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Spotters & Restoration Guide

Late 1947
Saturday June 28, 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.
Cab 'corner windows' introduced for first time.
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.
Hand-operated emergency brake handle is located on the right-hand side of the floor shifter.
Fresh air heater/defroster introduced.
Radio available as an in-dash option for first time.
Headliner center bow is screwed to roof of cab.
Doors have one-piece glass with no vent window, and door handles are turn-down type.
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...

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.
Emergency brake moved to far left side of steering column and was changed to a foot-operated mechanism.
1947 and 1948 models had red needles on the gauges.
Redesigned synchromesh  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
Mid-year 1949, cab windlace goes from black to gray/tan and slides into track. Headliner center bow is changed to "floating" type and 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.
Gas tank moved to inside the cab behind seat
Serial #'s same as Early 1949.

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.
Handle for side cowl vent is flat steel, not maroon plastic as it was previously.
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...

Vent windows in doors are introduced.
Outside door handles are still turn-down type.
Only year with vent windows and turn-down handles.
Only top cowl vent offered; driver-side vent discontinued.
Mid-year change from 9 board bed to 8 board bed.
Front bumper was standard, and rear bumper was an option.
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...

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.
Half way through the year, GM stopped using 3100, 3600, 3800 emblems on side of hood whereas CHEVROLET kept them all year. No rear bumper offered. Horizonal strips below and above radio speaker grille plus glove box door changes to painted steel and not stainless steel as in previous years.
Bumpers are no longer chrome, but gray painted steel.
Inside window handle knobs & wiper knob are now maroon.
Serial #'s , KP 1/2 ton, KR 3/4 ton, KS 1 ton, etc...

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.
Rear bumper reintroduced.
Wiper knob is maroon plastic, as in 1952.
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.

High-pressure insert bearing 235 cubic inch 112-horsepower engine introduced for pickups, and 261 ci engine introduced for larger trucks.
Hubcaps are same shape as previous models, but now have only the "Bowtie" emblem.
Old horizontal grille gives way to new bull-nose grille.
First year for parking lights... introduced with new grille.
The two-piece windshield is replaced with modern one-piece curved glass.
Dash instruments and steering wheel changed to modern design.
Bed redesigned, and top rails are now flat, not sloped like previous models.
Taillights are now round. 
Rear bumper is an option since 1951, but is now dropped in center to make room for new license plate location.
Hydra-Matic transmission available in trucks for first time.
Two-tone cabs available for first time as an option, but only with white top and only on more deluxe cabs. Full wheel covers now available as an option.
Serial #'s, H 1/2 ton, J 3/4 ton, L 1 ton, etc...

First year for open drive shaft on pickup and panel truck.
Final year for 6-volt system.


  • 1947-50 trucks had standard chrome bumpers on front and rear.
  • 1947-49 trucks had large fuse block on firewall.
  • 1947-50 trucks had driver-side vent.
  • 1947-49 trucks had lever-action shocks.
  • 1947 to mid-year 1949, cab opening windlace seal attached to cab with a metal retainer. Mid-year 1949, GM installed a track with a new style windlace that slid into the track.
  • With 1955 and earlier trucks, the raised letters on the tailgate were not a contrasting color, but were body color.
  • Prior to 1955, dark green was the standard paint color, with other colors being available as a non-cost option.
  • During 1947-48, the Chevrolet painted grille bars and "back splash" bars were body color. In addition, the leading edge of each painted outer bar had a horizontal stripe matching the cab stripe. On the 1949-51 Chevrolet, with a painted grille, the "back splash" bar was white. In 1952-53 this changed to light gray to match hubcaps and bumpers. On chrome grilles, only the outer bar was plated. The "back splash" bar was as the painted grille.
  • The bed planks were not varnished or given a related finish to show off the wood grain. Trucks were produced for work and the planks were normally painted black on the 1955 and earlier. After this, they were body color or black. This better protects the wood.
  • The bed planks have not been oak since the late 1930’s. From then to the newer GM step pickups, the wood is hard yellow pine.
  • Rear bumpers were an option on most new stepside trucks. When this item was not ordered with the new pickup, the license plate bracket was on the left side and protected by the bed. The license was only at the center with a factory installed bumper.
  • From 1939 and up, the GMC six cylinder was a high pressure insert bearing engine - initially 228 and 248 cubic inches. Chevrolet did not adopt the full insert bearing engine until 1954. This results in their similar appearing dash clusters having an exception of maximum oil pressure gauge reading of 60# or 80# for GMC and 30# for Chevrolet.
  • Almost all Canadian built GMC pickups prior to 1953 used the Chevrolet 216 engine, not the 228 and 248 GMC type placed in U.S. trucks. The Canadian Chevrolet using the larger GMC 228 and 248 was the "Maple Leaf"!
  • Between 1947-53 on light trucks, the cabs and fenders were the same color. On this series, two-tone cabs were not available until 1954. Only then was a white top available as an option and only on the more deluxe cabs.
  • Most 1/2 ton pickups prior to 1955 used 16" wheels not 15" or 14".
  • Radios were first available as an "in dash" option on the 1947 "Advance Design" body style.
  • Right taillights were an option until the late 1950's.
  • Full wheel covers were not available until 1954 and then only as an option.
  • On the 1947-55 series, the door panels match the seat material. They are not similar to the headliner cardboard.
  • Shortages during the Korean War are the primary reasons for the eliminating of bright work on the 1952 and 1953 truck. Therefore, painted items on these trucks included: hub caps, bumpers, grille, radio speaker horizontal trim, glovebox door, etc. Interior window cranks and wiper knobs changed to maroon plastic.
  • The cabs on both the pickups and the larger trucks are the same. The front fenders must be different due to the increase in tire size on the larger trucks. On 1947-59 trucks, even the hoods and grilles are larger to adapt to these bigger fenders.
  • The GMC with six-volt system uses a positive ground electrical system. Chevrolet uses negative ground.
  • The GMC and Chevrolet pickups share bodies, most suspension, transmissions, etc. - not engines, grilles, tailgates, exterior colors, or hub caps.
  • Early trucks were titled on either the body ID plate or engine number. If your title used the engine number and it has been replaced over the years, you may have major problems in selling or licensing.
  • The famous Chevrolet high pressure 235 engine was used between 1954 and 1962. It's big brother, with some larger internal parts, was the 261 engine. A low pressure Chevrolet 235 was available on larger trucks only between 1941 and 1953. This earlier 235 has little interchange in common with it's later 235 relative.
  • Whitewall tires were not available from the factory prior to 1955.


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