Cool Shop Truck? 1954 Chevrolet 3100 Panel Truck

The owner of this 1954 Chevrolet Panel Truck admits that it does have a few rust issues, but from what can be seen in the supplied photos, none of these are bad. It is a great old vehicle that is ready to be driven and enjoyed today. It is located in San Juan Capistrano, California, and is listed for sale here on eBay. At the time of writing, bidding has reached $5,600, but the reserve has not been met.

Overall, this is a pretty straight old girl. The owner admits to the fact that there are a couple of rust holes in the front floors, but that none of these are bad. There are also some spots visible on the rear valance, just below the rear doors, but the rest of the Chevy looks pretty good. It is worth noting that while some of the patina on the vehicle is real, there are some parts that the owner refers to as faux patina. Personally, I can do without that. If it’s real, that’s fine, but I really don’t go much on the artificial look.

The interior of the Panel Truck looks quite good, with the upholstery on the seats free of rips or problems. It is complete and looks like an honest 65-year-old interior. It is also unmolested and largely original. Everything works as it should except for the windshield wipers. There is a new motor for those included with the vehicle, but the owner just hasn’t gotten around to installing it at this stage.

The engine in the Chevy is original, being the 235ci straight-six. This was treated to a rebuild around 40,000 miles ago and is said to run really nicely. The transmission is a 3-speed manual, and the owner says that this shifts smoothly and cleanly. The Panel Truck retains its original 6-volt electrical system and recently received a new battery. As with the interior, everything works as it should, the vehicle starts easily, and the owner says that it is happy to cruise all day at 55mph.

This 3100 Panel Truck is a great old vehicle, and its potential uses are only limited by your imagination. It would make a great shop or delivery vehicle, or a really eye-catching promotional vehicle for a business. Of course, the next owner could just buy it and enjoy the ownership experience.


  1. dirtyharry

    It is cool. 54 was the first year for a curved glass windshield, without the center divider. Also, 54 used the bigger six, either the 3.9L or 4.3L. Prior years had the 3.5. So when people look at these, consider that there are three possible engines and I am always surprised to find the wrong six or the later six cylinder engines in earlier models. A hydramatic was also available. These ran forever and outside of rust, it is a “zombie” vehicle and will never die.

    Like 4
    • Scott

      Great truck here. Ken my father had a 1953 3800 that he bought new and it had the same heater in it. I only mention it not because I remember that far back to when I was a kid but I recently saw a picture of that old truck and noticed the GMC on the heater. What I wouldn’t give to have that old truck now. I hope the new owner drives this and enjoys it.

      Like 2
  2. Rube Goldberg Member

    A 3 speed column what??? Nice truck. About as far as I’d go with the patina thing.

    Like 3
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Great catch on the column Rube, good to see you around again. Anyone have any ideas about the 3 brackets on the right side?

      Like 1
  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    I like what I see. I’d likely just take this one home and drive it.

    Like 3
  4. Ken Carney

    Sorry Rube, repaint all the way. All that patina you love will someday devour your
    vehicle. The rest of this truck looks great. I tell you one thing, this truck would never run out of uses. Wished I had the cash to buy it!

    Like 7
  5. Glenn Schwass Member

    I love those hubcaps and chrome rings. I’ve been trying to find them….really nice truck as is…clear coat it and drive it.

  6. Ken

    How did that GMC heater get in there? 😎

    Like 3
  7. ThisGuy

    Did this come with split rims originally?

  8. Tom

    A couple of things that got my attention:
    “everything” in the interior works as it should – ‘everything’ is a bit of a misnomer here cuz there ain’t much :)

    3.9L, 4.3L, 5.0L you say. No one even knew what a liter was for about another 30 years. I’m still converting them to real cubic inches :)

    Like 7
  9. Bern

    AFAIK, The Chevy six-cylinder engines of this era were manufactured in two sizes: 216 cubic inches… and 235 cubic inches… someone please correct me if am am wrong about that….

    Like 2
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Actually the 216 was phased out during the ‘53 production year. It was all 235 after that. The 261 came out (I believe) in ‘55 but I don’t think it was available in anything smaller than a 1-1/2 ton. I’ve worked on 261 engines in larger trucks all the way up but a lot of them were transplants.

  10. Bernie

    The floor starters on this and the Dodge are a cool feature.

    Like 2
  11. Ken Carney

    Mike, I think those brackets could be for a
    plumber’s truck. I used to see a local plumber that had a truck like this one with the side brackets that would hold
    different sizes of pipe. I also recall a
    gentleman named Kelly who drove one
    for his TV repair business in Bloomington
    back in the ’60’s. Did some more work on
    the cab and I’ll be posting it when finished. Take care pal, Ken.

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Thanks Ken, good luck on the cab.

  12. Kerry Glenn

    That’s actually a 261 cu. in. engine – they were painted green instead of blue.

  13. Gaspumpchas

    Think this 261 has insert bearings? correct me if I’m wrong. One sweet truck. Great advertising truck. Good luck to the new owner.

    Like 2
    • Kerry Glenn

      Correct – the 261 was replaced by the 292 for 1963.

  14. canadainmarkseh

    I’ve often thought how can you put in a back seat with a decent veiw without cutting windows in the sides. Then one day I was watching a video on stealth campers and the answer was presented. You mount two flat screen tv monitors on the inside walls, one on each side. Then put two very small cameras on it, also one on each side. Your passengers would get a clear side veiw without cutting up the truck and if they wanted to nap they could just shut off the view. As for patiana I’m not a fan I’d give it fresh paint in original colour. I’d also consider an aftermarket overdrive unit to get a little more highway speed, and some disc brakes up front. Cool old panel truck.

    Like 4
  15. karl

    It looks like the majority of the “patina” is really brown spray paint over the green

    Like 3
  16. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    That so called patina looks hand made to me. Looks like it was lightly sanded to brown primer then sprayed with clear coat.
    My dad owned a 54 pickup it had 235 4 speed granny trans. 16 inch wheels with riverside 8 ply tires. Light yellow in color. Good truck
    God bless America

    Like 2
  17. Slw71962 Member

    Reserve is off at $9,100!

    Like 1
    • PatrickM

      Sold!! someone got a great truck!!

  18. TimM

    I would love to own this one!! Super clean!! I have one question if any one can tell me!! What are the three brackets on the passenger side of the truck??? Two on the side above the body line in the middle and one below the body line by the rear fender!!

    • karl

      I think its for mounting a ladder or something longer than the truck could haul inside

  19. Bern

    I am happy to see that it sold! Living in The Gold Country here in CA, it was sooo tempting to me, especially since my dad drove the Chevrolet version of these panel trucks back in the 1950’s as a sales & service man for The SINGER Sewing Machine Co. His SINGER truck was parked in front of our house when he passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, June 5, 1960.

    At that time, he had been assigned a 1953 or 1954 Chevy panel truck that he referred to as “The Galloping Ghost” I remember that that particular SINGER panel truck had a sheet metal fresh air scoop on its roof, something that I do not remember any of the other company trucks that he drove having had.

    Like 4
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Sorry about your dad. I’m wondering if it’s just me but so many times when the driver of a particular vehicle passes on I always feel a little strange when I get in to drive it away. It’s as if that person is still watching you…

      Like 2
      • ThisGuy

        I bought a s10 in Texas years ago. When the song Riding with Private Malone would come on the radio it would get cold inside.

        Like 1
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        My BIL was killed in an oil rig accident. His widow left me his bike to look after until she got herself turned around and decided what to do with it. I would fire it up and take it for a quick run down the highway. I always felt strange when I rode it. I had an H-D big twin myself, and it sure didn’t give me that same feeling. I might add that the feeling I got when riding the BIL’s bike wasn’t sinister; it felt more like he wanted to ride it himself and was upset that he couldn’t…

        Like 1
      • Bern

        Thank you for the reply, geomechs. As I recall it, my dad’s SINGER panel truck sat at the curb in front of our house for about ten days after his death, and then SINGER finally came and picked it up. I don’t imagine that it was a very pleasant task for whoever had to come to the door and ask my mom for the keys, much less his sewing machine repair & service tool box, which he always kept in the house whenever he was home.

        I also am sure that my mom made sure that me and my two brothers and sister were not at home when they came to get the truck.

        Like 2
  20. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    9K is alot of money, but from what I have seen here and there I think this was well bought. Ended: Jun 03, 2019 , 7:26PM
    Winning bid:US $9,000.00
    [ 24 bids ]

  21. sourpwr

    Cool truck. Funny it’s a driver without working wipers. Don’t need em in Cali!

  22. PatrickM

    If the listing hadn’t ended, it would be, “Honey, I AM getting this one!”

    Like 1

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