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1949 Chevrolet Truck Restoration


Picking the truck up from my Grandparents

Over the past year and a half, I have had the privilege of rebuilding a 1949 Chevrolet truck. Working on this truck has been a great learning experience for me. Not only am I learning many different aspects of restoring cars, but I’m also learning about how cars were built over half a century ago. While not finished yet, I wanted to put together these photos to show the process of restoring vehicles like these.


For some background information on this truck, it is a post war truck, being part of the first generation of Chevrolets built after World War II. The truck is a series 3800 making it a 1-Ton truck, meaning that its suspension is rated at 1,000 pounds for each rear spring. In 1949, people could order trucks from the dealer with different configurations, like a flatbed, a box, or even only with the cab. The model number for this truck is 3804—the box configuration. Since the truck is a 1-Ton, it has a nine foot box on the back. I measured the truck’s length, and without the front bumper on it, it measures in at 18 feet and 8 inches. It certainly will be hard to find a parking spot for this truck.


The truck originally came with a 216 cubic inch inline six engine and a four speed manual transmission. In the late 1940s, speed limits weren’t quite as fast, so the truck has a low top speed. Because of the low top speed, my father and I had to swap some parts. Now, the truck has a Chevy 350 cubic inch V8 with a four speed overdrive transmission, in order to get it up to highway speeds. Even though the truck is 73 years old, it has some bells and whistles of its own. The truck comes with an adjustable seat, and for the original engine, it had a manual choke and a throttle adjuster, like you would find on an older tractor. The truck also came with windshield wipers, but instead of being electric, they were powered by engine vacuum.


There is a lot more to talk about, but it's about time to show the process of restoring this truck.

I had to disassemble the front end to pull the engine out without damaging it and the body of the truck.


After pulling the engine, my dad and I brought in the new transmission for it. The overdrive transmission will give the truck enough gear for highway speeds.

All brakes had to be rebuilt, and the bearings needed to be cleaned and packed again after sitting for 73 years.



Engine and freshened up and reinstalled.

The healiner needed to be replaced, as I was pulling the front piece it gave out and dropped about 20 pounds of mouse nest in the cab.

Masked off and painted dashboard.

Painted dash panels

My '49 and my dad's '57 Chevy getting worked on together.

Rebuilding this truck is a long process. Lately I've been rebuilding the interior, as it needs to be completely redone. Finding parts for the truck is tough, since it is a 1 ton, which is not a popular model to be restored. Slowly but surely I'm getting the truck restored, and will hopefully finish it sometime this summer. Thank you for taking the time to look through this small photo essay.

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