Straight Outta The Barn: 1938 Chevrolet Pickup

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This is a great looking old Chevy, but somewhat typical of old truck owners, the seller does not have much to say about his truck. He did post a nice selection of photos though that really do give buyers a chance to see what they would be getting. It’s located in Lewiston, Maine and listed for sale on here on craigslist for $6,200

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The seller does mention that the truck came out of a barn and that he has done “mostly” all the work needed to get it running. This does look like it was a working truck (note the homemade support straps welded to the rear fenders) and it does show signs of having sat for a long time too.

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The current owner has rewired the truck and cleaned up the original 216 cubic inch engine. The seller also says the truck is “all original”, but I guess that does not count the circular gas tank in the bed, the later year wheels, and that front bumper – which looks great but is definitely not original to this truck.

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I love the way this truck looks and given its condition, if I were to buy it, I’d fix whatever it needs to be a driver and leave the rest alone. Well, except for the gas tank…

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Since it’s a Maine truck, I’d want to know about the condition of the floors, the lower cab and doors, and also the frame. But if it’s reasonably solid, this would be a fun truck for around the town driving (I would avoid highway driving – with its original low compression engine,three speed tranny, and low geared rear end, this truck will struggle at speeds over 40 mph).

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I’m sure some Barn Finds readers will disagree with me, but even though this might be a solid basis for restoration, I think it should be kept more or less “as found.” It’s just such a great example of what working Americans do with their working trucks.

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At least according to the price guides I have found, the asking price for this truck is not totally crazy. Maybe you can even negotiate with this seller to get a better price. He says he loves the truck, but just ran out of time. Will you be the one who finishes it?

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Comments

  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    To much for me.

  2. 68 custom

    6200$ ? ever see how much wood there is in the cab of one of these? ever try and replace that rotted wood in the cab? and his re-wire job looks worse than hammered turds! IMO 1200$ is more than its worth.

    • Norman Wrensch

      Actually a 38 has no wood in the cab just the bed in the box. Most of the wood went away in 36

  3. geebee

    I bought a never wrecked 2000 Silverado SWB with 80,000 miles on it less than a year ago for about $500 less than this old beater…..I know that’s apples & oranges, but I just can’t see what the attraction of something like this truck is, beyond being a yard ornament.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      You sure you’re on the right site?

  4. Jay M

    I love the 37&38 Chevy pickups. I paid $500 for mine 4 years ago and I am slowly building it. It’s now on a 91Sonoma 4×4 chassis, lowered, converted to AWD with a BW 4471 transfer case, running a supercharged small block, 4 wheel discs, etc.

    1
    • Steve

      sweeeeeeet!!!!!

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Very cool. What is that transfer case from originally?

  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    First of all, this looks more like a ’38, and I see that the listing actually refers to it as such. I must be forever optimistic because I see it as a fully restored, driver quality truck that can be used and enjoyed. The rust is too heavy to ignore and it would have to be removed. The rear fenders have been braced the way a lot of trucks of that vintage have been so that would have to be rectified. The price? If it’s a driver, then the vendor is in the ball park, albeit near the home run stage. That’s what a complete driver can bring these days. Incidentally, Chevy stopped using wood in the cabs at the end of the ’36 run; at least the ’37s and ’38s I’ve seen are all steel…

    • Howard A Member

      I agree, it needs to be restored to original. You just don’t come across these too often. The year is a tough call. Apparently, the only difference between the ’37 and ’38 was the front bumper, which this clearly has some other vehicles bumper. Price? Like you say, you want to play, this is what it costs. As a side note, anyone that’s driven a vintage pickup, this guy’s face and hand gesture say it all!

      • Johnni B

        Howard A your wrong about the front bumper being the only thing different between 37 and 38. The doghouse is different along with the grill. 37 has vertical bars and 38 has horizontal bars. The hood and side panels are different also. All those parts are interchangable between those two years though. Also the gas tank filler was in different locations. In 37 you had to lift up the passenger seat cushion to access the filler and in 38 it protruded out the right rear corner of the cab. Nice truck to start with.

      • Howard A Member

        Thanks Johnni

    • 68 custom

      ok, I mis-spoke my friend had a 36, cab was full of wood.

  6. Dolphin Dolphin Member

    I like original as much as the next guy, and I’m guessing that the dash paint is the original. But I draw the line on that much paint crinkling and filth…I mean….dust, let’s call it. It would have to go, and with this truck I don’t think that would be giving up anything.

  7. Alex W

    The patina on the exterior is to die for, but the interior is too rough. That dash looks like it would be flaking off paint constantly. I love the wood bed.

  8. David Wilk Member

    38 according to seller, typo in title, apologies to all, now fixed

  9. Jay M

    The 1937’s have vertical grille bars, 38’s are horizontal.
    Both years share the cab/box/fenders/running boards.
    However, the sheet metal from the windshield forward is different, and NOT interchangeable-unless you change the entire front clip.
    The hood/hood sides/grille & grille shell are year specific and you cannot mix and match those parts…hood ornaments are different as well. The louvered inner fender splash pans are also slightly different.
    The 1938 front bumper has a slightly deeper, painted crease line across it, and gently tapered ends-but it will fit either year.

    • Johnni B

      Jay M you are correct about having to change the whole front clip, not just one piece. I have owned a 37 truck since 1985. Paid 500.00 for her then. Running.

  10. Van

    I couldn’t drive this thing for a week without a DUI. Of course I couldn’t help putting a beer tap on the tank/keg.

  11. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    37/38 Chevy cars or trucks are highly sought after if you didn’t know….it’s hard to find a pre-war truck that wasn’t beat and all used up by 1946…. how many do you see pre- 1940 at the shows ? Lots of 1941 up trucks around.

  12. RoughDiamond

    Love the character of this old ’38 pickup truck whether it’s original or not. Someone took decent care of it over the years being that it’s now 78 years old. Those homemade support straps welded to the rear fenders is just what they did back in the day to make what they had work and be functional. I’m not sure the price is that much out of line seeing what the demand is for ’37 and ’38 Chevy pickups. My only concern though is the wiring and the external fuel tank which would have to be addressed immediately if I owned it.

  13. Robert Mix

    I have my Dad’ ’37 in about same condition as the one listed. I would not expect to sell it for over $2500. It’s been in my family since 1967.

    • Dave Wright

      I think you are 10 years behind the market.

    • Jay M

      Robert, if you post some pics people here will give you a good idea of what it’s worth.
      Original body parts are expensive and very hard to find. If your truck is complete and restoreable, people are willing to pay a premium for it.
      But if you don’t need to sell it, keep it, enjoy it…and watch it appreciate in value.

    • Glenn Cathey

      you could triple that price by selling as parts -parts for the 37 are very hard to find- the entire frontend is 1 year only

  14. Robert Mix

    This picture is of a ’37 Chevy truck that is in similar condition to mine. I don’t have a current photo available which shows it with all its parts connected. My paint is more of a multiple flat primer style, and the frame is rust covered, but most of sheet metal is solid with not rust or putty. I don’t plan to ever sell my ’37 Chevy since it is a family heirloom.

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