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Accesories

1940-46 Chevrolet Accessory Radio

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

A very rare Chevrolet dealer installed accessory would have been a radio. Placing this more luxury item in a work truck was very unusual. Most people had limited incomes and a radio would be a big extra even for the family car.

To save tooling money on a new 1940 radio creation for the Chevy truck, General Motors used the base AM radio made for their 1940 passenger car. In the factory GM box delivered to Chevrolet dealers, a pair of right angle brackets were included. They attached to the front side of the radio head for mounting to the dash and could fasten to the radio at a 90 degree difference depending if it was attached to a car or truck.

On the car the radio it fit in a pre-made hole in the dash. On the truck it was secured to the underside of the dash to the left side of the steering column. The attached photos show the attached right angle brackets attached to the radio and set up for the truck.

Warning: Most all radios of this design have the dial made of a round rolling thin white “plastic” cylinder with red numbers. Shown in photo. When it is allowed to be exposed for many years in direct sunlight, this plastic in the window becomes very dark. It is as if it is burned! If you find a used unit for sale, be sure you turn the roller dial to see if the burned red numbers have not been rolled out of site.

This burned window portion of the plastic roller is not repairable and to date no reproductions are available. Yes, the radio may play with good sound but there will always be a black window on a certain radio station!

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Tow Ring 1936 1 1/2 Ton

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

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An unusual accessory from a pre-World War II era. When you bought a 1936 Chevrolet 1 ½ ton short or long bed truck, they all came with a round hole in the center of the rear cross sill.

This allowed the dealer to easily add a tow ring with threaded attaching rod. This rod was simple inserted in the hole with a nut and washer securing it to the center of the cross sill.

This extra allowed for a quick connection when the 1936 was needed to tow a disabled vehicle.

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Rear View

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Side View

Mirror Accessory

Friday, August 12th, 2016

When your truck has a side mount spare tire in the front fender, this rear view mirror accessory adds much to seeing what is behind you.

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1937 Heater Accessories

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

This is a copy from the 1937 Accessory Pamphlet showing heater items available. Interesting!

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1936 – 1946 Overload Springs

Friday, April 15th, 2016

What a rare accessory! In our 35 years of experience, we have never seen a pair of ½ ton rear spring overloads like these. Normally, we see overload springs as a GM dealer accessory which is a short version of the main multi leaf rear original springs.

These particular half circle overloads would have been less expensive aftermarkets. These still have some of their red paint remaining. (The overloads sold by GM dealers would have been painted black).

Why were they used on this truck? Our opinion have come from the overworked poor condition of this ½ ton. We suspect the breaks in the main rear springs (probably from many overweight loads) had caused the truck to be able to carry less and less weight as the spring brakes continued.

Thus, the least expensive way to make repairs without main spring’s replacement was to install these aftermarket overloads. This took less money than GM originals and could be installed in a few hours.

This truck was so broken down, the bed probably was overloaded with about 4000 pounds instead of the ½ ton rated 1,000 pounds.
Now the owner could continue to use it to at least its ½ ton weight limit. We call this pure “Field Engineering”!

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Re-circular Heaters and Rubber Defrost Fan Blades

Friday, February 20th, 2015


When you purchase the base Re-circular heater in the 1940’s and 1950’s most did not come with the defroster outlet. This standard heater usually forced air to the floor (not on the windshield) to keep your feet warm and gradually warm the cab interior. It worked fairly well and to the driver it was so much better that a generation before when heaters were almost nonexistent.

The problem with these heaters: They warm the humid interior air from passenger breathing and did not use the dry outside air. On a very cold day with one to three people in the cab, the windows soon fogged from the breath of the passengers. The fog might even freeze on the glass.

Standard equipment for many was a rag on the seat to keep portions of the windshield clear for driving. Opening the window to get in dry air was not a consideration. It was cold outside!

General Motors and a few auto part suppliers soon realized there would be a demand for an accessory steering column mounted electric fan that blew more warm air on the driver’s part of the windshield. A good idea when all was operating correctly, however probably never worked well in very cold climates.

The attached photos shows a General Motors fan with rubber blades. This material was to either protect the blades or keep driver from cutting fingers on metal blades.

NOTE: There was even an aftermarket fan that did not use power from the 6 volt battery. It operated from the air vacuum created from a hose to the intake manifold. What a unique idea especially for the car or truck owner having little power left in his older battery!

Yes, we have come a long way in heater design!

Re-circulator Heater (No defroster outlet)

Steering Column Mounted Fan

1960-62 Over-Load Springs

Monday, August 18th, 2014


When you owned GM ½ ton in the early years and occasionally need to carry a load above the manufactures suggested limits, over-load rear springs were the answer. They were GM installed or aftermarket.
When installed they were not part of the rear suspension until the stock springs were overloaded. When the bed lowered due to additional weight, the auxiliary springs were contacted and helped support the extra pounds. With rear leaf springs, the different over-load springs companies made them all on the same principal.
A big change was required in this ½ ton over-load system in 1960. A totally different ½ ton now had rear coil springs as standard equipment. A redesigned ½ ton over-load system was now needed.
We recently found this complete revised system attached to a 1960-62 ½ ton. How unusual!
Because the ½ ton differential is the same on 1955-62 and only the new 1960-62 has coil springs, a very unusual overload system was created. The following photos show a used system still attached to a 1960-62 differential. It was such an eye catcher in comparison to the leaf spring system we had to take these digital photos.

Note: It is assumed it will not attach correctly to the 1963-66 as this uses a different differential with their coil rear springs.

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Upside down in truck. Thus reversed camera photo.

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Unique “wrap around” Differential System.

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Accessory GM Reflector

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

To add better night visibility to all trucks, Suburbans and panel trucks, General Motors offered a 4 inch diameter reflector as a dealer installed accessory.   With the single small factory taillight, seeing of these vehicles on the road could be difficult especially if their one bulb burned out.  To help correct this problem GM offered a larger reflector that could be attached to the rear license plate bracket.  It greatly improved visibility to others at the rear during night driving.

This was a time when town street lights were limited.  Of course, on the open road these were no lighting along the highways!  This simple GM reflector was offered by the dealers to prevent rear end accidents.  The customer could buy this dealer accessory from about 1940 through 1953. One of the attached photos is taken from a 1949 Chevrolet Truck Data Book. The 4 inch lens is a Stimsonite # 24 and the metal Guide ring has a stamping of X-19.

Jim Winters of Rochester, Minnesota has both a restored 1946 panel truck and ½ ton pickup.  He found these reflectors for both his vehicles at local swap meets.  Few people recognize what these reflectors were used for.   Jim found his in a box of miscellaneous unmarked parts.

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1946 Chevrolet 2 Ton with Thornton Drive

Monday, July 8th, 2013


Owner: Howard Jones

During the recent annual convention of the American Truck Historical Society in Yakama, Washington we noticed that among the 813 registered trucks there was a Chevrolet that may be the only survivor of this design.

The vehicle was a 1946 Chevrolet 2 ton with a Thornton dual rear drive. How unusual! This non-General Motors accessory allowed all four rear wheels to give pulling power. There is no disconnecting two wheels when on a highway!

This was featured in the 1946 “Chevrolet Silver Book” which has pages of accessories that were not dealer or manufacturer’s products. Sorry, the pages from this book are so small in the Thornton photos. A few other photos taken at the convention are also included.

The owner had made an opening in the new bed so there was a good view of the differential by the general public.

This particular Chevy with Thornton drive is said to have carried a D-6 Caterpillar dozer off road in the 1950’s to clear the right of ways for local power lines. It also had a large water tank mounted to the front of the bed.

The odometer reads 15,775 miles. It will reach a speed of 40mph on level ground.

More details on the Thornton Drive and its current owner will be with our August 2013 Feature Truck of the Month.

A Real 4 X 4!

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An Inner-Line Oil Filter

Monday, October 10th, 2011

An Inner-Line oil filter from Long Island, New York!  Rarely seen today but a popular early aftermarket option.  It secures to the engine block after removing the oil distribution cover.  No oil lines.  No moving the horn forward to make room for the intake manifold mounted oil canister.

Inner-Line Oil Filter Inner-Line Oil Filter
Inner-Line Oil Filter