CC Capsule: 1948 Chevrolet Thriftmaster Pickup – An All-American Classic

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(first posted 5/18/2015)   How much do I love these Advance Design Chevy trucks? More than I will be adequately able to convey with mere words. I made a stab at it before and called it “America’s (and My) Favorite Truck“, in my earlier love song to its delightful curves, perfect proportions, timelessly simple grille, and practical upright cab. It’s just so damn perfect; what could one possibly improve? Even more so in this color, with the right amount of patina, and situated in front of another California classic. Sigh…

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This truck lives with the ’68 Malibu we considered the other day. The two make a arresting pair, in their faded pastels against these California Spanish-style houses and a brilliant spring sky. Oregon is a great CC repository, but there’s no climate that’s more benign to old cars than the Bay Area: dry enough so there’s no moss and rust, and yet cool and foggy enough so they cars don’t fry in the heat and sun. After five or seven decades, the results are splendid, with the older truck having aged even better.

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As a lover of honest patina, this one gets a very high grade. Under that perfectly shaped hood resides a 216 cubic inch six, one that gets some disdain from some quarters for its oiling system, yet all of my exposure to these trucks, including some very hard worked ones, has given me the sense that these engines are quite happy enough with a restricted oil diet. Or as a commenter pointed out a while back, the system of a combination of partly-pressurized aspects combined with well-designed splash oiling seems to do the trick well enough.

These sixes, with their reassuring gentle drone, powered millions of trucks, including quite large ones for decades. I’m thinking the whole “babbit-beater” epitaph might have been a well-concocted hate campaign underwritten by the competition, who might well have been jealous by the overwhelming market share dominance these “Advance Design” trucks enjoyed. Probably not.

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I fell in love with these trucks as soon as we moved to the US in 1960, as there were so many still being used by farmer at the time. And in the early 70’s, they had been discovered by the hippies and wanna’ bees, especially as the whole movement turned back to the land. One could find seemingly endless numbers of them for $50 bucks back then. How many perfectly rust-free former CA farm trucks went to an early grave because they hadn’t yet become properly appreciated and were just driven to death?

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That all changed soon enough, and needless to say, these have become more valuable. But if the right one, like this one, happened to have had a For Sale sign on it, this would be my truck. In lieu of that, I’ll just add it to my very long list of unrequited loves. But at or near the top.

More: CC 1951 Chevrolet 3100 Advance Design: America’s (And My) Favorite Pickup Truck