In The Wind: 1946 Chevrolet Work Truck

It’s always fun to imagine how old trucks like this one listed on craigslist were used and to think of new uses for them. The $3,800 asking price seems reasonable and leaves room to modify it for another purpose. This configuration at least makes it easy to look for rust and does not provide nesting ground for local rodents. It runs and drives, although highway use is not recommended.

This truck has what looks like a second shift lever and a tractor seat mounted near the PTO driven winch in the middle, a pair of jack stands on the rear and no bed to haul a load. Perhaps it was used in conjunction with a derrick? Surely one of you knows exactly how this truck was used. Perhaps for driving the seat was moved forward by inserting the base into the hole in the floor closer to the steering wheel?

The dash appears stock, even down to the crank out window handle. It’s perfect for a little fresh air, but wait, no windshield. Someone really enjoyed painting things yellow.

Hear’s the heart of the beast, a 235 CID OHV 6. It’s the second generation 6, used from 1936 to 1963. These were much like modern engines in their design, but didn’t have pressurized oil systems or separate rod bearings. Babbitt bearings were cast into the rods and adjusted for wear with shims. They’re sturdy and reliable, but it’s always been a mystery to me why Chevy engineers designed them with only 3 intake ports and 4 exhaust ports.

So, just how was this truck used? It looks solid and complete for what it is. Used cabs are inexpensive if one wanted to convert it for another purpose. Wouldn’t it be great for Concours d’LeMons? It is even painted in appropriate colors. Comments should be really interesting with this one.


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  1. Dave Wright

    235 has shell bearings………and an oil pump

  2. Simon

    I’d love to buy this, but I cant.
    It looks like it should be used for a Sprite commercial.

  3. Kevin Wernick

    Hard to say what it was used for, there may have been other components that went with it. I don’t think the 235 was around yet, but I could be wrong on that. I had a 46 sedan and it was a 216.

    • Norm Wrensch

      Actually the 235 did come out in 1941 in the 2 ton trucks only, but it was spray oiled just like the 216. But this is a 216, all of the 235’s the side cover stopped at the top of the deck, did not continue to the valve cover. The 235 did not get full pressure oiling until 1950 in the power glide engine and 1953 in the rest. So your 46 sedan would not of been available with a 235, but a 2 ton truck would of been.

  4. Al

    It was modified to scare the crap out of anyone who drove it.
    If I really wanted a death trap I would buy a KIA. At least I would know I would be Killed In Action.

    • David Frank David F Member

      It was modified to be useful, like tractors and other farm implements. A KIA wouldn’t be much use in the field. Are you scared of cows as well?

      • Al

        Kia builds military vehicles, many of which could be converted to farm use. Their farm use could be questionable, but they could be used.
        As to cows, I prefer them BBQ’d, they taste better than on the hoof.

  5. Terry J

    Dang if it ain’t John Deere green and yellow. It’a a 216 engine, the predecessor of the 235. I’m gonna go out on a limb here. If you look at the first/main tranny gear shift………that is an old crash box non-syncro truck 4 speed. That little handle below the knob is what you lift with a spare finger which lifts that little rod. That’s the reverse lock out. I’ve driven many such. Notice that the second gear shift sets over to the side and is the same gear shift. I think the truck has the power take off (which runs off that side of the main tranny) hooked up to a second 4 speed truck tranny. Note how it lines up with the drive gear housing on that winch. I think it once had an A frame with a boom like a wrecker and that winch could be used with 4 speeds and reverse from that 2nd tranny. Using a tranny like that was a common thing to see in small home made tractors. Opinion any one? Terry J

    • Dairymen

      Terry I think you hit the nail right on the head.

    • David Frank David F Member

      Thanks Terry! That all makes sense. Any idea what they might have been lifting? I’m assuming this was agricultural, so what would they have had to lift over and over that was so heavy? There is wine country over there. Could they have been lifting containers like grape harvest bins onto another vehicle?

      • Terry J

        Most farms had one of these in the tractor shed, usually homemade (like this one). It may have never seen actual road time, but farmer Brown would fire it up and lift plow onto a flatbed or a hundred other small short jobs. In actual hours used? A few is all. In actual value to the farmer? HUGE. Looking at how the farmer would control the set up – a cab would be in the way. Actual value? Like most beautiful things: In the eye of the beholder.

        Terry J

  6. legion

    You can see the pivot points for a gin pole just aft and outboard of the winch. It also looks like it was used commercially based on the logo about “In God We Trust… all others pay ca$h”.

    These are used around where I live for picking small planes out of the local lakes to swap between seasonal floats, wheels or skis. The lack of cab wouldn’t matter because they’re never driven farther than around the lake.

  7. Terry J

    Also (Al), In the 40.s, 50’s 60’s farm country lots of old trucks were cabless like this one. I’ve logged hundreds of hours in such trucks, usually old WW2 Army trucks . Much like tractors or caterpillars, they were equipment that required common sense to operate. Never knew anyone to get hurt driving a truck like that. I knew a small number of guys that were injured or killed on tractors, cats, and farm equipment though. Terry J

  8. Kevin Wernick

    We could speculate all day as to what it was actually used for. The question is, what in the world could you do with it? What are you getting for $3800? Half a truck. Maybe a flower planter to park in your front yard.

    • Terry J

      Ha Ha, Almost right…..unless you were a farmer. Then you might see the value and put it back to work. Terry J

      • Kevin Wernick

        I grew up on a farm. I don’t recall where this would be of any use on a farm.

      • Terry J

        Kevin Wernick: I grew up on a farm. I don’t recall where this would be of any use on a farm.

        HUH? Puzzling statement. The one we had wasn’t much different than this one. We used it to lift heavy things. :-) Terry J

    • Jerry HW Brentnell

      well now since nobody can figure out what it was used for my father built buck rakes out of trucks like this! i know what the hell is a buck rake! before farmers had bailers they would stack hay in the field when dry fork it onto wagons with a buckrake you had a large square steel rack mounted on the rear frame of the truck that pivoted at the bottom on a hinge to this you used 10 foot hardwood poles for forks the winch hooked to the top center to lift it you went out to the hay stack reversed into it up went your forks and off to the barn you went! hence buck rake because the front end go light with the hay on back! dad used to build a steel box on the front to put weight in to hold the front down! and a small barrel full of water to run the exhaust into so you didn’t start fires in the hay field crude fork lift that worked thats what this truck is!

      • Kevin Wernick

        Otherwise known as an “overshot” hay stacker.

  9. mtshootist1

    I think this was a water drilling rig, it has levelers on the back, and this is about the size for a shallow well drilling rig setup. the winch could raise the head frame up and then be used to pull drill rod up. you would need an open cab the way this is engineered. A year or two ago, I sent a drilling rig truck 30’s vintage into Barnfinds, but nobody appreciated it, so it didn’t get shown. that one had a wood frame mounted on the back with a big engine that powered it. back in the fifties we had a Chevy 2 ton grain truck like this, the old man had a bunch of paint, so one day he takes into the shop, and used yellow paint o nthe cab, blue paint on one fender, and red paint on the other fender. it was pretty wild, we still have that truck sitting out at the ranch and it is still painted that color, probably hasn’t moved in forty years.

    • Dave Wright

      I think that is as good a guess as any and better than most…..looks like an old drill rig.

  10. Kevin Wernick

    Pretty small truck for a drilling rig

  11. Dave Wright

    In the old days many wells were shallow and didn’t require a huge rig like today. Small rigs are still used to take core samples like around buried gas tanks looking for leaks. That pan over the rear axle would fit a small rig.

  12. Dave Wright


  13. Terry J

    Sorry Kevin, my joke didn’t come out very good. Soooo…. what to do with it? Put on a simple Boom to hoist stuff. Then with a real seat (with a back) one could use it a bit or just enjoy it. Take it to the next “Truck and Tractor Show” or even a local car show. With a good seat you could take it to a nearby Cruise Night and chug around. Folks like odd ball cars and trucks. I’ve seen old wreckers, vintage school buses, well drillers, antique fire engines etc at these shows. This one (once running) is about ready to go for local fun. You’d probably be a farmer that had a shed to stick it in. Terry J

    • Kevin Wernick

      I’ll grant you that, it would make an interesting exhibit at the county fair.

  14. 427Turbojet 427 Turbojet Member

    Several years ago looked at a 52 2 ton Chevy with a set up much like this. Was owned by a house moving company, used to jockey stuff around while getting building ready to move. Larger trucks were used to move down the road. Chevy still had cab ( gets cold in Minnesota winters) and had 12,000 miles on it. I made an offer to original owner’s son, but it had sentimental value and they decided to keep it. Was in very nice original condition-hope it’s still around.

  15. 427Turbojet 427 Turbojet Member

    I have a couple Chevy farm trucks of this vintage. The lever on shifter is for shifting 2 speed rear end. High speed will let you go 45 mph!

    • Terry J

      Naw it ain’t 427. It’s the 4 speed trannys reverse lockout. The 2 speed rear end could have a small separate lever somewhere or a pull cable like a heavy choke cable on the dash and once in awhile it was an electrical solenoid that sometimes had an electrical switch controlled by a push pull knob attached to the gear shift lever . Go out and play around with those old trucks of yours and let us know . :-) Terry J

      • Kevin Wernick

        You finally forced me show the old truck I play around with. We all have our own thing.

      • 427Turbojet 427 Turbojet Member

        Now you got me thinking, trucks are barn-ridden right now, will have to go check. I have a 67 Chevy C50 wrecker with a 2 speed rear, has electrical switch on shifter-know that for sure!

    • Roger Stovebolt

      427, the lever on the side is a lock out lever for reverse, it is a 4 speed non sychromess. Chevys of these year had a small lever on the dash that shifted with engine vacuum

  16. guggie

    Dad had an old pre war Dodge like this ,used to pull stumps ,haul water at farm camp ,one hell of a rough ride !

  17. Cattoo Cattoo Member

    We had a 1947 Chevy truck that we used as the trap wagon on our wheat farm. A key was needed to turn on the ignition but the starter was turned over using a switch that was mounted on the floor to the right of the gas pedal as does this truck. Our trap wagon had both the red colored two speed axel push/pull button and the transmission reverse gear lockout lever mounted on the shifter. That was a low geared slow moving truck. It was fun to drive and listen to all the engine and transmission gears whine as the truck got up to maybe thirty on the old gravel roads that connected our different sized fields into the 900 acre farm we had. An old open cab John Deere combine was what we used as a vehicle to do what this open cab truck was used for. An early 327 corvette engine(don’t know year just early) was used to power the beast. Didn’t get many miles on it but useful machine when needed and it was a hoot to drive sitting about eight feet up. Pretty fast too unlike the truck.

    • Terry J

      Ah Ha….Another wheat farm kid.Tell everybody what a “Trap Wagon” is Cattoo. Circa 1965 we were cutting wheat on the “Breaks” which was the edges of the slopes that looked down into the Walla Walla valley . You could see for miles from up there. We shut down cutting and I went to get the trap wagon. The next morning when we went out to the combines, the Trap Wagon was GONE. Well Dang, I parked it right here on this knoll. But we noticed tracks through the stubble. I guess when I pulled up in that fully loaded ’46 Ford truck, I musta left it in a high gear because it popped out and rolled down into the canyon. Probably a couple of miles down an ever increasing steep grade until it crashed into a bluff at the bottom. I’ll bet that thing was going over 100 miles an hour when it hit. Bent it almost in half. I never was allowed to forget that error because we got it out of there with a Cat and dragged it to the ranch behind a machine shed where it remains to this day. :-) Terry j

      • Cattoo Cattoo Member

        On our farm not far from Athena, OR (Home of Hodoka Days) the trap wagon was pretty much a rolling service station for the wheat combine and our International Loadster lift bed trucks. On it was an air compressor and a pneumatic grease gun with what seemed to be at least a fifty foot long hose mounted to a bucket of, roughly 10 gallons in size, grease. There was 2 tanks for fuel diesel being the largest at around 300ish gallons and gasoline and half that. Tools of all types and chains and replacements for the many belts used on the combine. Anything that was thought to be needed was on that old Chevy. Except maybe cushions against the springs sticking out of the bench seat. – WoW! Had ‘er in high gear huh? To have seen that thing racing down the hillside would’ve been something

      • mtshootist1

        We called the pile of broken stuff the “iron pile” when we screwed up, the old man never let us forget it.. So, I really identified with your comment Terry J.

  18. Terry J

    The crash box tranny in that old ’46 truck was replaced with the Muncie SM420 in 1947 (to 1967) in 1/2 to 2 ton trucks. SM means syncromesh. It didn’t have a reverse lock out lever/rod on the handle. The 1947s I remember had the old unit and 1948s had the new one.

    WOW Kevin. Your ’56 F100 is incredible. Does the picture indicate that you are upside down in it? Ha Ha. :-) Terry J

    • Kevin Wernick

      I probably am:-)

  19. Terry J

    Howdy CATTOO. Great description of the essential trap wagon. When I destroyed Till’s old ’46 on the plunge down into the breaks, Dad ( Dick J) had to get the old retired trap wagon back into service immediately. It was a Model AA Ford truck.

    Terry J McEwen High School class of 1966

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