Running Project: 1955 Chevrolet 3100 Suburban

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Mid-1950s Chevrolet cars and trucks are some of the most recognizable and sought-after vehicles in the collector car hobby. This Suburban from 1955 has awesome original patina and would make a fun and unique project. It can be found here on eBay with a current bid of $5,000 and a buy-it-now price of $8,400. Now located in Audubon, Minnesota, the seller says it served as a school bus in North Dakota at one point. Overall, it looks really solid, have a look.

As you can see, any rear seats that were present in the past are gone. This leaves a blank slate for the new owner. There’s plenty of room for passengers and cargo. It could even be converted into a camper. The front seat folds forward allowing access to the back and besides some surface rust, it looks pretty solid.

The upholstery has seen better days, but I’m guessing this is the original material that came out of the factory 65 years ago. Like the back, there is some surface rust on the door panels and dash, but the floors look very solid.

The ad says the straight-six runs with some gas squirted directly down the carburetor, but the starter motor seems to be going out. It also says the seller was planning a drive train swap, which is probably a good idea. The current engine will get it moving, but for any sort of performance from this big vehicle, more horsepower and torque are in order. How about a modern diesel drive train?

Here you can see the remnants of the “SCHOOL BUS” graphics on the rear doors. This is a really cool feature and is subtle enough that the new owner could leave it as-is if they choose to keep the original paint. If this was your project, would you keep the patina or re-paint it?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. geomechs geomechsMember

    A lot of promise with this one. The usual fix it and drive it for the likes of me although I sure wouldn’t blame anyone for wanting to drop in an SBC (Did I say “SBC” in my outside voice?). If I was to change engines I would take it up to a 261. Mind you I saw a GMC version of this sporting a 302 with split manifolds and a 4bbl. It went like Jack, the Bear. Didn’t sound too bad either. The truck itself would benefit by a second row of seats although I think I would just carry on the open space and use it as a panel with side windows…

    Like 6
  2. F Again

    S’cool bus.

    Like 7
  3. Achman

    Cummins R2.8 turbodiesel crate engine and be done with it.

    Like 3
  4. Terry

    these are cool but just a black hole of money. You would spend 70 or 80 grand doing this truck right, only for it to bring 30k when done, if youre lucky…….

    Like 2
  5. TimM

    Where all these truck green on the outside and white on the inside??? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one with any other color combination with its original factory paint!!

    Like 3
    • Paolo

      I believe that Chevy used that same interior paint color on all trucks for many years. All brands of commercial vehicles pretty much shared a basic limited color palette of grey, dark green, dark blue, yellow, orange and red.

      Like 1
    • geomechs geomechsMember

      Post war, it seemed that ALL truck builders got some kind of a special on dark green. There were other colors available but dark green prevailed almost until the mid-50s. GM liked one specific pewter color for its truck interiors and used it for many years regardless of the exterior color…

      Like 3
      • TimM

        Thanks geomechs and Paola I should have figured you guys would know!! That’s why I like this site!! The knowledge of the commenters!!!

        Like 3
  6. 1st Gear

    Crate 502, turbo 400,9 inch ford,tubs and it’s time to rock and roll. Always really have liked these big ‘ol beasts,parts are somewhat easy to get,simple to spin wrenches on and will always be cool.

    Like 1
  7. PatrickM

    Sold for $5,000.00. for the shape this is ion and for no V8 power, I would not bid more than $2K, tops. GLTTNO.

    Like 0
  8. Kenn

    Would be interested in knowing what you own and have, or are planning on restoring PatrickM. Why not tell us what you have, what you paid for it/them, and open yourself to the sort of criticism you toss around so freely. Knowing your situation would make it easier to accept – or at least understand – your comments.

    Like 0

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