Task Force (1955-59)

• Beginning in mid 1955 with the introduction of the “Second Series” trucks, Chevrolet introduced the “big one” of the decade – the modern V-8! This light-weight, overhead valve 8 cylinder was an immediate success. It weighed about the same as the existing 235 six cylinder but its 265 cubic inches gave extra power not available before in a Chevrolet truck. With limited changes this small block V-8 engine continues to be used by GM in several of its new vehicles 44 years later! To stay competitive, GMC also introduced a V-8 for 1955. It shared no parts with Chevrolet’s 265 V-8 and actually was a modified Pontiac V-8 with a GMC logo on the valve covers. For several years as Pontiac made slight changes in their car V-8, GMC would also have to follow their supplier.

• The introduction of the true fleetside pickup occurred in 1958. It was available in 6′ and 8′ models. The 1958-59 fleetside bedsides are different from the 1960-66 style. Horizontally on the outside is a long “spear” type protrusion giving extra strength to the sheet metal. To better call attention to this new design the chrome letters “Fleetside” are on the top rear corner on each side.

• General Motors followed the industry trend and introduced dual headlights in 1958. This continued on trucks through 1961 on Chevrolet and 1972 on GMC.

• With the introduction of the new 1955 body design, Chevrolet began with the 12 volt electrical system. GMC carried the 6 volt system one more year on their inline six cylinder.

• Due to increasing popularity of 4-wheel drive, General Motors introduced a factory installed unit in 1957. Of the several aftermarket add-on 4-wheel drive companies at that time, GM choose NAPCO of Minneapolis, MN as their supplier. Of course NAPCO is not mentioned in GM shop manuals or sales booklets, however, the 5 N-A-P-C-O letters are always cast and easily visible in the front axial housing. GM used the NAPCO system exclusively between 1957-59.

• Due to the dash design in the cab, there is no place to mount the optional radio speaker in 1955-59. Therefore, it is placed overhead between the inside sunvisors and is protected with a special metal cover.

• The Chevrolet Cameo and GMC Suburban carrier were marketed 1955-58. This “boulevard” 1/2 ton pickup was designed for a growing population with more disposable income. Its retail price was almost 30% higher than standard 1/2 tons. This nicely appointed pickup had most options but used the same suspension as a standard 1/2 ton. The most visible difference is its fiberglass smooth bedsides. As almost all domestic pickups were stepside, this fleetside design was very radical for its time. No doubt, it received much attention during its beginning years!

• During 1955-59, Chevrolet marketed the 3200 pickup – a long bed 1/2 ton with a 123″ wheelbase. It’s suspension remained as the shorter 3100 as well as keeping 6 bolt wheels. The 3600 remained a 3/4 ton with 8 bolt split rim wheels but had the same wheelbase as the 3200.

One thought on “Task Force (1955-59)

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