Live Auctions

Super Solid 1951 Chevrolet Panel Truck

Here is a very solid project for someone, at what, so far, appears to be a reasonable price. It’s a 1951 Chevrolet Panel Delivery work-in-progress on eBay in Sacramento, California. The bidding is at $4,550 with seven days to go.

This hard-to-find vehicle is a great example of what brings buyers from all over the world to California for classics. It’s a “California car,” and aside from a little surface rust on the frame there’s no tinworm visible at all. The floors are rock solid, and the body is in very good condition. Not much chrome on this work truck, but what’s there looks decent.

It’s a project. The panel truck was running and driving until fairly recently when the previous owner launched an ambitious plan that wasn’t quite completed. Power brakes and steering were installed, as well as a GM 10-bolt rear end and 1954 Chevy passenger hubs. Also purchased for the project was a zero-mile rebuilt 350 cubic-inch Chevrolet motor with an RV cam, and a rebuilt TH350 three-speed automatic. The engine is sitting in the engine bay but isn’t fully installed. The trans? Not sure of its status.

Most of the existing dual exhaust is there, but a manifold has to be located to connect it to the 350. None of the hurdles here look very high. Someone who’s handy with a wrench should have this vehicle moving in short order. With the drivetrain installed it could be driven as-is. Even the interior appears to be all there, with lots of period patina.

This is a third-generation Chevrolet panel truck, built between 1948 and 1955. The panels were built on the Advanced-Design Suburban rolling chassis, introduced in 1947. GM’s period illustrations show a bit more chrome, including horizontal stripes on both front and rear fenders. Maybe that was an option, but the chrome is visible on some restored examples.(See below.)

The truck for sale is likely a 3100-Series panel, with a 116-inch wheelbase, originally boasting a “Thriftmaster” inline six, and a three-speed column shift.

With that engine properly installed, the truck should be a reliable hauler for someone. It can either be put to work or hit the show circuit.


  1. Tom Bell

    Another piece of automotive history bites the dust. Sad.

    Like 7
  2. Big_Fun Member

    When I visited my Grandparents in the Midwest in the 80’s. There was one of these parked in his neighbor’s yard. Packed full of recycled lumber top to bottom. The life long bachelor lived in his garage. Strange and spooky for a eight year old. Rumors were he had suitcases full of cash upstairs in the tiny loft. Didn’t believe in banks….
    This rig may not be original – at least its desired for more than a static lumber wagon!
    Thanks again for the memories, Jim M.

    Like 5
  3. Joe Haska

    If you wanted a Panel I think you would have a difficult time finding one better than this one. I have never seen a piece on the dash (between the two big round clusters) does anyone know what it is. Looks like something for turn signals, maybe an accessory or a fabricated piece?

    Like 4
  4. Glenn Hilpert

    Price is at $7500.00

    Like 2
  5. Will

    While in college in the 1960s, I drove an elongated version of this truck for the school mail system. I do not remember any chrome on the sides. I do remember that it had a huge amount of space and even though “old” at the time was reliable. It was fun to drive, especially if you were paid by the hour…

  6. Gil Davis Tercenio

    I’d rather have it all original.

    Like 4
  7. geomechs geomechs Member

    Very nice! While I would’ve kept the old babbit pounder/manual transmission/stock truck axle, I actually agree with the changes that were started. A warmed over Mouse-Motor with a TH350 is a good combination although it puts you in the ‘belly-button’ crowd; everyone has one. If this came my direction I would probably continue the project, keeping it stock looking and just drive the hell out of it. Panels are great!

    Like 7
  8. chrlsful

    agreed.. well, only sleeper mods (od auto for transmis). 1st is bring back the oe steer wheel. May B the 290 i6 w/a Fitec hidden under an ac housing?

    Like 1
  9. V12MECH

    Now that is California steel ! Pay the price and it saves you money in the long run! I swear, sometimes the Caly stuff looks like it came out of a time machine to my salt belt eyes!

    Like 4
  10. geoff a

    What is it with all these kind of projects that they always have these cheesy steering wheels that came from JC Whitney and always have no center caps.

    Like 1
  11. numskal Member

    now up to to 8600 dollars as of 9/19 afternoon, any bets on it hitting 10K?

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