Rough But Ready: 1953 Chevrolet Pickup


I love the lines of these old GM pickups, especially ones that look like they’ve been used but keep coming back for more! As there’s no title, the seller of this pickup had been told it was a 1948 when it was purchased, but they have since tentatively identified it as a 1953. It’s located in Bradenton, Florida and is for sale here on eBay, where the opening bid is only $450 with no reserve.


Yes, there’s some rust, but it’s not as bad as I first thought when I glanced at the pictures. The bed supports are in pretty bad shape, though, and I’m thinking that may be what’s causing the misalignment between the bed and the cab. The tailgate has some holes as well.


About that bed–I would suggest that you consider it a blank canvas! You could either install some beautiful wood like the original or better, or maybe some diamond plate, or just sheet steel? Since this isn’t the truck to begin with if you were restoring one (Or is it? Discuss below if you feel differently!) I think I’d continue the “rough but ready” them when finishing this one off. A truck like this one can still be a workhorse as long as you’re not planning on blasting down the highway.


Other than filling up that gap in the dash (radio?), I don’t think I’d do much to the inside, either. There is at least one broken window on the passenger side that would have to be repaired as well. After looking at the various layers of paint visible, I think the truck was originally green, but that’s the neat thing about having a blank canvas–if you choose to paint it, you can go with any color you’d like.


The seller tells us that the water pump is frozen solid, but doesn’t specifically say the engine is free. Obviously, that would be something to know prior to bidding or purchase! How do you like this blank canvas? Tell us what you’d do with it in the comments!


  1. Woodie Man

    ” Yo Shemp, lets roll that ole pickup out you got behind the barn and let me take some pictures..I betcha we kins sell it on Ebay…..they buys anything on that there website..even this ole truck!”

  2. Frankie Paige

    I wonder what they have the reserve set at? Being that there’s no title and it’s quite rusty I still see a decent project, but would not pay much because of how much it needs.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Frankie, there’s no reserve on this auction.

  3. Howard A Member

    I wish people would stop calling these older pickup’s “rough”. Not sure what you expect from a truck like this, just for the fact it survived at all is amazing, but this is in great condition. It, for sure, is a ’53, as in ’53 the I.D. plate was changed from black to blue. Update the driveline ( no rat motors, please) and drive it as is. Cool truck, probably still a bunch out there, waiting to be discovered. Another fact, one tail light ( the little one on the left) was standard ( 2 were an option) until the late 50’s.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Howard, I think of “rough but ready” in this sense as a complement, not an insult. I think of pickup trucks like this as tools–a little wear is a good thing, and just shows that it’s been used. Badges of honor, so to speak :-)

      • Howard A Member

        Thanks, Jamie. Since I have you on the “reply mode”, I want to thank you for an awesome site.

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        @Howard — thank you from all of us, but I’ll give Jesse & Josh and the other writers all the credit! I just have fun every day looking at old car ads and sharing!

  4. Mark S

    I am amazed at how many people on here would rather leave a vehicle looking like a shabby rust bucket. The word patina has got be the most over used word on this site. A lot of people say they hate rat rods yet there ok with patina, I just don’t get it. As for the truck the engine in it looks like an oil slinger, which suggest older than 53.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Mark. I agree with you as far as the patina thing is concerned. I don’t see patina here; I see rust. This truck could be a late ’52 but I tend to lean to the ’53 side more. As Howard says up above, the tag color is an indicator. Even though ’53 went to full pressure lube the outside of the motor still looked like the old Stovebolt; ’54 changed the valve cover to the flat top and the screws around the rail.

      • Mark S

        Thanks Geomechs for nailing down the years on the stove bolts for me. I no quite a bit about these, but I’m stronger on my Chrysler Dodge Plymouth knowledge than I am with the GM stuff.

  5. jim s

    right now it is priced ( $450 ) like these truck were back in the 60s/70s when they were back lot specials, but this one needs more work. make it safe and put it back to work. if i was interested in buying a truck from this time frame i would look for one that needed less work. still a nice find.

  6. Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    As for the year, I thought that in 53 they introduced the one-piece wrap-around windshield replacing the earlier split windshield? That would put me in the “late 52” camp for it’s age. Also, there are plenty of old chevy and gmc pickups in Oregon, but I’m not seeing them in the $450 range anymore. They seem to now be in the $2000 and up range if they are complete and in half-way presentable condition. For $450 it would be a great “park it in the field for the grand-kids to play in” truck!

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Actually the one piece windshield didn’t come out till ’54. ’52-’53 were kind of a transition year where they phased out the old 216 for the 235 and upgraded the door handles to push button.

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