1950 Chevy Pickup Project

Here’s a great truck for you patina lovers! This 1950 Chevrolet pickup is a non-runner, but I’d be surprised if a weekend of effort wouldn’t make it one! It’s listed for sale here on eBay where 30 bids have raised the price to just under $4,000 as I write. Like a lot of the solid-looking vintage trucks featured on Barn Finds, this one is located in the upper Midwest; in this particular truck’s case, you can find it in Murdock, Minnesota.

While I’m guessing a lot of you would leave the look alone, I’m afraid I would be among those who would straighten, sand, and paint the truck (tip of the cap to commenter Howard A). In my case, it would probably end up the turquoise/green color commonly seen on this vintage Chevy truck as I grew up with one in the next-door-neighbors driveway. Although it’s wearing its share of bumps and bruises, the underlying body looks pretty solid. The buyer will have to go through the effort to get a clear title to the truck; buyer beware as that is much more difficult in some states than others.

There are many kits on the market to completely replace the wood bed and metal strips; this was one that I found for only $370. The underlying metal looks completely solid, which is great!

There’s just something about the step-side pickup styling of these vintage trucks that hits a home run for me. It would be nice to refurbish this one as it appears all the major components are salvageable or easily replaced. Personally, I find metal “bumping” relaxing, but new fenders are readily available if you want to go that route.

Just look at the length of that shifter! The seller tells us it’s a four-speed transmission, which I’m suspecting is actually a three-speed with a granny gear. The issues here (besides what I’m guessing is a world-class smell) are two-fold; 1) what risk of rodent-borne disease are you willing to accept during the inevitable clean up and 2) how expensive are your re-upholstery tastes? I’d love to hear some of your interior clean-out stories; my most surprising one was when I found live vermin still around! I’m not sure who was more astonished; me, the mouse, or my mother when I had to explain that the mouse had escaped into the basement and I couldn’t find it! Needless to say, Jamie was not popular that afternoon nor for several days afterward. We never did find the mouse!

We’re not told if the 216.5 cubic-inch 6-cylinder engine is free or not, but I’d be surprised if it couldn’t be made so with some effort and time. Carburetor rebuild kits are less than $25 and are available from many suppliers, so I’d install one and clean out the carb while doing it. I also personally prefer metal fuel filters so the plastic one would go in the trash along with any cracked or old hoses. What do you think of this classic American truck?


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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Jamie.. You asked what to do to this truck and similar experiences. The ’49 Crosley station wagon that I mentioned before that was used as a chicken coop finally overpowered our efforts to get the smell out of and I replaced it with a ’48 sedan body. Didn’t have a pressure washer then as I do today, which would work wonders on the interior of this truck. That done, I’d follow your suggestions, with exception of paint color and moving the fuel filter from over the exhaust manifold, and drive it. Nice, solid old truck.

    Like 2
    • 1949 GMC

      Exhaust is on the other side. It sits above the intake manifold. Still should be metal.

  2. gaspumpchas

    looks like great bones. Take a DA sander to the body and giver a single stage paint job. Buy that $270 wood kit. 283 with a T5 tranny out of an S-10. I like it! Good luck and happy motoring.

    Like 1
  3. Winfield Wilson

    I’ve seen Youtubers drag old Chevys out of fields or chicken coops, sandblast the plugs, pour in some fresh gas, and the old Stovebolt will somehow fire up. Those inline 6’s must be darn near unkillable. Nice old truck!

    Like 2
    • John S Dressler

      Totally agree Winfield. As engines go, the old Stovebolt and later the 235 sixes were among the most naturally balanced engines of any that GM made. It was in no small part the reason they lasted as long as they did with little maintenance. When I sold my first car (59 Chevy) it had the 235 in it. It had over 300,000 miles on it when I sold it and I never touched the interior of that engine. It had what I’ve heard most people refer to as the Military Oil (canister type) filtration system on it that I’m told is the best oil filtration system. Can’t tell if this truck has one on it. In any case, as the author noted, it probably could be made to run with a little effort and time. Love those old 3-speed sticks with the granny low.

      Like 1
  4. RexFox Member

    These old Chevys either had 3 on the column or 4 on the floor. 1st gear, as you stated Jamie, was a granny gear. I’m pretty sure that was the case for all 4 speeds in the early 50s, except for some European cars.

    Like 1
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    49 GMC. Got a fair amount of time with the GM 6 cylinders of this era and never saw one with the exhaust on the right side. If those engines had cross flow heads the dirt trackers using the GMC engines in their cars would have taken over the stock car world. Did a pretty good job of it with the factory heads… which had the exhaust and intake on the left side. Speaking of exhausts, splitting the manifolds makes for a great sounding engine.

    Like 2

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