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Rust-Free 5-Window: 1948 Chevrolet 3100 Thriftmaster

Sometimes a classic vehicle will appear on my desk, and it has me scratching my head slightly. This 1948 Chevrolet 3100 Thriftmaster Pickup is a perfect example, and we’ll get to the head-scratching part shortly. The owner says that it is all original, and it appears to be a vehicle that wants for nothing except a new owner. The Pickup is located in Waukegan, Illinois, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. With bidding sitting at $15,800, the reserve isn’t met.

When the owner refers to the Pickup as being “all original,” I suspect that he probably means that it has been restored to its original specifications at some point. If the Medium Cream paint that the truck wears is original from the factory, it would make this an automotive unicorn. The lives that these classics usually lead sees the paint looking pretty marked and scratched, and it would almost certainly show on a pickup that is 72-years-old. When I look around the Pickup, it is hard to find many faults. The paint shines beautifully, while the panels appear to be perfect. Rust is not an issue, with the cab corners and the floors, two known weak points, appearing to be in good health. There are a few light spots of surface corrosion on the frame, but nothing that would cause sleepless nights. The bed is free from wear-and-tear, with the timber looking nice. The trim is close to perfect, and the glass is in a similar state.

There’s a lot to like when we delve inside the Chevy, but this is also the point that has me scratching my head slightly. You see, it’s the shifter that is the sticking point with me. For the 1948 model year, Chevrolet relocated the shifter from the floor to the column on the 3-speed manual models. I was sure of this, but I double-checked it through the original shop manuals available online at the GM Heritage Center. This confirms my belief and makes me wonder whether this particular vehicle is a 1948 model or whether it could be a 1947. It can be hard to differentiate between the two years, as running changes were minor at that point. Leaving that aside, the interior is in excellent order. The upholstered surfaces show no signs of wear or damage, the painted surfaces look crisp and clean, and the rubber mat appears to be perfect. There is a vintage radio fitted to the dash, but I’m not sure that it is the correct one for this period. However, it looks better than a modern one, so I probably wouldn’t touch it.

Powering the Chevy is a 216.5ci 6-cylinder engine, which would be producing 90hp. A 3-speed manual transmission backs this, and all of this would be correct regardless of whether this is a ’47 or a ’48 model. What made these old pickups such an incredible load carrier wasn’t the horsepower figure but the engine torque. With 174 ft/lbs available at a mere 1,200rpm, the 3100 Pickup possessed tremendous flexibility when fully laden. The engine bay’s presentation is extremely tidy, and the originality extends to the vehicle still featuring its 6-volt electrical system. However, this isn’t merely about appearances because the owner says that the Chevy runs and drives very well.

The past 12-months have been pretty strange, and this has extended into the world of classic cars. Some vehicles have survived with their values mostly intact, while others have taken a substantial hit. The 1948 Chevrolet 3100 Thriftmaster was hit harder than most, but there are encouraging signs beginning to emerge that seem to suggest that they have now turned the corner. The reserve on this one hasn’t been met, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were still a way to go before it is. It is possible that it could nudge $25,000, although I wouldn’t rule out a higher number still with the right buyers. Whatever the final sale price is, someone looks set to score themselves a great classic Pickup.


  1. Avatar photo Mrtinwoodie

    The VIN the seller listed isn’t a factory issued VIN.
    Also, the VIN plate on the door jamb looks to be compromised

    Like 6
  2. Avatar photo Joe Haska

    No doubt this is a very nice truck, that has been restored to original configurations and it looks good. .As far as 47 to 48 Iam not sure , but I would suppose it would be about the same as 48 to 50. The biggest difference is one piece side glass, no wing windows. I have been told the color of the needles on the gauges were different. I know I have heard of other minor things. I see several things on this truck that could be technically not proper, but it is extremely nice and I would think the bids will go up.

    Like 0
  3. Avatar photo David Mika Member

    Funny question, but where is the battery on these?

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo charles mcgee

      The battery is in a well located in the passenger floor.

      Like 5
  4. Avatar photo George Louis

    Would the hood Hinges on these been painted? Also were is the gas tank filler on these models/ Nice truck but not a fan of this color. This is a better buy than the $27,000.00 Camaro featured this week in Barn Finds.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Jay Herman

      The gas filler is on the passenger side behind the door. The gas tank is behind the seat. I don’t know what’s going on here?

      Like 0
  5. Avatar photo Hollywood Collier

    No question is funny David. That is how we learn buddy. I had an old beater 400 buck truck like this 30 years ago and the battery is under a panel on the passenger side floor board.

    Like 6
  6. Avatar photo Puhnto

    Our 1951 had the floor shift. Although it was a four speed with compound low. Is that the difference? Is that why it had the floor shift?

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo Hollywood Collier

    No question is funny David, that is how we all learn buddy. I had an old 400 buck beater truck like this and the battery was under a panel on the passenger side floor board.

    Like 2
  8. Avatar photo Courtney

    All original my butt. The door seals are not proper ones they are reproduction not woven. The running boards come on not even close. This is a poor restoration the floor mat is cut wrong where you slide it around the peddles. The felts are not there more are the bump stops. The seat frame is the wrong color. The wiring under the hood does not have one piece of original loom covering any part of it. This is not even a #2 truck I would call it a #3 at best.

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Mrtinwoodie

      To add one more thing to your list, the stitching in the middle of the seat upholstery is incorrect.
      Truck is far from an original

      Like 4
      • Avatar photo John H

        Is the seat cover correct, apart from the center stitching? Doesn’t look like it fits correctly.

        I’ve seen a lot of these old Chevys but never in this color. In fact, I can’t recall seeing one in any color other than green. Well, there might have been a blue one, if it was in its original color.

        Like 0
  9. Avatar photo Morley Member

    I like these trucks but these motors where junk when new. If you want one of these motors , install the 235 six from a 62 car. It will look te same, but the crank has 7 main bearings , not that crappy babbit stuff. That way you can drive over 40.—-better yet put a Buick nailhead in and enjoy the truck.

    Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Ronald Deichert

    Well the side mirror is not correct and where is the horn dont see it location is in front of oil filter I use to own 1948,49,50,51

    Like 2
  11. Avatar photo Winston Hiscock

    Any idea on what’s involved to bring this truck to Newfoundland, Canada? How much for transport? I am actually looking for a 1949. I want a truck the same age as myself, with the truck looking a whole lot better than I!!

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Gary Chandler

      Winston, I have a 49 for sale. If interested I can send pictures

      Like 0
  12. Avatar photo Wayne from oz

    Looks like the one from Wheeler Dealers.

    Like 1
  13. Avatar photo Craig Swenter

    You are a hyper critical lot. I would love to own this truck!

    Like 2
  14. Avatar photo Stan Marks

    At the current bid of $21,700, I wonder how close it is to the reserve?
    Re: paint….. To each his/her own. The color is not my favorite cup of coffee. But it looks good on this ’48, along with the WW tires.

    Like 0
  15. Avatar photo Richard

    Check the plate on driver side door. I think it has month and yr and location of assembly. Mine says Nov 1947 St Louis.

    Like 1
  16. Avatar photo Steve Thurman

    How do I bid on this?

    Like 0
  17. Avatar photo Poncho

    Yeah…not original. Body Mods done. Missing…Cowl vent door. I have it on my 1951 GMC 5 window. Had a heck of a time getting my friend’s 1950 Dodge cowl vent to seal with new weather stripping after repaint. We spent at least a good day each trying to figure out getting it to seal good. Maybe one of the reasons it was closed and filled before paint. Still, that fresh air coming in the cab is nice when the weather is right. Door wing windows are gone which is another modification requiring new glass to be cut for the opening. Once again, elimiantes the wind noise from the wing window and cleans up the appearance, but not original.

    Like 0

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