Chevrolet Trucks Spotters Guide

The first Chevrolet trucks went on sale in 1918, the same year that the Chevrolet Motor Company became part of GM. Chevrolet's famous series 490 auto was also new in 1918. This model was designed to compete directly with Ford's Model T. The 490 designation was based on the price the car was to sell for which was also the amount a Model T had been selling for. Mr. Ford immediately lowered the price of a Model T after the Series 490 was announced.

The first Chevrolet truck was the Model 490 Light Delivery. The half-ton rated 490 Light Delivery was a chassis cowl only based on the 490 auto. A chassis cowl included the chassis with engine, transmission and the front sheet metal which comprised the hood, front fenders, grille and headlights. Its instrument panel, steering wheel, foot pedals and shift lever were exactly the same as the cars.

The customer was expected to provide his own cab and body. Cabs and bodies in those days were constructed of wood. Often times the buyer would build his own body, usually without a cab, but most truck buyers purchased bodies and cabs from an outside independent body company.

The 490 was powered by a four cylinder overhead valve engine displacing 171 cubic inches. This engine which developed 21.7 SAE horsepower lasted through the 1928 model year. The 490's wheelbase was only 102 inches and it was rated for a maximum payload of 1,000 pounds. Its transmission was the same three-speed as used in the auto. Chevrolet was not bashful in advertising its selective gear shift transmission against Ford's foot pedal operated transmission. The windshield was an extra cost item. The 490 were equipped with 30x3 1/2 balloon tires front and rear. Its list price was $595. Chevrolet's other new truck in 1918 was the Model T one-ton chassis cowl. It was a modified Model FA passenger car chassis, but it was beefed up a bit for commercial service. Its OHV four-cylinder engine displaced 224 cubic-inches and produced 21.7 net horsepower. It rode on a 125 inch wheelbase. Its list price was $1125. The one-ton featured a worm drive rear end, a half floating rear axle, 31x4 front balloon tires and 32x4 solid rubber rears, eight leaf front springs and 12 leaf rear springs and was rated for a maximum GVW of 2000 pounds.

The 490 Light Delivery and one-ton Model T remained in production through the 1922 model year. A 3/4 ton chassis cowl Model G was added in 1921 but it only lasted through 1922. The Light Delivery chassis and the one-ton trucks were renamed the Superior Series in 1922 (the same as Chevrolet Cars), this name lasted through the 1927 model year. The Series name was changed to Capitol for both trucks in 1927 which lasted through 1928 - the last year for the four cylinder era. It is interesting to note that for the one-ton model only a cab, stake body and panel body became available in 1927 only. Truck buyers could and did purchase and install aftermarket pickup bodies during this time. The cab returned for 1928 but the bodies didn't. No factory built pickups were built between 1918 and 1928, Chevrolet provided only the chassis and cowl.

1901-1930 1931-1940 1941-1950 1951-1955 1956-1960
1927 Chevrolet 1927 Chevrolet
1928 Chevrolet 1928 Chevrolet
1901-1930 1931-1940 1941-1950 1951-1955 1956-1960
1931 Chevrolet 1931 Chevrolet
1932 Chevrolet 1932 Chevrolet
1933 Chevrolet 1933 Chevrolet
1935 Chevrolet 1935 Chevrolet
1936½ Chevrolet 1936½ Chevrolet
1937 Chevrolet 1937 Chevrolet
1938 Chevrolet 1938 Chevrolet
1939 Chevrolet 1939 Chevrolet
1901-1930 1931-1940 1941-1950 1951-1955 1956-1960
1941 Chevrolet 1941 Chevrolet
The grill was redesigned this year which was known as the "upside-down T" grill. New truck bumpers were introduced, instead of using the car bumpers. There were also new headlight housings set into the front fenders.
1942 Canadian Military Pattern 1942 Canadian Military Pattern
Because of the start of WWI this was a short production year and only the COE models came with chrome trim.
1944 Chevrolet
Due to the war there were no changes and limited personal vehicles were produced.
1945 Chevrolet
The war ended on August 14, and six days later production resumed but the truck was the same as the '42 model.
1945 GMC
1946 Chevrolet 1946 Chevrolet
There were no changes again because of a month long strike by the UAW. The Chev and GMC trucks differ this year with the grill design. Chev went with a horizontal upper section and a vertical lower section while GMC went with all horizontal.
1946 GMC 1946 GMC
1947 Chevrolet 1947 Chevrolet
In mid 1947, GM introduced this new design truck. The gas tank is mounted under the bed & fills through the hole in passenger bed side similar to the Ford. There is a three speed tranny which is floor shift. The doors have one piece glass with no vent window and the windshield is the 2 piece in a fixed position. Hood side emblem says CHEVROLET & THRIFTMASTER.
1947 GMC 1947 GMC
1948 Chevrolet 1948 Chevrolet
The only change this year is they moved the shifter to the column which is known as "three on the tree"
1948 GMC
1949 Chevrolet 1949 Chevrolet
The hood emblems now only say CHEVROLET and have the series designation (THRIFTMASTER was discontinued). They also moved the gas tank inside the cab behind seat.
1950 Chevrolet
1950 Chevrolet
The lever-action shocks are replaced by modern tubular shocks. This is the last year for the driver's floor vent.
1901-1930 1931-1940 1941-1950 1951-1955 1956-1960
1951 Chevrolet 1951 Chevrolet
One piece glass gives way to two piece glass with vent windows in the doors. Sometime in the year they changed the bed to an eight board from nine 9 board pattern.
1952 GMC 1952 GMC
The outside door handles are now push button type. The speedometer is changed from 80 mph and now shows max speed of 90 mph. Half way through the year, GM stopped using 3100, 3600, 3800 emblems on side of hood whereas CHEVROLET kept them all year.
1953 Chevrolet 1953 Chevrolet
This is the last year for the 216ci engine and the hood emblem looses the CHEVROLET but keeps the series numbers. Ther series numbers also are in a larger font.
1954 Chevrolet 1954 Chevrolet
This is the last year for this body stlye. The old horizontal grill gives way to the new bull nose grill. The two piece windshield is now replaced by the modern one piece curved glass. Moving inside the cab, the dash is a modern design. Even the bed was redesigned, which includes curved stake bed pockets, the top of the side panels are now flat and the taillights are now round.
1955 GMC 1955 GMC In early '55 the First Series was introduced. The only difference from the '54 was different hood side emblems. Half way through the year a new body style was introduced. The front fenders are not as curved as previous years and the headlights are frenched. There is also a step infront of the rear fender that meets the cab. It was also the first year for the optional 265ci V8 engine.
1901-1930 1931-1940 1941-1950 1951-1955 1956-1960
1956 Chevrolet 1956 Chevrolet
Same as the '55 except that the emblem on the of hood is longer on bottom than top it also has a cast in V if a V8 engine.
1957 Chevrolet 1957 Chevrolet
A new grill is introduced this year. It is basically the same as the '55-'56 but has an inner oval ring in the center as show in the photo. This is also the debut of the optional 283ci V8 engine. Photo courtesy of owner Brian Noakes; this truck is all stock and unrestored.
1958 Chevrolet 1958 Chevrolet
Not many changes this year. Dual headlights are introduced instead of single, they are still in the front fenders. There is yet a new grill which is shown best in the photo. It is also the first year for the optional fleetside bed.
1958 Chevrolet Fleetside 1958 Chevrolet Fleetside
1959 Chevrolet 1959 Chevrolet
Almost the same as the '58 trucks, the hood emblem is larger this year.
1960 GMC 1960 GMC


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