Cab

1954 GMC Deluxe Pickup

Friday, January 3rd, 2014



The Korean War has ended and copper used in quality chrome plating is now readily available at an acceptable price to commercial buyers. General Motors loses no time introducing a deluxe pickup in both their Chevrolet and GMC lines. Quality chrome plating was required for this project and was now in stock. Other metals have also dropped in price including stainless steel.

The new deluxe GMC pickup was far above the appearance of earlier years even though the mechanics were virtually unchanged. With more disposable income in the US, General Motors gambled that many buyers would purchase a new upscale truck even if they did not have immediate hauling needs.

Actually GM invested very little to make their top of the line pickup stand out above the crowd. Using their base model, the following made up much of this special pickup:

  • Grille, bumper, grille surround and hub caps are chrome plated.
  • The exterior side window and new one piece “panoramic” windshield is surrounded with high polished stainless steel.
  • Wing vents assemblies are combination chrome and polished stainless.
  • The end of the rolls in the bed sides have plastic reflectors (actually from a 1953 Buick) and held in place with a GMC only stainless ring. A small screw hole was in only the deluxe pickup bed side to secure this assembly. Not on Chevrolet.
  • Chrome tail light ring.
  • The interior upholstery consisted of cloth covered cushions rather than traditional vinyl material on trucks of all prior years.
  • The pleated door panels matched the material in the seats.
  • The unusual metal interior was painted the reverse of the deluxe Chevrolet colors. Thus, dark being the primary color. A lighter shade was the dash, steering column and steering wheel.
  • Driver’s side are rest.
  • Yes, like the deluxe Chevrolet, the running boards were the lower body color.M
  • A different contrasting color, not necessarily the body, is placed on the wheels.

A few items in the attached GMC advertisement, placed in a major magazine. Were extra cost factory options:

  • Hydra-Matic transmission.
  • White top, to reflect sun.
  • Jet plane hood ornament.
  • Factory Clock.

Note: A rear bumper was always an option in 1954. Their problem: They prevented a pickup from backing close to a loading dock. When carrying merchandise or walking livestock into the pickup the gap caused dangerous falling problems for some owners. The beginning attached factory photo of this article shows the tailgate totally open and thus down vertically to eliminate the gap. This can only happen with no rear bumper.

1954 Chevrolet Hydramatic Transmission

Monday, April 22nd, 2013


The first year of the Chevrolet pickup with a Hydramatic transmission was 1954.  Though it did not find a large percentage of buyers, this truck did open the door for an increasing number of this transmission in the coming years.

When sitting in the 1954 Chevrolet truck cab with this new option, some changes are immediately noted. To operate the starter motor on the original six cylinder, a button is pushed with the driver’s thumb just above the headlight switch.  The ignition switch still has 2 positions as earlier years.


The truck with a Hydramatic has an automatic choke on the carburetor, there is no need for manual pull choke.  Thus, GM installed a small blank out plug in the hole where the choke lever is usually found (at the left of the radio position).  At the right is another plugged hole which is usually for a throttle lever.

Of course, the main focal point is the Hydramatic shift selector attached on the column below the steering wheel.


For the new owner not acquainted with a Hydramatic, a paper sheet is slid over the sunvisor pad.  It lists the instructions for successfully operating those types of transmissions.


An interesting feature on the Hydramatic:  Turn off the engine while stopped in reverse and the transmission is in park!

Cab Over Engine “COE” Scrapbook Page 2

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011


One of the most unique GM body styles is the famous COE (Cab Over Engine) design. By placing the cab over the engine of a large truck the wheel base could be shorter. This allowed the same maximum payload to be carried in a shorter truck.

These became quite popular in crowded downtown deliveries. The COE truck could turn in a shorter radius, on tight corners, iin narrow alleys, and still carry the same payload.

Disadvantages:

  • rougher ride for drivers
  • engine maintenance more difficult
  • cab interior was hotter in summer with engine under the cab
  • The driver and a passenger did not slide on the seat to get into the cab. They used two steps and a special hand grip to climb up and gain access to the cab interior

Back To – Page 1 COE Trucks


Click images to enlarge

Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE 1946 Chevrolet COE
1946 Chevrolet COE Owned by: Jim Cadorette 1946 with 2000 6.5 turbo diesel with 4 speed Over Drive

1948 COE 1948 COE 1948 COE coe steps
1951 COE 1940 COE 1940 GMC COE 1947-1955 Fender Pad

1948 COE 1939 1946 COE Grab Handle 1939 1946 COE mirror red coe
Owner: Koos Diedel from the Netherlands…1950 Red, 3 years to make it more “Freeway” friendly. Buick V-8, Air ride & so much more…”1951 Black – Bone Stock” 1939-1946 COE grab handles (to pull yourself up into the cab) 1939-1946 The left 2-leg mirror arm attached to the door. 1941-1946 Close Up – COE Grill

red COE 1939 1946 COE Grab Handle 1939 1946 COE Grab Handle coe steps
1947 – 1950 GMC COE
9 foot 1 ton 1947- 1953 pick up bed on a modern chassis.
1947 – 1953 COE 1941-1946 COE Steps, To get into the Cab…

1941 COE 1949 COE 1940 COE
1941 COE
1949 COE
1939 COE
Starting a COE restoration from the ground up.

1940 COE 1949 COE 1950 COE
1940 Chevrolet COE
Looks Expensive
The Restoration Begins 1950 COE

Stubby Gus

Bet you never saw one of these! A 2 ton truck you can park alongside all the automobiles in a shopping center parking lot.

This one of a kind 1952 COE truck is owned by Tim Tawney of Emmett, Idaho. He found it for sale three years ago and it was love at first sight. Its frame had been shorted to an unbelievable 91”. This is about the size of an early Volkswagen Beetle. Though 60 years old, it still has its correct wheels and 235 low pressure six cylinder engine. The paint, believed to be about 30 years old has the aged patina look that only time can create.

One of the trucks most unique features is the tow rig secured to the small frame extension behind the cab. It was manufactured by the Weaver Tow Company in 1918. This is a “2 speed hand crank” unit so the driver must manually operate the lever to lift the auto before it is pulled. Those were the days!

Tim is only the fourth owner. Fortunately, the 12’ door on his home garage allows for a place it can be kept in very bad weather. Where does he use this COE? Of course, Tim drives it to work every day at a local auto parts store. It must attract more attention than the sign on the building.

The Tawney Family has a name for most of their vehicles and this COE is referred to as “Stubby Gus”. You can contact Tim by email at: Tims70@hotmail.com or Facebook at: Stubbygus@facebook.com.

Back To – Page 1 COE Trucks

Cab Over Engine “COE” Scrapbook

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011


One of the most unique GM body styles is the famous COE (Cab Over Engine) design. By placing the cab over the engine of a large truck the wheel base could be shorter. This allowed the same maximum payload to be carried in a shorter truck.

These became quite popular in crowded downtown deliveries. The COE truck could turn in a shorter radius, on tight corners, in narrow alleys, and still carry the same payload.

Disadvantages:

  • rougher ride for drivers
  • engine maintenance more difficult
  • cab interior was hotter in summer with engine under the cab
  • The driver and a passenger did not slide on the seat to get
    into the cab. They used two steps and a special hand grip to climb up and gain
    access to the cab interior

Go To – Page 2 COE Trucks

Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE
1946 Chevrolet COE, Billy Marlow (all above) Read Billy’s Story..click here

1948 COE 1954 COE 1954 george coe 1951 Jim Carter coe
1948 Owner Ken Wedelaar, Midland Park, NJ
1954 Owner George Coe
1951 …Owner Jim Carter, Independence, MO

1940 COE 1946 chevrolet COE 1946 chevrolet COE 1946 chevrolet COE
1940 Owner, Unkown
I found this 1946 COE in Fall City, WA and it is now in Soldotna, Alaska. I shipped the truck From Tacoma Wa to Anchorage Alaska on Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE). I have driven it about 500 miles since I bought it.
Jim Fassler
Soldotna, Alaska

1948 COE 1948 COE 1948 COE 1948 COE
COE Salvage Yard
1941 – 1946 for Parts
1946 for Parts
1940 Unknown Owner

coe three headlights
coe red truck
coe red truck
coe red truck
Three clear seal beams on a 1946! What could have been the purpose? 1941-1946 GMC owner unkown 1938 GMC COE… Owner Jim Raeder Altoona, PA.
1954 Chevy COE

big ugly cab over engine
Cab Over Engine….Chevrolet Ugly Truck
Owner Unknown

If you would like your Chevrolet or GMC Cab Over Engine featured on our website, please send us an email along with your name, year, make, and model of your truck along with your photos. You can email your information by using our contact email form…click here

We don’t care if they are Ugly!!!


COE Cover Photo

Another fine example of an old
Chevrolet Cab Over Engine Truck…

NOTE: You can make a beautiful COE from misc. parts. This truck has a 1954 cab (one piece windshield), 1947-1953 grill and 1954 parking light housings in the fenders.

Go To – Page 2 COE Trucks

Three vs Five Window Cab

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During all of the 1947-1955 series, the five window cab, often referred to as the Deluxe cab, was available as an extra cost option. Their two corner windows helped in visibility especially when backing. Cabs made during the same year are identical except for these corner window options. Some buyers in the southern states rejected this option. They felt these corner windows made the cab interior much hotter during the summer months.

Beginning in 1953, tinted windows became a factory option. Though today’s glass shops can easily cut and add the replacement flat tinted windows. However, the optional curved tinted corner windows are not easy to locate. They were only available from the factory between 1953-1955. The few originals are usually scrapped and pitted.

In the last few years a replacement corner window has been reproduced. They are available in green or gray tint. They are kept at Jim Carters Truck Parts as well as other full stocking dealers.

Roof Insulation

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During rebuilding of the Advance Design cab, the hobbyist will observe remnants of a tar paper material secured to the underside of the roof. This was partially for insulation but even more as a noise retardant. This reduces the bell sound in the cab when driving or slamming the doors.

When restoring your truck, be sure to replace or improve this material under the roof. Tar paper secured with layers of home roofing cement works well. It is not visible once the headliner is in place and will add to the quietness of the cab.

Pedal Pad Differences

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Yes, rubber pedal pads from 1947 through 1959 look the same when installed. However, because of the design of the metal pedal below them, they are different on their backside. Some suppliers market them as one item but the attached pictures will show this as not true.

pedal pad 1

Same Outer Surface (above)

pedal pad 2

1955-1959 Left | 1947-1955 Right (above)

Panel Truck Wood Floor Changes

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The very practical panel truck produced from the early 1920′s through 1970 was an excellent cargo vehicle. Merchandise was protected from the weather and equally important from easy theft. Being a freight hauler, its cargo floor is like the pickup truck. Hard yellow pine and cross sills support the weight and merchandise slides on the metal strips.

Though not obvious, a major floor design occurred in the 1/2 ton panel truck in 1950 of the Advance Design years. Prior to this, the floor consisted of about six wood panels, each separated by 1/4″. Covering this gap was the necessary 1 1/2″ wide metal bed strips. To prevent dust from coming through the wood plank separations, GM changed the bed to a single piece of 3/4″ marine plywood in 1950. It appears this was the same size that was used with the flat floor board Suburban. However, with the panel truck the plywood was grooved for the bed strips. Once installed in the truck it looked like strips between the earlier individual planks.

The reason for the new plywood design was to lessen dust entering the storage area (at least in cool weather).  Most back roads were dirt and gravel.  Thus, owners complained that small amounts of dust would come in between the bed strips and settle on merchandise.

With the change in the bed floor, the length of the strips were reduced from 82′ to 79 1/2″ at least three of the punched holes in the early and late strips are in a different position.

panel truck wood floor changes1

1947-1950 1/2 Ton Deluxe Panel (above)

panel truck wood floor changes 2

1947-1950 1 Ton Deluxe Panel (above)

One Piece Panel Truck Floor

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Beginning in 1950, GM introduced an improvement in the cargo area of the panel truck and Canopy Express. It now followed the example of the Suburban by using a one piece, 5 ply floor. This replaced the planks that were always used in the pickup.

GM implied this would better seal dirt and dust from an otherwise closed area used to haul merchandise and food products.

The following data and picture is as removed from a 1950 pamphlet announcing new features for that year.

one piece floor

one piece floor

1947 vs. 1948 – 1955 Cab Water Trough

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

A GM mistake on the 1947 Advance Design cab is the lack of a water trough on the top of the cowl. Heavy rains allowed water to run under the hood and down the firewall. No doubt some water damage would occur to the voltage regulator and the cloth covered wiring harness.

By 1948 GM corrected this problem by adding a side to side trough in the cowl. The photos show cowls with and without this water trough.

It should be noted that this trough is still lacking during the 1948 in slower selling cabs such as the Suburban and Panel Truck. Possibly these bodies were produced a year ahead.

new water drain 1

1947  no water troughs (above)

new water drain 2

1948-1955  water troughs in place (above)

Cab Engine Noise

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

In 1952 GM made a simple change to the accelerator linkage that made a major reduction in engine noise in the cab. This was definitely an improvement when older engines had developed excessive valve train noise.

Prior to this year the horizontal accelerator rod from the carburetor attached directly to the metal backing of the foot gas pedal. Engine noise was easily transferred to the pedal and into the cab.

A minor modification in 1952 eliminated much of this noise. Engineers placed a small ball on the end of the accelerator rod and a rubber receiver cup on the new foot pedal. Now noise stopped at the rubber cup and is dropped over 75% in the cab.

This GM improvement cost little when added to new trucks but made a big difference to driver comfort, particularly in the vehicle’s later years.

This later design easily replaces the original 1947-1951 style system. The later, 1952-57 accelerator pedal should be available from all older GM truck parts stores and the used 1952-1955 linkage rods can be found with limited research.

cab engine noise 1

1947-1951 (above)

cab engine noise 2

1951-1957 (above)

cab engine noise 3

Differences (above)

Cab Corner Trivia

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

When your 1947-1955 GM truck needs rear cab corners and you prefer original US made replacement parts, there is an alternative.

Surprise: These lower corners have the same round shape as the upper corners. Locate a cab that is considered a total loss and cut out the upper rear corners. They can be trimmed to replace the area of need on your rusted bottom edges. The metal gauge and curvature will be correct. For best results use the upper right corner on the lower left and the upper left on the lower right.

This tip comes from Richard Pasauage of Wilkes-Barre, PA. He personally made this repair on his 1950 Chevrolet truck and is very happy with the results.

Big Truck Deluxe Cab

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

An exception occurs on the 1 1/2 ton and 2 ton trucks. Though the cabs are the same as the smaller trucks, these deluxe cabs consisted of only the two corner windows. The Salesman’s Data Book shows no reference to a chrome grille or window stainless.

As money was tight and big trucks were all for work duties, it is assumed GM decided that the trim option would not be a good marketing item on the large vehicles. The corner windows were definitely a sellable extra. Visibility from these two additional windows helped much in backing.

The lower photo is from an untouched 1947 Chevy 1 1/2 ton. The corner window cabs have no trim!

big truck deluxe cab 1

Deluxe Small Truck (above)

big truck deluxe cab 2

Deluxe Big Truck (above)

1947-1951 Deluxe Cab

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

With the introduction of GM’s new truck body design in mid 1947, a delivered package became available on both Chevrolet and GMC. World War II was in the past, employment was high, and many American truck buyers were willing to pay a little extra for more options on their new vehicle purchase.

GM’s sales department recognized this as an opportunity to fill a need and sell a few more vehicles. A deluxe truck would look good in a dealer’s showroom and the market existed for nicer trucks.

Prior to this new body style, GM truck cabs were the same from the factory. Dealers installed the few extras provided by the manufacturer.

The new deluxe cab for the Advance Design trucks cost GM little additional in comparison to the standard design. Most items were already extra cost options or standard parts that were modified. The deluxe package included the following:

Five Window Cab. This was the largest expense. The Two corner windows required a different roof panel to be attached to the lower half of the body. The center rear window was the same.

Chrome Grill Bars. The option was also available for the base pickup. It was created by polishing and plating the five painted bars. This came only on 1/2, 3/4, and 1 ton.

Stainless Steel Door Window Trim. The factory dies that formed the painted standard trim could also stamp stainless steel. The outer was polished. The inner was left a satin finish to reduce glare from the sun.

Stainless Steel Windshield Trim. This was only on the deluxe cabs. Painted trim was not on the base cab. Therefore, GM had to create dies to produce it, give a high polish, and provide a modified windshield trim was still painted on deluxe models.

Right Inside Sunvisor. This was already a dealer accessory on the standard cab. The attaching holes were even punched on all cabs and covered with the non-punched headliner cardboard.

Left Arm Rest. A dealer accessory on the base cab, therefore holes are stamped in both doors at the factory. They are hidden with the cardboard upholstery panel on standard cabs. No extra tooling here!

By 1951 material shortages due to the Korean War conflict were effecting the automotive industry. Shortages of at least copper and stainless greatly raised raw material prices. To prevent a shut down of assembly lines due to no product, GM discontinued the deluxe option.

From late 1951 through 1953, the Chevrolet and GMC deluxe cab had no bright work. It retained the sunvisor, left arm rest, and corner windows, however most chrome and stainless were gone. It was not until 1954 that the trim was retuned to the deluxe cab.

The enclosed photos are of a 1951 Chevrolet 1/2 ton deluxe cab owned by David Bosley of Felton, PA. His grandfather purchased the truck new so David recently restored it just the way it was bought in 1951. Even the bed boards are painted! The door vent shades are a non-GM option but available in the early years. The other trim items are either part of the deluxe package or are options provided by the Chevrolet dealer.

1947 deluxe cab 1

1947 deluxe cab 2

1947 deluxe cab 3

1947 deluxe cab 4

1947 Floor Pans

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the first year of the Advance Design 1/2 and 3/4 ton pickup, the standard three speed transmission was a carryover from 1946. Its top loader shift lever extended directly from the transmission through the removable floor pan.

When the column shift three speed was introduced in 1948, the floor shift hole was eliminated. Therefore, the 1947 three speed floor plate has the round shift hole as well as the hand brake lever hole. The 1948 and newer column shift transmission and foot operated park brake uses the same floor pan but the holes are not punched.

Note the short metal upper horizontal stiffener on the 1948-55 pan. Because of the hand brake oval hole, it was necessary on the 1947 model. To keep tooling costs low, the length was unchanged even after the shift hole was not stamped.

1947 floor plan

1947 on left | 1948-1955 on right (above)

Buy Parts for 1947 to 1955 Trucks

1947 Advance Design Cab

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The differences found on the cab during the beginning of the Advance Design years are subtle, yet on close study soon become quite evident. It probably exists on all vehicles when a body style is first introduced. Lab tests on a vehicle tend to overlook a few problems that later surface when it is in the hands of the consumer. Thus engineers made various corrections on the 1948 cab leaving the first year of this series with several unique differences.

Beginning with the Advance Design trucks in mid 1947, the top of the body cowl directly below the rear of the hood is smooth. This is the space between the rubber hood lace and vertical firewall panel. GM soon discovered that in this area an error in design existed. During heavy rain all water that flowed past the hood lace could run forward and then down the firewall. This allowed water on important items such as the voltage regulator, fuse box, wiring, fresh air heater motor, the rubber grommets that held tubes, lines and the original cotton braided wires.

By mid 1948, an appropriate stamping change was made which remained through the end of the series in early 1955. This was a groove or trough running side to side in the top of the cowl. These troughs drain rain water down the cowl sides onto the recessed area by the hood hinges and protect the firewall components. Now 50 to 55 years later we are noticing a rust condition due to these water drain troughs. Seldom will a 1947 cab have major rust in these hood hinge indentations. The cabs between 1948 and 1955 will usually be showing rust out or at least much surface rust when stored outside for many years. There is only so long this recessed area can resist the regular attack of water runoff from the troughs before it begins to show deterioration.

1947 advance design cab

No water troughs

Another very noticeable feature on only the 1947 Advance Design cab is the lack of a hump in the lower part of the dash above the steering column. On 1948-1955 cabs the hump is necessary to allow the three speed column shift lever to pass down to the shift box. During the developing stages of the Advance Design cab, after World War II, the 3-speed truck transmission with column shift did not exist. Both 3 and 4-speed transmissions were using the floor shift system and a column shift hump in the dash was not a consideration.

As the 1947 Advance Design trucks continued using the 3 and 4- speed transmissions of prior years, their park brake lever is also unchanged. It remains secured to the right side of the transmission and is a vertical hand pull lever. With the introduction of redesigned 3 and 4 speed transmissions in 1948 the park brake was activated by a foot pedal on the left side of the cab. This pedal was in 1/2 and 3/4 tons only. The 1 ton and larger continued with a hand pull lever design throughout the series.

The firewall on the 1947 cab is one of its most unique features. It is not only different from the other Advance Design years, but is an excellent example of changes that save production costs. Initially the firewall was a flat sheet of metal welded within the edges of the cowl, etc. To prevent possible flexing of this sheet, GM welded two vertical U-channels, 11/2 inch x 16-3/4 inch to the inside. These two channels are hid by the inside firewall pad and therefore are not normally seen by the owner. Close observation will show the channel spot weld dimples on the engine side of this firewall sheet.

This flat sheet type firewall differs from the other years. By 1948, the second year of this body style, a less expensive method was used. The welded vertical channels were discontinued and were substituted with stamped rounded ridges or stiffeners in the flat sheet. These could be made with one stamping while the necessary holes were also placed in the sheet at the same time.

NOTE: We are now discovering that the unique features on the 1947 cowls were carried over into the early 1948 suburban, panels, and the canopy express. As these large single unit bodies were much slower in sales, it was possible GM had an over supply of 1947 cowls at the particular assembly plant producing them. They continued to use these early cowls until supplies were used.

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