Drive, Restore, Or Rod It? 1951 Chevrolet 3100

Barn Finder Jay B has located a really great old truck for us to feature, so thank you so much for that Jay. This is one of those vehicles where the future use is only limited by your imagination, so let’s take a look at it. You will find it listed for sale here on Craigslist. Located in Altamont, New York, it is being offered for sale with a clean title. The price for this old Chevy has been set at. $6,995.

Apparently, this Chevy was originally a shop truck for an Oldsmobile dealership, and the sign-writing is still visible on the hood. It’s that sort of thing that would make me think twice before I undertook a full restoration, as once that is gone, it’s gone. There are some rust issues in the floors that will need to be addressed, but the seller is confident that if these were completed, they wouldn’t be visible from outside the vehicle or from under the hood, so the look of the vehicle could be preserved. While there is no tailgate on the vehicle, the owner does have it to include in the sale.

The interior is basically complete, but the condition of the interior is similar to that of the outside of the truck. How you would tackle this would depend on the look that you were trying to achieve with the vehicle. It could be fully restored, or it could be partially restored while maintaining the majority of the patina (sorry, there’s that word) that it currently has as either a driver or a rat rod.

Under the hood resides the 216ci 6-cylinder engine, backed by a 3-speed manual transmission. The engine does not currently run, but the seller states that it does turn freely. He also says that it apparently did run two years ago, so maybe it won’t take that much to get it going. Once again, it will depend on the new owner’s ultimate goal as to what happens to the current drive-train.

Those of you who regularly read my articles will be aware that I really love to see good restoration work, but this old Chevy is a different proposition. While it would be nice to see it shine like a new truck, that would require a repaint. To do that would mean losing that signage off the hood, and to me, that would be a crying shame. I’d like to see the floors replaced and the truck brought back to a running state, or see it made into a rat rod. This is one time when I think that a complete restoration would be wrong.

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  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    I disagree a complete restoration is exactly what it needs it would be a beautiful truck. If you like the advertisement painted on the then replicate it. I’d put in a 60’s 250 in line 6 and matching three speed. Everything else would be put back to original. JMHO.

    • PatrickM

      Restore as close to original as possible with some modern upgrades for safety and handling in today’s world. This thing is really calling my name. But, same story…. money, time place, etc. I love it.

  2. Jeff

    The great thing about old trucks is whether you like patina or paint, either is easy. Even a modest paint job looks good on a truck, because who wants a show queen? Either way, the important thing is getting it to go and (especially) stop reliably.

  3. Matt steele

    Clean it up nice paint it make it look as close as original as you can on the outside and enjoy it

  4. Chris

    Clean and drive. Use it as a truck until the time comes when it really needs restored. Great old Chevy!

  5. Paul

    It’s a Bow Tie, rod it…

  6. Ken Member

    “losing that signage off the hood, and to me, that would be a crying shame”

    Why? I couldn’t care less about the signage. I could paint over with with no remorse whatsoever.

    I have never seen a ’51 (or ’52) with the 3100 emblem on the hood without a Chevrolet emblem above it. Most I’ve seen have only the Chevy emblem. Either the hood is from a ’53, or this truck is a ’53.

    • Phoenix

      Because that signage is part of the history of the truck

  7. Todd

    I’d touch up the interior, sand it, clear coat it and drive it.

  8. CanuckCarGuy

    Upgrade the brakes, steering and suspension for safety and drivability, but leave the exterior as-is… I would however resto-mod the interior, after repairing the floors.

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