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The History of the Five Window Chevy Truck

by Rob Wagner

Chevrolet broke away from prewar truck styling with its 1947 models. Marketed as the Advanced Design trucks, Chevy placed an emphasis on cab comfort and safety. For the 1947 to 1954 models, stylists conceived the five-window cab, formally known as the Deluxe Cab, to eliminate the blind spots in the rear quarter panels of the cab. This allowed the driver to look over his shoulder to view the rear instead of poking his head out the window.

Deluxe Cab Features

Chevrolet recognized that its trucks had to be more than workhorses, but also comfortable vehicles to drive. The automaker also recognized that the truck was no longer just a farm truck, but also driven as suburban transportation, with a greater number of women getting behind the wheel. Chevrolet marketed the truck with a new postwar approach. Chevy expanded the glass area of the 1947 models by 22 percent over the prewar designs. It also developed a new safety-glass technology. For the five-window Deluxe Cab models, Chevy marketed the feature as "Nu-Vue Rear-Corner Windows." These rear quarter-panel windows curved with the contour of the cab to eliminate the blind spot. Stylists finished all the windows with stainless steel trim.

Deluxe Cab Dimensions

Chevrolet increased the dimension of the windshield to 14.5 inches from top to bottom. The door window measured 21.6 inches wide and 14.1 inches tall. More importantly, the rear quarter-panel windows added 118 square inches of glass area on both sides, with the rear window measuring 10 inches deep and almost 31 inches wide. Chevy's marketing department insisted the Deluxe Cab could accommodate three adults, which was more than a little wishful thinking since the bench seat measured just 55 inches wide. However, the overall cab dimensions were fairly impressive by contemporary standards. The headroom was a bit tight at 36.6 inches, but the legroom was excellent at 41.1 inches. The seat back measured 27.5 inches from the dashboard.

Overall Size

The 1/2-ton models featuring either the Deluxe Cab or standard cab configurations each sat on a 116-inch wheelbase, and the body measured 196.5 inches long. The cargo box measured 78 inches long, 50 inches wide and 14 inches deep. The 3/4-ton version had a 125.25-inch wheelbase and a body measuring 205.75 inches long. The bed was 87 inches long, with the same width and depth of the short-wheelbase version. The 1-ton models had a 137-inch wheelbase and 223.5-inch body length. The cargo box was 108.125 inches long.

Cab Changes

In late 1949, Chevrolet improved some features of the standard and Deluxe Cab models. It restyled the door window windlace to fit inside a metal track. The headliner no longer screwed into the roof of the cab but was a "floating" type. The automaker dropped the "Thriftmaster" badging on the hood and instead used numerical designations for the trucks' sizes. Hood badging now featured "3100" for 1/2-ton models, "3600" for 3/4-ton models and "3800" for 1-tons. The cabs received vent door windows in 1951. The cargo box featured nine long boards on the floor through 1950, and then switched to eight boards in 1951. In 1953, the single-piece curved windshield arrived.

About the Author

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.

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