1954 Chevy Pickup Specsby Rob Wagner
Chevrolet got the jump on Ford, Dodge and Studebaker by producing its Advanced Design series of pickup trucks in 1947, a radical styling change from the prewar model trucks. These new trucks offered more cab room, a streamlined body style and the capacity to carry heavier loads. Chevy produced the 1954 pickup through 1955 and was the last of the Advanced Design trucks. It came as the half-ton 3100, 3/4-ton 3600 and 1-ton 3800.
Chevrolet replaced its 216.5-inch in-line six-cylinder engine in 1954 with the 235.5-cubic-inch straight six. The new engine featured a 3 9/16th-inch cylinder bore and a 3 15/16th-inch stroke with a 7.5:1 compression ratio. The engine received its fuel through a single-barrel Rochester carburetor. The new engine developed 112 horsepower and 200 fott-pounds of torque to give it superior hauling over the 1953 models. Three transmission options were available: A three- or four-speed manual transmission or the Hydra-Matic automatic.
Chevy placed the 3100 models on a 112-inch wheelbase with a 191.3-inch overall length. The 3600 featured 125.5-inch wheelbase and measured 204 inches long. The big 3800 came on a 137-inch wheelbase and was 223.5 inches long. The cargo box came in three sizes: 78, 87 and 108 inches long. The width of all models was about 74 inches. The fuel tank carried 16 gallons. Half-ton models had a curb-to-curb turning radius of 41 feet, while the larger versions had a 50-foot turning radius.
The 1954 3100 series truck had a gross vehicle weight of 4,000 lbs and a 1,750-lb. payload, which includes occupants in the cab and material in the cargo box. The 3100 series with optional 10-leaf springs in the rear had a gross vehicle weight of 4,800 lbs. The 3600 series had a gross vehicle weight up to 6,900 lbs. with a payload of up to 3,950 lbs. The 3800 series featured a gross vehicle weight of up to 5,300 lbs. and up to a 10,000-lb. payload.
The front suspension consisted of an I-beam system with a 2,200-lb. capacity, with the rear featuring a semi-floating system with a 3,300-lb. capacity. The rear also featured an eight-leaf spring suspension or the optional 10-leaf spring. The rear axle ratio was 3.9:1. Stopping power came from 11-inch hydraulic drums on all four wheels. The frame featured ladder type construction with four cross members and channel side rails. The steering gear was a recirculating ball type. All models rode on 16-inch steel wheels with 6X16 or 6.50X16 tires.
Like on all early postwar pickup trucks, amenities were few. Standard equipment on all 1954 Chevy pickups was an ammeter, fuel gauge, oil pressure gauge, speedometer, cowl ventilator controls, locking glove box and ashtray. Options included a radio, armrests, locking gas cap, stainless steel hubcaps, a handwound clock, multicolor plaid seat covers, window rain deflectors, mud flaps, heater, fog lamps, spotlight, floor mats and a hood ornament. Also offered at extra cost were a passenger side sun visor, foot-operated windshield washer, rear shock absorber shields, brake booster, rear bumper, heavy-duty front springs, two-stage rear leaf springs, 20-inch steel wheels and two-tone paint schemes.
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Rob Wagner is a journalist with over 35 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. His experience ranges from legal affairs reporting to covering the Middle East. He served stints as a newspaper and magazine editor in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Wagner attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has a degree in journalism.