This is one of the better examples of an Advance Design “Deluxe” pickup. General Motors offered this extra above the standard model. As extra money was limited during these years, most settled for the no frill model. After all, pickup trucks were for work duties. Spending extra income (which most did not have) was not spent by buyers that were just one generation out of the Great Depression of the 1930’s.
To make a 70 year old pickup as nice as this Feature Truck, it certainly had to be disassembled and rebuilt from the frame. Most all areas were kept as factory original as possible. Even the Windsor Blue color was retained.
The proud owners are Dave and Julie McBee of Independence, Missouri. During nice weather Dave and Julie can be seen in their little ½ ton around town or on the open highway for a Sunday drive. Here are the items that make the McBee’s 1948 a factory “deluxe” pickup:
Five Window Cab (the main feature)
Stainless Outside and Inside Door Window Trim
Two Inside Sunvisors
Stainless Outside only Windshield Trim
Two special extras were added to give it more “Keep up with Traffic” qualities. The original 216 cubic inch engine (90 horse power) was exchanged for a 1954 235 high oil pressure engine (145 horse power). What a nice upgrade. This 1954 inline six cylinder, first year for this 235 power plant, was the factory unit in a 1954 Advance Design pickup. Thus, this is a “drop in” exchange with no alterations. It looks almost factory but has 55 more horsepower.
The other important extra was exchanging the original 4.11 ratio ring and pinion with the recently offered 3.55 ratio. This gives about 20% lower engine RPM and higher road speed. What a difference these two extras have given this pickup!
To obtain even less engine RPM, Dave will soon remove his later 6 bolt 15” wheels. They will be replaced by 16” original” wheels plus radial white wall tires that look in tread like the original bias ply design. (The taller the tires, the lower engine RPM)
AND NOW FOR THIS MOST UNUSUAL CHANGE OF ALL!
Julie had been in love with this pickup since they bought it 3 years before. However there was just one item that was not to her liking. It had a 3 speed standard transmission with a column shift lever for changing gears! She would drive it this way but always wished it had an automatic transmission.
Dave soon picked up on Julie’s wish and began to research if any upgrade could be added. What a surprise! He discovered Jerry’s Chevy Restoration Shop in his own city. The owner, Jerry Rivers, can do most anything if it has to do with an older Chevrolet / GMC truck or car.
On their first meeting, Jerry thought about using the same year Chevy passenger car transmission. That automatic (a cast iron case Power Glide) it was introduced in 1950. The car and truck engines were the same. They both had about the same wheel base and they shared a closed drive shaft. Surely, with some yet unknown problems, the automatic could be transferred to a ½ ton. Maybe if it was not too impossible he might even mount the shift lever assembly to fit like the car. After all, the production years were about the same and maybe the same GM engineers shared some of their designing between ½ ton and passenger car. The only way to find out was to try the transfer on a very tired loaner ½ ton to see if he could make it fit. There was no sense tearing into Dave’s really nice ½ ton and find it was not possible! Dave liked Jerry’s cautious attitude so the agreement was made.
Jerry thought he could do it but locating all Chevrolet car parts would be a challenge. It was agreeable to Dave so they both began the parts hunt. From the first day hunting until the finished product, four months passed. It was really a learning experience for Jerry Rivers even though he had done most anything else to 1947-54 Advance Design trucks.
Here are some facts that were discovered when Jerry (with Dave’s help) finished the very unusual automatic transmission instillation.
The early cast iron Power Glide is the same length as a 1948 pickup 3 speed transmission. This saved them from using an open drive-line and a different differential. The ½ ton closed drive line and all its rear end differential could be used. That included axle housings, brakes and wheels. This had been a real concern. Wow, it fit together. What luck!
Even the rear yolk of the u-joint and the middle cross section was still used from the pickup. Just the readily available Power Glide front u-joint yolk was required to slide in to the transmission.
Jerry used a 1953-54 cast iron Power Glide transmission, bellhousing and flexplace. This is because it has a “kick down” that automatically drops to the lower gear during passing on the highway or other extra RPM requirements. It was discovered that the earliest Power Glide (1950-52) required the shift lever to be manually moved to the next segment by the driver to get the higher RPM’s.
The last year for the cast iron Chevy Power Glide (some were a different design) was 1961. After that an aluminum case was used. Check carefully if you make this change to a Power Glide. We do not know if the later cast iron unit will exchange this well!
Surprise Problem: The steering column on the car is one inch longer than the pickup. This created a problem because the small factory hole in the mast jacket that kept the pickup shift box from moving was no longer spaced correctly. To keep the Power Glide shift rod just like the car in length Jerry made another hole up the mast jacket that would hold the lower shift assembly in just the right position. Thus, the shifting mechanism is now exactly like the Chevrolet car engineers designed it 70 years ago.
New Surprise! It was discovered that because the car steering wheel has a center hub lower than its outer round edge the hand shift lever will not fit the flat pickup steering wheel without touching. What now? No, Jerry would have no part in substituting a with a modern street rod steering wheel! Therefore, the car shift lever was given a cut about 75 % deep and then bent before welding about two inches. The shift knob was now in just the correct place. Genius!
The Chevrolet car column linkage fits just right. Years of linkage use were corrected by welding the wear and grinding to exact dimensions. It now moves perfectly. All were zinc plated to look new.
The Power Glide starter is a perfect exchange on the 235 engine. No foot starter. This starter is now engaged with a button under the headlight switch, just like the car.
The Power Glide fluid is water cooled. Jerry found an original Chevrolet car fluid cooler that connects to the lower radiator horse position and is secured to the timing cover for stability. A perfect match for the 235 transplant engine. The attached photos show how nice the finished product now looks. Unless you are a real 1950’s Chevrolet expert you would think the Power Glide on the ½ ton was a GM assembly line product.
Another Nice Surprise: Top of the line “floor mats” are now produced with markings on the back for pedals and 4 speed transmissions cuts if there is a need. Thus, this ½ ton has no unnecessary visible holes for a clutch pedal!
Yes, the running boards have been painted lower body color by mistake. Dave will soon have them repainted to factory black.
NOW LET’S GET BACK TO DAVE AND JULIE. It was so difficult for Dave to explain to his wife why the pickup was away for 2 or 3 weeks for major repairs. The truth was this “Power Glide Pickup” was to be her surprise Christmas present for 2016. She had no idea and Dave said it was difficult for this to remain a secret until Christmas morning. What a surprise! Julie was overwhelmed. It then all came together why their pickup suddenly needed to be in the repair shop so long. Now this little pickup is driven by her as much as Dave.
It actually required months to get all perfected and gather parts. Jerry had a worn out ½ ton as the test truck to fit the many components. A few weeks before Christmas all the altered parts were then transferred to the McBee’s ½ ton. This is why Julie was told 2 to 3 weeks for “some” type of repair.
You can contact Dave and Julie McBee with questions at email@example.com
HINT TO READERS: Here is a thought. If your left leg is tired of the clutch or your spouse says an automatic would make the family Advanced Design pickup just right, contact: Jerrys Chevy Restoration Shop at 816-833-4414. Don’t forget to provide him with the Power Glide Transmission, all linkage, and most related do-dads he needs. (He has only a few extra items for the conversion) firstname.lastname@example.org
Full side view
Deluxe cab window trim
The 1947-48 Hood Emblem. Only years made of Die-cast
From the rear
Light in bed roll for turn signal plus 1948 truck license plate
Last Advance Design pickup under bed tank
All original dash
Fresh air heater works so good
Two words say it all
New old stock door panels
Fog Lights. Nice Accessory
The Power Glide Transmission after its rebuild
Transmission rear on modified 3 speed cradle
The modified rear transmission cross member
Engine, Bellhousing and Power Glide together
Transmission dip stick tube
Lower shift column linkage control
Transmission dip stick tube beside starter
The Car Power Glide Shift indicator fits correctly
Reshaped shift lever
Starter button below headlight knob
Floor mat with no extra holes
The 1954 high oil pressure engine. Fits perfect
Transmission fluid cooler attached to lower radiator hose (beside front of engine)
Jerry Rivers, The early GM car and truck expert!