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427 Equipped: 1955 Chevrolet Panel Wagon

Patina seems to be sticking around as it relates to what collectors seek in a project. While resto-mods are likely going to fade away a bit as reckless spending in the car hobby tightens up, buying a cheap project with authentic paint and wear and tear will always be accessible for enthusiasts at every level. This 1955 Chevrolet panel wagon is a non-runner but has a 427 under the hood and obviously, awesome patina. The Chevy is listed here on eBay for $4,5oo or best offer, which seems quite fair for a project with lots of upside.

The 3800 panel has not only a 427 but also a manual transmission and a 12-bolt rear end. So, the cool factor just keeps going with this rig. The best part – to me, at least – is that you can restore this truck mechanically, throw in some new seats, and live with the rest of the cosmetics indefinitely. Anyone who sees this panel wagon roll up to a show with that 427 burbling under the hood and three pedals is going to ignore the rust and faded paint, and aside from putting in a world-class cockpit, I wouldn’t change a thing.

What’s difficult to discern is whether this 427 was ever a runner once installed, as it doesn’t have the appearance of being 100 percent turnkey. I suppose the missing carburetor and air cleaner will always make a motor appear unfinished, but aside from that, the truck overall has the vibe of being an unfinished project. Regardless, the good news is that getting this truck to run again won’t take an endless budget and timeline, and the seller’s asking price (and the option to submit a best offer) makes it entirely viable to bring back to life.

Now, going back to my original point: I’m not suggesting resto-mods won’t continue to be a hot market for anyone with the scratch to buy a vintage Bronco that’s effectively brand new underneath. It’s just that to buy a rig like that will cost at least $75,000, and the current market is cooling to the point that purchases like those may be put on ice for a while. This panel van, however? You can put on some old shop lettering or a faded Shell gasoline logo, sort out the mechanicals, and make the interior functional and then proceed to drive the doors off of it.


  1. HoA Howard A Member

    Many moons ago, I had the chance to buy a panel truck just like this. Someone I knew, their dad had a mobile welding business, and in the back was this MOMBO welder, for battleships, and such. At the time, I wasn’t into trucks, and passed on it. Panel trucks are still cool, if you can find one, that is. They generally led a rough life. Not sure that even is a 427, and if so, if the inside is anything like the outside, looks rough,,,besides, ’55 was the 1st “Task Force” series and the all new 265 V8 was the star, and that’s what should be here, not a 427 for cryin’ out loud. Great find.

    Like 7
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    There doesn’t seem to be much difference here between patina and a rusty old truck. As for the engine, no exhaust manifolds tells me that the valve chambers are going to be as rusty as everything else.

    Like 26
  3. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    Nice chunk of bark covering the intake.

    Like 9
    • rudy nine

      Organic air filter.

      Like 7
    • Timothy Vose

      2 x 4 carb

      Like 5
  4. rudy nine

    This is the vehicle I dreamt about as a teenager. See, my band was going to be working nonstop, and I needed performance, plus hauling ability.
    Turned out I didn’t really need it. Still wanted it, though.

    Like 12
    • John Morrissey

      I didn’t really need it, Still wanted it !
      Welcome to the club Rudy.

      Like 1
  5. Fubard

    Looks like a tall deck truck engine??? If so the only value is as a boat anchor.

    Like 11
    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      Yep…..that’s what the said about those 409 truck blocks……….

      Like 4
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        When I worked for GM I heard a lot about the W-engine. They DID have a weak lower end. Hot-rodded, a 409 could blast the crankshaft right down onto the road. Actually it didn’t need to be hotrodded; I saw a couple of Chevy C-80 gravel trucks that did that. Aside from occasionally dropping a valve which was always a disaster. But overall, the W’s did quite well. Of course there was that special cast oil pan that had reinforcing webbing that pressed against the main caps. You had to drill out the pan bolt holes and rethread then to 3/8″ capscrews.

        But enter the Big Block, high deck. Had the odd piston collapse but they held up very well. Hot-rodders liked to take them, stroke the crankshaft .400″ and use stock car pistons. That gave them 511 CID. Went like a striped-a$$ed ape…

        Like 5
    • Paul

      I don’t think that’s a truck block, look at the passenger side of the block/head junction. The water pump is very close to the deck like passenger car blocks, the tall deck engines have more distance between the water pump and the block deck. Also the ad says a 12 bolt rear end, this appears to have floating axles like 3/4 and one ton trucks have.

      Like 4
  6. Hoss

    Including the purchase price it will be a minimum of $20,000 until this old Chevy sees the road under it’s own power even if you do most of the work yourself. And that is if you don’t do a bit of body work. Rebuild the engine, ditch the split rims and 16.5 tires, entire brake, fuel and cooling systems, wheel/axle bearings and seals, glass, lighting and so on. At least it would be real patina instead of the awful fake painted on variety everyone seems to think is so cool these days.

    Like 14
    • ChiefG

      Yer not lying there! I have a 59 panel that has a locked engine, but soon a 5.3 with 4L60 E will be stuffed in the engine bay. I also have a 1959 Apache that is in the road with all the retro mods…I’m at 21K, but nearly done!

      Like 0
  7. Mark P

    That looks like an industrial version 427, a truck version, if one was even produced. Maybe a 396 truck version, I know those were made, would have a cast ” truck” on the back of the block. Looks like a two barrel manifold though I can’t really tell with the hunk of wood securing everything there. The floating rear axel seems to show it’s a 3/4 ton or more version, also likely born with the truck. I don’t think this is a get it running and drive as is.

    Like 11
  8. Rw

    Mark P is correct,not all 427s are one you got in a Corvette.

    Like 6
  9. Dean R JARVIS

    I have 2 5ton chevy trucks with 427 engines. 427 truck engines are different than 427 car engines. Most truck engines have smaller valves. I have Chrysler 440 boat engines and a 440 six pack engine. Different heads with different size engine valves.

    Like 8

      The 427 (and 366) truck engines are tall decks. They need a wider intake manifold because the heads are spaced further apart due to the decks being .400 taller on each cylinder bank. This looks like one of those intakes. The truck intakes had two thermostats, and that looks like what we have here.

      Like 7
  10. RalphP

    Looks like someone shot a bullet through the windshield.

    Like 3
  11. Kenny Jackson

    It’s a late 60s 366 big block some were diesel too, only thing good is the crank.

    Like 5
    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      Yep…..that’s what the said about those 409 truck blocks……….

      Like 3
  12. scott macdonald

    Dead giveaway that its 366/427 tall-deck truck block is the double thermostat housing. Then the 1/2″ between the W/P and the deck is the other. Use block (427) for 496″, use crank + 454 Block for 427

    Like 2
  13. Skystone Jim

    Knew a guy that salvaged a 54 half ton panel out of a junkyard. Tricked it out. It was a real show stopper. 1 tons are a rarity. If someone has the dough and patience, this old girl could be a real beauty imho.

    Like 9
  14. 38ChevyCoupeGuy

    Looks like the ole 366 engine. Advertising it as 427 will definitely up the ante😎

    Like 4
  15. Jimbosidecar

    That’s different. A manual transmission with just 2 pedals.

    Like 1
    • geezerglide 85

      If you look real close the brake pedal is all of the way to the floor.

      Like 3
  16. Tony Orcutt

    Oh boy this one needs alot good luck to the new owner, it’s one of my favorites but needs a little more than I could deal with for the price

    Like 1
    • ChiefG

      Bruh…4500.00 is a steal in almost any condition.

      Like 1
  17. geomechs geomechs Member

    Looks like a high-deck engine. It could be a 427 or a 366. Either way, it looks impressive in that bay. Of course the first thing I would do was see if the engine was stuck. Finished up that could make a good trailer puller…

    Like 4
  18. Dean R JARVIS

    I have 2 Large chevy trucks with 427 tall decks that run on LP. I can take photos of them. I had 366 school bus engine. Long stroke 350

    Like 0

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