Chevrolet pickups had entered the “modern era” starting with the 1937 model year. Up through 1936, the truck range consisted of a ½ ton commercial model and a 1 ½ ton heavy-duty model, with no choices in between. These were good trucks, built to a purpose and with little regard for comfort. For the 1937 model year, all new sheet metal was introduced and the gaps in payload capacities were closed with the addition of both ¾-ton and 1-ton models. Styling was very attractive and borrowed heavily from the passenger car line. The tall grille and curvaceous front fenders really set the truck apart. Other big changes for 1937 included an all-steel cab (no more wood framework) and an updated 216.5 cubic inch inline six cylinder engine. The newly revised overhead valve engine now generated a healthy 80 horsepower, well up on the 65 horsepower unit of the previous year. The new pickup was stylish, functional and returned strong performance. As with many trucks from this period, attrition is very high as they served their time doing hard labor. Many did not survive the years of abuse, and many of the rare survivors have been cut into hot rods, making the few original examples that remain very desirable collectibles.
This handsome 1937 Chevrolet ½ Ton is a very attractive and thoroughly usable example of what has become a rare pickup. It wears a high quality, ground-up restoration finished in a handsome combination of dark green on the cab and bed over black fenders and running boards. A subtle light green pinstripe follows the swage lines on the cab. Paint quality is very good, as is the general fit and finish of the bodywork. Like most pickups of this era, chrome trim is minimal, but the bumpers, grille, and body fittings have been re-plated as part of the restoration and show very well. In the bed, beautifully finished oak floor planks are separated by polished stainless steel strips, in lovely contrast with the green paintwork. It rides on a set of black painted steel wheels wrapped in Firestone whitewall tires which add a well-judged visual pop. The restoration was professionally executed, making this a functional, usable truck that would not be out of place in a show.
Inside, the seats are covered in brown upholstery and the dash and door panels coated in taupe wrinkle finish which is believed to be the correct finish. The instruments appear original and basic rubber mats line the floor. These pickups are a far cry from today’s luxury-laden behemoths, but a healthy dose of period functional charm is more than enough to make up for the lack of gadgets. The closest thing to luxury in this truck is a crank-operated opening windscreen which helps cab ventilation on hot days.
It almost goes without saying that the mechanicals on this fine truck live up to the standard set by the cosmetics. The quality of the restoration shows in the very well detailed engine bay and on the clean and tidy undercarriage. The engine bay is very simple but properly detailed with correct fasteners, clamps and wiring. This well-restored Chevrolet has seen some light use in the time since the restoration was completed, but it remains very clean and tidy throughout. Attractive, approachable, and very nicely restored, this Chevrolet is a fine choice for the enthusiast who wants a very usable truck that can be enjoyed on the road or shown off with pride.