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Old School Street Rod: 1952 Chevrolet 3100 Pickup

Chevrolet’s Advance Design trucks, made from 1947 to 1955, were its first all-new post-war model. Changes included headlights set into the fenders, wipers mounted on the cowl instead of the roof, optional quarter windows for the cab, and a fixed windshield. Cosmetically, the grille featured horizontal bars, the hood opened in clamshell fashion, vents were situated on the cowl, and in 1952, the old rotating door handle gave way to a push-button type. The new trucks were best-sellers, beating all other makes for the duration of production. Advance Design trucks have an austere simplicity, in contrast to the fanciness of the chrome-decked, immediately pre-war 1942 model. Either one lends itself readily to the hot rodder’s craft. Here on eBay is a 1952 Chevrolet 3100 half-ton pickup, transformed by more modern equipment into a competent, understated street rod. With frisky bidding up to $13,300 and no reserve, this truck can be driven home from Imperial, Missouri.

The old Thriftmaster motor has been replaced by a 350 V8 paired with a GM 350 three-speed automatic transmission. The motor leaks oil occasionally and will smoke on start-up but runs well. The frame is original; the front suspension is Mustang II. The truck has power front disc brakes and rear drums. Slightly lowered, this Chev radiates “cool” but it’s not just for show – the seller says the truck has great road manners. Listen to the Flowmaster dual exhaust recorded in the walk-around video – nice!

As neat as the exterior is, the interior is underwhelming. The steering column and the wheel don’t synch with the truck’s vintage exterior, but they apparently function well. The under-dash area needs some attention, and I would recover that seat. The truck could use new door seals, too. The headlights, brake lights, wipers, and heater work. The constructor also ensured that the oil pressure, oil temperature, and fuel gauges work with the new motor.

The short bed is in good shape. The seller reports that some rust repair was completed on the outer cab corners, but the inner corners were not done – I decipher that as “may be rusty”. Reassuring to those of us in states with picky DMV personnel, the title matches the VIN. The current price seems reasonable, but this one could certainly trade higher. What’s your guess at the final price?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    That’s a nice truck folks! Just the right amount of old and new.

    Like 5
  2. Cadmanls Member

    I agree with Bob, looks as though it’s a driver so that’s a plus. Enjoy the drive!

    Like 3
    • Rw

      Lift it a couple inches so you can drive with out worrying about busting oil pan,etc would be cool.

      Like 4
  3. Scrapyard John

    My dad has a 50 model, bone stock, except for a repaint (non factory) in 1993. I (we) tried resurrecting it as a daily driver when I was in high school. I did the mechanical and the prep for the body, dad funded the repaint. I eventually abandoned it, I suppose, for 70’s model 4wd’s, which I preferred at the time. I still prefer 70’s stuff, to be honest. Very difficult to USE a vehicle from the 50’s.

    The truck belonged to my great grandfather, and I’ll probably wind up with it eventually. I wish we hadn’t repainted it! Not sure what I’ll do with it once I get it. God, I wish we hadn’t repainted it! I suppose I’ll address the mechanicals again and tool around town. Did I mention that I wish we hadn’t repainted it? Patina wasn’t a thing back then.

    Like 2
    • Rw

      Sand it down a little spray it with salt water and quit whining..

      Like 3
      • Scrapyard john

        Only original once, saltwater or not. The fake patina look is worse than the 90’s repaint to me. At least one of them is honest.

        And you’ll have to define “whining”. The past is the past. But, if I knew then what I know now, I definitely wouldn’t have tried a cosmetic upgrade on a 50’s ride. I’d do the opposite, if anything.

        As for sand, go pound some.

        Like 9
  4. Scrapyard John

    One more thing. My best memories of that truck are dad asking me to clean out the bed when I was about…10 (and doing a better than expected job of it as I surmised, thank you very much) and dragging it around with dad on the tractor and me popping the clutch in various column shifted gears trying to get it to “bust off” in the early 90’s (with an inspection sticker on the truck that read 1973) trying to get it to start. Yeah, I should’ve left the paint alone. Can’t wait to drive it again…no PS, PB, AC, heat….or right hand side turn signal! I’ll probably leave it as is. But, man, the repaint! Zero rust on this, other than surface rust, truly found in a dirt floor barn stuff.

    Like 1
  5. Maggy

    Like the truck .Don’t like the lowered look imo.

    Like 6
  6. Davey Boy

    Personally like every thing about this one. Needs a set of headers some work on the interior and a wood grain steering wheel. From the pics that would pretty much do it.

    Like 3
  7. Joe Haska

    This truck looks good and the price is very fair. I think it will definitely get a higher bid. It is just done to the point that the new owner could take it to a higher level without breaking the bank.

    Like 3
  8. Dave

    Very similar to what I would do. The stance is right and the chassis has been fixed with the Mustang 2 front suspension. I have an overdrive auto in mine, I’ll never go back to a TH350. The interior would be my first focus. Bucket seats, universal tilt column with a nicer steering wheel. Also not a fan of the two tone paint, but maybe it would grow on me, and replace the bed wood to more original look. Oh, get the gas tank out of the cab too. This is a very good start for someone to “make it your own”. The price seems about right, bid to $13,500 now

    Like 2
  9. Yblocker

    I’d replace that junk steering column with a nice “IDIDIT” Column, and a retro steering wheel, and get the front end off the ground and make it sit like a truck is supposed to sit. The price is getting too high.

    Like 2
    • Arfeeto

      “[A]nd get the front end off the ground and make it sit like a truck is supposed to sit. ”

      Hear, hear.

      Like 0
  10. bobhess bobhess Member

    Interesting. I’d drop the rear an inch or two if I had it.

    Like 0
  11. Bryan D McDonald

    Something wrong with this picture. Body work is rough, paint is terrible, questionable condition on the engine, plywood bed floor, shotty weather-stripping around the doors, visible rust through on the rockers, steering column from a Pontiac, (didn’t even bother to paint it black) original lumpy seat with an old, poor recover, no shots of the underside and bidding is now up 24,277? IMHO this truck is worth $10-$12,000. tops.

    Like 0

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