Solid Project: 1953 Chevrolet 4100 Truck

This 1953 Chevrolet 4100 Truck spent its early life fighting fires but has now been inactive since 2007. It appears to be in quite reasonable condition and is ripe for restoration. Given its short wheelbase, it should fit into an average garage, which would also make it the sort of project that could be tackled in a home workshop. Located in Manvel, North Dakota, you will find the 4100 listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner is asking what appears to be a very reasonable $2,400 for this old beauty.

This 4100 is a solid looking old truck that appears to have started life finished in Woodland Green. The cab itself looks to be very clean, and the prone areas such as the rear corners of the cab look to be free of major rust issues. There is no word on the state of the floors or frame, but the external appearance does seem to be quite promising. It has been fitted with a steel flat-bed, and this also looks really good. Of course, the next owner may choose to change this, depending on the pathway they eventually follow with the restoration. It also appears as though all of the glass is in good condition, which is another real plus.

The last time that the 216ci straight-six engine in the Chevy fired a shot in anger was back in 2007. At that point, it both ran and drove, but hasn’t moved under its own power since. It isn’t clear what state the engine is now in, but hopefully, it does turn freely. The 85hp from that engine passes through a 4-speed manual transmission to a dually rear end. One positive here is that the engine does appear to be complete, and no openings have been left uncovered that would allow foreign bodies to find their way inside the 216. If it does turn freely, it might not take a lot of work to kick it back into life. Its early life as a fire-fighting unit would normally mean that the truck would have been meticulously maintained, and this could be a benefit now.

This is the only interior photo that we get of the 4100, and apart from the radio blanking plate missing out of the dash, it does appear to be complete. One thing that does surprise me is the fact that the wheel appears to be free of cracks. These were renowned for cracks appearing around the rim, and more than one has finished-up wearing a wrap to conceal these issues. The rest of the interior looks like it could respond positively to a clean, although we can’t be completely sure what state the seat is in. However, I can just glimpse what I think might be a tear in one corner of the cover, so a replacement might be on the cards. This shouldn’t be a problem though, because these are neither expensive or difficult to fit. Of course, a full restoration would see the interior looking pretty stunning, and that would be the path that I would be following myself.

This 1953 Chevrolet 4100 is a great old truck, and it does hold a lot of promise. It could easily be restored, or the next owner might also choose to use it as a base for a rat rod project. Either way, once they have completed their project, they will wind up with a pretty impressive and cool old truck.


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  1. art

    It would be nice to see this truck restored and put back on the road. It could be a great advertising draw for the right business.

    Like 3
  2. Mike

    It looks like it has a later 235 engine which could be a good thing since a full oil pressure engine w insert bearings

  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    Nice truck! Not too big to be put to work on the acreage. It could be fixed up to haul stuff (plus itself) to the show. If anyone is squeemish about a 216 babbitt-pounder, it looks like the engine has been swapped out for a 235 or even a 261. That’s OK; I’ve actually seen more of them make a good-sized hole in the side of the block than the 216s. Of course, that could also be because when I got into the repair business there were a lot more 235s. Whatever, I’m not scared of a 216…

    Like 3
    • Ken

      My dad had a ’48 Loadmaster with a 216 that he’d made into a trap wagon to service the Cat D5s in eastern Washington wheat country. I was riding in it with him one morning in 1976 when it threw a rod. He got out, lifted the hood, took a quick look and came back to the cab.

      All he said was, “She’s had it.”

      Like 4
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Sometimes when the rattling started you didn’t have time to shut it down. But by the same token I’m amazed at the abuse the old Chevys could take. I remember a farmer down the road who had a Binder AC160, with a 240. Under load they ran it right out before making a shift. Well I think they were headed downhill when the rod came out of the piston. The rod went out both sides and also broke the camshaft. When the rattling stopped the rod was lying on the road…

        Like 3
  4. BR

    There you go again with the “rat rod” comment. .

    Like 3
  5. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Flat bed trucks are cool. I once had a 59 Ford one ton with 12×8 flat bed with cattle racks. It was a 390 4 speed duallie. Bought in Utah drove to Washington state then down to Merced California on a hot summer day when it overheated blowing the top off the radiator and cracking the heads. Lumped in to a wrecking yard bought two heads and a radiator then headed on brother Miami Florida. All the time pulling an 8 foot covered utility trailer. What great memories.
    God bless America

    Like 5
  6. Stevieg

    A green fire truck? Forestry department, maybe?

  7. Stevieg

    Green fire truck? Was it owned by the forestry department back then? Not being sarcastic, I really would like to know.

    • W126 fan

      Here in Rural Tennessee ALL of our old U.S. Forestry Service (Fire Fighting) trucks were ordered up ‘Forest Green.’ Most of them spent their entire career under a shed, and many of those were kept loaded and ready with a small crawler with Fire Plow chained to the bed. Ready to turn a wheel at a moments notice.

  8. W126 fan

    That’s not a 216 under the hood, but it could be the original 235. I used to hear old Timer’s call it “the PowerGlide motor,” because back then when you bought a new Chevrolet and opted for the new ‘Power Glide AT’, you got the new 235 ci (bearing insert) motor, not the 216 ci Babbitt bearing. In 53 they were putting the new 235 in trucks with manual shift also.

    Like 1
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      There were actually (2) different 235 engines from Chevy. The first one came out in around ‘41. It was a Babbitt-Pounder with low oil pressure just like its 216 stablemate. It’s first intention was to be used on larger trucks. It received double duty in 1950 with the introduction of the Powerglide. In 1953 they phased out ALL Babbitt-Pounders and introduced the new 235 “Thriftmaster” with higher lube pressure and precision bearings. The biggest identifier is the two studs and capnuts to retain the valve cover on the older models.

      Like 1

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