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Good Enuff As Is: 1952 Chevrolet 3100 5 Window Pickup

To refresh its designs after World War II, General Motors introduced the “Advanced Design” trucks. The new style’s first year was 1947 and marked quite a departure from earlier models: the windshield wiper was now inside the cowl, headlights were faired into the fenders, the interior was larger, and the rear view included corner windows for better visibility. In a modern twist, one option was an in-dash radio. These trucks gained market share rapidly, becoming number one in category sales from 1947 to 1955. Here on eBay is a 1952 Chevrolet 3100 5-window pickup for sale, bid to $12,800, and located in Carroll, Iowa. This truck is said to start, run and stop well. The “3100” designation means this was a half-ton short-bed.

The Advanced Design trucks all came with the “Thriftmaster” 216 cu. in. inline six-cylinder motor until 1953, when two larger sixes were offered. Our seller indicates that the engine here was refreshed by the previous owner. New items include the fuel tank, battery, fan, water pump and belt, and fuel pump. The radiator was restored. The transmission is a three-speed manual on the column and it is said to shift well. The odometer reads 59,606.

The rear of the truck shows the spare mount, and the seller says there’s very mild damage where a non-original bumper was once attached at the bottom of the rear fenders. Other than a few nicks and scrapes the paint is fairly good. The truck has one tail light which doesn’t work. Other lights work, including the cool spotlight seen on the driver’s side above. The horn and heater work. The bed is said to need refinishing but it’s clean and could remain as-is. The truck has new-ish wide white walls and new hubcaps. The underside isn’t bad! Dry and slightly dirty, but not a rust-fest.

The interior is decent. This year – coinciding with the Korean War – some chrome trim went away, such as the “3100” badge on the fenders, and the chrome trim on the dash. During the Korean War, nickel was rationed as a strategic material and consequently not available as part of the plating process (steel had also become very expensive). Skipping the nickel and coating the trim with clear enamel produced “Korean Chrome”, which rusted away in no time. The best solution was to eliminate some trim altogether, thus the paucity of chrome on vehicles during this era. Here’s part of a tag off an Oldsmobile illustrating the dilemma. Overall, this is a respectable ride. Does it deserve a place in your garage?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice old buy it and drive it truck.

    Like 10
  2. montagna_lunga

    My first was a ’53, bought in 1975 for $130. Thanks for the memories

    Like 4
  3. Tim

    Hmmm, looks like a floor shift to me, or that’s one really weird connection to the steering column.

    Like 14
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I was thinking the same thing. But having been in the repair business for the better part of 50 years, I’ve heard a lot of references that were grossly erroneous. Having said that, this truck could sure come to my place…

      Like 4
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      Right you are! Sorry!

      Like 3
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      That’s a turn signal switch on the steering column.

      Like 1
  4. D. L.

    My father owned a ’52 from 1967 until 1972. Bought it for $75. and sold it for $150. Would love to get one like this

    Like 3
  5. GlennH

    I’m no expert but I thought the split flat windshield went out in 1950?

    • Skip

      1954 when one piece windshield came out.

      Like 1
    • Clay Harvey

      The split windshield stayed through the 1953 model year. 54 had one piece windshield and redesigned grill.

  6. Scotty P

    Wow !!!can’t believe the price on these trucks!
    I bought mine for $50.00 in 1976 , painted it and that’s all! Drove it all through high school ( babe magnet even back than ) with no issues and beat the tar out of it! Man the crazy times in my first truck! Thanks for the memories.

  7. Glenn Schwass Member

    Perfect. If I could find a 55-56 GMC or 57 3100 that for that price, it would be worth the alimony payments it would trigger…

    Like 1

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