Page Last Updated 05 June 2005
Identifying Chevy Advance Design Changes By Year
by Tom Caperton of Whiteville, North Carolina
1947

Saturday June 28, 1947... GM introduced the new "Advance Design" (AD) truck. Gas tank mounted under the bed and fills through the hole in passenger side of the bed. 3-speed tranny (non-synchromesh) is floor shift on all models - three and 4-speed alike. Doors have one-piece glass with no vent window, and door handles are turn-down type. Windshield is 2-piece. Hood side emblem says CHEVROLET and THRIFTMASTER. Cab 'corner windows' introduced for first time. Hand-operated emergency brake handle is located on the right-hand side of the floor shifter. Fresh air heater/defroster introduced. Radio available as an in-dash option for first time. Headliner center bow is screwed to roof of cab.

1948

Shifter for tranny moved to the column ("three on the tree"), and the synchromesh transmission was introduced. Emergency brake moved to far left side of steering column and was changed to a foot-operated mechanism. 1947 and 1948 models had red needles on the gauges.

1949

Hood side emblems now have CHEVROLET along with the series designation (3100, 3600, etc.) THRIFTMASTER on hood side emblems discontinued. Gas tank moved to inside the cab behind seat. Mid-year 1949, cab windlace goes from black to gray/tan and slides into track. Headliner center bow is changed to "floating" type and not screwed to roof of cab as before.

1950

Lever-action shocks are replaced by modern tubular shocks. This is the last year for the driver-side vent. Handle for side cowl vent is flat steel, not maroon plastic as it was previously. Wiper knob is chrome plated steel.

1951

One-piece door glass gives way to two-piece glass with vent windows. During the year, Chevy changed the bed from a 9-board to an 8-board pattern. Front bumper was standard, and rear bumper was an option. Only top cowl vent offered; driver-side vent discontinued. Only year with vent windows AND pull-down exterior door handles. Last year for chrome inside window handle knobs and chrome wiper knob.

1952

Exterior door handles are now push button type. Speedometer changed from a max of 80 mph to 90 mph. Half way through the year, GM stopped using 3100, 3600, 3800 emblems on side of hood whereas CHEVROLET kept them all year. No rear bumper offered. Horizonal strips below and above radio speaker grille plus glove box door changes to painted steel and not stainless steel as in previous years. Hubcaps change from chrome to gray painted steel with black block letters, but stamping and shape remain the same as prior years. Bumpers are no longer chrome, but gray painted steel.

1953

Last year for the 216 cubic inch engine. Hood front emblem now stainless steel, and hood side emblems lose the CHEVROLET but keep the series numbers (3100, 3600, etc.) First year a side-mounted spare is offered as an option. Rear bumper reintroduced. Last year for wood blocks under bed. Wiper knob is maroon plastic, as in 1952. First year for blue and silver ID door plate (prior years were black and silver.)

1954

High-pressure 235 cubic inch 112-horsepower engine introduced for pickups, and 261 ci engine introduced for larger trucks. Hubcaps are same shape as previous models, but now have only the "Bowtie" emblem. Old horizontal grille gives way to new bull-nose grille. First year for parking lights... introduced with new grille. The two-piece windshield is replaced with modern one-piece curved glass. Dash instruments and steering wheel changed to modern design. Bed redesigned, and top rails are now flat, not sloped like previous models. Taillights are now round. Rear bumper now has "notch" in center for license plate. Hydra-Matic transmission available in trucks for first time. Two-tone cabs available for first time as an option, but only with white top and only on more deluxe cabs. Full wheel covers now available as an option.

1955

First year for open drive shaft on pickup and panel truck. Final year for 6-volt system.

Notes:
1947-50 trucks had standard chrome bumpers on front and rear.
1947-49 trucks had large fuse block on firewall.
1947-50 trucks had driver-side vent.
1947-49 trucks had lever-action shocks.
1947 to mid-year 1949, cab opening windlace seal attached to cab with a metal retainer. Mid-year 1949, GM installed a track with a new style windlace that slid into the track.
With 1955 and earlier trucks, the raised letters on the tailgate were not a contrasting color, but were body color. Bed planks were hard yellow pine, and were painted black.
Prior to 1955, dark green was the standard paint color, with other colors being available as a non-cost option.
During 1947-48, the Chevrolet painted grille bars and "back splash" bars were body color. In addition, the leading edge of each painted outer bar had a horizontal stripe matching the cab stripe. On the 1949-51 Chevrolet, with a painted grille, the "back splash" bar was white. In 1952-53 this changed to light gray to match hubcaps and bumpers. On chrome grilles, only the outer bar was plated. The "back splash" bar was as the painted grille.
Chevrolet Truck Plant Codes, 1947-1954 (as found in VIN):
  1. Flint, Michigan
  2. Tarrytown, New York
  3. St. Louis, Missouri
  4. Kansas City, Missouri
  5. Oakland, California
  6. Atlanta, Georgia
  7. Norwood, Ohio
  8. Baltimore, Maryland
  9. Van Nuys, California
  10. Janesville, Wisconsin
Chevrolet Year and Series Identification, 1947-1955
Series Wheelbase(in) Vehicle Type
1947
EP 116 1/2-Ton Truck
ER 125 1/4 3/4-Ton Truck
ES 137 1-Ton Truck
1948
FP 116 1/2-Ton Truck
FR 125 1/4 3/4-Ton Truck
FT 125 1/4 3/4-Ton Forward
Control Delivery
FS 137 1-Ton Truck
FU 137 1-Ton Forward
Control Delivery
1949
GP 116 1/2-Ton Truck
GR 125 1/4 3/4-Ton Truck
GT 125 1/4 3/4-Ton Forward
Control Delivery
GS 137 1-Ton Truck
GU 137 1-Ton Forward
Control Delivery
1950
HP 116 1/2-Ton Truck
HR 125 1/4 3/4-Ton Truck
HT 125 1/4 3/4-Ton Forward
Control Delivery
HS 137 1-Ton Truck
HU 137 1-Ton Forward
Control Delivery
1951
JP 116 1/2-Ton Truck
JR 125 1/4 3/4-Ton Truck
JT 125 1/4 3/4-Ton Forward
Control Delivery
JS 137 1-Ton Truck
JU 137 1-Ton Forward
Control Delivery
1952
KP 116 1/2-Ton Truck
KR 125 1/4 3/4-Ton Truck
KT 125 1/4 3/4-Ton Forward
Control Delivery
KS 137 1-Ton Truck
KU 137 1-Ton Forward
Control Delivery
1953-1955 First Series
H 3100 116 1/2-Ton Truck
J 3600 125 1/4 3/4-Ton Truck
K 3700 125 1/4 3/4-Ton Forward
Control Delivery
L 3800 137 1-Ton Truck
M 3900 137 1-Ton Forward
Control Delivery
1955 Second Series
H 3100 116 1/2-Ton Truck
H 3124 114 Cameo Carrier
1/2-Ton Truck
M 3200 123 1/4 1/2-Ton Truck
F 3400 104 3/4-Ton Truck
G 3500 125 3/4-Ton Truck
J 3600 123 1/4 3/4-Ton Truck
K 3700 137 3/4-Ton Forward
Control Delivery
L 3800 135 1-Ton Truck

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