Uranium Find: 57 Chevrolet 3800 Panel NAPCO 4×4

Driven throughout Colorado and New Mexico as a field vehicle, this Chevrolet Panel truck was used to cultivate uranium in lake beds. NAPCO 4×4 equipped, this Chevrolet was more than capable of maneuvering through difficult terrain. Appearing to be in ready to drive condition, this awesome 4×4 panel truck would be an awesome camper to drive through great open wilderness. Anything cool and uncommon always has a “price” and this Chevy is offered for $38,000. Take a look at it here on eBay out of Manchester, New Hampshire.

Under the hood resides a tried, trusty, and true Chevy 235 inline 6. An aftermarket air conditioning kit has been added, as well as a 12 volt system. There is a wish list of things the seller has planned to do, which he explains he is nearly completed his list. Many of his wish list items were maintenance items. Some we can spot like the power steering, which looks to have a new pump. Also the wiring in the engine bay looks new, which was also a wish list item. I would say that a valve cover gasket is needed, as well as a carb rebuild (wish list item).

The interior is simple with two bucket seats, and a sheet metal lined interior. I imagine that this lining would offer a nice temperature barrier from the hot and cold weather. Hopefully with the air conditioning cranked up in the summer, the lining would help to keep the interior that much cooler.  There is a gas tank in the back to which I would guess belongs to this Chevy. Perhaps it has been cleaned, or maybe it was replaced?

Although well weathered, the factory paint is still in place showing this trucks past employer. Despite its workhorse past, this Chevy has no rot concerns whatsoever. Granted surface rust is present, but this truck otherwise is solid. Obviously sporting a lift kit and a modern wheels, this truck does have a cool restomod appearance. There is a dent in one of the rear doors, but otherwise the body is quite straight. Considering this trucks interesting past, it is rather impressive that it came through time as unscathed as it has.  The question is, what would you do with this cool vintage 4×4?


  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    Very unique truck. Going to ride like a tank and you’re going to need a step ladder to get into it. I think if it came my way, I’d drop it down a few inches. I’m sure that it’s sitting well above stock height. The 235 engine has got its work cut out for it but it would be up to the task. You won’t be able to cruise any lane but the slow one if you’re on the freeway. I’d guess that 55 would be a good pace for this one. If it was mine I wouldn’t waste time with an aftermarket A-C. However, I wouldn’t take it out if someone already went to the trouble to put it in. Bottom line though: Too rich for my budget. I’ll have to stick to the stuff I’ve already got…

    Like 11
    • Howard A Member

      They’re nuts, but,,,try and find another. Someone clearly stuck a lot into this, the 4:11’s and big tires will help some, but for crying out loud, why not finish it??? Even an Earl Scheib job( yep, we still have one in Col. Springs) or rattle cans would enhance the value better than this. We are clearly from a different time, my friend and for us old farts, it DOES have a ladder to get in,, :)

      Like 9
    • Dan Adams

      It’s a shame most of you have No Idea what your talking about, Sure it’s a Tank, We have a 58 Apache 3800 NAPCO 4WD waiting for me to put it back together that is the same tonnage & size 135″ wb, And I wish I had what he is asking laying around being it’s bit nicer than mine & Mine is better than most out there, I’m putting mine back together from 5 of these big ones & parts from 2 smaller 3100 Suburban Carryalls. Though I will have Very VERY RARE 55-59 GMC P/S this time around, Back when I was driving ours I drove it like a sports car with manual steering and in the High Speed Lane 30 plus miles both ways to work & back home, Sometimes 3 or 4 times a night. And the 3800 1Tons had 5:13 Gears, but could be had or switched to the 3/4 ton’s 4:57 Gears (that would tach a sbc at 3,200 RPM at 65 MPH)! I had a 59 that still had it’s 236 6 cylinder & 420 truck 4 speed pull just fine down the highway! Oh I think you ought to check out that NAPCO came normally on TALL 17.5 & 19.5 Lug Tires so the springs should be about right, Being I dought it was ever loaded very heavy! It’s so funny there are so many real pipe smokers, They don’t make body panels for the Panel or Carryalls, So they have to have them hand made, That AIN’T CHEAP!!!< No matter how Cheap You Are, So MOST Are Filled With The Bondo, So they rot away even more & faster. Oh there are so many way over priced thrown together clones with the wrong pieces/parts claiming they are ALL ORIGINAL!!!, Yea Right, REALY NO WAY RIGHT. Look up what real NAPCOs are going for and tou might see how RARE A 3800 1 Ton, Long 135 Wheel Base Panel Deliveries with Low Miles & has a Real HISTORY?!?

      • MB

        It’s a nice truck, but rare doesn’t equal valuable. It’s a GMC/Chevy, almost mechanically indestructible, but usually rusted in places you can’t see until it’s apart, and then it’s too late. I had a K20 with 5:38 gears, top speed was 83 mph with 16″ split rims on tall tires. Not a highway vehicle by any stretch of the imagination. 6 MPG was the best it could do, and that was with a tail wind… So you are entitled to your opinion, but this is no bargain. more like a money pit.

      • leonardo

        i have that frame and motor and tires for sale if anyone is intrested

  2. Rob M.

    Very cool beast. But 38k? Yikes!

    Like 9
  3. James Haviland

    On another site, the vote would be crack pipe. Nice truck, and at $20,000 it would be borderline. But as said, find another…

    Like 11
  4. Rick

    Bring a Geiger counter…

    I would seriously be concerned about residuals on the sheet metal (and in the sheet metal)…

    Like 19
    • Mountainwoodie

      Damn it! Beat me to it! I’m slow today. That thing will be hotter than tailings if it has rumbled over them.

      There are a few towns in southwest Colorado literally built on uranium tailings

      Like 3
  5. bull

    Always easy to find in a dark parking lot.


    Like 9
  6. Ted

    I love the Napco vehicles, back stories for each and every one of them would make a great read. Picture being the first guy to drive this beast in 1957, would have been a little daunting unless you were a former Sherman tank pilot… Cool truck, but I’m of the same mind here, why spend 2K or more on wheels when a quick spray would have at least made the ask a little more realistic?

    Like 6
  7. bob

    I found this very interesting up to the point I realized what the price is. I literally laughed out loud. The owner is high on drugs. 38k large. Owner is absolutly bate $hit crazy.

    Like 10
  8. Gaspumpchas

    Great comments guys. All spot on. I’m just wondering where he got the figure of 38 large from??From overworking the stovebolt with the a/c the P word. Sure would look cool in the same color in a basic single stage paint job. Good luck to the new owner.

    Like 2
  9. Tom Member

    I was going to make a joke about this truck, Hilary and Uranium but it says no politics!

    If this truck is a solid as it looks you have to factor in all of the money rust repair, welding, fabrication and panel replacement would cost. $38K is a lot but you are way ahead of the game on this one AND as all have said, find another one…..maybe there is another one or more out there done and for sale for far less. Definitely deserves a full restoration for sure in my book! Great vehicle to promote your company on.

    Like 4
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Go ahead and tell your joke. I’ll laugh…

      Like 1
  10. Robert White

    This guy is obviously smoking too much weed or he has a special strain that I am unaware of. Either way I would like a lid of what he is smoking. $38k asking price indicates that he is doubling down on buy low sell high strategy. The truck is likely worth exactly half of what he is asking.

    I would rather have the weed he is smoking, frankly.

    Cool truck but way too pricey for my palate.


    Like 5
  11. CFJ

    Significance of NAPCO? What does that add to a truck? Nice panel truck, but $38K little steep for this rig. MPG tops at 12 on the road……

    Like 1
  12. David G

    I know that original paint color anywhere. It is Air Force Blue. Betting the company bought it surplus from the Air Force. Sad that it has been lifted and altered to fit the too large sized tires. Too out of place on a classic vehicle such as this one. Crazy price as well.

    Like 1
  13. local_sheriff

    Napco pickups sold for big $ even 15 years back – a Panel NAPCO is a very rare version. But 38k? One have to REALLY want such a truck to even consider coughing up that kind of money. Too bad original paintwork is so weathered, as I somehow find the vehicle’s history most exhilarating here

    Like 2
  14. Frank

    This was not converted to 12 volt. Chevy/GM went 12 volt in 1955.

    Like 2
  15. Srt8

    In the last line of the write up it was asked what would you do with this vintage 4×4. The better question would’ve been what won’t you do and like everyone else has said; I won’t pay 38k for this truck. While it may be tough or nearly impossible to find another like it the same can be said about the 1 million dollar EV Ford (hopefully a joke) listed on BF. Try to find another one.

    Like 1
  16. Mike

    I would prefer to change out the cartoon tires to something slightly bigger than original.

    Like 2
  17. Tpark

    Heartbreak, in 1969 my friend bought one of these for $900.00. We had spent too long at the corner pub before picking it up. Spend most of the night driving it where there were no roads. Until he drove it in a lake. He sold it the next day. Every time I see one of these rare birds I’m smothered in regret:-(
    Selling price of this one seems crazy.

  18. ctmphrs

    A bunch of old women that don’t understand off road.

    Like 1
  19. Edward Bromley

    Have been watching trucks all my life. Hemmings is my Bible, truck Roundup my entertainment. Never saw one of these. Rarity will get you big bucks.

  20. Karl

    This is a very neat vehicle and the NAPCO side of just makes that much more desirable! NAPCO competed with Marmon Harrington in making retrofit 4 WD units you could buy to upgrade the truck or pickup you just bought I know they did units for Ford Chevy not sure about who else. Who ever buys this it’s a vehicle that you would have to work pretty to screw up!

  21. MB

    At $8,500 would be bargain, at $12,500, a maybe, at $15,500 it would be time to walk away. The request price is crack pipe territory.

    Like 1
  22. Stu

    I can’t say on this forum the punishment that would be fitting for the goons that hacked holes in the sides and roofs of these great chevy panel trucks.

  23. 71Boss351

    First – buy a bunch of ExxonMobil stock. 2. Offer seller $13,000 for truck. (It’s not worth $38K even if it is rare) . 3. If seller will sell it for $13K , then drive as is and enjoy.

    Like 1
  24. Greg Best

    Awesome truck, I would pay $10.000 if it wasn’t hot.

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