There isn't a hot rodder worth his tool box that doesn't own or wishes he owned a pickup truck. There are two ways to go about solving this dilemma. There is the late-model Cowboy Cadillac that serves double duty as daily driver and weekend parts chaser or your latest project is your pickup. We prefer the latter!
Over the following months we are going to build a pickup at the shop of Hot Rods by Dean in Phoenix, Arizona. We are starting with fresh sheetmetal but as we all know there is no shortage of '47-54 Chevy pickups, especially the half-ton (Model 3100 Thriftmaster with a 216ci engine) variety in either the utilitarian three-window or Deluxe cab five-window. (Early sales literature proclaimed the optional curved glass windows to, "Promote greater safety by eliminating the blind spot at the rear corners.") In the '40s the top-selling truck was the Chevy and after World War II it was the first truck to get a complete makeover. In May of 1947 the new Advance-Design line of Chevy trucks were introduced with the first sales coming on June 28, 1947. There were over 335,000 trucks sold during the 1947 model year but one should note the old '46 design was sold until May of '47 slightly confusing the actual number of the Advance Design debut.
According to Chevrolet archives the 1947 pickup design was in progress under the direction of the famed GM designer Harley Earl back in 1942. Early trademark design cues included the integrated headlights built into the front fenders, tall hoods and the split windshield.
These new pickups came in a Forester Green as the standard color accented with a cream pinstripe on the belt molding following along the painted grille bars and then circling the chromed hubcaps. (Chromed grille bars were optional). There were other no-added cost color options and these included a lighter shade of green, red, white, maroon, black, orange, beige, and two shades of blue; all came with contrasting pinstripes.
The Deluxe cab (or de luxe, we have found it spelled both ways in early Chevy literature) was immediately identifiable because of the corner windows. However, there were also brightwork windshield and window garnish moldings, a seatback trim panel, driver's armrest, passenger-side sun visor, and the before mentioned chromed grille bars.
While the trucks were completely redesigned after the War, mechanically they were pretty much the same. The wheelbase increased from 115 to 116 inches, the same overall frame deign was kept but this time heavier duty framerails were used, and the engine was the venerable inline six.
As mentioned there are plenty of these pickups around to this day but they were work trucks and as such lead a rough and tumble life. In other words, they all need something. And that brings us to our Project Shop Truck. We could have started with a piece of vintage tin and worked our magic from there and why not, many a hot rodder has done it. Instead, we opted to go the new tin showing how you can start with nothing and end up with something.
To begin this project we contacted Chevs of the 40's and lined-up all the appropriate sheetmetal that's produced by Dynacorn Classic Bodies. (We did round up the bed from MAR-K complete with a bed wood kit but more on that later.) The chassis is a freshly squeezed Fatman assembly complete with Mustang II IFS, all the appropriate mounts, and a Currie prepped 9-inch rearend. Of course, you can jump in on this project at anytime and take the information that will be used here and apply it to your vintage tin project. But should you find yourself needing any of the sheetmetal, chassis components, interior or exterior trim pieces, etc. then pay close attention as somewhere in the series you will find just what you need.
Our project is based on the following core components; a cab, a bed, fenders, running boards, a hood all wrapped neatly around a chassis with the appropriate powertrain.
The cab and subsequent sheetmetal...
The cab and subsequent sheetmetal came from Chevs of the 40s. You can order it all or in pieces to suit your build. Hot Rods by Dean will be in charge of getting our pickup on the road.
The Josh Shaw illustration...
The Josh Shaw illustration depicts one of the efforts we can see from our Project Shop Truck, working as a push truck for one of the local cacklefest events.