Original V8: 1956 Chevrolet 3100 Stepside

When Chevrolet introduced their “Task Force” series in 1955, not only did it bring more modern styling, but it also brought with it the option of a V8 engine. This 1956 3100 Stepside features its original V8 and would seem to represent a great project vehicle. It is complete and is waiting for the right person to weave their magic on it. The Pickup is located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $4,000, and the reserve has been met.

It appears that the 3100 has been a chameleon throughout its life. It rolled off the production line wearing Crystal Blue paint, but there is evidence that it has worn several different colors since. The panels show all of the minor dings and dents that you might expect from a workhorse of this age, but there is nothing there that is beyond repair. The frame has a coating of surface corrosion, but it still appears to be structurally sound. The floors don’t look bad, and their condition seems to be similar to the frame. New Mexico tends to be kind on classics when it comes to the question of rust, and the panels of this one don’t look bad. It appears that it may have the usual small spots in the cab corners and lower front fenders, but the ready availability of patches means that these will be easy to fix. The majority of the glass is in good order, although the windshield will need to be replaced due to a large crack. All of the trim and chrome is present, but some pieces will need to be replaced or sent off to the platers.

One welcome addition to the “Task Force” range was the availability of Chevy’s small-block V8 engine. In this case, what we find is a 265ci V8 that is backed by a 4-speed manual transmission. The majority of these Pickups came equipped with the 235ci “Thriftmaster” 6-cylinder engine, but the small-block offered some significant advantages over that engine. Where the six was capable of producing 123hp, the V8 pumped out 132. That only told a small part of the story, because it was torque figures that painted the full picture. The Thriftmaster produced 195 ft/lbs of torque, which was a respectable figure. Slot the 265 under the hood, and suddenly you had 230 ft/lbs at your disposal. That made carting heavy loads far less of a chore for the 3100. This V8 doesn’t currently run, but it did when it was parked. It still turns freely, so it might not take much encouragement to get it singing once again.

The interior of the Stepside is presentable, and there is no reason why it couldn’t serve in its current form untouched on a long-term basis. The cover on the seat is free from rips or tears, but the rubber mat on the floor has seen better days. The painted surfaces show their age, and a radio/cassette player has been fitted into the dash. Sprucing it up would not be a difficult task, and that is one of the great attractions of these old Pickups. Even if you are the sort of person who isn’t game to tackle rust repairs but you want to attempt some DIY, then the interior is a good place to start. Dismantling them is straightforward, and with a bit of patience and some basic painting skills, they can be made to present extremely well. Even if the next owner decides to use the Stepside as it currently stands, restoring the interior would provide a striking contrast to the exterior.

There is a lot of promise locked away in this 1956 Chevrolet 3100 Stepside, and a few people have recognized this. If the V8 can be revived, it might not take a lot of work to return it to a roadwothy state. Its rust problems seem to be minor, and none of them look like they would require immediate attention. Today, you will struggle to find a good, original example for under $30,000. Prices of $35,000 or more are common due to their ever-growing popularity. If the bidding on this one stays close to its current level, then this has all the makings of a great buy.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Great find, this is what I was looking for before I got my squarebody. Thing is, with something like this, it’s yet another step backwards in civility. My squarebody at least rides like a modern truck, these are a handful. If you’ve never driven a truck with a straight front axle, you’ll find out real quick what I mean. That rear bumper indicates, this must have been a municipal truck from somewhere. I had a ’56 stepside, but more of a race type, lifted, 327, fender exit headers, car 4 speed, it was an awful truck,,,This is a super find, and priced right, for once. It’s not that far from me, I wonder if they’d trade a squarebody for this? Hmm.

    Like 7
    • 370zpp

      Check it out, Howard. And enjoy some authentic New Mexican food while in Santa Fe. One of my favorite places.

      Like 3
      • Howard A Member

        Meh, we’ll see, still a long haul for the old squarebody @ 14 mpg, besides, can’t do that food. It all smells like old tennis shoes to me,,

    • angliagt angliagt Member

      That rear bumper looks like it’s a Barden Bumper.
      They were on many,many trucks back in the day.I even
      had one on my ’72-1/2 Toyota pickup.
      Wonder where Barden went?

  2. Glenn Schwass Member

    This freaks me as it is what I want. Timing is everything. I can’t do it now even though at $4k it would be a steal if the body is decent..I prefer the blue but the yellow
    works…

    Like 3
  3. Steve Bush Member

    A college friend had a similar truck about 40 or so years ago. His was bright yellow with a 327 and auto. I don’t remember a lot more about it except that it was in decent shape and was a fast and somewhat scary ride.

  4. Phlathead Phil

    I had one when I was a teen, except no front “Deer Basher.” Neither did it have that stupid spare tire depression in the L-H side. Hideous CUZ the damn tire is always IN THE WAY. Wish I still had it

    If I wasn’t building two customs I’d come fetch it.

    Price is CORRECT!

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