Up close and personal with Chevy Truck history

Chevrolet rolled out some iconic pickups from its 100-year history during its centennial celebration at the Texas Motor Speedway.

FORT WORTH, TX. With a 100-year-history of manufacturing trucks, how can you pick just one to represent the entire Chevrolet brand?

You can't. But the folks at General Motors provided a good selection of classics from as far back as 1926 during the Chevy Trucks centennial celebration this past weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway. 

In this photo gallery, we highlight four of the trucks, which are part of the General Motors Heritage Center collection, and were trucked down from Michigan to Texas for the festivities. 

Going as far back as 1926, which was just eight years after Chevy debuted its first flatbed truck, these trucks show off how the brand has evolved. And it would be tough for any American not to find some sort of nostalgic connection to these pickups — whether it be to the old GM seatbelt buckles or the wood-paneling on a tailgate. 

Here are some Chevy-provided details and specifications on each of these trucks:

1926 Chevrolet Superior X

Model: Utility Express One-Ton Stake Truck / Superior Series X
Engine: 171 cid OHV inline 4-cyl; 35 HP
Transmission: 3-speed manual with floor shift
Price: $550 at time of sale

Chevrolet’s Superior Series “X” One-Ton Utility Express truck was a true workhorse in its day. Even though the horsepower rating seems somewhat weak for a truck, proper gearing and torque were far more crucial to getting the job done. And, although the roads in America were getting better at the time, travel at high speed was certainly not yet a requirement for work trucks. Owners wanted dependability and economy of operation, and Chevrolet delivered.

The Series X was new for 1926 and used passenger car hood, fenders, lights and running gear. Equipment included a three-speed manual sliding-gear transmission with a floor-mounted gear shift and single-plate dry-disc clutch; and, semi-floating rear axle with mechanical, external-contracting rear brakes and wooden-spoke wheels.

1956 Chevrolet Pickup

Model: 3100 Series
Engine: 265CID OHV V8; 162 HP
Transmission: 3-speed manual with overdrive
Price: $1,619 at time of sale

Attitudes about trucks were changing fast in the 1950s as more and more people used them for double duty: cargo hauling and personal transportation. Many small
businesses believed an eye-catching truck could also promote their services.

Introduced in 1955, the “Advance Design” series was inspired by passenger-car design. Chevy trucks featured a wraparound windshield and egg-crate grille. Jutting forward from the thoughtfully-shaped fender and door surfaces, the car-inspired sculptured headlamp visors helped to create a racy profile. And, it offered the option of Chevrolet’s popular 265-cubic-inch V-8 engine, rated at a stunning 162 horsepower.

1971 Chevrolet Pickup

Model: Cheyenne Half-Ton Pickup
Engine: 350CID V8; 170 [email protected]; 310 lb. ft.
Transmission: 3-speed THM
Price: $2,930 at time of sale

In 1971, the Chevrolet Cheyenne was the new top-of-the-line pickup offered with custom grained upholstery, special door trim panels and woodgrain inserts. Standard
equipment included: six-cylinder engine, side terminal battery, dual brake master cylinder, backup lights, panoramic rear window, non-glare inside mirror, padded dash
ashtray, seat belts with retractors, push-button seat belt buckles, 2-speed electric washer/wipers, safety glass and a painted front bumper.

1978 Chevrolet Silverado

Model: Performance Restoration of 4x4 Regular Cab Pick Up
Engine: 5.3L 324cid V8; 336 [email protected]; 350 lb. ft. @2800
Transmission: 4L70E 4-Speed Automatic
Price: N/A

At the 2013 SEMA show, Chevrolet displayed this beautifully restored 1978 4x4 Silverado. The GM Performance team bought the old 4x4 from a farmer in Wisconsin.
For five months leading up to SEMA, members of the restoration team went through every inch of this truck with the thought of making every aspect of the truck better than before.

The first thing the engineers did after restoring the frame and suspension was to install a 5.3L E-Rod V8 crate motor and mate it to a modern 4L70E automatic transmission. The rebuilt truck uses the same New Process gear-driven manual-levered transfer case that came stock with the original truck, but all the brake parts and lines have been fully reconditioned. The suspension has the truck sitting about two inches taller than the stock height, and it wears 305/70R16 tires and 16x8” wheels.

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