Year Designations 1934-59

1934-35Cab doors and body reinforced with wood. Windshield swings out and is held open with a wingnut on both windshield sides. Hood sides have four vertical louvers on each side. Chevrolet blue Bowtie emblem is on the front top of the grille shell, not attached to grille. No glovebox. Gauges are black with white letters. Motor as in 1936 is a 207 six cylinder. Brakes are cable activated, not hydraulic.

Early 1936 – Final use of the “high roof” cab. Doors have three hinges. Round dash gauges black with white letters. Headlights attach to short bar between fender and radiator. Top of windshield frame has square corners and round lower corners.  Bowtie emblem attaches to grille and each side of hood. First year for hydraulic brakes.

Late 1936 – Beginning of the “low roof” cab. The only remaining body wood is the front door posts and a horizontal connector.  Windshield frame has round corners and is 12” high. Half ton bed length continues 72”. Running board tread still has diamond like raised spots. Doors have two hinges. Gas tank under rear of bed with filler through bed side behind fender. Round dash gauges have cream colored faces. First year for GMC pickup.

1937 – Gas tank filler under seat results in half cushion bottom raised to fill tank. Windshield frame is 1936 except is 14” high. Chevrolet introduces the 216 engine. This was used through 1953. Half ton bed length 77”. Chevrolet emblem attached to upper middle of grille. Running board tread runs length of board. The GMC pickup uses the valve-in block (flat head) six cylinder borrowed from Oldsmobile.

1938 – Much like the 1937, however, by mid “38 gas tank fillers extend through the cab wall. Chevrolet front emblem is at top of the grille. The GMC 1/2 ton pickup uses the flat head six cylinder engine borrowed from Pontiac. This engine even has the Pontiac Indian head cast in the right side of the block. As in 1939 the Chevrolet bumpers have one full length groove on the face.

1939 – As in 1940, Chevrolet tailgate has script lettering. Speedometer is round, not a rectangular type as 1940 to 1946. First year for the two piece windshield. Black dash knobs and window crank knobs. GMC introduces its own high pressure 228 engine. This basic engine design used through 1959. Last oval taillights on Chevrolet.

1940 – Chevrolet bumpers have two full length grooves on face. One piece headliner. Hood lacing on cowl is fabric, not rubber

as later. Rose tan dash knobs in 1940 to 1946. First year for sealed beam headlights. This results in small bullet-like parklights on top of front fenders. The rectangular taillight first introduced on Chevrolet and is carried through 1953.

1941 – No stamped name in Chevrolet tailgate. Last year for right hand outside door lock in handle. Steering column is painted black. Six planks in bed. Rear window frame is die cast metal on outside over rubber. Rubber gas tank grommet.  Headlight assemblies now secured to top of fenders.

1942 – Right outside door lock moves down into the door. Late 1942 uses leather gas tank grommet. Two piece headliner.

1946 – Seven planks in bed. Rear window now without metal exterior frame. Steering column painted brown. As in 1942, windlace around door opening covered with brown leatherette. As with earlier years, no weather seal secured to doors.  Gas tank grommet went back to rubber. Gas tank continues to be located under seat.

1946 vs. 1947 – Note: Occasionally a customer’s truck is titled 1947 but the body design is 1946. It can make ordering parts confusing.

(1) In several factories the 1946 design was carried over through March 1947.
(2) The GM Master Parts Catalog does not show an early 1947. When this year is mentioned it always refers to the 1947-55 1st series “Advanced Body Style”.

Late 1947 – In mid 1947, GM introduced this new design truck. Gas tank is mounted under the bed & fills through the hole in passenger bedside. Bed contains 9 boards. Truck name stamped in tailgate. Bed approximately 3″ wider than prior style. Wiper motor mounts under the dash. Three-speed transmission uses floor shift. Windshield is 2 piece, non-movable type. Windlace around door opening is held in place with screw-on metal retainer. Headliner center bow is screwed to roof of cab. One piece door glass, not vent windows in door. Hood side emblem says CHEVROLET & THRIFTMASTER. Shock absorbers are lever-action type. Serial #’s, EP 1/2 ton, ER 3/4 ton, ES 1 ton, etc…

1948 – Similar to Late 1947. Hood emblem on 1947 is die cast metal. Windlace around door is black rubber and secured with metal strips screwed in place. Gas tank still under bed. Headliner center bow screwed in place. Redesigned three-speed transmission now uses column shift with linkage attached to case side. Serial #’s, FP 1/2 ton, FR 3/4 ton, FS 1 ton, etc…

Early 1949 – Similar to earlier trucks, except gas tank is now located behind seat inside of cab. Hood emblem becomes chrome-plated steel. As in ’47 and ’48, on Chevrolet light trucks hood-side chrome emblem states THRIFTMASTER. Large truck side hood emblem states LOADMASTER. Serial #’s, GP 1/2 ton, GR 3/4 ton, GS 1 ton, etc…

Late 1949 – New style cab windlace fits in metal track around door opening. Headliner center bow is now “floating type”, not screwed to roof of cab, as before. Hood side emblem says CHEVROLET, no longer says THRIFTMASTER. Series designation emblems also on side of hood; 3100 on 1/2 ton, 3600 on 3/4 ton, 3800 on 1 ton, etc. Serial #’s same as Early 1949.

1950 – Modern tubular type shock absorbers replace lever-action type shocks. Driver’s side cowl vent handle is flat steel, not maroon knob as in previous years. Headlight frames remain chrome-plated brass. Wiper knob chrome plated steel. Last year for driver’s side cowl vent. Serial #’s HP 1/2 ton, HR 3/4 ton, HS 1 ton, etc…

1951 – Vent windows in doors are introduced. Outside door handles are still turn-down type. Only year with vent windows and turn-down handles. Mid-year change from 9 board bed to 8 board bed. Engine in pickups remains 216 cubic inch babbit bearing low oil pressure type for Chevrolet, (used from 1937 to 1953). GMC continues with the 228 cubic inch full pressure engine as their standard unit. Seat adjustment horizontal rod under cushion is run through a rubber grommet which is secured to the seat riser frame. Earlier year seats adjusted with a metal cable. Last year for 80 mph speedometer. Last year for chrome window handle knobs and chrome wiper knob. Serial #’s JP 1/2 ton, JR 3/4 ton, JS 1 ton, etc…

1952 – Outside door handles are now push button type. Speedometer now shows maximum speed of 90 mph. Horizontal trim above & below radio speaker grill & glove box door are painted steel, not stainless steel as in prior years. All beds are now 8 board type. Chevrolet hub-caps changed from chrome plated to gray painted steel with black block letters, however, stamping and shape remain the same as prior years. Some say a very few deluxe 1/2 ton pickups still carried the chrome cap. In mid-year, GM stopped using 3100, 3600, 3800 emblems on side of hood. However, CHEVROLET emblems are used the entire year. Inside window handle knobs & wiper knob are now maroon. Serial #’s , KP 1/2 ton, KR 3/4 ton, KS 1 ton, etc…

1953 – Last year for 216 babbit bearing type engine. Hood side emblem change to large 3100, 3600, 3800, etc…only. No CHEVROLET emblem on side. Hood emblem now stainless steel. First year for the optional left side mount spare on this series of pickups. Door post ID plate is now blue & silver. Prior years were black & silver. Last year that wood blocks are used under bed. Serial #’s, H 1/2 ton, J 3/4 ton, L 1 ton, etc…

1954 – One piece curved windshield. New design “bull nose” grill. Completely redesigned bed. Top of bed sides are now flat, not angled as in previous years. Newly designed dash. New insert bearing 235 engine and 261 cubic inch six cylinder on large trucks introduced. Rear bumper is an option since 1951, but is now dropped in center to make room for new license plate location. Taillights are now round. Serial #’s, H 1/2 ton, J 3/4 ton, L 1 ton, etc…

Early 1955 – Many refer to this truck as the 1955 1st Series. Almost identical to 1954, except different hood side emblems & driveline is changed from previous enclosed torque tube type to the new open driveshaft design. Final series with the six volt system on Chevrolet. GMC continues to make 12 volt an option throughout the year into the next body style. Serial #’s, H 1/2 ton, J 3/4 ton, L 1 ton, etc…

Late 1955 – In mid-year 1955, Chevrolet introduced this new body style truck. It was completely redesigned from previous years and very few parts will interchange with the older models. Grill design has 3 horizontal bars & 4 uprights. Single headlights in front fenders. Fender side emblem is one piece and mounted below horizontal line on fender. Emblem on front of hood is longer at the top than bottom. Small step between cab and rear fender. First year for the optional V-8 265 cubic inch engine. Serial #’s, H2 1/2 ton, M2 1/2 ton longbed, J2 3/4 ton, L2 1 ton, etc…

1956 – Very similar to 1955 truck. Fender emblems are two piece and mounted above horizontal line on fender. Emblem on front of hood is longer on bottom than top. Front hood emblem has a cast in V if a V-8 truck. Serial #’s, 3A 1/2 ton, 3B 1/2 ton Longbed, 3E 3/4 ton, 3G 1 ton, etc…

1957 – Similar to previous years but with the following changes. Fender emblems are now one piece mounted above horizontal line on fender. Front hood emblem is same as 1956 but paint scheme is reversed. Hood has two raised humps on top running front to back. Grill now has inner and outer oval ring separated by 8 “teeth”, 4 on top and 4 on bottom. First year for the optional V-8 283 cubic inch engine. Serial numbering system is same as 1956.

1958 – Dual headlights in front fenders. Grill is now a one piece design with parklights mounted in ends of grill. Last year for the Cameo pickup. First year for the optional fleetside bed. Fender emblems have series designation (31,32,36,38 etc…) and Chevrolet in center of emblem with Apache on top rear of emblem. Front hood emblem is 31″ long with vertical design in background behind bowtie. Serial numbering system is same as 1956.

1959 – Very similar to the 1958 trucks. Fender emblems are now larger design with Chevrolet and Apache in center of emblem with series designation (31,32,36,38 etc…) at rear of emblem. Front hood emblem is 36″ long with square pattern design in background behind bowtie. Serial numbering system is same as 1956.

14 thoughts on “Year Designations 1934-59

  • January 30, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Am looking 4 a older truck
    49-59 & 68-72 stepside p up

    • August 3, 2015 at 11:12 am

      Have box and fenders

    • February 21, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      have one in WA on craigslist olympic penninsula

  • January 30, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Thank you so much! Have been searching to find out what year my truck I just traded for is. This site tells me it’s a 48! In just a couple minutes I was able to narrow it down, when I’ve been all over the web running the vin numbers and being told invalid vin!!!! Thanks again!!!! Saving this site to my favs right now!!

  • May 2, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    We are looking for a used left front fender to a 1958 chevy truck

  • August 20, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Thanks, we’ll check it out. We also appreciate the kind words!

  • July 14, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Good info. I’m looking for front and rear fenders for Chevy 1/2 ton stepside pickup. Would rather prefer to keep her all steel possible.

  • November 2, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    I need a 1936 used Windshield frame with extras( if possible), for a low roof , late 1936 model

  • January 24, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    I’m looking to purchase a 1934 Chevy 1/2 ton Pickup but I can’t find anything to help me with a value. It was restored 10 years or so ago, it has just a few stone chips, 350 small block, flawless interior with sound system, flawless bed. But I just can’t find where any 1934’s have sold to find a value. Please advise

    • October 23, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      Dan, you should do a caption writing contest for some of your photos. That one (car vs. telephone pole) is a classic. My entry would be: “Hey, when did they put THAT th#18?&ee22r;

  • May 24, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Is the cab and fenders of a 1958 Chevy 3100 and 3800 series the same?

  • December 27, 2016 at 8:24 am

    I am looking for hub caps and rings for my 1974 c10 chevy. Any suggestions?

  • April 4, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Looking for running board for a 3/4 ton 1949 Chevy 3600 Pick Up Truck 7 foot bed.
    Please God, let me find a pair please?


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