After scopic research into what American consumers were seeking in a truck, Chevrolet’s designers blueprinted the new Advanced Design era truck. The 1947-1955 pickups got the name “Advanced Design Series” for their advances in construction and mechanical prowess that resulted in more reliable and economical trucks that featured radical post-war styling. This was General Motors’ first major redesign following World War II and offered a larger yet sleeker design than previous generations. Up front the Advanced Design trucks featured recessed lighting and rounded fenders. These features complimented the smooth bodylines and aerodynamic anatomy of the modern working man’s rig. The 3100 base model was very customizable and was offered with a wide array of optional equipment, ranging from chrome accents to engine upgrades. The Advanced Design era trucks, dubbed the 3100, 3600, and 3800, were destined to be remembered from conception. These contemporary trucks featured a completely welded cab seven inches longer and eight inches wider. This allowed for Chevrolet’s first three man seat in a pickup truck that was also fully adjustable. A fresh-air heater and defroster system was fitted to the larger windshield and vacuumed air from outside into the cab and forced used air through vents towards the rear of the cab.
The 3100 pickup served as the half-ton derivation while the 3600 was the ¾ ton and thus the 3800 was the 1-ton model. For the bulk of the Advanced Design pickups run, the base model (the 3100) featured a 92hp, 216.5 cubic-inch in-line six-cylinder that produced 174 foot-pounds of torque. This may not sound like much these days but 174 foot-pounds of torque allowed the truck to accelerate relatively quickly considering its vintage and haul proportionately lofty loads. The 3100 also featured a three-speed manual as standard equipment and a snappy four on the floor as an option. Towards the end of the 3100’s production run, Chevrolet replaced the 216.5-ci six with a bored out 235.5-ci straight-six producing 112hp and 200 foot-pounds of torque. In addition to more horsepower an automatic transmission was offered as an option by 1964.
The 3100 also featured a cushioned three-point suspension system that was installed between the frame and cab to soften the ride quality of the truck. The front suspension was an IFS system while the bed was suspended on leaf springs. With as much hauling power as the 3100 had, the designer’s at GM fitted the truck with hydraulic drum brakes to slow its load. The production of the 3100 was long before the advent of modern disc brakes and drums were the most substantial braking option at the time.
The 1947-1955 Chevrolet trucks outsold all other manufacturers and were number one in sales until they were discontinued on March 25, 1955. Since many American consumers were demanding more power, Chevrolet discontinued the 3100 and debuted a more desirable V8 model. Many of these trucks exist today primarily as showpieces from another time, yet the 3100 pickup will remain as homage to post-war history and Americana alike. The 3100 Chevrolet is a timeless piece of engineering that showcased pervasive innovation and forward-thinking stylistic design. These trucks will forever be remembered for their service across America’s heartland and Chevrolet’s impact on the American auto industry.
Credits: Emmett Vick and ehow.com