A Real Pick Me Up: 1941 Chevrolet Pickup

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Not too many old pick up trucks manage to survive their working lives in anything approaching decent condition. But every once in awhile, we run across an older truck like this one that seems to have led a charmed life. This 1941 Chevrolet half ton pick up is for sale here on craigslist in Santa Barbara, California, and appears to have survived and thrived in the beautiful central California climate.

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The seller says it’s “all original” featuring the trusty old 216 six cylinder engine and 4 speed transmission (as I recall, these were known as “stump puller” trannies, with first gears so tall, you usually started them out in second). The gauges, lights and horn all work, but not the windshield wiper. Maybe in California it does not rain enough to warrant fixing it?

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The interior is said to be all original with only minor tears. Some important mechanical work has been done in 2015 – transmission rebuilt, new clutch, rebuilt carburetor, new radiator, and a new alternator was apparently added in place of the generator.

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I can’t tell from the photographs or the text whether the truck’s paint is original. I may be in the minority on this, but to me, original means it’s got substantially the same paint it had when it was originally built. The paint on this truck looks too good and too metallic to be a 1941 paint job. Am I wrong about that? And if the truck now has an alternator, does that mean it’s been converted to 12 volt electrics? That would be a nice addition, but further belies the claim of originality.

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The seller says he bought the truck from the original owner’s daughter two years ago “honest to goodness.” There is no reason to doubt this story, but it would be great to know more about the truck’s history and how it managed to survive in such fine condition.

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Whether it is “truly”original or a close approximation, this is a great looking truck I would love to own and drive. These pre-war Chevy trucks are solid, slow, and full of character. This truck shouldn’t be working anymore, and deserves a nice quiet life of retirement driving. At $14,500 “or reasonable offer” I think it’s a pretty good buy too.

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Comments

  1. Healeydays

    Gone already

  2. van

    I really like these I would like to customize it
    Have my antique, my hotrod, and my home depot truck all in one.
    Don’t like it if you lower and paint so that it won’t work as a truck.

  3. Howard A Member

    OK, see? Perfect example of what to flip. I didn’t even look at the listing, but even at $14g’s, it’s already gone. Someone found this cool FUNCTIONAL truck, did a little cleanup, maybe even drove it for a while, and probably doubled ( or tripled) their money. Many people, mostly women now, are connecting with their roots, and want a vintage pick-UM-up ( not “pick-me-up”) just like grandpa, or their sweet old dad had. My ex-gf grew up on a farm, and a mid-50’s Ford pickup was the 1st vehicle she drove, and would love to find one someday. Go with what sells!!! Oh, while someone did a good job painting, I doubt it’s the original color, and you can buy 6 volt alternator’s, but it’s more than likely 12 volts, and while I never had trouble with 6 volt, it is a welcome change, as 6 volt items, ( lights, battery chargers, etc) are almost non-existant at stores now.

  4. Mike

    Truck was repainted. The dashboard left the factory with hammered brown paint not metallic blue.

  5. MF

    What a great look for a truck, and not a bad price either. No dought it went quick.

  6. The Walrus

    You’re correct about the metallic paint. While the first ‘metallic’ paint was introduced on the 1929 Desoto, it was a rare thing until much later. Alcoa invented what we would consider modern metallic with aluminum flake that was actually sprayable for production purposes in the mid 50’s. It was rarely in use on production cars until the early 60’s. Metallics were the exception, not the rule, and generally found in use on customs/hot rods cars before this. Since the flake was 2 dimensional, it’s not exactly what most people think of today.

    Wide spread use on trucks wouldn’t start until the early 70’s. Although in the 70’s, Chrysler again pushed metallic paint forward with the introduction of mica or ‘prismatic’ flake. This provides the 3-dimensional ‘rainbow’ reflection that most people today associate with metallic.

    To my eye, metallic on any pre-60’s car or truck, even Hot Rod’s, just looks wrong. The curves were never intended to be painted that way. Metallic needs broader/flatter surfaces to look right.

    • Rob

      In 1956, Dodge brought out a metallic color they called ‘Royal Blue’. When I was a senior in HS in ’62, I had my ’60 Impala painted that color.. was so close/deep to the “Candy’s” being sprayed on customs during those times, that when I was out ‘crusing’ the diners, most thought I had ‘deep’ pockets too.

  7. Dave Wright

    Lovely old truck. Was it McGuiver that drove one of these? 14k sounds like a deal. I am always surprised about how small the cabs are. This would have sold in Santa Barbera in 20 minuets parked on the street with a for sale sighn.

  8. Lee Hartman

    Well, it’s obviously been repainted, inside and out. The engine is the wrong color and so is the interior. It’s been converted to 12V, and it’s had a bunch of repair work done on it. It’s a long way from “all original”, but it is a decent old truck.

  9. Jesper

    Costumize that truck would be a real shame. Why destroy a historic car ?
    I like America, but thats a dum trend, you have overthere.
    Do it with a wreck. Not i fine example
    So its also worth money in 20-30 years

  10. Matt Tritt

    Right-on, Jesper. People who want their vehicle to drive safely at freeway speeds, be low to the ground, go fast and stop on a dime should buy something already made for it instead of ruining historic examples. I know that there are differing opinions on this subject, but once the torch is lighted there’s no turning back. What one guy thinks “looks cool” isn’t necessarily what the next guy thinks, but rodding cars from the 60’s on up seems perfectly understandable because there are still plenty of em around. I have a chance at buying a ’49 Studebaker pickup, which really IS all original and is in very good condition throughout, but I have to get it in Oregon. It has an original 4 speed – unusual for a 1/2 ton, and the big 6. The already-gone Chevy looks kind of odd to me with 2-tone metallic blue, but at least it’s mechanically stock. Keeping mind that the early 216 had a low pressure oil system and babbit bearings, these are still nifty trucks!

  11. van

    I do love original old cars and trucks.
    My problem is I need a truck that will haul firewood, carry plywood, and pull a trailer.
    Yes this will do that but are you comfortable stopping with 5-6000 lbs behind you.
    Yeah sure buy a newer truck or car. Yes and watch that classic around the corner rust away. Can you do a sympathetic upgrade without destroying a cars character
    What do you think? ???

    • Matt Tritt

      I don’t think so Van. The basic structural design philosophy of a pickup in 1941 is so far removed from what’s expected of similar vehicles today that there’s just no comparison. On the other hand, most all pickups from the early 50’s on were designed to carry 4X8 sheet materials with a little to spare. The worst you need to do is leave the tailgate down. The weight issue doesn’t compute. You have to consider all the parts by themselves and as a whole from the spring bushings all the way through the entire braking system and drive train. Before you know it, you’ll be replacing just about everythhing to make the truck something that it still won’t do all that well. In the 50’s and 60’s, trucks were being made to carry bigger, heavier stuff and had more power to do it with – mainly through gearing. Today’s trucks seem to me to be made to do things that were way out of the question clear through the 90’s; plus they cost a fortune, won’t fit in most parking spaces, are virtually impossible to work on and are hard to get in and out of. If I wanted all that I’d just buy an old Unimog!

  12. Jesper

    Hey Van and Matt.
    Ok. Upgrade the brakes, gearbox, and the existing engine is fine.
    But lover the car, with modification on frame, for air suspention, wide alu wheels, lover the roof , and a purple metallic paint would be a criminal act, in my world.
    I would respray it in orginal color, original tires, and maybe disck brakes. Thats it.
    But safe the org. Parts, so it always can be brought back. So i can get a good amount of money, in maybe 10-20 years.
    Just my opinion.
    But the owner can do what he want.
    Im Danish, and here a modified car cost much more in owner tax, than a org. Cost. In that way the state help preserve historic cars.

  13. van

    Same page, appropriate paint, make it safe, Save original parts, if at all possible no cutting, nothing permanent.

    • Matt Tritt

      Agree with you and Jesper. ONE thing that would be a major improvement for every day use, though, might be retrofitting a 235. These later (slightly later) engines were vastly improved over the 216, with full oil pressure, insert bearings and closed crankcase – but they look very similar to the unjaundiced eye. Another way to keep things looking correct might be to add a “Hydro-vac” vacuum brake booster and keep the drum brakes. That way you can keep the original hubs. Denmark? Can you still get surplus Danish Army Nimbus motorcycles for $250.00? (just kidding)

  14. charlie Member

    Chevrolet had one color of metallic paint in the late 30’s, a different color each year, an aunt had a ’36 in a metallic brown, and at a car show two years ago I saw a metallic blue or green on a ’38 or ’39, owner said it was a repaint, but correct.

  15. van

    I definitely agree about the engine
    I saw a blue flame 6 with three holly 4 barrels
    That would make you scratch your head.

  16. charlie Member

    the ’53/’54 Corvettes had the Blue Flame 6 with 3 Carter side draft carbs, one barrel each, and dual exhausts, which was about all that long stroke engine, low RPM engine could absorb – probably the mandatory Powerglide automatic which would shift up at 55 mph kept the driver from over reving and blowing it apart. It was fast off the line for 1953/54 but the Dodge’s with the Hemi in ’54 blew it away as did the Old’s 88 and a flathead Ford/Mercury if it was hopped up a bit.

  17. Matt Tritt

    Virtually every engine blew away the Blue Flame Six! Why GM didn’t just use a GMC 302 truck engine in the hopelessly lethargic Corvette is a big mystery. The “Jimmy” was popular with hot-rodders at the time and was a fabulous engine that might have made the Corvette somewhat competitive.

  18. Wade Anderson

    Isn’t the e fine painted the wrong color

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