The best resto-mods are the purest: they look stock, but offer modern performance and comfort. This 1946 Chevrolet 3100 pickup truck is a perfect example. At first glance, it’s a nicely restored old pickup, but under the hood there’s a V8 engine, an automatic overdrive transmission, and all the performance and comfort of a newer machine.
Bright red paint is always a wonderful choice for an old pickup. We can all envision a truck just like this, which years ago was working in a field with a denim-clad farmer tossing hay bales into the bed. Today it has been restored to better than new condition. A lot of these were worked to death, but this one seems very solid and clean, so it was probably not a farm mule and survived its working years completely intact. ’40s pickups have become collector’s items in their own right, combining timeless good looks with great drivability, and this one seems to have distilled the essence of that idea into sharper focus. Most of the chrome trim has been retained and looks great, especially with that black trim running along the sides of the hood and cab. The bed is beautifully finished with a varnished wood floor that has a red stain that’s pretty darned close to the color of the bodywork, and it looks awesome!
Inside, the basics are a little less basic than they were in 1946. Although the goal was to make this a truck capable of cruising like a modern vehicle, the builder didn’t want to lose the flavor of a vintage machine. So there’s a bench seat, still upholstered in simple black vinyl, and the original metal dash has been restored, not modified. However, inside the gauge panel you’ll find the original speedometer flanked by modern gauges, which is a neat touch. The big three-spoke steering wheel is original equipment, too, now vanished with a black leather wrap to give it a more luxurious feel, and there are red accents throughout the interior to tie it all together neatly. Carpets replace the original rubber mats and the original under-dash heater remains, a nice nod to the past. There’s also an AM/FM radio hidden out of sight and a custom handle on the shifter so it looks like the original 3-speed manual but actually manages a TH400 3-speed automatic transmission.
The original six-cylinder engine and stump-pulling gears are long gone, replaced by a rebuilt 283 cubic inch V8. However, the goal wasn’t tire-shredding horsepower, but rather comfortable cruising without disturbing the character of the original vehicle. In that regard, it is extremely successful. The engine runs without a fuss, inhaling through a 4-barrel carburetor up top and exhaling through a great-sounding dual exhaust system. There’s plenty of shiny stuff on the engine, including a stainless firewall, but you can tell that it was built to cruise first and foremost. Up front, the suspension is stock, which means a rigid axle, but it has been upgraded with front disc brakes. A 1963 Nova donated its rear end and it carries a more street-friendly set of gears so this pickup can cruise all day at highway speeds. Chrome Cragar wheels wearing 235/60/15 blackwall radials give it a vintage hot rod look.
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