1931 Chevrolet Confederate: Former Firetruck?

1931 Chevrolet Confederate

This old flatbed truck may not look like much, but there is quite a story behind it. About four decades ago the current owner purchased it with the understanding that it was once a firetruck. The claim was believable because of the low mileage (1,400?) and original condition. A tune up was done, the frozen emergency brake loosened up, and one of the original yellow inner tubes replaced before it was drivable again. Then in 1979 the owner moved and ended up sticking the truck in a barn on their Uncle’s farm. Well, now after 36 years, they have realized they are not going to get around to doing anything with it so they have listed it here on Hemmings for $4,988 or best offer.

1929 Chevrolet Fire Truck

The story is a good one, but what can be done now? There’s already a flatbed in place so I suppose you could clean it up and put it back into farm duty. There isn’t any proof that the truck was a firetruck, but that shouldn’t necessarily stop someone from turning it into one. The real 1929 Firetruck shown above sold back in September for $17k. The job would be expensive, but boy, it might be worth it. What do you think – what would you do with this one and a half ton?


  1. packrat

    looks like it would be worth getting into for about a grand if the engine was still free and stored with the radiator drained.

  2. Mike D

    back in the day they would use old cars/ trucks as a tractor, a neighbor kid had a Model A with a living room chair for a seat, pretty much like this the chrome shroud (?? right term?) looked like a mirror it was used as a tractor at one time

  3. Bobsmyuncle

    Not sure that a firetruck is all that useful or even desirable for most so the extraordinary efforts required to return it to that state seem unwarranted. You’d probably… no unquestionably, be far further ahead buying the finished product.

  4. Jason Houston

    Sorry, but I’d need a lot more than a faded, oxidized odometer to verify original mileage. I agree, a fire truck isn’t exactly the darling of the large truck community anyway.

  5. z1rider

    Old firetrucks often but not always have one real advantage. Low miles, sometimes incredibly low miles. Usually after decades they get pushed outside, replaced by more modern equipment. The cosmetics suffer of course but, they are not all worn out.

    True story. A friend of mine got wind of a 1940 one ton Ford firetruck owned by a volunteer department in a small town in Nebraska. He went to look at it and made a deal. This truck had 1848 miles on it. That’s right, one thousand eight hundred forty eight miles in total. It got pushed outside in 1979. In 1995 when he bought it, he was able to get it running on that 16 year old gasoline and drove it onto a trailer.

    About all it needed was a complete overhaul of the brakes, a change of all fluids, and a good tune-up. It gets more attention than just about anything on the road.

  6. Howard A Member

    I love the names. The Chevy “Confederate” ( like the Studebaker Dictator) , names that would never fly today. IDK if it was a fire truck, it has no bearing whatsoever on it’s present condition. These are pretty simple and fixing it up shouldn’t be too hard ( unlike say, a ’55 Packard restoration) I think people that read these sites, are probably out in the “back 40” now, cutting the trees out of the frames of these long forgotten trucks. “Hey Ma’, our old hog truck in back is worth 5 grand”. :)

  7. Mark S

    First of all old fire trucks are good for one thing, parade day. You start them up twice a year, the rest of the time they site around taking up indoor space. For this truck the first thing you need to find is a cab to go with that front clip. Because it’s GM it I’ll need a running chassie out of a modern chev one ton truck and a one ton truck box. The next thing would be 5 wheel attachment. Now you got something. The idea of keeping these as museum pieces is not practical the museums have enough examples and we have plenty of parade trucks too, this truck is incomplete so why not restomod it.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Mark, wow, you’re all over the place here. Actually, it was quite normal for trucks of this vintage not to have cabs. Trucks back then were not the vehicles you see today, and were one step above tractors. While I agree, museums have enough stuff, a truck like this should be kept original. Resto-mod a ’54 Chevy pickup (or whatever), there’s a bunch of those (although even those are getting scarce) but there aren’t too many like this around. It’s 85 years old!

      • Mark S

        Hi Howard your right I my have been a bit extreme on this one. I think when it comes to old vehicles I like drivers more than trailer queens. So I kind look at then case by case and try think of the best way to use the car / truck in question. I think some should be preserved, some restored, some customized, and some scrapped its that pragmatic German heritage in me. Can’t seem to shake it.

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi guys. I agree with Howard in that this truck is very old and modifying it would be next to blasphemy. I’ve never been all that worried about driving an old beast like this around. But then, out west there are lots of little-used roads to drive down; the traffic is relatively light. Add to that it’s a largely rural region so slow moving vehicles (farm tractors and equipment) on the roads are commonplace; of course you wouldn’t want to chance it on I-15, even though I’ve driven my ’49 Chevy down I-15 many times. I have to admit that 40 mph DOES seem kind of pokey on a hot summer day.

      • Mark S

        Hi Geomechs I gotta say that where I live in southern Alberta Canada that driving anything below 110 kph ( 65 mph for you folk south of the 49th ) can be a nerve racking experience. Every one up here is in a big hurry to get somewhere. I drove a Ural side car motorcycle for a few year with top speed of 100 kph. It was a terrifying experience to say the least, more than once I looked in my mirror to see a peterbuilt or kenworth grille bearing down on me. This was true of secondary highways too. Since then I have promised myself that anything that I pull onto a highway in has to be able to keep up. As for the Ural sold for that very reason. So I have a bit of a bias toward slow vehicles. So if your going to use them they need to bee upgraded, Speed wise and stopping wise. By the way guys I’d like wish you all a Merry Christmas now Becker I forget.

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi again. Your comment about people being in a hurry reminds me of an incident last summer. I was driving my ’49 Chevy to the International Antique Auto Meet, hosted by the Lethbridge (SAACAC) club in Pincher Creek. I was traveling west of Fort Macleod where the 4-lane shrinks down to 2-lane. The drone of that ol’ Stovebolt plus the blast of the wind past the opened windows at 55 mph was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Unfortunately the 15 to 18 cars that got caught behind me didn’t enjoy it nearly as much. Whenever I pulled over in the passing zones, the cars (and trucks) blasted past me. All of them waved, some cheerfully, while some were only waving one digit. I just cheerfully waved back and kept on my way. I might add that my wife drove her ’57 Poncho that was able to cruise along at 60+ and she got some waves too although there were a lot of surprised faces when they saw a woman piloting a vintage car. Nice talking to you. Have yourself a great Christmas!

  8. rjc

    Let me tell you a story about a man name jad poor moutainer could hardly keep his famliy fed. The first truck :)

  9. Bobsmyuncle

    This site often mentions parades and it always make me smile.

    I guess it’s a big part of small town Americana. While I’ve never experienced it up here in big city Canada, I somehow miss it.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      You should try it out sometime. Small town parades are great!

  10. Woodie Man

    Hmmm….tires, tuneup , a drivers seat, some moonshine and a few hours later…….donuts in the wheat field.

    • alfred

      I like the way you think brother

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