Posts Tagged ‘1959’

Aftermarket Dual Rear Wheels

Monday, April 18th, 2011


What a unique invention. When you have a 1947 through 1959 single rear wheel 3/4 or 1 ton GM truck and need more pulling power, this is the answer. American ingenuity at its best!

This new steel center hub extension includes eight long bolts to reach the original wheel studs. This holds the factory wheel in place and then provides a threaded end for the original eight lug nuts which are holding another matching wheel.

The buyer of this aftermarket kit just had to be sure his new outer tire was the same height as the original inner tire.

Pictures and data from Scott Golding, Stratton, NE.
email: scottandbetty@hotmail.com

1956-1959 Panel License Plate Bracket

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The rear license plate bracket for the 1956-1959 panel truck-very rare!



For the first time, this body style did not incorporate the tail light into the license light.

When GM designed the body to have two tail lights on the corners, it was necessary to design a license plate light that remained independant on the door position. This small bracket and light has become very rare in recent years.

NOTE: Strange, the first year of this panel truck body style (1955) continued with the combination tail and license light combination as the 1947-1954 design.

1955 1959 panel tail light 2
1956-1959 (above)

1955 1959 panel tail light 1
1955 only (above)

1956-1959 Panel License Plate Bracket
The complete combination – 1956-1959 (above)

1955-1959 GMC Hood Emblems

Thursday, February 11th, 2010



On the task force body style, 1955-1959, the GMC hoods began quite different than Chevrolet. Beginning in 1955 a large opening, 5.25″ x 25″, was used to hold a set of die cast GMC letters attached to a decorative grill.

In 1957 this grill was removed in place of a perimeter ring. Why the less attractive ring was added is a question. Possibly this grill held leaves and restricted some air intake or maybe it was a change just to be change. There was no hood opening in these last two years of this series.

By 1958-1959 GMC and Chevrolet shared the same design hood with only trim differences.

1955 1959 gmc hood

1955-1956 (above)

1955 1959 gmc hood

1957 Starndad (above)

1957 Chrome Hood Emblem

1957 Deluxe (above)

1955 1959 gmc hood

1958-1959 (above)

Floor Shift Foam Collar

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

This drawing is from the 1955-1959 Chevrolet Factory Assembly Manual. We have added our part number ( FL137 ) with an arrow to show the new floor shift foam collar that is now available at Jim Carter’s Truck Parts.

Click to enlarge

Floor Shift Foam Collar

1955-1959 Fan Shroud

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1955-1959 Chevrolet Fan Shroud

By 1958 the Chevrolet V-8 fan shroud (not GMC) changed to the more traditional round design. During the V-8 beginning years in 1955-1957, it was little more than four pieces of custom sheet metal that helped pull air through the radiator core.

The enclosed pictures are of an original fan shroud for a 1958-59 Chevrolet 283 V-8. It fits only these two years of light trucks. Dimensions of the barrel is 19 inches in diameter and 20 inches deep.

The other shroud is from a 1958-1959 1 1/2 and 2 ton with V-8. There is a big difference. Be sure you purchase the correct design for the truck you have.

1958 1959 Chevrolet fan shroud 1

1958 1959 Chevrolet fan shroud 2

1958 1959 Chevrolet fan shroud 3

1958-1959 Pick Up (above)

1958 1959 Chevrolet fan shroud 4

1958-1959 1 1/2 – 2 Ton (above)

1955-1959 Starters

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Two totally different 12 volt starters were used on the 235 six cylinder Chevrolet light trucks during 1955-1959. They attach to different bellhousings and are not interchangeable.

1955 1959 starters 1

As shown in the photos, the Hydramatic transmission starter has three bolt holes for securing it to the bellhousing. A solenoid on top reacts to the drivers key switch in the dash.

The starter for the 3 and 4 speed transmission has a top mounted foot start switch. It attaches to its bellhousing with two bolts

1955 1959 starters 2

1955 1959 starters 3

1955 1959 starters 4

1955-1959 Power Steering

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Chevrolet’s linkage-type power steering is available as an RPO (Regular Production Option) on all models except Forward Control Chassis. New ease and fingertip steering control are provided because up to 80 percent of the steering work is done by hydraulic power. Maneuvering a heavily loaded truck in a small space becomes much easier, and straightaway highway travel is less fatiguing. In addition, power steering effectively damps road shock and vibration at the steering wheel.

A hydraulic pump, driven by an extension of the generator shaft, provides hydraulic pressure of 750-900 pounds per square inch. (A 30-ampere or heavy-duty 40-ampere generator is included with the power steering option.) The control valve on the Pitman arm reacts to movement of the steering wheel and regulates the flow of fluid to the power cylinder.

This valve directs fluid under pressure to either the left or right side of the piston in the power cylinder, thus providing assistance for both left and right turns. Manual steering, in case the system is inoperative, is always available.

1955 1959 power steering

Speed Up 1948-1959 GM Pick Up

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1948-1959 GM Pick Up

We often get requests for a formula to make the Advance Design pickups more freeway friendly. Their original ring and pinion gears were created to make the truck’s six cylinder work well with a load and also keep up with the 1950′s traffic on gravel roads and two lane paved highways.

Though a higher speed reproduction ring and pinion was introduced several years ago, some owners still ask for another alternative to get in the “fast lane”. One method has been used successfully for several years and requires most parts from local salvage yards. Obtain the Borg-Warner 5 speed overdrive transmission from an S-10 pickup. It must come from an earlier model with a mechanical speed sensor (on the side of the case). It can not have the more high tech electronic speed sensor as used on the later S-10 pickups with computers.

This transmission will bolt against the original bellhousing of a 1948 and newer (a nice surprise). The clutch shaft which extends out of the front of the transmission is usually too long to allow the ears to bolt flat and secure to the bellhousing face. Therefore, if this occurs, shorten the tip of the shaft about a half inch and all will fit together. This is a must. Otherwise you can even break off a transmission ear when you begin tightening the four attaching bolts.

The ears that attach the transmission to the bellhousing are usually drilled for a metric bolt. They will need to be enlarged for a standard 1/2 inch bolt as is threaded into the bellhousing.

The V-8 Camaro 5 speed transmission is also similar to the S-10. It is said to not be as low geared and this makes it more desirable. The Camaro shift lever is too far back for the 1948-59 pickup. The bench seat is in the way. To correct this, use the S-10 tail shaft housing and case top cover. This will allow the vertical lever to come through the original floor in the correct position.

The input shaft of the 5 speed will have either 14 or 26 splines. Therefore, the clutch disc must match the transmission and not the 10 splines from the original 1948-1959 truck.

The attractive S-10 boot is still available from GM and the shift knob of choice is from a late model 5-speed Jeep. It screws on perfectly and looks great! The S-10 shifter clears the seat cushion and looks like it was installed by GM.

The next step is the differential. An open drive shaft style will be necessary to match up with the 5-speed but this is a subject for an totally different technical article.

The result of this change is lower RPM’s and speed to keep up with traffic flow on most modern highways.

After Market Wheels for Older GM Trucks

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

From 1934 to 1959 GM 1/2 tons came from the factory with a tie rod assembly that extended side to side to almost touch the front wheels. With everything stock, the tie rod sits about 3/4 inch from the inside of both original six hole wheels and all fits just right.

A problem exists when someone attempts to add a more modern wheel. For example, the mid 60′s and newer 4×4 wheels have this 6 hole bolt pattern but their width causes them to contact the end of original long tie rod. Changing from the approximate 4-1/2 inch original to at least a 6 inch width just won’t work.

Solutions for adding a more sporty wheel are very limited with the original suspension. One almost unknown method is to replace the original GM multi-piece tie rod ends with the more modern knuckle ends introduced in the 1960′s. There are currently available and are 3/8 inch shorter on the outer end giving that much extra room for a slightly wider wheel. (It is not recommended that flat washers be placed over the stud between the wheel and drum as this can cause breakage.)

This GM six bolt pattern is also shared with several Japanese pickups. Some very attractive more narrow aftermarket wheels have been produced for their imports in past years.

Updating 1955-1959 Seats

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

For those not requiring the original seat cushions on their 1955-59 Task Force truck, a roomy comfortable substitute is available. This unit is from a 1988 body style Chevrolet or GMC truck and is almost a bolt-in.

The legs or side brackets on this newer seat comes attached to the cushions from a used truck and sets nicely by the floor edge of the 1955-1959 cab. It almost looks factory installed! Yes, the cushion edge will slightly touch the doors but cause no closing problems.

The result is a much softer seat and a definite increase in distance between your “middle” and the stock steering wheel. Almost no interference with the in cab fuel tank.

1958-1959 Deluxe Interior

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

It is sometimes asked by restorers, ‘What is the correct fabric for a 1958 Chevrolet Cameo or other deluxe cabs in 1958-59?’ Answer: The same cloth material was used on the top of the line seats and door panels throughout both years. Yes, the last year of the Cameos, discontinued at about mid 1958, used the same cloth as the deluxe non-Cameo cabs.

The following pictures show this interior material on a 1958 Cameo door panel, a 1959 Chevrolet deluxe cab with 12,000 original miles, and on a page from the 1959 Chevrolet Salesman’s Data Book.

This data is not known by many 1958 Cameo restorers and it does give them more places to obtain the correct material. As this material was used two years, upholstery shops having left-over partial rolls may have this rare upholstery material in storage!

1958 1959 deluxe interior 1

1958 1959 deluxe interior 2

1958 1959 deluxe interior 3

1958 1959 Deluxe Interior Informational Chart PDF version. Click Here

1959 Deluxe Trim

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Fleetside bed trim was available only during the final year of the Task-Force truck series. The very deluxe Cameo was history by mid 1958. This is probably the reason General Motors added a little extra flair to their top of the line fleetside box.

The cost to GM was minimum considering the price of other appearance options of the day. Two die cast ends (the same right and left ends) two arched stainless strips per side made up the package. The only difference between the 6′ and 8′ fleetside trim package was the length of the strips.

The optional stainless cab trim had to be included when the bedside trim was ordered. The customer also received a chrome grille, bumpers, and headlight bezels. The open space between the two horizontal strips is a difference color to give an attractive contrast.

As trucks in 1959 were still considered mostly as workers, the full trim package found few buyers. Today, a nice complete set of 1959 bed trim will easily bring over $500.00. Unfortunately, most original fleetsides with this trim have most of it damaged beyond repair.

The pictured sample lacks the reflective red tape that was originally behind the three open slots on the rear die cast end! This began a trend which later became the federally required side marker lights starting in 1968.

1959 deluxe trim 1

1959 deluxe trim 2

1959 deluxe trim 3

1958-1959 Chevrolet vs GMC Trim

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

With the new Fleetside bed design in 1958 the Chevrolets placed a chrome emblem on the bed side with the word “Fleetside”. However, GMC referred to this new bed as a “Wideside” to not copy Chevrolet. A Wideside emblem was never created, thus the GMC bedsides are without letters. (The horizontal bedside trim is a 1959 option).

(images by Ralph Wescot)

1958 1959 trim
1958 Chevrolet
1958 1959 trim 2
1959 GMC

1955-1959 GMC Emblems

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the mid 1950′s, V-8 engines began to gain popularity. Many became an option in full size cars and trucks that normally were provided with a six cylinder. When this occurred, most vehicles were given a body emblem advertising that the larger power plant was under the hood.

1955 1959 gmc V8 emblems

1955-1957 (above left) | 1958-1959 (above right)

GMC trucks were no exception. During the 1955-59 body style, two different shapes of V-8 emblems were used. Both die cast designs were attached to the front fender below the GMC letters. The above picture shows these V-8 emblems and the different GMC letters that appeared above them. If the truck came with a six cylinder, only the letter emblem was used on the fender. Today, as many older trucks are given modern V-8 engines, the original V-8 emblems have become almost impossible to find. The demand for these rare emblems has far exceeded their availability.

1955-1959 GMC Bumper Guards

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

GMC bumper guards during these years were standard equipment and stamped from the same heavy gauge metal as the bumper (a different style and lighter gauge metal were dealer accessories on Chevrolet light trucks).

A slight change in design was made at the end of the 1956 year. A more decorative pointed end was given the guards during 1957 through 1959.

1955 1959 gmc bumper guards 1

1955-1959 GMC (above)

1955 1959 gmc bumper guards 2

1955-1956 GMC (above)

1955 1959 gmc bumper guards 3

1957 GMC (above)

1955 1959 gmc bumper guards 4

1957-1959 GMC (above)

1955 1959 gmc bumper guards 5

1955-1959 Chevrolet (above)

1955-1959 Door Differences

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Though the 1955-1959 GM doors are basically the same and will interchange, there is one noticeable difference. The inside metal door panel (covering window and door mechanisms) is held in place with smaller screws in 1955.

It is assumed these smaller 10 x 24 screws were easier to break or strip when over tightening on the assembly line. By 1956, GM had increased their size to 1/4″ x 20 and this remained through the series.

Radio Trivia

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

  • Push buttons were discontinued at the end of 1953 and did not reappear until 1967
  • Prior to 1959 radios used mechanical vibrator tubes. They would operate with either positive or negative ground. A low buzzing sound could always be heard from the tube area before the radio warmed up, once the sound began, the speaker made the buzzing difficult to hear. In recent years a major change has occurred. Vibrator tubes have been gradually replaced with a modern solid state style These are ruined if the battery is reversed. A positive ground tube cannot be placed in a negative ground vehicle
  • The 1947-1955 four staff cowl mounted antenna could be extended almost four feet. This helped pull in at least one station in rural areas
  • With a totally redesigned dash in 1954, the radio was given a major change. It remained AM only but with push buttons discontinued, it became almost half the size of the previous model
  • From 1959 and older, GM truck radios had two lead wires. One usually attached to the headlight switch so the dial light went on with the dash lights. The other wire attached to a 20 amp fuse and then to the ignition switch “hot” connection
  • The AM-FM radio was first available in GM trucks in 1970, not in 1967. These units have one sound track and are not stereo
  • In 1947, with the introduction of the Advance Design body style, GM trucks for the first time had a place in the dash to install a radio
  • In relation to wages, early radios were very expensive. A 1949 radio had a retail price of about $74.50 when it was difficult to carry $5.00 in groceries
  • The dash on the 1954-1959 GMC and 1955-59 Chevrolet has no place for a speaker opening. Thus, the factory speaker is placed between the sunvisors above the windshield

Ash Remover

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

There are few GM accessories that are more unusual and rare than this item that was seen at a recent truck show. It was offered by GMC dealers in 1958 and 1959.

The item is an “Ash Remover” for the smoking driver and his passenger. With a touch of a small lever, the ashes on a cigarette or cigar is instantly removed from the cab. A rubber vacuum line from the engine manifold pulls the ashes to a small glass jar on the engine side of the firewall Quite a novelty on trucks that were usually bought for work.

Was it worth an extra price over a stock ash tray? Probably not but it appears some found owners. At this time at least two are known to exist.

Even when other “Ash Removers” are seen, they will not be recognized if they have lost their original box. Very few will know what these parts are made to fit.

images by Ralph Wescot

ash 1

ash 2

ash 3

Two Tone Panel

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the 1955-1959 Chevrolet Task-Force truck years, the panel body style remained very popular. To help sales continue to grow, a two tone paint scheme was offered. This option was used for the business customer that planned on having their logo applied to the panel.

A wide band on the sides and back was painted Bombay Ivory*. This two tone paint looked very attractive, as is, when leaving the factory but it also provided the correct background for most company logos. The baked on factory ivory paint would hold up better and did not require sanding and painting by a body shop. Only a sign painter was needed to add the company logo.

two tone panel 1

The above drawing is from a page in the 1959 Chevrolet salesman’s data book. The two-tone paint is Dawn Blue with Bombay Ivory inserts.

The photos are of a local 25,000 mile 1959 panel truck also in Dawn Blue. Note how the white comes to a point at the top and bottom of the side door window opening.

* The Bombay Ivory inset was not offered on panels painted white.

two tone panel 2

two tone panel 3

two tone panel 4

two tone panel 5

two tone panel 6

1959 Chevrolet Deluxe

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

Owner: Don Lowrey

1959 chevrolet pick up truck

1959 Chevrolet Deluxe 1/2 Ton

This cab and early fleetside bed combination was available only during 1958 and 1959 but to get the bedside trim you had to wait with the last year. This was a time when trucks were usually bought for work and styling was far down the priority list. Therefore, one can appreciate the rarity of this month’s feature truck.

This 1959 Chevrolet deluxe ½ ton is owned by Don Lowrey of Lindsay, Ontario. He purchased it over 25 years ago during a visit to the U.S. Though at the time he did not realize its rarity, he knew the various deluxe features and color combination (Tartan Turquoise and Bombay Ivory) made for a very attractive package.

Shortly after the purchase of this, then 20 year old truck, Don decided to bring back the original shine by giving it new paint and re-chroming the bright metal. He was careful not to alter the original color or add extras that were not Chevrolet approved accessories.

The upholstery was kept without any replacing. Thus, we have a perfect example of the fabric Chevrolet used in their most deluxe pickup. Unlike the standard model, matching seat cloth was also placed over the door panels.

Note the untouched wood bed bottom. It still has much of its original black paint on yellow pine. NO, the manufacturers did not sand and varnish the bed floors!

Along with the many features that are standard with the deluxe package, this little ½ ton also has a few dealer installed accessories. The bumper guards, radio, heater, sunvisor, and wheel rings could have been added by the Chevrolet dealer.

Don has a certificate from the State of Pennsylvania that the 12,000 miles on the odometer (at his purchase) is correct. The truck runs like new and is used to drive to occasional Ontario car shows. It has not yet logged 1,000 miles since its purchase 25 years ago. If a show is two days long, Don uses his ½ ton to pull his travel trailer! The stock 235 six cylinder and 3 speed column shift transmission does the job.

1959 chevrolet pick up truck 1959 chevrolet pick up truck 1959 chevrolet pick up truck

1959 chevrolet pick up truck 1959 chevrolet pick up truck 1959 chevrolet pick up truck

1959 chevrolet pick up truck 1959 chevrolet pick up truck1959 chevrolet pick up truck

1959 chevrolet pick up truck

1959 Chevrolet Apache

Wednesday, September 1st, 2004

Owner: Don Wyatt

1959 chevrolet apache

This 1959 Chevy 1/2 ton step-side pickup was purchased in Santa Barbara, California from an estate containing 20+ cars and trucks. It was found sitting behind a 1955 Chevy “business coupe” with cement and old rubble in front of the garage door which had to be removed with a tractor. It was stored for 31 years and has 24,996 original miles on it. The truck was completely restored “off the frame” and is now in perfect showroom condition. It is as original as it gets, with the six cylinder 235 Chevy Engine and 3-speed on-the-column transmission making that “rapp” sound that only a Chevy Six can. The only modifications which have been done are an aluminum head cover, Fenton headers and very nice dual exhaust system. New wheels, stock with Chevy hub caps and mono leaf springs give the truck a much better stance. All of the chrome has been stripped and re-dipped. The truck is an eye-stopper and a jaw-dropper. You won’t find a more pristine Apache with this originality.

The interior is completely original, seat covers and floor mats. The radio head unit has been temporarily removed and replaced to give a new sound but the original radio as well as a few other parts will accompany the truck upon its sale. If you are an old Chevy truck fan, you know this is a real gem.

1959 chevrolet apache 1959 chevrolet apache 1959 chevrolet apache

1959 chevrolet apache 1959 chevrolet apache 1959 chevrolet apache

1959 chevrolet apache 1959 chevrolet apache 1959 chevrolet apache

1959 Chevrolet Fleetside

Saturday, September 1st, 2001

Owner: Olen Moore – Odessa, Missouri

1959 chevy pick up truck

This month’s featured truck is a prime example of how an early Chevrolet Fleetside appeared when new. Few near 100 point restorations of GM’s early fleetsides exist today, so this little truck is a real attention getter. Looking at this like new pickup is as if going back in time. It is even painted the original Galway green, so popular during the late 1950′s.

The owner is Olen Moore of Odessa, Missouri. He has recently completed a detailed three year restoration of this fleetside. It had not been exposed to major abuse during its 42 year life and therefore was an excellent candidate for this exact frame off restoration. Most parts were still in place so there was no guessing as to how the truck should be reassembled. Of course, most parts needed replacing or restoring and Olens skill has made this pickup new again.

To keep it just as it was from the factory, Olen rebuilt its original 235 six cylinder engine and kept the column shift 3 speed. It drives just like new and nicely keeps up with traffic.

1959 chevy pick up truck 1959 chevy pick up truck 1959 chevy pick up truck

1959 chevy pick up truck 1959 chevy pick up truck 1959 chevy pick up truck

1959 chevy pick up truck

1508 East 23rd St. Independence Mo. 64055   |   Phone: 1.800.842.1913

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