Spares Included: 1956 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery

So, what’s in a name? We all know what a sedan is. It could be a two-door sedan, which is frequently called a coupe, or it could be a four-door sedan which is a more traditional and common body style with four doors and a “B” pillar that supports the roof. That being the case, what’s a sedan delivery? Well, I know one when I see one and here is a 1956 Chevrolet sedan delivery, located in Lompoc, California and for sale here on craigslist for $4,000.

The sedan delivery was a stripped-down passenger car-based vehicle that was used for delivery service, essentially a light-weight commercial vehicle. They probably should have been called a “station wagon delivery” because that’s really what they were, a two-door station wagon with the rear side window glass removed. They got their start in the 1930’s and were common-place until the late ‘50’s or so. While common-place, maybe not so common as this example is one of only 9,445 made by Chevrolet in 1956. Keep in mind, Chevrolet built 1.6 MM cars that year so were talking about 0.6 percent.

Sedan Deliveries have been a hit with the hot-rodder set for years and this example is no exception. Let’s start with the power train which includes a 350 CI engine sporting a big Holley four-barrel carburetor; a Turbo-Hydramatic 350, three-speed automatic transmission and a heavy-duty twelve bolt differential (which looks like a truck twelve bolt as opposed to an automobile version). No word as to whether or not the engine runs but the images indicate there are some missing parts so there’s no telling what’s needed for operation.

The interior is looking shaky. The floors appear to be half absent along with the headliner, interior panels, front seat, and some dash components. And the driver’s bucket seat that is present looks like it got boosted from something else. The seller does state that he has a bench seat included, however. One interesting detail to note, especially once you have taken a gander at the condition of the interior, is a reference to the clock having been rebuilt.

The body of this sedan delivery looks pretty sound; surface rust yes, evidence of out and out rot, no. It has a typical SoCal appearance about it as a result of the year-round sunshine and dry climate. There is only one image of the underside and it’s not really telling regarding structural condition; the seller is mum on this topic other than to say, “it has some rust.” The frame rails that are visible in this image look OK.

The seller states that he has many additional parts available, in some cases, two of everything so that’s certainly a plus for a car in this state. Notable is an extra cowl with attached windshield frame and dashboard – I don’t think I have ever encountered one of those as an extra. If you carefully view the listing’s images you can get a partial idea of the parts inventory.

I really like this sedan delivery, these things are fantastic when done right as they have a real existential “cool” factor about them but it’s going to take a whole lot of effort to get this sedan delivery motivating again. What do you think, will it ultimately be worth the effort?

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Comments

  1. kuzspike

    They are all worth the effort Jim, it just depends how fat your wallet is.
    This one looks to need a big one.

    Like 4
  2. Ken Cwrney

    Newbaum Turk’s pie wagon! The last time I saw one “in the flesh” was close
    to 50 years ago now. Seeing the film
    Hollywood Knights brought it all back to
    me again. The one I saw as a kid belonged to the owner of the Standard
    station where Grandma had her ’65 Rambler Classic wagon serviced. I didn’t
    think much of it back then because to me
    it was just another old car. Sure would
    like to have it now though.

    Like 4
  3. Miguel

    That is something I have not seen in a long time.

    This car still has the original black commercial plate it used when it was last used as a sedan delivery.

    Most people since then have switched to passenger car plates because they are much cheaper to register every year.

    The extra parts have to be worth a pretty penny.

    Like 5
  4. Del

    man this is bagged.

    Look Mom, I dropped my steering column

    Like 1
  5. junkman Member

    That’s funny I just followed one of these today in Westwood Ma, black with yellow orange flames and full moon wheel covers. Sweet ride.

    Like 3
  6. Paolo

    The school district here had a 1955, a 1956, a 1957 and a 1958 sedan delivery, all painted Caterpillar yellow, which they kept for a long, long time. I’m pretty sure the 56 was still in use through the’80s.

    Like 5
  7. MorganW Morgan Winter Member

    That A pillar is scary looking.

    Like 9
  8. PatrickM

    $4K for this??? I think there is one too many zero’s there. And to think they spent all that money on a great engine and carb just to leave it uncovered and opened to all those nice outward elements. All that just to have one of us rebuild or replace it. How kind. I started out thinking we might have something here. But, really had to change my mind quickly.

  9. Dusty Stalz

    Hmm that’s weird. My comment was knocked down?

  10. Reno 55

    Jim, Curious as to where you got your information regarding production numbers on these deliveries? As the second owner of a 55 model since 1980, I’ve diligently looked for verified numbers on these for and have seen a lot of figures put out there but those vary wildly from source to source. The story that makes the most sense to me, was that these vehicles, even though produced on the car assembly line, were lumped into the truck production figures because in that era commercial vehicles were cheaper to license and insure and these were aimed at the small business market. Mine on the original Az. title was listed as a truck, and still is on the current title. If you don’t mind referencing your data source, I’d really like to end this 40 year search for numbers with a definitive answer to my question. Thanks in advance, R. Reno

    • Paul

      Attn Reno 55 regarding production figures. My 1994 edition of 55-56-57 Classic Chevy Builders’ Guide has a production figure of 7,441 for the 56 deliveries. Not sure where that got that figure, but I presume that was U.S. production, since Canada made them also at their Oshawa, Ontario Plant

  11. moosie moosie

    At one time these were very popular in N H R A Junior Stock classes that included National Record Holders. Probably would still be if the sport had’nt changed so drastically, they were fun to watch.

    Like 1
  12. Jay L

    Man, sometimes on here, we do digress

  13. TimM

    Rougher than a stucco bath tub!! Love the car and it’s only option would be to restomod it but there’s a ton of work to do here!! To much for me right now!!!

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