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Former Telephone Truck: 1949 Chevrolet 3100

Right after World War II, in late-1945, Chevrolet jumped back into making pickups again and two years later they introduced the Advance Design series of trucks. This 1949 Chevrolet 3100 is a former telephone service truck and it would be fun to see it get restored. The seller has it posted here on craigslist in Corbett, Oregon and they’re asking $9,500 or best offer.

The 1949 Chevrolet pickup wasn’t a lot different from the first year of the Advance Design series of trucks that came out in late-1947 for the 1948 model year. I love the fender-mounted turn signals and they really are historic since nobody has signaled a lane change since the early-1950s. Well, maybe 10% of drivers still do so that was an exaggeration. Overall, this truck looks like it’s in really straight and solid condition.

The 3100 series came in a few different configurations, including a pickup, canopy express, a Suburban, a panel truck, and also a cab and chassis version for utility companies to put their own specialized beds on the back. The seller says that this is a former telephone truck and I can’t help but think of the Mr. McBeevee episode of Andy Griffith when I see this truck. I know, that one was a Ford and over a decade newer, but it still reminds me of that episode. Check-in tomorrow for more Andy Griffith references! (crickets) (membership takes a nosedive)…

The interior is, well, rugged. And seatless, and there are some dash pieces missing as you can see. The seller does mention that the seat is in fact missing but the next owner should be able to track down a fixable seat in a junkyard or somewhere.  The floors appear to be solid and the seller says that they’re mostly rust-free as is the whole truck. The 4-speed manual is cool and for ’49 it was fully synchronized. The running boards look great and you can see the cab-mounted gas tank which was new for 1949.

I love the look of that curved utility box on the back of this truck. My grandpa had Ford trucks but they always had a utility box on the back and I always wanted one. I don’t know what anyone would use a truck like this anymore other than for car shows, and it would be a lot of work to restore all of the compartments and drawers and storage spaces hidden on the sides.

The engine is Chevrolet’s 216.5 cubic-inch Thrift-Master inline-six which would have had 90 horsepower and they don’t know if it cranks over or not. Chevy added several improvements to the 1949 trucks including reinforcing the radiator frame and mounting points to eliminate cracking and the underside of the hood was also reinforced to help with flexing. They believe that this is a former Bell Telephone truck and it would be a lot of work to restore that utility box but it would look great when it was done. Have any of you owned a pickup with a utility box?


  1. chevelle guy

    ill be the first to say it…… LS swap !

    Like 3
  2. cidevco Member

    Scotty you ask and you shall receive. Here is my 1956 Ford F100 Day Two Service Body that I bought last year. It comes with the original V8 and the original two speed automatic transmission.

    Scotty, I can not load pics, they are under your 8MB limit please let me know how to add them your server says they are not jpegs which they are


    Like 10
  3. Howard A Member

    Another really cool find, everyone( over 50,,60?) can relate to a “Ma Bell” truck. They were a staple across America, everyone had to have a phone. I disagree with the author, I don’t like turn signals in the fenders. The parking lights in the grill can be easily changed to a dual filament, so don’t drill holes in the fenders!!! It’s a great find, in that, historically, you can’t find a better piece of Americana. From a more simple time, like Andy Griffith, like the author mentions frequently, where you didn’t know who was calling, we kept the phone numbers in our heads,and you could actually make the little bell ring by “slamming the phone”. Try “slamming” your cell phone, doesn’t have the same zing, and how many husbands coming in late got that black phone receiver upside the head? Smart guys knew how far that cord would reach., Anyway, great find.

    Like 14
  4. charlie Member

    My next door neighbor, in about 1948, worked for the phone co. and had one of these and usually brought it home at lunch time. His son and I would play in the cab. One day he had someone’s else’s truck, which had a “Things to do Today” note pad on the visor, which had a line drawing of a couple in the missionary position. That filled in the big blank in my sex education which, in those days was done on the playground or not at all. So when my father got around to telling me about the birds and the bees, I already had figured it out.

    Like 10
  5. Jefanderson89

    You nailed it with Mr. McBeevee. My first thought as well. What a cool truck.

    Like 3
  6. Andy

    As an old “Telephone Man” this would be very cool to bring back to glory.

    Like 4
  7. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    Weird. This truck appeared for sale in my local Facebook marketplace and/or Craigslist in the past couple years. Somehow, it’s gone from “down south” to the northwest coast of the US! Unchanged.

    Like 1

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