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Chicago Delivery: 1953 Chevrolet Panel Truck

Old utility or work based vehicles are always a neat find, but it is really cool when you can find one with history and a connection to a community. Connected to the Chicago Illinois based “Wagner’s Bakery”  this 1953 Chevrolet Panel Truck still exists, but could use a little help. Purchased by the current owner for the back doors, this Chevy is missing some parts, but is still a fairly straight project. This Chevy could be yours for $2,500! Take a look at it here on ebay out of Marion, Illinois.

The 216 inline 6 appears to be relatively complete minus an air cleaner housing. Not currently running, these engines are virtually bullet proof, so perhaps with a bit of luck and patience, this engine could be made of some use. The engine compartment does show some surface rust, and there appears to be only one crusty area. Beyond that the fire wall and inner fenders appear quite solid.

The steering column has been dropped, and there is some surface rust on the dash. It is easy to see that moisture has been coming in around the windshield seal, and running down the dash. That most likely means that the floors in the cockpit are in rough shape.

Looking in from the back of the cargo area, you can see there is some light, perhaps a hole in the passenger side floor area. Despite the missing rear doors, the door frame area is quite solid with no hidden rot to be found.

Although quite straight, this Chevy is no cream puff. There are a few areas of concern pertaining to rot, and most of the rot in the truck can be found in the rockers. There are no photos of the door jambs, but I would imagine that there may be some rust to be found there as well. Looking past the lower portion of the body, the remainder of this truck appears rock solid. Even the fenders, and wheel arches are nice in this truck. Although missing the doors, and a few odds and ends, this Chevrolet could be a great restoration project, or even perhaps a rat rod project of sorts. Would you take on this Chevy project?


  1. Classic Steel

    Nice but saddening of the rear door harvest !

    Not sure if reproduction doors are avail

  2. Dusty Stalz

    This is what the very first GraveDigger probably looked like before all the fabbing started.

  3. Jay E.

    When you open a dictionary to see what the term “Patina” means, this should be the photo. Um, does anyone use a dictionary anymore? I think I just showed my age…

    • Pa Tina

      I have one on my desk and two at home.

  4. Rube Goldberg Member

    Yeah, good luck with the rear “barn doors”. These were rare to begin with, and the doors always took a beating. Remember, these drivers had many stops every day, and the doors were opened and closed hundreds of times. I think they are around, but be ready to pay a hefty price. ( maybe from the person that took them off) Being a panel, it may be hard to make your own, with the curves and all, but certainly good enough truck to save. Be fun if it was restored to original, and returned to Wagners Bakery, which when Googled, apparently is still in business on Cermak Ave., but there’s probably a 99.9% chance this will be a resto-mod, and that’s ok. I bet there’s a picture on the wall at the bakery today when this truck was new. Years ago, they were very proud of their trucks and drivers.

  5. David Zornig

    Wagner’s Bakery is still in business at that address.
    I sent them the link.

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      I had an idea for a business years ago. Go to these companies, find out what their 1st delivery truck looked like, and find a similar truck, paint it the original colors, and display it out front as kind of a “static display”, no mechanicals, as a tribute to the company. It fell on deaf ears.

  6. Joey

    Revell had a kewl panel gasser model.

  7. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    Too bad this isn’t one GM’s Express trucks with the open back and canvas roof. Wagner’s could then sell baked goods out of the back of it…in good weather of course. Love the authentic underdash Chevrolet heating unit and radio!

  8. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    Like this ‘un

  9. Jesse Vaughn

    This is our truck currently. Yes, the bakery is still in business. We contacted the store but the manager said that the owners rarely come in. I assume they are older people from the age of the truck. The truck is in pretty good shape less the missing rear doors. Feel free to contact us with any inquiries. -Level 7 Motorsports

  10. gaspumpchas

    Very cool and reasonable. Good luck to the new owner!!!

  11. chad

    Like ur red powerwagon, Jesse.
    What did the doors from this go into?
    Got any pic?

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