LS Powered: 1952 Chevrolet 3100 Pickup

For some people, complete originality is not a prerequisite when considering the purchase of a classic vehicle. For those individuals, a pickup like this 1952 Chevrolet 3100 would hold plenty of attraction. The hard work has been completed on this brilliant beast, and now it just needs a new owner to sit back and enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor. If you are searching for a custom classic that is ready to go, then you will find the Chevy located in Bucklin, Kansas, and listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $15,851, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

It’s actually quite difficult to know where to start with this Pickup because there really is quite a lot to absorb. It appears that it rolled off the production line finished in Forester Green, but the years and the elements have transformed the vast majority of that Green into the brown that is surface corrosion. However, it is important not to confuse surface corrosion with rust, because that is something that the Chevy doesn’t appear to have. The cab corners look like they are solid, as do the running boards, lower doors, and the lower fenders. The original 1952 frame has been replaced, with that character-laden body now resting on an S-10 frame of unspecified vintage. The floors have been cleaned and any rust that may have been present has been banished. A custom transmission tunnel has been welded in, and as you will see shortly, this has been done for good reason. The timber in the bed has been replaced, with the new timber now a single sheet that looks extremely nice. The smoked glass adds a touch of menace, and while the windshield has received a “bullseye” chip at some point, this has been repaired. The majority of the chrome presents very nicely, although the bumper sports the sort of minor scrapes and marks that helps to tie the finish of the spotless trim to the aged appearance of the panels and paint. The 3100 has been slammed about as close to the deck as is possible whilst still retaining some semblance of practicality, while the Rally 1 wheels provide a classy finishing touch to the whole exterior.

Lifting the hood reveals an engine that is a long way removed from the 6-cylinder unit that we would have found back in 1952. In this case, what the owner has chosen to fit is a 5.3-liter LS engine, which is backed by a 4L60-E automatic transmission. With such a marked increase in performance, it is a relief to find that the Pickup has also been equipped with both power steering, and power brakes. It isn’t clear whether the engine is stock, but even if it is, the 270hp or more that it will have on offer would make the original 100hp or so look pretty puny. An aluminum radiator helps to keep things cool, while the new tires should help to transmit the horses to the road effectively. The wiring harness is also new, as is the fuel tank. It would seem that the buyer isn’t going to be faced with any significant mechanical work, as the owner states that the 3100 runs and drives extremely well.

If you ignored the cluster of Dolphin GPS gauges fitted to the dash, looking around inside the Pickup could easily lead you to believe that this is a tidy, restored original 3100. That is until you look at the gauges, and that custom transmission tunnel. The rest of the interior has been nicely and subtly restored, with new upholstery and plenty of fresh paint. Once again, there isn’t a lot for the next owner to do. The heater is present but isn’t connected. The windshield wipers also don’t function, so they will require attention. I’m slightly surprised that there is no mat of any description on the floor. A nice rubber mat would finish things off rather neatly, but sourcing one that will fit due to the changed transmission tunnel could prove to be a difficult task. However, I think that it would be worth the effort because it would not only improve the appearance of the interior, but it would help to subdue some of the road noise.

Apart from addressing the issues with the heater and wipers, there really isn’t a lot that I would do to this 1952 Chevrolet 3100 if I bought it. The appearance just oozes character, and I think that it would attract plenty of attention wherever it went. Sometimes it is a simple fact of life that tackling a project build isn’t practical for everyone, and for the enthusiast who is in that position, this would seem to be a great prospect. I’d be happy to park this wonderful old classic in my workshop any day, but it does make me wonder whether we have any Barn Finds readers who like it enough to submit a bid with the hope of parking it in theirs.

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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    No room in the garage but this is a great truck. I like it. Just enough done right but I’d get a pair of wider Rally wheels for the rear just to go with the overall look.

  2. canadainmarkseh Member

    this is a great looking truck the work appears to be done well. just needs a little more done to it. first of all it needs the correct boards and strapping in the box. then it needs to be painted in the original green with black fenders and running boards at least that is what id do with it. id also put on some wheels that looked more original, wider than original but something that would take the dog dish hubcaps. then it would be more of a restomod then a the scabby looking rat rod that it is now. the only reason that has become popular is people don’t want to shell out the money for body work and paint, thats the next level that is needed here. JMHO

  3. Ken Jennings

    Man, and they called the Porsche below the Widow Maker. If I were married to who ever ends up with this, I would make sure the life insurance is paid up in full and maximized.

  4. Howard A Member

    Got to admit ( looking geomechs’ way) this is what people want in an AD Chevy. I think they did a nice job, even though everything looks so out of place. I never can understand, why these fancy gauges, what was wrong with stock (looking) and of course, the wild motor, clearly for oohs and ahhs at a show, but not too practical. Now, if we could just find that one auto painter that hasn’t left the planet yet,,,hey, I know, someone start a car painting chain, “I’ll paint any car for $99.95”,,, :)

  5. Dave

    Wild motor? You mean the 5.3 that is in 90% of every Silverado on the road? Really? I wouldn’t change a thing on it except for the bed floor. Fuel injection so common as to be ho-hum, starts and runs good with a cold motor, drive anywhere on any highway without fear of being rearended by a Hyundai Accent, parts available at every parts store in America. Whats not to like? I don’t believe anyone who criticizes the lack of a restoration paintjob on a truck like this has ever painted a car. The price of the truck would be double the current bid.

    The speedometer gage accepts electronic signals, the analog drivetrain is gone, so are the analog gages.

  6. Mike

    Good work but it spoiled a beautiful old Chevrolet. I am sorry to see such a classic destroyed.

  7. 38ChevyCoupeGuy

    Adam, I ,for one,congratulate you for refraining from using the term “ls swap” . I am 100%chevy blood, but now when I read or hear that term,I am the verge of showing my last eaten meal to anyone in close proximity. Good day sir.

  8. Armstrongpsyd Doug Member

    Can someone please tell me what an LS engine is? I’m a British car guy and love to look at these restomod my scale cars, and many have been given an “LS” transplant. I’ve been embarrassed to ask, thinking I’d figure it out through context, but I give up.

    • Stevieg Member

      Doug, don’t ever be embarrassed to ask a question. We can’t know everything. I am sure you know plenty about Lucas electric systems (and many other things regarding British cars) that I don’t know. Hell, I love American cars, and I learn something new all the time on this website. That is why I come here.
      I like to believe we are all here for not only camaraderie but also to help, teach & learn.

    • Stevieg Member

      Oh! An LS engine is a modern GM V-8, basically what replaced the old fashioned 350 small block. Great engines! Reliable, durable, potentially powerful.

  9. Joe Haska

    This truck is right in my lane and exactly the type of trucks, I build. I have however, only done one GM and five Fords (F-100’s). No big deal, both have plus and minus’s and its just your preference. But this style of build is very popular, because it makes sense. You end up with a very cool ride, that is also very dependable and fun to drive. It is also a cost effective build. This little truck, I predict will sell very fast and it will be a good deal for buyer and seller. The seller more than likely, making a profit on his investment, the buyer will be getting a great truck and a leg up, if he wants, to take it to the next level, paint , chrome, interior, the bells and whistles. Win win !

  10. TimM

    The vehicle is done well and looks to be a nice cruiser!!!! Does anyone use paint anymore!! I know it’s got advantages when parking but this truck would look great with the fenders and running boards painted gloss black and a nice dark green paint with a touch of metal flake!! It would just present as a whole different level of truck!!!

  11. David G

    The GM (“Chevy”) V-8 known as the LS was introduced in 1995. It was a clean sheet design, keeping almost nothing from the previous generation V-8. Unlike the engines from Chrysler (Hemi) and Ford (Modular,) the ls remained a basic 2 valve push rod engine. Durable, compact, easy to find and modify cheaply, it became the easiest way to make horsepower if you didn’t mind stuffing a Chevy engine into another make.
    An ls swap is so common that there is somewhat of a backlash against it. To some, “put an ls in it” is almost an insult that you’re taking the easy way.

  12. Jonathan Q Higgins

    Ho hum. I was at a big truck show about 10 years ago. Saw maybe 40 of this body style truck. 39 out of 40 had the old 350/350 combo under the hood. It was kind of nice when I saw one with the old straight six. My point being that this is nothing special. An LS swap is just a slightly updated 350 transplant. Not hating on it, but not impressed either.


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