Solid 40 Year Barn Find: 1947 Chevrolet 3100 Pickup

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When Chevrolet came out with the Advanced Design pickup trucks in the second half of 1947, nobody had any idea that this truck would hang out until the first half of 1955 with relatively few changes.  Yet this classically beautiful design also accomplished something quite remarkable in the marketplace.  These trucks, built in half, three-quarter, and full-ton capacities, were also the best-selling trucks from 1947 through 1955.  Why?  Chevrolet came to the table with a good-looking, thoughtfully laid out truck with a solid, if uninspiring, drivetrain delivered at a competitive price.  Even today, thousands of Advanced Design trucks are still running around like this 1947 Chevrolet 3100 pickup for sale in Staunton, Illinois.

The truck you see here is a 3100, which was the designation for a half-ton Advance Design truck.  3600 was the designation for three-quarter-ton trucks, and 3800 was for one-ton trucks.  This one is also a five-window.  While we are used to large expanses of glass in our vehicles today, this was not always the case.  Forming glass in anything other than flat shapes consistently for manufacturing was an art still in its infancy in 1947.  The technology was there to make a smaller piece of curved glass, which is what we see in the upper corners of the cab above.  Having the additional two pieces of curved glass in that area was a big improvement for safety and simple peace of mind when turning or merging.

This 3100 has all the appearances of fulfilling the requirements to be a “good old truck.”  Painted in what the seller calls “patina green” with a black vinyl interior, it is hard to determine if this truck has been repainted or if this is the original finish.  There are plenty of nicks, scratches, and chips that reveal the primer underneath.  The bumpers, which may have been chrome plated at one time, are finished in a matte silver.  The new owner would also have to replace the wood in the bed and the metal trim that holds it in.  We are told that the previous owner of this truck had it in their possession for 40 years and that it is a barn find.

We can also see that the wheels have been repainted and it appears that the truck rides on a fresh set of tires.  We are told that it runs and drives.  However, the seller does allude to a bit more work being needed to make sure everything is working properly due to its barn-find status.  Parts shouldn’t be a problem due to the strong aftermarket support that these trucks enjoy and the simple drivetrain.

While we sadly don’t get a look under the hood, the dealership that is selling the car has provided an exhaustive number of pictures of the body and undercarriage in the ad.  If the truck is still equipped with the factory engine, it should be a 216 cubic inch Thrift Master inline six-cylinder engine putting out 90 horsepower.  The transmission is also likely to be a three-speed manual, but a four-speed was optional.  These “Stovebolt Six” engines were first introduced in 1932 and used in Chevrolets in the United States until 1962.  Then, production was shifted to Brazil for use down there until 1979.  One thing to remember is that these engines did not get insert bearings and full-pressure oiling systems until 1954.  If you are serious about this truck you might want to find out if the block has been changed to a later one.

Inside the truck looks to be a bit beaten down.  The thick vinyl seat cover has been polished by many a posterior slide yet is still free from tears.  The dash has some surface rust, and the radio is missing, as is one door panel.  We do see a rubber mat in the truck.  The story was that GM was working hard to make these vehicles more user-friendly when they were redesigned.  There was more sound insulation for the cab and the seat, and its back was designed to slide forward together at a slight incline.  This was to assist shorter drivers in both moving forward and up enough to see over the dash.  It was little things like this that sold a lot of trucks for GM.

Overall, this looks to be a solid truck that, with a little work, could still be up to day-to-day tasks in a small-town environment.  It is a bit rough around the edges, but this isn’t the kind of truck you want to fully restore.  Just fix and ride and repeat the cycle again and again.

If you are interested, this 1947 Chevrolet 3100 pickup is for sale on eBay in Staunton, Illinois.  The current bid on it is $7,100 with one day to go.  As of now, it has not hit the reserve price.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Terry M

    Coming from a blue oval dude, these awesome working man’s trucks, great style, meant to look good and definitely relible and “job rared”. Would love to have it and bring back to full glory but with a 235 cu in version engine and hopefully a 4 speed. Best of luck to both the seller and it’s new owner.

    Like 6
  2. Terrry

    The floor shifter tells me this is likely a 4-speed because 3-speeds had column shifters. This reminds me of the 1951 3800 I once had. It too was a 5-window and was geared so low forget doing more than 55. But it could pull a stump out of the ground and buddies’ cars out of ditches!

    Like 9
    • Terry

      Yup, had to look closer to see the floor shift Terry. Noth’n more “manly” n shift’n the ole 4speed with a load in the box n climb’n the hill. Thanks for making me look closer.

      Like 2
      • Marty Parker

        All 47’s had floor shift, 3 or 4 speed. Column shift came the next year, 1948.

        Like 0
  3. markMember

    I had a 47 5 window that I used around my ranch. I went through it and used the truck to do the town errands or attend events in my area. Great, solid, and fun truck, didn’t drive it over 45 MPH. This could be a real deal with the 5 Window.

    Like 2
  4. Nevada1/2rack Nevada1/2rackMember

    $8,600 with 9 hrs left.
    I’m betting this will be at least a $10,000-$12,000 truck, easy.
    Really good bones, it looks like a perfect project.
    Wonder if any of the ‘79 Brazilian made truck engines are still around and worth bringing here!!!

    Like 2
  5. RexFoxMember

    Right out of college I bought a ‘50 3100 with a 216 and a 4 speed. It was a blast to drive and cruised easily on the highway, but the speed limit was 55 and peoples adhered to it more closely back then. It did drink a lot of gas though, probably the worst mpg of any vehicle I’ve owned. Given the chance to buy the right one for the right price, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

    Like 1
  6. CarbobMember

    I had a1950 GMC. You will be in the slow lane. Fifty mph is about it. I love the style of these Advanced Design pickups. Nice truck here for the do it yourself hobbyist.

    Like 1
  7. Joe Haska

    I learned to drive on a truck just like this one, on the farm, during the harvest. I was about 12 and the truck was close to new. This was about 1955 give or take a year. This one is probably in the best condition you will find that might be affordable. Last time I looked it was near 9 K, my guess as popular as they are it may go up another 3 to 5 K.

    Like 1
  8. Matthew Dyer

    Great driver for a small town. Keep it simple.

    Like 1
  9. Stu

    Amongst the timeless automotive designs you have the Morris Minor, Volkswagen Beetle, Mini, Model A, early Mustang, Corvette and the ’47 to ’54 Chevrolet Pickups. Their look never gets old………

    Like 1

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