One always looks for something a little different when choosing a platform on which to build a new project vehicle. Woody wagons and panel vans have always occupied a small but consistent portion of the hot rod population.
For 1954, Chevrolet’s 3100 series trucks came in several configurations including this panel van, as well as a pickup truck and a Suburban “Carryall.” The latter was an eight-passenger vehicle with removable center and rear seats to convert it into a cargo hauler.
All were driven by the cast iron ‘Thriftmaster’ six-cylinder engine, that delivered a whopping 30 HP from its 235 cubic inches of displacement. Heavy duty three and four-speed manual transmissions were available, in addition to the Hydramatic automatic transmission.
For a practical, utilitarian vehicle designed for work use, it is a bit surprising to note that pinstriping was standard. A black vehicle like the current example, would have sported argent silver highlights painted on by hand.
There were no vinyl stripes kits in those days, but a total of twelve production color choices were offered. Optional equipment included an AM radio, external sun visor, foot driven windshield washers, turn signals, floor mats, seat covers and a driver’s side only arm rest on the door panel.
Equipment in this updated version is thankfully more contemporary. Now powered by a 406 cui Chevrolet small block and 700 R4 transmission, this wagon sports all the modern amenities power steering and brakes, air conditioning, heat and defrost capabilities, according to the seller. Let’s not forget the 2-speed windshield wipers, in all probability with power windshield washers as well – never mind the optional foot pump version.
The reworked interior appears to be reasonably comfortable from the photos and the seller indicates that all door seals and window glass have been replaced. Currently located in Leesburg, FL, keeping the rain out is a top priority.
A high bid of $13,500 did not release the reserve on the car, so the auction expired very recently. There is little doubt that a lot of work has gone into converting what was originally a rather plain work truck into a drivable, cruisable hot rod. Contact information is available in the listing, so you can still get in touch with the owner.
As ever, no major purchase should be conducted online without a personal inspection first. If you or a trusted friend are not able to check it out in person, consider having an independent inspection and report done before making any financial arrangements.
With details like that out of the way, and as the seller suggests, you could fly in, take posession and drive this baby home. Now that would make for an interesting road trip, wouldn’t it?