Advance Design: 1947 GMC Farm Truck

This subject is tough to identify. The seller lists it as a ’47 GMC “Farm Truck” but there is no further descriptor or VIN provided and it would seem a challenge to do any real farming with just a cab and chassis and no cargo bed. Research indicates that this truck is probably at least a GMC 3800 (the hood badge is illegible) but it could be a higher rated capacity model. There’s not a lot here to see but let’s check it out anyway. It is located in Plainfield, New Jersey and is available, here on eBay for a BIN price of $2,175; there is a make an offer option too.

GM’s new “Advance-Design” Chevrolet and GMC trucks were introduced in 1947 and were notable for being the first GM trucks to offer an in-dash radio, something that this example has, but that’s about it. The Advance-Design trucks were a very successful run for GM and they continued, in production with continuing improvements, through 1955.

This truck may or may not have been used in farm service; without a rear bed, there is no way to tell what its purpose in life was. The seller states, “ENGINE & DRIVE TRAIN SOLID. DO NOT KNOW IF VEHICLE RUNS. AS-IS! AS-IS! AS-IS! AS-IS!” Well, if it is not known if it runs, it’s tough to make a claim about a “solid” engine, which should be a 90 HP, 216 CI, either a 248 or 270 CI, in-line, six-cylinder prime mover, the listing does not state specifically.  It doesn’t appear to have run, however, in many moons. You gotta love the mileage statement, “MILEAGE NOT CONFIRMED, MAY BE MORE, ODOMETER READS 24995”. I’d bet on the “may be more” part. But hey, it’s got a newer muffler!

As for body integrity, we are advised, “some rust in the usual places”, not sure how that translates with an Advance-Design truck. It seems to have surface rust, and a whole lot more, all over the place so “all over” must be typical. We are told that all of the window glass is intact but at first glance, it doesn’t appear to be particularly useful as it seems fogged and scratched. I have to admit that the windshield sunshade is a nice addition but it is not believed to be original to this truck, not that it matters. And then there is the entire issue of what to do with the open rear frame – the world is your oyster, I guess.

Inside, the original seat is supposedly in good shape; maybe the backrest, the seat cushion is laughable unless you like spring marks in your hind-side. We’re told that the dash instrument cluster is good – no, it’s not. The rest of the interior is a tangle of rust, wires, trash and missing door cards. Do you think that radio works?

This is a quick flip, it’s advertised as, “TRUCK AVAILABLE IN OPEN PARKING LOT- EASY CAR CARRIER ACCESS”. It almost seems like a cry to come take this thing I found off of my hands. Oh, and there is no title and the ID plate has been removed (an effective way to abandon a vehicle). Let’s reverse roles, I usually try to find a silver lining in every vehicle that I review and am frequently told, “What, are you nuts?” Well, there are no silver linings here that I can find, but I’d love to hear from our readers with their suggestions as to what to do with this “farm truck”. You do have suggestions, right? (please keep it clean)

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  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    A fair amount of rust to fix on this but nothing to make it impossible. It deserves to be brought back to its original glory. Two bones to pick: 1/ It’s a ‘New Design;’ Chevy was exclusive to the ‘Advance Design’ moniker. Don’t worry, I was corrected on that myself a while back. 2/ That’s a GMC engine in that bay. I’m thinking possibly a 228 but it’s a fairly heavy truck so I would be inclined to think that’s a 248. The 302 was used by the military during the war and it also powered the largest GMC trucks but was not available in this size. The 270 came out in the early 50s and became the GMC ‘Resident Six’ in the later 50s. This wouldn’t be a major powerhouse compared to what was offered in later years but then, neither were the engines that powered the competition…

    Like 4
    • Jim ODonnell Jim ODonnell Staff


      Thx for the clarity; the research source that I used kept crossing the particulars of the Chevrolet and GMC models. Speaking of which, what model do you think it is? I couldn’t figure it out.


      Like 2
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Back then GMC was always reluctant to display its model designation. It seemed to just let the visual size make the decision; check the model numbers out later. The Series for New Design was 300, 350, and 450, essentially what it was before. The actual model number in a series was determined by wheelbase. For example, the FF351 was a 122-inch wheelbase and the FF355 was 197 inches. I’m thinking this one’s a 450 series which was the heaviest with this cab. It’s got the six stud wheels (they went up to ten studs) and is a lot more robust than the average big truck.

        Like 4
    • Howard A Member

      Where you been, buddy? We missed ya’,,and your expertise, not half -baked comments, like mine. Not much to add, except, not sure of the market here. It needs a complete recombobulation, and for what? Trucks like this had a specific purpose, and that’s long gone for today. Vehicles like this, or cars with little appeal in poor shape, in the near future, won’t be worth the metal they have, just no interest. Someone will probably just want the grill and the radio, and scrap the rest. That grill guard, while funky looking, actually had a purpose and I think was a factory option.

      Like 3
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi Howard. I haven’t been far away, just spread a little thin. I took on some part-time work helping locate and sell parts for old Binders, and it has ex-PLODED! Navistar tends to wash its hands of supplying parts for anything 30+ unless it’s a super-fast mover. Me and my good friend, Errol, are busy locating and selling parts for anything older than 30. I’m amazed at how many 40-60-year-old trucks are still in daily use. It’s one helluva way to retire: sit on the phone, locate parts and tell lots of stories. But I miss the guys on BF!

        Like 8
      • Poppapork

        Geomechs, i said it before and i’ll say it again:
        You bring such an amazing amount of detailed information presented in an interesting fashion that i think you should be on barnfinds payroll or at least they could send you a gift on you Birthday as a tolken of appreciation.

        Like 2
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Thanks for the kind words, PC. I live to share information and stories, and BF is a great forum to do that on. It’s the premium online coffee row, especially for gearheads.

        Like 1
  2. Bear

    That’s A LOT of rust for someone to tackle.
    Not impossible, but I’ve always been told to be wary of cabs that are rusted out at the lower door hinge area.
    No title or ID plates. Unknown drivetrain condition (…so assume the worst!).
    Price is certainly attractive though.
    Someone should save this.

    Like 3
  3. Lance

    Can the seller prove he ACTUALLY owns this vehicle?

    Like 5
  4. Paul

    I would gladly give what I gave for my 79 F-250, 50$ more than the scrapyard, for a grand total of 250$. It would make nice “yard art”, but my “scrapper “ actually runs…

  5. 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

    I’ve mentioned on here before that GMC straight 6s from the 40s through the 50s can be identified by a stamping on a shelf on the block just behind where the distributor goes into it – engine cubes are listed, 228, 248, 256, 270, 302. I love these engines, not high rev ers, but plenty of torque. They will retro fit a 216 or 235 Chevy 6 with very minimal work and still have a pretty good selection of high performance goodies available. Bell housing bolt pattern the same, but roughly 1″ longer than a 216. The above truck was owned by one of my uncles who used it for most everything. It has a 12′ boom that hoisted building trusses, cars, trucks, etc and was also the hanger when gutting deer or cattle. He was a rancher, blacksmith, and pretty much did anything that needed mechanical reasoning. He gave me the truck before he died.

    Like 3
  6. Jack Dahl

    I would get an old camper trailer and mount it and have a camper special.

    Like 5
  7. FastEddie/OldEddie: pick one

    Judging from the mirrors, there was a pretty big box on the back; usual farm practice was to unbolt, then block up the box, and back up a new cab & chassis underneath it, bolt it up, and keep on farmin’. My relatives had a rural GM dealership in the ’50s, and they sold a number of cab ‘n chassis rigs locally; lost at least one brand new one to theft. A lot of farm trucks were never licensed for the road: was damn near killed in a head-on, driving a farm truck trade-in, when the drag link fell off, because the last guy that adjusted the steering play never bothered to replace the cotter pin securing the threaded cup end. (Too old & tired to remember the proper name).

    It appears that the door cards only covered the top few inches of the inner door, with the rest being formed metal. What the heck is that thing on the backside of the top rad tank, next to the upper rad hose? Thermostat? Never saw anything like that before.

    Like 1
  8. Ken Carney

    Great old truck and a blank canvas for whatever you have in mind for it. It’d be a great delivery truck for a local discount
    furniture store so long as you drove it in town and not on the
    freeway. Other uses include adding a steel box to the back and
    turning it into a mobile shop of some kind, a food truck, a sceptic tank pump truck, a tanker, or just put another stake bed
    on it and haul scrap. Whatever you chose to do with it, you’d be
    the life of the party at your local car show.

    Like 3
  9. Phlathead Phil. 🇺🇸

    Methinks this item is not gonna fit on the usual car hauler due the the size and weight of the thing.

    IMO. This is a project of immense proportion, and galactic cost.

    IMO. It will require the above average skill of a seasoned pro to bring this one back.

    I’d rather dump my coin in a slot machine while drinking a cold🍺.

    IMO. There are some projects to be left alone, even if the price were free!

    Like 2
  10. pixelpusher

    The 3800 descriptor in the copy above would be a 1 ton truck int he Chevy lineup. A dually would be a higher numerical descriptor regardless of bos or bed configuration, if I’m not mistaken. I have a 3800 panel, long wheelbase 1 ton.

    Like 1

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