models featured a pleasing one-piece
windshield, and all-new grille, new parking lights and a new steering
panel. Engineering advancements included the new standard 235.5 cubic
inch OHV six cylinder engine producing 112 horsepower and 200 ft-LB
gross torque. The full automatic Hydra-Matic transmission became an
option for light-duty trucks. These trucks continued into 1955 and
remained on sale until March 25, 1955 when all-new Early V8 pickup
trucks were announced by Chevrolet.
1954 Chevrolet Series 3800 one-ton pickup looked almost as good
as new when photographed in October 1999. These big pickups were
worked so hard they usually didn't survive (Photo: Don Bunn)
pickups were number one in sales during every year of the Advanced