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By: Robert Tate
Photos courtesy of the National Automotive History Collection
Posted: 04.04.2016

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General Motors has always had a great history of manufacturing and designing great looking products.

One particular brand that has endeared itself to consumers over many years are Chevrolet trucks. Chevrolet trucks have a long and great history starting in 1918 when the company introduced its truck line. These first autos were called the Model T 1-ton vehicles along with the Model T-Ton commercial vehicles which were used for many businesses at the time.

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This story, however, looks at 1953 which was a particularly successful year for Chevy trucks. Corporate advertising at the time labeled the new line as “Advance Design Series.” The models offered the consumer comfort, convenience and safety. The bodies were built under an advanced method of manufacturing known as unit design systems operations – a labor intensive process that focused on worker precision.

For example, on one particular part, the men and women in the process of assembly had to cut to exact dimensions and assemble and rigidly fasten the unit-designed floors for the operation assembly. Later, surfaces were carefully inspected for any type of irregularities.

The 1953 Chevrolet truck offered several great looking models in their new line. The medium-duty had a selection of pickups along with the popular stake truck models and the door-to-door delivery vehicles which were very popular among store retailers for business and much added sales opportunity.

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Chevrolet also offered truck models for heavy-duty type of services such as the large moving vans when consumers were moving from state to state or other types of heavy duty maintenance operations. The trucks also worked for gravel and dirt hauling.

The “Battle Cab Construction” had a double-walled, welded steel unit body which offered great strength and durability for the driver as well as the passengers.

The 1953 Chevrolet truck models offered better performance, increased durability, and it had a lower operating cost compared to its competitors. A Chevrolet model not shown in this story is the 1953 Chevrolet sedan delivery models. The models offered a new fleet appearance that most retailers really liked. Chevrolet trucks were also used for vocational purposes such as school bus bodies that were offered on a 6802 chassis had the capacity for 54 students with 26-inch seat spacing.

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Chevrolet truck models were designated by number, wheelbase and maximum gross vehicle weight rating half-ton 1-ton and 2-ton for easy identification. The 1953 Chevrolet 3100 half-ton pickup models offered a new option with the spare tire which was designed and mounted on the side of the truck. The new mounting, was now more accessible than previous models and this was now an easier way for the driver when changing a tire. The beverage industry like Pepsi Cola also relied very much on Chevrolet trucks to move their products within the grocery store chains. The models were called the Chassis and Cab designs that could hall loads up to five tons.

The 1953 Chevrolet trucks were designed from the prewar truck styling days that was introduced in 1948. The designs continued from 1948 to 1954 when a new front grille was offered on its truck model designs. The inside area for the 1953 Chevrolet truck model interiors, offered available room for two passengers and one driver. The interior also included an all-steel cab construction along with roomy and full-width seat cushions. Most importantly, the model featured an all-around vision and safety design for the driver.

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The year 1953 was certainly a good time for Chevrolet because this was also the year that Chevrolet introduced its popular Corvette model to the consumer market.

In conclusion, Chevrolet truck models have always historically introduced high marks and great customer satisfaction among buyers of commercial transportation. Today, Chevrolet trucks are still very popular among many generations and for future generations to come.

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A special thanks to Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher, for contributing this story to the MotorCities Story of the Week Program. (Bibliography: Dammann H. George, “Sixty Years of Chevrolet” Crestline Publishing 1972.)

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