1940's Classic Trucks
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1941-1946 Chevy Trucks

If you spend anytime reading truck history you will soon learn that a common design theme which is repeated over and over again is that of "massiveness." This word was used to describe the front appearance of the new 1941 Chevrolet Trucks. Especially on light-duty trucks designers continually worked to get just the right look of massiveness and ruggedness in the truck's grille, front bumper and front fenders. I'm not so sure that the ruggedness and massiveness have stood the test of time for the 1941-1946 Chevrolet pickups. It was my good friend John Gunnell who coined the term "Wurlitzer" for these trucks, which is a wonderfully descriptive term. I think the point is clear: these are attractive trucks but maybe not all that massive. We must admit that it is hard to miss all that bright chrome, however I tip my hat to the Chevrolet designers for their work, which has stood the test of time.

The new 1941 Chevrolet truck's entire front end: hood, louvers, fenders, bumpers, headlights, parking lights and grille were all new. When combined with a 1 1/2-inch increase in wheelbase, the result was a larger, more impressive truck. Chevrolet engineers backed up the truck's bigger look with more power. Without an increase in cubic inches, horsepower was increased by 5 to 90 and torque by 4 to 174 lb-ft. at 1200 to 200 rpm. The longer wheelbase was used to provide the driver with additional legroom and the seat back was reclined to a more comfortable angle. The seat cushion and back were also improved for better comfort and longer life through the use of more springs and additional cotton padding.

The new half-ton was built on a 115-inch wheelbase. Body offerings included a pickup, panel, canopy and Suburban. The 3/4-ton had a 125 1/4-inch wheelbase and included a pickup, platform, stake and panel bodies. The one-ton series (now designated as medium-duty models) had the long 134 1/2-inch wheelbase and included a pickup, panel, canopy and stake. The automobile based Commercial cars, the Sedan Delivery, Coupe-Pickup and wooden-bodied Station Wagon also continued.

The 1942 Chevrolet pickups were essentially unchanged from 1941. Because America entered World War II in December 1941 the government halted all civilian truck production early in 1942. Chevrolet ceased building civilian models on January 30, 1942. Rationing of commercial vehicles commenced on March 9, 1942. Between then and July 31, 1945 the Office of Defense Transportation released a total of only 56,128 light-duty trucks. I think its safe to say most of the lights were pickups. Totals for medium trucks was 205,293 and heavy trucks was 64,943 (all figures are for the entire truck industry). Chevrolet resumed production of civilian trucks for the general market on August 20, 1945. The government allowed Chevrolet to build civilian heavy-duty chassis cabs for qualified essential users in both 1944 and 1945 and the half-ton 115-inch wheelbase pickup in 1945 for qualified essential civilian users. Chevrolet advertised it as the nation's "Most Popular Pickup Truck." It was basically the same truck as the 1942 model but with several engineering improvements. Chevrolet brought to market a full line (100 models on 9 wheelbases) of light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks on May 1, 1946 complete with chrome trim. All prewar models except the Coupe Pickup returned. The light-duty engine was the same as the prewar engine. These trucks stayed in production until about May 1, 1947 when the Advanced Design trucks entered production.

Truck Specifications


Six-cylinder truck engine block and head casting numbers. Check here to see if your engine is correct for your year truck.

1939 engine numbers run 1915447 through 2697267.

1940 engine numbers run 2697268 through 3665902

Valves     In head/2 per cylinder

Cylinders     Six, inline

Bore and Stroke    3.5" 3.75"

Piston Displacement   216.5 Cu. In.

Torque     170 Lbs-Ft

Horsepower (Brake)   78 @ 3,200 rpm

Horsepower (SAE)   29.4

Contact Information

E-mail: classictruck1940@gmail.com

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