Baker’s Wagon: 1946 Chevy Panel Truck

1946 Chevrolet Panel Truck

Patina has become a controversial topic with lots of different opinions and views, but no matter your definition or taste for it, one thing’s for sure in my mind – this old bakery delivery truck looks awesome! It is wearing its original paint and hand painted signage, it is still even wearing its original 1946 license plate! This truck is going to need a lot of work, but I think if you are careful all that original patina and paint could be saved. The hot Hawthorne, Nevada sun has baked this truck inside and out, but thankfully there wasn’t much to these work trucks to begin with. You can take a closer look at it here on eBay where bidding is just over $2,500. So would you leave this truck looking sunburnt but original or do you think it deserves a shiny new coat of paint? And does anyone remember the Hawthorne Bakery?


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  1. Ken Altman

    I don’t understand the current fascination with ‘patina’ one bit, but in this case I’d make an exception because I love old advertising.

    • Barry

      I agree with Ken Altman about patina, but in this case due to the subject matter I would preserve the old advertising. Lends the truck a lot of charm.

  2. JW

    I love old panel trucks, prefer late 50’s Fords but this one is cool. I would leave it looking like it is and drive it.

  3. Charles

    I agree. Leave it original, and enjoy it.

  4. fred

    This was from an era when ALL signs were painted by hand. Now they are vinyl and have no soul. Our small town still has a sign painter and as a result has a far different look than other towns.

  5. BradL

    I’m not convinced on the originality of the advertising. It looks too evenly worn – as though it’s been sanded. The wear on the lettering doesn’t match the wear on the paint around or under it. The “23” on the rear is almost completely worn away, but the paint under it looks just like the paint around it – as though the “23” never protected it. The shadow of the “D” on the rear is almost entirely intact, though this is where you’d grab the door to close it. I just don’t buy it.

    • Rustowner

      Brad, I’m with you on that call. It’s a cool truck, no doubt about that, but the first thing I thought when I saw it was “added on lettering” that doesn’t really match the patina of the rest of the truck. Didn’t most phone exchanges at that time also have a letter(s) associated with the 23 as the phone number? Or was Hawthorne just a really small area at that time, so no need for the letter prefix??

      • Barry

        Before air conditioning I do not think a heck a lot of people lived in Nevada.

      • Ed P

        Way back, before direct dial telephones, small communities only used numbers. Sometimes as little as single digits. The current “North American Numbering Plan” was completed about 1947 and was not fully implemented for years afterward.

    • BradC

      Absolutely correct – I’d be a thousand bucks this was done by a modern “artist” looking to infuse a nostalgic angle on an original paint truck. I haven’t looked at it with BradL’s examination in mind, but just a glance will tell you it wasn’t done by a trained sign painter. The scale and legibility of the lettering is completely wrong, unrefined. Nobody would’ve done this poor of a job in an era with so many good painters.

      • BradC

        A few quick examples to show the day and night differences. The one above was done in modern times, by someone who didn’t have the handwriting and cursive classes in school that were uniformly taught for decades. The self-conscious curly-cues and varying thickness in the word ‘Phone’ would look more at home in a 60’s Jimi Hendrix concert poster.

      • Jason

        ” The self-conscious curly-cues and varying thickness in the word ‘Phone’ would look more at home in a 60’s Jimi Hendrix concert poster.”

        Totally, dude. Good call!

  6. Rocco Member

    Cool truck.

  7. DENIS

    Sure seems to be a lot of “sidewalk critics”…..not legitimate lettering??? Are you kidding? It’s cool and the lettering won’t change the price appreciably so who cares? Some of us like patina-some don’t. I think it looks like a decent buy for a panel…isn’t the “car hobby” supposed to be fun and brotherhood? I understand when someone is trying to pass off a rare muscle “clone” as real, but come on……

    • BradC

      Denis, why would you be defensive over the discussion of the lettering? Is it your car? We’re discussing the details and authenticity… no different than talking about whether a photo shows the correct carburetor or hubcap style. It looks like a great, crusty truck. The lettering was done way later – that’s a legit observation: you’ll just have to scroll on past if you don’t like it.

    • Jason

      “isn’t the “car hobby” supposed to be fun and brotherhood?”

      Put down the crack pipe, bro.

  8. JW454

    In the Ebay listing the owner never says the lettering is original. There is a claim the paint is which, I believe. I think the lettering was added during the process to revive the old girl. Cool truck and you wouldn’t have to worry about those pesky parking lot scratches etc.

  9. JW

    My dad did hand lettering on fighter planes during WW2 and truck lettering as a sideline when he got out of the Air Force up in to the 70’s. Sometimes he would be asked to just go over what was already on the truck but he was using different paint that had originally been painted. That might be the case here. Just a thought.

  10. Blindmarc

    The only Chevy I ever owned was a 63′ bakery panel. 16.5 wheels 283 granny gear 4 speed. This would be a good driver but not sure on the lettering. 4k would be my max on it

  11. geomechs geomechs Member

    It’s too rusty to keep the patina. While it wouldn’t be original, I’d give it a complete respray and duplicate the lettering. Better to have something reminiscent of what once was than to have it disintegrate one day.

    The phone number is very typical for a small community back in the 40s-60s. In my hometown the IH dealer’s number was 10; our old home number was 169.

  12. Rev Rory

    Cute but fake. Parade wagon…

  13. Jeff S.

    Patina? If the truck was made of copper, bronze or Corten this would be patina. This is rust and it cannot be good for its preservation, ever.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Jeff. I sure agree with you on the patina craze. The thing that most people can’t seem to understand is that it’s rust, a part of the metal oxidizing process. It’s like a living thing, consuming the metal a few molecules at a time. Clear coating over it seals off the oxygen and converts the breakdown to deep corrosion which is a lot quicker and penetrates right through. If a person is determined to keep the patina, the only thing to use is simple WD40 (or equivalent). Have to keep a rag handy at the local show’n’shine.

  14. Tom S.

    A search into this rig’s authenticity could begin by finding out whether there was a business called the Hawthorne Bakery with that address and phone around that time. I’d check with the Mineral County Museum. Maybe they even have an old photo.

    Like 1

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