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Running Boards

Safety Treads

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Without the rubber covering over the metal running boards like GM cars, trucks immediately show scratches from the driver’s shoes. This is frustrating to the restorer who has placed so much effort in repairing and painting these boards to pristine condition.

Fortunately, a solution exists! The original running board safety treads have been reproduced. These treads were a GM accessory and available from the dealers. They were marketed to help prevent a person from sliding off the running board if their shoe or the metal surface was wet. No doubt legs and arms were occasionally broken in this hazardous area.

Today, these safety treads still help prevent falls but also stop the unsightly scratches that occur during normal use. Most all full stocking dealers have them including Jim Carters Truck Parts.

The following is from a 1954 GMC accessories catalog. Their wording also tells the story in a full page ad.

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1947-1955 Running Boards

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the 1947-1955 Advance Design years three different stock running boards on pickups and panel trucks were produced. Features such as width, number of ribs, thickness of metal, and length of under-braces are the same. When placed together, a difference in length is obvious.

The longest unit was used on the 1 ton pickup and panel trucks with 134′ wheelbase. The pickup bedside has four stake pockets and bed wood length of 107′.

A middle length running board is seen on the ¾ ton pickup (no panel trucks were that length) with 125 wheelbase. The bed side has three stake pockets and bed wood length of 85 3/4′.

The short running board is seen on 1/2 ton pickups, Suburbans, and panel trucks with 116′ wheelbase. The pickup bed side has two stake pockets and bed wood length is 76 7/8′.

When found off a truck at swap meets or in salvage yards, the running boards can be distinguished quickly by observing the number of holes where bolts connect the filler splash aprons. The 1 tons have 5, 3/4 tons have 4, and 1/2 tons have 3.

The adjacent photos are of un-restored running boards with no alterations.

1947 1955 running boards 1

1947 1955 running boards 2

1947 1955 running boards 3

1947-1955 Optional Wide Running Boards

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

One of the most unusual and rare options for the 1947-1955 1/2 tons are ‘wide running boards’. The adjacent picture is from the 1949 Chevrolet Salesman’s Data Book. The photos below are of used original boards recently found at an Oklahoma swap meet.

They consist of ‘short’ running boards as used on all flat bed ¾ and 1 ton trucks plus a matching wide rear board extensions. The splash apron is totally redesigned to properly fill the different opening between the board and bed. See photo.

GM marketed these optional boards to allow more standing or foot room near the front of the ½ ton bed. Normally a person can not place his complete foot on a stock running board in this area. This option gave more comfort to the person spending much time on the running boards moving merchandise at the front of the bed.

1947 1955 optional wide running boards 1

1947 1955 optional wide running boards 2

1947 1955 optional wide running boards 3