- Frame-off restoration
- Lipstick Red
- 235 cid inline six
- 3-speed manual transmission
- 10-bolt rear end
- Oak bed floor
The vast majority of classic trucks seen in magazines and at shows sport a list of modifications longer than War and Peace. While those extensively customized trucks are always cool to look at, this 1954 Chevrolet 3100 manages to carry the same level of appeal without a single notable body modification. The recipient of an extensive frame off restoration, the truck exhibits a level of quality unobtainable from the assembly lines of the 1950s. Featuring a 235 cubic inch inline six cylinder, a three speed manual transmission and a color sure to turn heads in any situation, few trucks in our showroom have generated such a buzz. If you're in the market for a classic piece of Americana that can be driven, shown and fully enjoyed, this '54 Chevy may be exactly what you're looking for.
At the core of this natural magnetism is Chevrolet's Advance Design which took GM trucks a step forward by offering more interior room, better visibility and improved looks. By 1954, the design had been refined to such a degree that it remains a head-turner even by today's standards. To make sure the exterior fit and finish of this 3100 was show quality, all panels were taken down to bare metal and massaged to perfection before being shot with a glossy coat of Lipstick Red. While lighter than the Romany Red or Morocco Red found on the 1954 Chevrolet option list, this color absolutely sets off the immaculate body work. Panel fitment is equally good. All gaps are even and the doors shut much easier than any original truck we've encountered.
These trucks were designed to be aesthetically pleasing and, in the mid-1950s, that meant chrome. At the front of the hood, chrome trim houses a blue bowtie logo above the impressive chrome “bull nose” grille. At either side, Wagner round lights in chrome bezels look showroom fresh as do the amber turn signals mounted in the grille. Below the grille, a simple chrome bumper rounds out the front end. At the sides, “3100” logos adorn the sides of the hood while black running boards contrast nicely against the Lipstick Red finish. A spare tire hangs just behind the cab, neatly tucked into the fender cutout. Wooden bed rails add some style to bed and match the hardwood used for the beautifully finished bed floor. Out back, “Chevrolet” is spelled out across the tailgate in gloss black that matches the running boards. At either side, small round taillights hang in chrome bezels about another show quality chrome bumper. Naturally, all glass work looks new as well. Absolutely no expense was spared on the exterior of the Chevy.
Open the hood and you'll find a high-pressure 235 cubic inch OHV six cylinder. A tag on the doorframe certifies 105 net horsepower at 3,600rpm but that wasn't where these engines shined. Designed with towing in mind, they produce in the neighborhood of 200 ft. lbs. or torque in stock form. This one shows as well, if not slightly better, than it did on the Chevrolet dealership lot of 1954. Up top, a black oil bath air cleaner sits atop a Rochester carburetor perched on an intake that extends off the driver's side of the engine. Below it, a factory-style cast iron exhaust manifold channels spent gasses to the exhaust system. On the passenger side, the distributor sends spark from its easily accessible spot to the side of the engine. Up front, a factory style radiator keeps things cool while a fan and alternator turn off the belt just behind it. The original 6-volt electrical system has been upgraded to a 12-volt system featuring an Optima battery hidden under the floor.
Crawling underneath this 3100 reveals a solid frame coated in chassis black. Correct leaf springs and drum brakes occupy all for corners of the chassis while a 3-speed transmission featuring a fresh clutch handles shifting duties. Power is put to the ground through a rebuilt 10-bolt rear end and a solid axle. A single muffler exhaust system runs the length of the truck, meeting a stainless tip that hangs under the curved rear bumper. Underneath the bed, all supports under the oak floor have been repainted body color for some extra show points. Like the rest of the truck, the underside of this 3100 is simple but effortlessly attractive. At the corners, painted steel wheels wrapped in white wall tires connect the drivetrain to the road.
Between the doors, the cab is simple but appealing. A restored black vinyl bench seat makes room for driver and passenger alike. The use of black continues onto the upper half of the door panel, headliner and utilitarian rubber mat that covers the floor. From the driver's seat, a speedometer and multipurpose gauge with temperature, battery, fuel level and oil readouts sits directly behind a period-correct black steering wheel. On the passenger side, a locking glove box sits directly above an appropriately decaled Chevrolet heater/defroster unit. The dash itself is metal with a small grille in the middle. Painted body color with a bowtie and “Chevrolet” spelled out across the center in black paint, the dash looks perfect amidst the vintage interior. A prismatic traffic light viewer has been added for some extra retro flair. There is no modern radio or hidden air conditioning – just the pure essence of a classic truck.
Documentation for this truck comes mostly in the form of receipts. The work performed by one shop alone totals over $50k before you even get into smaller receipts or other factors such as the cost of the truck. Also included are build photos that show the truck in various stages of restoration.
This 1954 Chevrolet 3100 has historical significance, rugged elegance and vintage swagger that set it apart from most restored and modified trucks. It plays to nostalgia and Americana that everyone can appreciate while remaining a highly drivable truck that feels like vintage hardware. Whether you're racking up trophies at shows or just spending a Saturday night out on the town, it's guaranteed to be the center of attention wherever you go.