Chevrolet produced only passenger cars through 1917. The company introduced its first truck models in January of 1918 when they came out with two different four cylinder trucks. This was also the year that Chevrolet became a part of General Motors. Since that time Chevrolet has always been a top contender in the American truck market. Another important note is that Chevrolet did not build the finished pickup truck between 1918 and 1928. The company provided the buyer with only the chassis and cowl. A coach maker would be required to complete the truck body.Buyers would purchase and install aftermarket bodies during this era.
During the middle of the Great Depression, both Chevrolet and Ford battled it out in the passenger truck category. In the year 1935 there weren't a great many people able to buy a new car or truck. Just like during any severe financial downturn, people drove what they had for as long as they could. In many cases this lasted quite a long time.
Because of the discontinuance of civilian automobile manufacturing in 1942, many who managed to keep their cars and trucks running didn't buy new until after World War Two. Pickup trucks like the 1935 Chevy half Ton just kept being used for perhaps ten years or more.
1935 Chevy Truck Specs
The beautifully restored 1935 Chevy Half Ton Truck shown in this article is a great find. Chevrolet made news when it introduced the light truck industry's first overhead valve six cylinder engine in the year 1929. It should be noted that it didn't take main rival Ford Motor Company long to respond. Ford came out in The main Chevy truck engine from 1929 to 1954 was an Oldsmobile inline straight six. In 1955, Chevy added a small block eight cylinder.
The six cylinder engine on the vehicle shown has a 206.8 cubic inch displacement producing sixty horsepower. The truck's wheelbase was 112.0 inches. At new, this 1935 Chevy half Ton costs about $470. A relatively low price in 1935 and obviously a reflection of the nation's poor economy at the time.
In 1935 some of the truck cab was built with wood which of course deteriorates over time. Soon the wood was replaced with all metal. Restorers of these wood cab trucks either replace all wood with metal or find reproduction wood parts. In some cases the wood is such that it can be restored without replacing. Several companies today supply the reproduction wood. Some of these parts include window framing and roof supports.
Chevrolet total truck production was about 138,000 units. This was quite below both 1934 and 1936 production numbers. Out of the total number of trucks built by Chevrolet in 1935, a little over 50,000 were half ton pickups.
Also see our article on the Classic 1940 Chevy Half Ton.
Auto historians may remember that it was thought to be the 1935 Chevrolet Half Ton Truck chassis that ushered in the era of the SUV. This design in 1935 hardly compares to what many of us think an SUV to be. Regardless, this 1935 Chevy model actually had three rows of seats and could carry eight passengers. Chevrolet named the model the "Carryall". The term "SUV" denotes a sport utility vehicle and by all means this early 1930's SUV really pushed highlighted the feature of "utility" as opposed to what we today would describe "sport utility".
The 1936 model Chevy pickup trucks changed very little from the 1935 models. The engine did put out about another three horsepower. The 112.0 inch wheelbase was the same as with the 1935 model pickup.
Like with all vintage autos and trucks offered for auction, the condition and degree of restoration is the key factor. As of this writing, the 1935 Chevy Half Tons that have been auctioned recently have received bids from about $16,000 plus.
(Photos from author's collection)