Three Window Project: 1948 Chevrolet 3100

After a lifetime spent with one family since new, this ’48 Chevy pickup is still a solid truck with great potential to be a driver once more. Mostly complete, this Chevy has a wild patina despite its California roots. Although not currently running, the engine does turn over. With no bids so far, the opening bid is $2,500. Check it out here on ebay out of Orland, California.

Originally powered by a 216 cubic inch inline 6, this truck currently has a 235 inline 6. Not running, the engine does turn over by hand, so there is some hope in reviving this one. There are a few colors in the engine bay, although it is not exactly clear which color is original.

Inside of the cab is a very well aged interior that needs a bit of work. The door panels are in rough condition with the driver side being in a few pieces. The seat still wears upholstery, although is ripped on the driver side warranting a re-cover. Matte finished, the dash and steering wheel aren’t the prettiest, but are suitable for restoration or for a patina appearance.

Looking over the exterior shows a rather extreme patina on the passenger side of this truck. Despite the appearance, this truck is solid with no rot to speak of. There are only a few issues to point out on this Chevrolet. One being that both front fenders have some denting below and around the headlights. Also the rear fenders are dented on the forward edge. The bed walls and tailgate are nice, but the wooden bed is rotted with a sheet of plywood covering it. All of the glass appears to be present, but the rear window is cracked. Although it is unclear when this truck was last driven, it would seem that this one could be a driver again with some parts and a few weekends. Would you revive this old short bed 3 window pickup?

Fast Finds


  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    Very nice project truck. I know that some might be turned off by the 3-window cab but that doesn’t mean much to me; both the three-window and five-window are great in my opinion. The 235 will take you anywhere you want to go and bring you back with few problems. While I like them original I probably wouldn’t do much with this one. A good driver-quality restoration and enjoy it.

    • KEN TILLY Member

      Is that the correct engine for a 1948 Chev truck? I’m asking because I had a 1932 Chev Confederate 4 door Phaeton that had the same motor where the spark plugs were at 90 deg. to the cylinder head whereas later model Chevs had them at about 45 deg. angle. Any idea what year that happened?

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi Ken. Actually those plugs are not straight in; the wire ends give you that illusion. The older motors were straight in but the change came in ’37 when they angled them down.

      • KEN TILLY Member

        Hi Geomechs. Sorry to be a bit pedantic but surely you mean the plugs were angled upwards.

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        I guess it’s all in your perception. I refer to angled down by the bottom (electrode) end.

  2. jw454

    1948’s didn’t have vent wing windows so that would indicate something is amiss. Most people would want to just keep it the way it is. Just get it running and drive it. I’m not sure if I would or opt for a restore.

    Like 1
  3. Larry K

    Nice truck and also came with radio delete.

  4. jaymes

    shiny rust,lool!

  5. Doug Towsley

    Solid trucks with few issues,, Used to drive several similar ones as a kid working for local farms growing up. Its the ultimate dilemma, as keeping original has its charms but reality is wont see much road time as its one thing to drive one on & off road in Oregon farm country and quite another in modern traffic.
    But this is an iconic style and will always desirable.

  6. Randall

    so when did vent Windows start?

    • CChasFee

      Vent windows were added in 1951, and 1951 was the last year for the lever-action done handles – ’52 changed to push button. This is probably a ’51.

      If anyone wants an eyes-on on this one – I live about 5 miles away.

    • bob

      ’51 was the first year for vent windows . ’52 was the first year for pushbutton door handles.

    • Howard A Member

      If it has a clear title, why wouldn’t they know it’s a ’52?

      • Doug Towsley

        Howard, there is no guarantee thats its titled properly. I agree I would check the title, and THEN run the VIN number to verify what it actually is (most VIN # can be decoded, which plant, what model, what year etc etc).
        But first of all.. there was competing claims of what year it actually is, then the debate about what parts are on it and what years those were introduced, so it could be a rebuilt truck out of several, and then finally, titles and registration are always suspect for older vehicles.
        As discussed often, Some states dont title older vehicles, many that do have various methods. And some places use the sale paperwork as year of title, NOT YEAR of manufacture..So, if a vehicle sat on sales lot for 2 years it could be way off.. I know of a number of vehicles that simply did not exist for the years titled. And perhaps pedantic,, but in some cases year of manufacture and month might have been for the next years models and this befuddles many DMV people Then there is the issue of old style VINS and Body ID, and even part #s. I have a motorcycle here that somebody titled using the casting number on the frame by mistake. On my old prewar coupes it looks like a cow tag, or Livestock ID that is the VIN number and many people get them titled with the Body ID and not the VIN,, Not to mention on older vehicles its easy enough to just make your own VIN plates
        and theres even services offering much nicer plates than came stock.
        And,, for example on my Datsun pickup, the VIN plate is held on by 4 screws. Which is why I have a 1972 Datsun King Cab pickup as I built it out of a 72 and a 79. Of course in 72 no such truck was ever produced but I have one now.
        I am sure you are aware of most of this,, but I just had my coffee and I run across this topic so often I wanted to set some basic information out there.
        Oh!,… I almost forgot,.. My FAVORITE DMV issue I run into with many of my old vehicles and those I help others with.
        This is VERY Common. Modern systems expect a 17 digit VIN #. Since most DMV employees are hired for reasons OTHER Than actual motor vehicle experience and knowledge. Many dont know squat. So when you come in with legit paperwork for a vintage vehicle,, and lets use my BSA for example. It has a 3 digit VIN. #525. This freaks them out. So, some reject the idea.. but the way to fix it is ADD on the paperwork (Not my frame thank you) is to add 14 zeros. All fixed. I recently had to walk a guy thru the DMV in Washington for a 1963 Triumph with this issue, as they refused to title or register it. They tried to send us to Olympia the capital. It ALSO has a 3 digit VIN

  7. Porpet65

    Not patina, RUST

    • Mark S

      You nailed it.

  8. KEN TILLY Member

    Hi Doug. If you think you have an issue with the authorities in USA then you should try them in South Africa. They also require a 17 digit no. so if you don’t have one then they assign one to you. If it’s a motorcycle then it usually isn’t too difficult but if it’s a car then it is stamped on the B post, which is paper thin with no backing, so the post is virtually destroyed by the time the new Vin can be read by the vehicle inspector. You can imagine what this does to the value of an historic vehicle.

  9. Doug Towsley

    I feel you Ken,,, When I lived overseas I had my 63 Nova SS hot rod and at one point the Germans flat out said NEIN! No way Jose. Too comply with all their rules, exhaust, Tail lights, Frame and engine numbers, etc etc…
    Turkey where I was stationed was not too bad,, but dont start me on Italians! The UK was all over the place in their interpretations as well (MOT)

    All I can say is document document document,,, Here in the US there is some cases with an ASSIGNED VIN number and a whole list of hoops to jump thru. I have 2 vehicles here with assigned VINs… Some of these are a bimetallic sticker
    and some are alloy plates riveted on. I have some Triumph engine cases that were blanks with no VINs and the shop that had them was forced by Washington state DOT to stamp the outline of the state map on the cases. (I can post a pix if you like) There is no number yet stamped… It was just a weird Idea someone had in power at one time. I showed one of these engine cases to a Washington state trooper and a DMV employee a couple years ago and they were baffled. They had never heard of it or could find any records but the shop owner had been threatened with dire consequences had he not submitted to that stamping.
    I have 2 cases with them. So, never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups (Govt)

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