Saved From The Woods: 1937 Chevrolet Master Pickup

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Recently saved from its hibernation in the woods, this ’37 Chevrolet Master pickup is in better shape than expected. Mostly solid and complete with only minor rust in the floor, it would appear this Chevy truck was on the road not too long ago. With multiple bids and a price of $4,750, there are still 7 days left in the auction for this old Chevy. Find it here on ebay out of Ottertail, Minnesota. Thanks to Jay M for the submission!

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The stout 216 cubic inch inline 6 is not currently running, but is not seized. It seems as if this truck was a driver not too long ago, but fell into a hiatus from road duty.  Manually shifted, we hope the rest of this truck’s components are in a similar condition. The engine and bay are dirty, but there is always room for improvement with a good cleaning. The legendary inline 6 likely needs only a fluid change, a tune up, and some fresh gas to click over again.

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From the inside there is more surface rust than we were expecting. Though the surface rust has taken over much of the interior, the inside of this truck is pretty solid. There is a crispy area on the floor that looks to be a removable panel. The steering wheel is crack free, and the seat frame is still present showing there is still some potential for this old truck. Moving to the exterior of the truck reveals a nice old looking truck with some patina. There is surface rust present, but there looks to be no rot. Both of the passenger side fenders have some denting, looking to have clipped something in this truck’s travels. The driver side fenders are in better shape. The bed appears to have passed through life mostly unscathed. The walls of the bed are straight as are the top edges of the bed. The tailgate is not installed, but looks good, with no major denting or rot. We are sure the first thing that caught your eye was the unusual but possibly effective wood front bumper. Looking to be made of an old large hardwood tree, we would love to hear the back story on this bumper.

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By no means perfect, this Chevrolet still has potential to be a road goer yet again. The stout inline 6 is easy enough to get parts for and will propel this truck just fine. Inspect the mechanicals and fluids, recover the seat, and see if this old Chevy can be revived.  Would you revive this 1937 Chevy pickup?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Great to still see these pop up from time to time. Got resto-mod all over it. I’m sure someone with a pile of cash has been waiting for one, and that’s what will happen to this, and that’s ok. Just the style lends itself to a custom truck, without radically redoing the body. I know us purists hope for original, but interest is waning for original trucks like this, and at shows I’ve been to, there was maybe one original, to say 5 resto-mods. That floorboard comes off, and the battery was under the right floor,( that square hole was for checking the water in the battery, and must have had a cover at one time) and the brake master was under the drivers side. Great find, and I almost guarantee, you won’t recognize this truck when someone gets done with it.

    Like 1
    • Howard A Member

      Oh, forgot about the bumper. This truck must have belonged to a gas station at one time, and it was very popular to remove the stock bumper, and put a oak plank in it’s place for pushing cars.

      Like 1
      • Tre Deuce

        In our area, the wood plank push bumper was an amendment to the stock steel bumper that was hung from the guards and could be removed for going to town and church.

        My dad bought a new 57′ international pick-up and the third thing he did after adding a second spare tire mount and military steel gas can mount, was make a bumper hung wood push bar.

        He was daily on the rural back country roads in his job, and always carried the push bar and chains in case he found someone in the ditch or needing a push or pull back to town, or was out of gas. He also needed the gas can for his own use, as gas stations were few, and closed early, usually by dinner time.

        Like 1
  2. Johnni B

    37 had the best looking grille of all. Love them 37’s. I’ve had mine since 1985.

  3. Fred W.

    Howard, I wouldn’t be surprised if the gas station lettering could be found somewhere under that paint on the door.

  4. Terry J

    Great find. Drove a lot of these back in the day. The old “Babbit Banger” six did not have rod bearings, but like most engines of the day, the rod bearings were an alloy that was actually poured in place. There were still shops doing that back in the 50s. Low rpm, low compression and tough. I had a 1930 Chevy truck that had the first generation six cylinder engine in it. Get this: 3 main bearings. The 1937 was the first year for the much improved second generation “Blue Flame” six ( 216 cu in) which was built with updates through 1962. The old square cut gears on that 4 speed tranny were fun to shift. Note that little “handle” below the gear shift knob. You lifted that with your finger and it pulled up a rod that was the reverse gear lock out. :-) Terry J

    Like 1
  5. Terry J

    Forgot to mention: See the “window” handle in the top middle of the dash? The entire windshield hinges at the top, so you can crank the bottom of the windshield out a few inches for ventilation. Everybody already knew that, right? My old ’41 Dodge truck has that but it was frozen up, so I took a C Clamp and modified it’s screw mechanism to become that windshield crank. That was over 20 years ago and it still works fine. :-) Terry J

    Like 1
  6. bowtiecarguy

    Seller has an interesting assortment of American iron in his other auctions.

  7. Ck

    Im with ya Howard pretty sure this will be someone’s next Hot Rod ,but you never know maybe someone will restore this old girl.Either way gets her back on the road and out of the woods.

  8. geomechs geomechs Member

    Howard is right in that there is a great deal of interest in resto-mods. But take a real nice restoration to a car show and you’ll see that the interest still sways toward the purist restoration. Like even last summer, I was at several shows and the interest in the original restoration is very high. Even the younger bunch is showing a lot of interest. If I got hold of this one, I’d restore it to original; the old 216 will cruise at 55, and unless you’re changing to IFS with more modern steering gear, and a 4-link rear, you really don’t want to drive one much faster than 55; they weren’t designed to go faster. Now I’ve seen some guys put 235s or more modern inline six cyl. motors and that’s fine too. Dropping in an SBC or any other V8 is reinventing the wheel; someone designed a steering column right where the LH manifold is going to be. I hope that this one is picked up by someone who wants to restore it to its original luster. If he decides to modify it, keep it hidden so people won’t lose track of what these looked like….

  9. Terry J

    I agree Geomechs. There are 235s still around. Can’t find one? Then stay with a later Chevy inline. Not that hard to do. If you put in a V8 then there are probs with the steering (narrow bay). Then you need to update the brakes so you might as well graft in an independent front end. But then the rear will need to go…….. STOP! There are 235s on C/L in my area right now….bolt in. Also a ’50s GMC 270. Good easy swap. Much more fun. Unlike a cars thro 1954 the pickup already has an open drive shaft. I think. :-) Terry J

  10. Rustytech Member

    I would do the minimum to get it safe to drive, stabilize the body and drive it, it would fit right in here in the mountains. Think Beverly Hillbillies!

  11. Doug Crawford

    Don’t understand why Howard A’s comment on the bumper got two thumbs down.
    Wooden bumpers like that were the norm here in E. KY, due to lots of old cars that had had little , no, or misguided maintenance , and push starts were a common daily occurrence around here. Also, it could have been the push truck at the local bull ring dirt track ???? I guess I can see that if you didn’t know all that you might think it was just a crude hammer-mechanic quick and dirty, but no.

  12. Marty Wilke Member

    If there ever was a vintage truck that looked good with a rough-cut hardwood plank for a front bumper, this is it.

  13. Tre Deuce

    After a 35′ John Deere and Ford 9N Tractor, this was the first road vehicle I drove, but just around the farm.

    One of the best looking pre-war pickups, only exceeded, in my estimation, by the exquisite Studebaker Express Coupe.

    I love the Fords and had a 40′ Deluxe with an Olds J2 engine, but the Studie takes the prize for me.

    Thanks for posting, Brian

  14. Doug Towsley

    On farms and rural areas such bumpers were common for many reasons, and in the 1970s was considered a stylish addition on many customs. Overall, I think this is one sexy truck. love the lines, I have some Chevy Master fenders, I would have to research if the CVhevy master cars and Trucks interchange? They are labled 37 Master Bought a pile of early sheetmetal as a package deal.

    • Johnni B

      Doug T your Chevy Master fenders are not the same as the truck. Only 1937 and 1938 truck fenders are the same. 1/2 and 3/4 ton fenders are different from 1 ton and larger trucks. The wheel arch is smaller on the 1/2 ton and there is a factory notch in the front bottom edge on a 1/2 ton to allow the fender to sit down over the frame rails. Hope that helps.

      • Doug Towsley

        Johnni B, that IS helpful, thanks!

    • Jay M

      Doug, please elaborate on what parts you have.
      I’m looking for a few things.
      Thanks,
      Jay M

      • Doug Towsley

        Jay M,, I have (and had) a number of prewar cars and several are coupes. (1937 Plymouth coupe (Sold) a 39 Plymouth, a 39 Dodge, and a 37 Pontiac with a mix of Chevy parts and 37 Chevy frame with Camaro subframe.

        So,, Theres a really GREAT swap meet up near the Canadian Border at Mt Vernon. Half motorcycles and half cars. And Most years another event the next day up in BC. So met a guy there who had to buy a whole barn full of parts to get the model T parts he wanted. He was peddling the rest of the parts at very cheap prices. Over 2 years I bought a bunch of stuff from him. Some I didnt need but thought maybe someday, or good trade material, but at those prices why not? So I bout 4 pairs of vintage bumpers, several body panels, fenders hoods, and other bits. More relavant to your question is there was 2 fenders (Front R/L) labeled 37 Master. I also have a bull nose Pontiac hood that is art in shape and form. If this stuff interests you I can post pix or we can talk off forum. I am near Portland Oregon so shipping & logistics might be an issue.

        Like 1
    • Dirk Tibbets

      Hi Doug, I have a 37 chevy master. Needing front and rear fenders, running boards, nose assembly, lights and steering gear/box. Would appriciate any help in the parts department. I live in Albany, OR.

  15. Tommy

    hop in and fire that mother up!

  16. Pierre Stievenart

    Always touched when I see a Master ’37 face. My parents had a (second hand) ’37 coach when I was a baby and a kid in Belgium. They sold her in 1957 and I was very sad, in spite of the brand new VW Beetle. I remember summer vacations in the North Sea resort of Le Coq/De Haan, where A. Einstein had stayed before leaving Europe for the US.
    Now retired, I acquired a similar ’38 Chevy. Even the smell was the same! Her engine is now being rebuilt and I hope to get her back as a Xmas present.
    I’m now a Louis Chevrolet fan, visiting his birthplace in Switzerland (La Chaux de Fonds) and Beaune in France where he learned how to repair bikes.
    Chevrolet, a name with a solid reputation.

    • Doug Towsley

      VERY cool story Pierre, love the picture, Very interesting the connections made thru old cars eh? Yours is one of the more interesting I have seen. Feel free to send more pictures. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

    • Terry J

      Well Pierre has my vote for the coolest BF story of the month! :-) Terry J

  17. RRMix

    My ’37 Chevy Pickup is in about the same condition. Been in the family since 1966 when my Mom bought it for my Dad from a farmer’s wife for $10 in South Dakota (the farmer wouldn’t sell it to my Dad). We rode in it when I was a kid (Mom, Dad, and 3 kids all sitting in front). It has a 235ci in it now, but needs electrical and brake petal work (to say nothing about a full body restoration, which is not a priority). Someday soon it will be running again for low speed driving and parades. I hope the one shown here gets adopted to a hope where the history of the truck is appreciated and not “ruined” by a chop job. I do understand updating brake system and steering column (which is meant for skinny 1930s’ farmers to squeeze behind). Love these old trucks from 1936 to 1938 (Chevy & others).

    Like 1
  18. Ck

    Hey Pierre ,CHEVROLET ALL THE WAY.

  19. Alan

    I see a push truck for sprints and midgets of the same era. Dirt tracks are everywhere.

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