Project In Waiting: 1953 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery

One autobody design that I still find fascinating is the sedan delivery, just like this 1953 Chevrolet example. In a nutshell, it’s a two-door station wagon body with a flat cargo floor and side windows that have been replaced with steel panels. Fairly common at one time, manufacturers moved away from such vehicles years ago. And that being the case, it’s always a treat to find one for review. This 1953 subject car is located in Sunland, California and is available, here on craigslist for $12,000.

According to Old Cars Weekly, Chevrolet is credited with building the first sedan delivery in 1928, but it’s Crosley that gets the nod for building the first station wagon derived model in 1948. Old Cars further adds, “sedan delivery was based on an automobile body, it drove like a car and could maneuver in tight spots, unlike some pickups and panel trucks. The sedan delivery could also go on certain streets in the suburbs or even the city where big panel trucks were not zoned to do so“. Peaking in volume during the 1950s, Chevrolet delivered 15,523 Sedan Delivery vehicles in ’53 according to the Old Car Manual Project.

Based on Chevrolet’s bottom-of-the-line 150, passenger model, this Sedan Delivery is mostly devoid of trim or other exterior, visual enhancements.  And what chrome treatment was originally in place, like the grille and its surround, have been painted body color.  The seller’s description of the exterior is rather laconic, stating, ” a few dents, minor rust not wrecked“. That about sums it up. There is obvious surface rust present and the rear window has gotten whacked, but there is plenty here to work with. That said, the underside and frame’s integrity are unknown.

Probably not running, is the 108 gross HP, 235 CI, in-line, six-cylinder engine, connected to a three-speed manual transmission. Minus the air cleaner assembly, the very dusty engine looks intact but appears to have been slumbering for some time.

There is only one image of the interior and it features the bench seat equipped driver’s compartment and not the cargo area. Immediately noticeable is what looks like a broken-off column-mounted gear shifter that has been replaced with a floor-mounted version. Beyond that, it appears to be an environment of surface rust and mold, with seating upholstery that does not look ripped or shredded. The instrument panel shows as clouded and the passenger-side door panel is missing. Dang, it would have been great to see what’s in the rear.

Next stop? A hot-rod shop is a likely destination. This Chevy is going to need a lot of work, and the price of entry seems steep, but the fundamentals look like they are all here so the rebirth possibilities are endless, wouldn’t you agree?

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Comments

  1. Chuck

    The price is not steep, it is a cliff in that condition & at that price point!

    Like 3
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    One too many zeros. Left rear “not wrecked”? Maybe an aerodynamic aid….

    Like 5
  3. Mike

    Looks like hearse for a budget funeral home.

    Like 11
  4. Howard A Member

    Someone may correct me, but I think the 1st “all-steel” wagon was the Willys in 1946. The broken column shift is typical, as sedan deliveries led a rough life. Usually passed from one disgruntled employee to the next, sedan deliveries usually involved some sort of hand labor ( hence, the name) and were trashed accordingly. While the ad for the flower company depicts it’s original intent, all the sedan deliveries I saw looked just like this. They were rusty hulks with a fender dented and painted trim. It’s a great find in that, there simply can’t be many around like this anymore. Too bad it will cost someone 5 figures to buy the cheapest vehicle known to man at the time, the sedan delivery.

    Like 8
  5. Steve

    I guess a big ole gouge in the left rear fender is technically “not wrecked.”

    Like 6
  6. Rj

    Outstanding……someone will have great time with this one.

    Like 1
  7. Gary Rhodes

    WAY overpriced, $4000.00- $6000.00 maybe. Can’t wait to see what else he will be listing from the field of his dreams

    Like 3
  8. chrlsful

    these were better then the similarly designed ‘trucks’ which evolved into the merican van. Those things were just too hi and bulky for many applications. Here U have something each family member (in the business) could drive, not shifty in hi winds, easy for the wife/teen to park, etc. I made a 70 y/o Ford into a Daily w/camping capacity and never turned back….

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