Mild Project: 1953 Chevrolet Half-Ton Pickup

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Chevrolet’s Advance-Design concept was launched in 1947 as an update to the pre-war AK series. The new truck was beefier but looked sleek with its horizontal grille slats and headlamps incorporated into the fenders. Chevy emphasized driver comfort, creating the five-window cab and a taller greenhouse for better visibility. Buyers responded, maintaining Chevrolet’s position ahead of Ford in truck sales. Today, Advance-Design trucks generate plenty of interest among collectors, with prices reaching $40k to $50k for excellent examples. Here on eBay is a 1953 Chevrolet 3100 (half-ton) pickup, bid to $7200 with no reserve. This truck is located in Winchester, California, and it’s ready to drive or restore, as you wish.

Early Advance-Design trucks received Chevy’s 216 cu. in. in-line six-cylinder with Babbitt bearings and splash lubrication for the connecting rod bearings. These drawbacks along with sluggish performance have propelled many a swap. Fortunately, this truck has the far superior 235 cu. in. six, which is said to run well. Early 235s made about 110 hp, depending on who you ask; later versions could run up as far as 150 hp. The gearbox is a floor-shift manual, the electrical system has been converted to 12 volts, and the rear has been dropped 4″. Looks like a new aluminum radiator helping to cool things off.

A plain bench seat greets would-be inhabitants, but the instruments and trim shine like new. An aftermarket gearshift lever is the only hint that someone has modernized the ride a bit. By 1951, Chevy was equipping its doors with vent windows, and by 1952, the outer door handles switched to push-button from the old swivel style. I love the split windshield, though these don’t crank out – by 1954, the windshield was curved in keeping with the latest style. Wipers are mounted on the cowl – versus the pre-war positioning low on the roof – though this example is missing the arms and blades. This cab is 8″ wider and 7″ longer than Chevy’s pre-war design, allowing three to sit side-by-side.

Our seller says the body is rust-free, and if the sheet metal isn’t perfectly straight, the bed is only clad in plywood, and the paint isn’t gleaming – well, those factors will keep the price down and give the new owner a way to add value. If this were your truck, would you drive it? Hot rod it? Or keep it as stock as possible?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. HoA HoAMember

    Give me a “L”,,,give me a “S”,, what’s it spell? ( just the seniors in the back frantically looking that up) According to many sites, inconclusive. LS stood for Luxury Sport, but that is debated. Regardless, it’s goodbye Stovebolt, hello LS motor, and you know, in this, it would be okay. Maybe a Ford 302? ( here come the beer bottles), and sung to the tune of “where have all the flowers gone”,,,,where have all the air cleaners gone? It’s a great find, has a snowballs chance in Hades of staying like this, not many want “grandpas” old Chevy but as the most trusted man in America, Walter Cronkite said every weekday evening, “and that’s the way it is”,,

    Like 8
    • Yblocker

      Wouldn’t wanna waste a Ford 302.

      Like 5
    • Michelle RandAuthor

      I agree with commenters who said the listing leaves a lot to be desired…. Sometimes we have very little to go on, and if the vehicle isn’t also interesting, we don’t write it up at all. But I remember perfectly the first day I saw a nice 3100, at a car show in a park in my hometown, sunny hot day, it sat under a leafy bower. Like the Joker says in Batman, I thought, What’s this!

      The truck was near perfect, all original, one slightly elderly owner. I talked to him for some time while he “toured” me thru the car. Wonderful.

      Like 7
      • Frog

        So Michelle whats your description of ” slightly elderly?” Just curious where middle age and elderly begins. Everyone moves the bar per their preference.

        Like 3
      • Richard Gore

        If I had that truck, I think I’d just clear coat the paint as is. I like the patina. Air conditioning addition would sure be nice though. This this would be the perfect truck for an old grandpa like me. The truck is 2 years older than me.

        Like 3
  2. Nevada1/2rack Nevada1/2rackMember

    This would be a great truck for someone as their first restoration, and a fun driver/light work truck for someone living within a safe driving distance of town.

    Obviously if there’s any 4 lane or even busy 2 lane highway driving, it’d need a lot more to make it safe at which point the new owner would have to go the whole Monte (i.e., bigger motor, disc brakes, different rear end gears and /or transmission as just a start) and that would be a shame for a drivable piece of Americana transportation history.

    Like 7
    • TomD

      It already has a new transmission and rear end but no detail as to what they are.

      Like 1
    • Midway

      Me also being elderly, I just finished a 68 f250 highboy and would take this truck, body and paint it, make it an all new 53. Maybe update carb, intake and exhaust if possible

      Like 1
  3. TomD

    Pretty poor listing on eBay. No word on what transmission or rear end has been installed. Pictures have different wheels/tires and with and without a visor. Seller seem to know little about how to sell.

    Like 3
  4. geomechs geomechsMember

    Nice truck overall. I sure wouldn’t turn it down if it came to my place. First thing I would do is un-lower the rear and get it back up to where things placed within the bed would tend to creep forward like they’re supposed to. Sure wouldn’t want to lose the beer on the way to the picnic.

    I’m not a fan of floor-shift conversions; the column shifter does a good job and in today’s times it is a good anti-theft feature because very few thieves would know how to drive one. I might add that my wife and daughter, both skilled at running a stick-shift manual, still cannot grasp a column shift.

    Okay, the engine itself. What’s wrong with a Six-Banger? Everyone wants to change it to a V8. The six is a lot easier to work on and so what if it only goes 55? It still gets you from Point A to Point B with a minimum of trouble. Let those ‘mistakes of nature’ continue to give you the single-digit wave as they fly past you in their import SUVs. I might add that I can’t help it if their laxative just kicked in and they have to make a rush for it.

    Like 19
    • ClassicP

      I just want to comment on the column shift. When I was 12 years old my dad had a 64 comet with the three on tree and I would watch how he shifted and moved the gears and took it for a ride when nobody was looking and I shifted like a champ lol I was a car nut all my life. We lived on dead end street

      Like 6
  5. Big Art

    Yea right , waste a ford 302…. I wouldn’t be caught dead putting a ford in a rare gem like this… Butt everyone and his mother put small block chevy’s in all sorts of different Ford hotties… You ford guys just don’t like any of the Bad Ass looking Chev’s that are out there…

    Like 1
    • karl

      rare ? there’s more of this gen Chevy truck around ( living and dead) than there are 1990s Chevy trucks .

      Like 3
    • Yblocker

      Well, I’ll give ya that, chevy guys put chevy motors in Fords, cause Fords are soooo much better looking, that way chevy guys can have their cake and eat it too lol

      Like 0
  6. Big Art

    Who’s gonna save a 90’s Truck ??? And they are Very Rare especially the 5 Window or we would all have one….

    Like 3
  7. Gil Davis Tercenio

    I blew the picture from the ebay listing that showed the steering column.
    It doesn’t appear that this truck had a three speed trans originally.

    Like 0
  8. Gil Davis Tercenio

    Let’s try again.

    I blew UP the picture from the ebay listing that showed the steering column.
    It doesn’t appear that this truck had a three speed trans originally.

    Like 2
  9. stillrunners stillrunnersMember

    Man…1948 to 1955 first series….man they got the years out of that design !

    Like 2
  10. Jerry Bramlett

    Here’s the eBay message I sent the seller this morning:

    Hi. My name is Jerry Bramlett and I live on the Gulf Coast. It’s just impractical for me to inspect your truck personally. I’m going to rely on your description and photos, so I hope you’re willing to cooperate.

    What transmission is in it now?

    How old are the tires?

    Do you have the wiper arms/blades?

    Please send me good photos showing the VIN plate in the door jamb, the carb air cleaner, the bed floor, and the chassis.

    I would also appreciate having your phone number… or you’re welcome to call me at 251four784003 in the Central Time Zone.



    Here’s his response this evening:

    Original tranny
    No wiper arms
    Tires have 85% thread

    I’m out. No way would I buy anything from a person with his attitude. If this seller actually does own this truck (and I have my doubts), I would expect the buyer to have serious problems after paying. I never, ever buy from jerks with an attitude.

    Like 5
    • HoA HoAMember

      I think we can all understand Jerrys frustration and the time of actually going to see the truck and maybe have a beer while looking it over, are gone. I’m a people person, I LOVE to talk to people, the stories could fill a book, but that’s all but gone. It’s why I enjoy this site so much, okay, we’re not in the same room, but at least we’re talking to each other!
      What Jerry describes as “attitude” or a jerk, isn’t exactly true, I don’t think these people are bad people, it’s just we’ve lost that “in your face” discussion, and quite frankly, they don’t know how. I’m sure it’s the same old thing, dads truck, now gone, and the kid knows little about it, and why would they? When dad was busting his knuckles, the kid was playing Super Mario Brothers. It was the same with me, my kids wanted little, if anything to do with my projects.

      Like 4
      • Frog

        I have to agree with you HoA. The art of communication is lost. Texting is in telephone is out. No response means no or not interested. A friend recently told me her daughter had Easter dinner at her house and her grandkids were texting each other while at the dinner table. Another friend said her kids were texting each other in the same car. So it’s important to understand the mindset of the younger generations. You are considered too aggressive or demanding if you press too hard. Which will lead to more avoidance.

        Like 4
      • geomechs geomechsMember

        Communication skills, definitely a disappearing part of life these days. You would have a difficult time doing my job if you didn’t have the ability to communicate verbally. So many people buy parts from me and a good portion of them want advice on how to install them. I do that and often times throw in a story or two. No one loves a story more than I do and I encourage my kids and grandkids to do the same…

        Like 2
    • Dave

      What attitude? He answered the questions. He’s probably tired of all the questions from people who have no intentions of actually buying the truck. I get plenty of responses when I sell a vehicle like this, sometimes dozens, and maybe 10% at best follow up after I answer them. Don’t condemn a seller for brief answers

      Like 2
      • Eddie Pennsylvania

        I’m with Dave that this seller probably is just tired of tire-kickers, but if you want to sell a vehicle — particularly a project vehicle — you must engage. You are asking a person to shell out hard-earned bucks for a lot of question marks. At the very least, provide a comprehensive answer to person 1, then copy and paste it for subsequent inquirers. Unfortunately, tire-kickers are part of the game, but if you treat everybody like a tire-kicker, you will scare away actual interested buyers who simply need to understand what they are getting into.
        For this reason, in my “in case I die” box for my wife, in addition to the usual legal paperwork, passwords for accounts and whatnot, I have included sales listings/data for potential buyers of my classics. She may not get top dollar, but she won’t get ripped off, and the buyers will know exactly what they are getting into.

        Like 3
      • Jerry Bramlett

        Dave, please compare his response to my message. He didn’t answer ANY of my questions except the one about the wiper arms/blades. I didn’t ask how much tread was on the tires. Modern radials usually age out before they wear out. I didn’t ask if he thought the “tranny” was original (chevy offered several “original trannys” in 1953).

        You may be right about my “attitude” comment. Maybe he’s just terminally inexperienced in dealing with adult buyers, or perhaps just very immature. Most children today can’t write a sentence.

        I was going to bid up to $15,000 depending on his answers. Now I’m not going to bid anything at all. So I guess he wins.

        Like 1
    • Midway

      It helps if the seller is as seasoned as the buyer, I would do my homework on this generation truck before I personally looked at it.

      Like 0

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