The Chevrolet Advance-Design Trucks Of 1947-1954, Part II

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taken from the Light Commercial Vehicle Association (LCVA) - Jan/Feb 1984

1954 was the final year of the Series and was a year of major changes.  First, the exterior styling changes were most evident in the all new front end with it’s new massive grille, more prominent parking lights and one-piece, curved windshield.  As with the original 1947 styling, the font end sheet metal was proportionally larger on the heavy duty models than on the light duty models.

The same twelve exterior colors were carried over from 1953.

The new one-piece curved windshield served to improve the frontal appearance and visibility.  The wind-split in the top above the windshield which previously highlighted the “V” construction was removed to accent the lines of the one-piece curved windshield.

A new circular tail light incorporating a single, double filament bulb replaced the previous rectangular design which housed separate single filament tail and stop light bulbs.

One the light duty models, the hub caps were restyled featuring the bow tie trademark instead of the name “Chevrolet”.  The trademark was centered on a blue background also in the shape of the Chevrolet trademark which made it stand out in bold contrast to the rest of the hub cap.

Greater comfort, convenience, and safety featured the new interior styling for 1954.  the numerous changes included a newly styled instrument panel and instruments, windshield garnish molding, steering wheel and horn button, and new interior colors and trim.  The seat cushion, back rest and door panel trim were brown, while the instrument panel garnish moldings, headlining and door panels were beige.

1954 saw the introduction of the pickup box which is still in use on 1984 pickups.  The side panels were deeper and more attractively embossed.  The top rails were now horizontal, not sloped to facilitate loading over the side and to contribute to the appearance of the body.

The body depth was increased from 14 inches to 17 1/2 inches.  This depth was now constant around the entire box.  Previously, the height of the tail gate and front end-panel was 14 inches and the top of the side panels measured 16 1/2 inches.  The increased depth provided greater utility for those who operated with light weight loads which were large and bulky.

The inside width of 50 inches remained the same in all three new boxes and, as before, this width was free of any wheelhouse obstruction.  On the 1/2 and 1 ton models, the inside length remained 78 1/2 inches and 108 1/2 inches respectively, but the length of the 1/2 ton was increased from 87 to 90 inches.

The full-length wood floorboards with durable flush-type steel skid strips over expansion joints were carried over from the previous style.

The tailgate latch construction was redesigned to provide a stronger fit and to eliminate rattling of the tailgate and spreading of the side panels when loaded.

The 216.5 cubic inch engine was dropped from 1954 and all trucks used a new 235 cubic inch engine.  The new engine was painted gray and was identified for light duty models as the THRIFTMASTER 235 on the valve rocker cover decal.  On the heavy duty series the decal read LOADMATER 235. The compression ratio was increased to 7.5:1. All engines now had aluminum pistons, insert type connecting rod bearings, and more rigid connecting rods and crankshafts, and a new full-pressure lubrication systems (a high-pressure version of the 235 engine was introduced in 1953 automobiles that came equipped with the Powerglide transmission - this included the only engine available in a 1953 Corvette).

1954 was also the first year Chevrolet offered an automatic transmission in trucks.  The Truck Automatic Transmission was a GM Hydra-Matic type with four forward speeds, designed to afford the maximum in driving ease and truck performance.

New, extra-cost options included dual electric windshield wipers, deluxe cab equipment package featuring two-tone interior color combinations of gray and maroon and a new rear bumper for pickups featuring improved utility and appearance.  Included with the new bumper was a special license plate bracket and tail light, to provide better protection and visibility.

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