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Not So Perfect Patina: 1957 Chevrolet 3100

1957 Chevrolet Truck

This old Chevy may have the perfect patina, but unfortunately there’s no title. At least that’s what I get from the seller’s auction description. They mention a non-notarized bill of sale, but that doesn’t inspire much confidence. The brakes don’t work and the engine doesn’t run, but it has a neat look to it. Lose the modern rims, clean it up, and make it safe to drive. If bidding doesn’t go up much more here on eBay and you can figure out the title issue, this could be a great buy.

Rotted Bed

The more I look at this truck, the more I think that the corrosion may be far beyond patina. There’s bondo showing in places  and the bed is rotted out.

Quilted Bench

Someone has started the process of cleaning the inside up though. The floors have been treated and a diamond pattern seat cover installed. Dont let that fool you though, there’s still a lot of work to be done here.

236 Inline-Six

The 235 inline-six doesn’t currently run, but isn’t seized up. There’s hope that it will be an easy fix because these old lumps were real workhorses. The brakes will need attention before you’ll be going anywhere though.

Rusty Tailgate

Ok, so maybe the patina isn’t perfect here. I’d still be tempted to get it driveable again before focusing any time or money on the exterior. Too many people get crazy with the sand paper before even finding out if they have something worth painting. Let us know what you think about this pickup project and what you’d do with it.


  1. Jumping g

    Money pit….

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  2. ruxvette

    I think that’s the ’57 chevy in the classified ads in the Shelby County Tribune:
    “Her shaft is bent and her rear end leaks, you can fix her quick with an oily rag. Use a nail as a starter; I lost the key. Don’t pay no mind to that whirrin’ sound. She use a little oil, but outside a’ that, she’s cherry.”


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    • geomechs geomechs Member

      It’s missing the bumper sticker that say’s ‘Vote for Dick.’

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    • Puhnto

      Nice C.W McCall reference, ruxvette!

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      • geomechs geomechs Member

        It’s hard to believe that the Classified Ad song came out 42 years ago. I was a wet-behind-the-ears 21 year old smart ass back then. Now I’m a wet-behind-the-ears 63 year old smart ass. Interesting to note that when the song came out, the ’57 Chevy was only 17 years old; you could buy everything you needed for it right over the counter at any Chevy dealership.

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  3. Jon H

    Drop it, and drop in a late model v8 up grade .then add some 17 inch salt flat wheels then drive the heck out of it……

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  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    Sorry but that’s not patina; that’s rust, plain and simple. Nice shape overall. Needs a lot of work but the result will be worthwhile. Fully stock for me and that includes putting a proper exhaust manifold back on it…

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    • Howard A Member

      So true, my friend. Who sands off the paint, and let’s it sit in the elements? I know, were not here to understand human behavior, but this is going to need a lot. What’s it up to? $4,000. I suppose, like the red Cuda thread, it behooves the heck out of me ( and maybe you) what makes this worth $4g’s, but here it is. I’d have to get this for nothing, and THEN put $4g’s into it. I have a different definition of “patina”, and that is, I want an old truck, but not going to re-mortgage the house to get and drive one, so I’ll drive it as is. I kind of liked the “header”, although, you’re right, with this engine, it may make a little difference, but not really necessary. I had a ’56 like this, with a 327 and fender well exit headers and 4 speed. It was a fun truck, but nothing I’d drive everyday.

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  5. Dusty Stalz

    Not exactly modern wheels lol. I’d just 350/350 it and leave the wheels on and drive it.

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  6. Dan h

    Loose the IROC rims, get the brakes sorted , get ‘er runnin and throw a bale of hay in the bed, he-haw!

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  7. JW

    If you love old trucks as much as old musclecars like I do it would be worth restoring as long as you can get a title.

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  8. alder

    Can someone shed some light on buying a car or truck like this with no title? How hard is it to get it titled? I am from Illinois and I know they are tough


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    • edh

      I’m in Illinois as well, just move on and find another car.

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    • Howard A Member

      Hi alder, in Wisconsin, I believe you have to prove it’s yours ( bill of sale) and it has to be inspected and everything has to work (including parking brake) and it may have to be trailered ( they may raise a few eyebrows wondering how you got to the inspection station, usually a state patrol office) Not sure about Illinois, but can’t be that much different. I wouldn’t let that hold you back if you really want a car with no title. http://www.oldcarsweekly.com/news/hobby-news/wisconsin-title-process-eased-for-barn-finds-and-jalopies

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    • Dan h

      Here in Cali, you just fill out a lost title form with the signature of the last owner on record.

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  9. Jeff H

    I would be very cautious of buying a vehicle without a title. I was able to recover my 49 Chevy truck on July 9, 2016, yes just a few days ago, that was stolen in 1997. Be cautious and find out who licensed it last and contact them.

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    • Dave Wright

      I buy many vehicles without titles. Obtaining one is not particularly difficult whether you do a lein sale, or retitle a vehicle that is out of the system. What i do is call the Sheriff to see if it has ever been reported stolen before exchanging cash. Sometimes I use a title service and sometimes I just go to the DMV. You have to learn the laws but it is not difficult. Every state has a procedure for lein sales, you just have to learn what they are.

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  10. alder

    Thanks All, and Jeff glad you got your truck back.

    I also just called the Ill sec of state, and they said for any car without a title ( bill of sale and age of car does not matter) you would need to have a bonded title done, and that is one and a half times the appraised value of the car in a bond for two years! So I guess just a titled car for me. I wonder if it matters how long ago it was titled?

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  11. another Bob

    Title difficulty depends on the state. I live in Kentucky. A friend of mine is the county clerk whose office in responsible for title transfer, taxes etc.
    I once asked him how difficult it is to get a Ky. title for a vehicle, being brought in from out of state, without one.
    His reply?
    “Nearly impossible.”

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  12. Mr. Bond

    @Jeff H: There has to be more to that story, and I know I’d love to hear it!

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  13. John P

    Most states are going with the “bonded” title classification when you title a vehicle that is “out of the system”. (No current trace in all 50 states as far as recorded registration goes). Each state is doing it differently as I’ve learned the process in Wisconsin after buying two cars through an estate with missing documents earlier this year–although I had to have a significant amount of documents showing my rightful ownership and as much history as I could track down. Beware of the online “title companies” as they are being pushed aside somewhat as they used the loophole provided to the hobby of the states which didn’t have titled vehicles 25+years ago to get manufactured titles which were then re-titled in different states immediately.
    On the ’66 T-bird convertible with 33,XXX mikes they used the Classic Car guide price guidelines for “appraisal” purposes putting the 1.5X value at $6300.00.. Through State Farm the bond was only $100 and it’s applied to the titling process as the “bonded” title is in effect for five years-some states are less..
    Sure–it’s a money grab–but in a way it may allow for better protections of owners and buyers–and will keep some flippers in check.
    I re-sold the first car to a fella in North Carolina and their process was fairly quick–I’m into the fourth month now with waiting on Wisconsin to finally get me the title.. Gotta be patient-

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