Canadian Barn Find: 1947 Chevrolet 3800 Pickup

From north of the border comes this 1947 Chevrolet 3800 pickup. And it’s a true Canadian resident having been built at a Canadian plant, perhaps Oshawa assembly (there is an image of the manufacturer’s trim tag included but it is difficult to decipher), and then residing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Regardless of its origin, this truck has a real barn find bearing about itself, so let’s investigate further. It has emigrated to the U.S. and now resides in White Bear Lake, Minnesota and is available, here on craigslist for $6,600.

According to the seller, the Saskatoon winter of 1971 took the engine of this first year, Advanced Design (1947-1955) one-tonner out of commission thanks to a cooling system freeze. With a reported 40K miles (or is it kilometers?) it has been parked ever since. This 3800 looks about how one would expect, it shows no sign of modification for a specific purpose though the seller mentions that this truck has been modified with a dumping bed, ostensibly for grain hauling; he adds “nothing butchered here“. And that explains his further comment of, “Includes NEVER USED ORIGINAL TAILGATE“; it was probably removed way-back-when for the dumping bed modification. The original Windsor Blue finish has given way to a light skim of surface rust but the body panels still appear to be sound with no sign of major rust and the seller claims, “Has solid cab corners- no rust, and solid door bottoms- 2 problem areas for these“. There are no included images of the cargo bed but it is suggested that the wood will, not unsurprisingly, require replacement. Based on this Chevy’s exterior appearance, it has not spent the last 50 years totally indoors.

The engine, a 90 HP, 216 CI, in-line six, as previously mentioned, has been dormant for a half-century.  The freeze damage is not specified so it could be major block damage, or perhaps a dislodged freeze-plug. What is visible looks complete but a thorough investigation would need to be conducted. The transmission is listed as manual so it’s probably a four-speed unit with a “granny” gear.

The interior looks like a weasel riot or something happened, the seat is mostly frame and springs. The rubber floor mat has disintegrated but it reveals what looks like solid floors though I’m not certain what the purpose of the odd-shaped hole is in the driver’s footwell. The upholstery panels are trashed and show signs of water incursion and there is a light coating of rust on pretty much every metal surface. The seller mentions that the dash is “uncut” with the radio plate still in place – I wonder how many of these early Advanced Design trucks had factory-installed radios? The interior is a good news-bad news story – the good news is that there isn’t much to it, as in not a lot of real estate to improve; the bad news, of course, is its current condition.

It’s easy to imagine what would be the logical next step if this were an “Action Line” (’67-’72) pickup or a “Rounded Line” (’73-’87) truck but this early Advanced design, with its one-ton rating and modified cargo bed, leaves it open to discussion for next life plans. Knowing that the engine is kaput, what would you recommend going forward with this 1947 Chevrolet 3800?


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  1. Terrry

    Being a 3800, as it is probably geared this old beast could pull a stump out of the ground, and do 55 mph tops while flat out. I used to have a ’51, same model. Those are brick-sh$thouse-strong trucks. It’s why there’s still quite a few around.

    Like 8
  2. KDogg

    I would like to buy it and take Tom for a ride in it.

    Like 1
    • Uncle Kevin

      I would also like to take Tom for a ride. I hope that doesn’t seem strange. My intentions are pure.

  3. Winfield Wilson

    A neighbor up the street has a Chevy of that vintage, under a cover with only its nose sticking out. If I ever see the owner, as I’m walking my dog past their house, I’m going to ask about that old truck.

    Like 2
  4. arjay

    I had a 51 F-1 in the early 70s with 30k miles and a flat head 6. No rust,no dents,just a neat little truck with a top speed of 50 or so.Wish I still had it. Paid $500 for it and sold it 3 yrs later for $500

    Like 1
  5. kaf

    That odd-shaped hole in the floorboard–if memory serves (and it sometimes fails), that’s the access for filling the master cylinder.

    Somebody correct me if I’m wrong.

    Like 10
    • Dave

      That’s exactly what the hole is.

      Like 3
    • Jim ODonnell Staff



      Like 1
  6. Wayne

    Mileage would definitely be in miles as the transition to metric didn’t start until 1970, and was pretty much complete by 1976.

    Like 1
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      It seems to me that the Canadian vehicles didn’t come out with speedometers in Km until 1978. Living in the border region I heard a lot of talk about it. It seems like the only ones who remotely accepted the conversion to metric were in the east, where most of the population lives. And some even question if the easterners wanted it.

  7. Mrtinwoodie

    Just reduced to $5500.

  8. Chris Londish Member

    A 235 and five speed new seat and upgrade the diff viola a fantastic weekend show truck

  9. Lbpa18

    I have this same all original truck in a 48MY. Great truck. Looong bed is also great. Dump bed highly desirable. I imagine price is negotiable but this is a good truck!

    Like 1
  10. geomechs geomechs Member

    I do find it interesting that a “3800” would be made in Canada as that is typically an American designation. The Canadian editions I saw were all “1430s.” Growing up in the border region we saw them all, from both sides. Of course it really doesn’t matter as the trucks were otherwise identical…

  11. KAsbell

    Questioning the claim of 47. Gas tank on 47-48 AD’s filled through a neck located in the passenger bed side. Tanks weren’t put in the cab until 49.

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