As luck would have it, not...
As luck would have it, not only did I inherit the magazine from good ol' Rob Fortier but a ready to rock buildup series, as well. Over the next few months we're going to follow along as our sister publication STREET RODDER's editor Brian Brennan rides roughshod over a cool '47 Chevy shop truck project that, believe it or not, consists of 100 percent aftermarket components!
There isn't a hot rodder worth his toolbox who doesn't own or wishes he owned a pickup truck. There are two ways to go about solving this dilemma. There is the late-model Cowboy Cadillac that serves double duty as daily driver and weekend parts chaser, or your latest project is your pickup. We prefer the latter!
Over the following months we are going to build a pickup at the shop of Hot Rods by Dean in Phoenix, Arizona. We are starting with fresh sheetmetal but, as we all know, there is no shortage of '47-54 Chevy pickups, especially the half-ton (Model 3100 Thrift-Master) variety in either the utilitarian three-window or deluxe cab five-window. (Early sales literature proclaimed that the optional curved glass windows: "Promote greater safety by eliminating the blind spot at the rear corners.") In the '40s the top-selling truck was the Chevy and after World War II it was the first truck to get a complete makeover. In May of 1947 the new Advance Design line of Chevy trucks were introduced with the first sales coming on June 28, 1947. There were over 335,000 trucks sold during the 1947 model year, but one should note the old '46 design was sold until May of '47, slightly confusing the actual number of the Advance Design debut.
According to Chevrolet archives, the '47 pickup design was in progress under the direction of the famed GM designer Harley Earl back in 1942. Early trademark design cues included the integrated headlights built into the front fenders, tall hoods, and the split windshield.
That's right, no messing with...
That's right, no messing with rusty old tin for that guy, just fresh new components from a huge and high-quality classic truck aftermarket. So check out this Part 1 intro and keep your eyes peeled for the balance of this way-cool build.
These new pickups came in a Forester Green as the standard color accented with a cream pinstripe on the belt molding following along the painted grille bars and then circling the chromed hubcaps. (Chromed grille bars were optional). There were other no-added cost color options that included a lighter shade of green, red, white, maroon, black, orange, beige, and two shades of blue; all came with contrasting pinstripes.
The Deluxe cab (or De Luxe, we have found it spelled both ways in early Chevy literature) was identifiable immediately due to the corner windows. However, there were also brightwork windshield and window garnish moldings, a seatback trim panel, driver's armrest, passenger-side sunvisor, and the before mentioned chromed grille bars.
While the trucks were completely redesigned after the war, mechanically they were pretty much the same. The wheelbase increased from 115 to 116 inches, the same overall frame design was kept, but this time heavier duty framerails were used, and the engine was the venerable inline-six.
This Josh Shaw illustration...
This Josh Shaw illustration depicts one of the efforts we can see from our Project Shop Truck, working as a push truck for one of the local cackle fest events.
As mentioned, plenty of these pickups are around to this day but they were work trucks, and as such lead a rough-and-tumble life. In other words, they all need something. And that brings us to our Project Shop Truck. We could have started with a piece of vintage tin and worked our magic from there and why not, many a hot rodder has done it. Instead, we opted to go with new tin to show how you can start with nothing and end up with something.
To begin this project we contacted Chevs of the 40's and lined up all the appropriate sheetmetal that's produced by Dynacorn Classic Bodies. (We did roundup the bed from Mar-K Quality Parts complete with a bed wood kit but more on that later.) The chassis is a freshly squeezed Fatman Fabrications assembly complete with Mustang II IFS, all the appropriate mounts, and a Currie prepped 9-inch rearend. Of course, you can jump in on this project at anytime and take the information that will be used here and apply it to your vintage tin project. But should you find yourself needing any of the sheetmetal, chassis components, interior or exterior trim pieces, then pay close attention as somewhere in the series you will find just what you need.
Our project is based on the following core components: a cab, a bed, fenders, running boards, and a hood, all wrapped neatly around a chassis with the appropriate powertrain.