Few things are more nostalgic than classic cars and trucks. Seemingly better built than the vehicles on the road today, antique vehicles harken to a different era when styling and construction mattered. Perhaps the most iconic vintage pickup is the 1957 Chevy truck.
While no author hates writing about classic cars, it is a special treat to talk about classic trucks. After all, pickups from the 1930s, ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s were the workhorses that drove industry and progress throughout the United States, Canada and other parts of the world.
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In this article, we tell you everything you want to know about the 1957 Chevrolet 3100 pickup. Continue reading for technical, pricing, restoration and other information about this iconic piece of automotive history.
Before we get into details about the 1957 Chevrolet 3100 pickup, we must take a look at the historical foundation of the truck. Chevrolet became a part of General Motors in 1918. That same year, the company introduced its first pickup. The truck was completely different than trucks on the road today. In fact, if you bought a Chevy truck in 1918, you only got a chassis and cowl. That’s right, the truck didn’t come with a cab or body. You had to come up with those on your own. As such, the first Chevy truck was more a piece of farm equipment than a road-ready vehicle.
What Is a 1957 Chevy Truck?
Nearly a decade later, Chevrolet sold a pickup that came with a cab. You could buy the truck for $495, but the cab was an additional $115. Yes, the cab on the 1927 Chevy pickup was an option. The modern Chevrolet truck didn’t arrive until 1946 when the company rolled out 3100 branding. That same year, Chevy offered heavier pickups with 3600 and 3800 labeling.
In 1955, Chevy introduced its first-series and second-series trucks. The second-series Chevy pickup would become the 1957 Chevy truck two years later. In 1955, Chevrolet offered its pickup with a six-cylinder base engine. It also began dropping the larger V8 engine from passenger cars into the front-end of trucks. The company also included an optional electric system, overdrive and power steering in pickups from 1955 onward.
While the 1957 Chevy truck shared many features with 1955 and ’56 models, it had some innovative changes. Specifically, the truck’s front end looked different. The company used an open-mouthed grille instead of a mesh-patterned one. The result was an iconic look that became instantly popular. The frenzy would never end, as buyer’s today continue to value the beefy appearance of the front-end of 1957 Chevrolet trucks. Also in 1957, Chevrolet increased the size of the truck’s V8 engine to 283-cubic inches and 160-horsepower. The company also added an optional four-wheel drive system to its 1957 Chevy truck.
1957 Chevy Truck Technical Specifications
The 1957 Chevy truck was the most innovative pickup ever to leave Detroit. It had some impressive technical specifications. The 1957 Chevrolet half-ton short-bed 3100 included the following:
- Weight: 3,217 pounds
- Fuel System: Single two-barrel Rochester carburetor
- Displacement: 235-cubic inches
- Bore x Stroke: 3.562 x 3.937 inches
- Compression Ratio: 8.0:1
- Horsepower at RPM: 140 at 4,200 RPM
- Torque at RPM: 210-foot-pounds at 2,000 RPM
1957 Chevy Truck Pricing
When it was introduced in 1957, that year’s Chevrolet 3100 half-ton short-bed pickup had a sticker price of $1,800. Just two years before, the 1955 truck sold for around $1,400. The more than 25 percent price increase in such a short time was due to the popularity of the vehicle. The 1957 truck boasted a V8 engine with available power steering, Torin hydraulics, and power brakes. If you were looking for a new truck that year, you also could have had your 1957 Chevrolet equipped with either a three-speed synchromesh, four-speed synchromesh or automatic transmission. That’s right, some 1957 Chevy trucks came with automatic transmissions. Of course, the option affected the price tag on the new vehicle.
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The 1957 Chevy truck never lost its popularity. Today, though, the truck is more popular than ever. As such, you don’t have to look far and wide for one. This is surprising given its age. Since reproduction parts are readily available, it is almost possible to build your own 1957 Chevy truck from a mail-order catalog. We should put emphasis on the world almost in that sentence, as some parts are harder to find. For example, tracking down engine and exhaust components can be tricky.
If you aren’t interested in building your own 1957 Chevrolet pickup from scratch, you may be in the market for a restored one. The problem here, though, is that hot rod enthusiasts have put their fingerprints on hundreds of 1957 Chevy trucks. Therefore, finding a historically accurate restoration can be tough. Today, restored 3100s usually sell for between $30,000 and $40,000. You can, of course, find restored trucks for significantly more. One recently sold at a national auction for $77,000.
Restored Chevy Truck Pricing
Spending $40,000 on a restored truck may not be your cup of tea. Fortunately, more than 350,000 3100s rolled off the assembly line in 1957. Logic indicates that there are unrestored trucks sitting in garages, workshops, and fields across the United States and Canada. You may be able to talk an old farmer out of his vintage truck for just a couple thousand.
If you are a serious 1957 Chevy truck enthusiast, you know how much you are willing to pay for a truck. The guidebook suggests a project truck should set you back around $2,500. A poor condition vehicle should cost $6,000, while a good-condition unrestored truck should sell for around $15,000. Of course, many variables affect the actual cost of a 1957 Chevrolet pickup. In the internet age, worldwide advertising and availability have increased the cost of some trucks and decreased the cost of others.
Who Owns a 1957 Chevy Truck?
There is something special about a 1957 Chevy truck. Well-built and heavy-duty, these trucks are still the workhorses of the frontier. Since they are more than six decades old, though, many of these vehicles have turned into showpieces. They deserve the rest.
Nowadays, a diverse collection of individuals owns vintage Chevy trucks. Some owners remember purchasing a Chevy truck in 1957. Others still have the first truck they ever bought. Today’s collectors of classic vehicles are as diverse as the vehicles they own.
If you have a passion for pickups, 1957 Chevrolet trucks have a unique place in your heart. When they came along, these trucks revolutionized the automobile industry. With powerful engines, iconic styling, and a fun driving experience, 1957 Chevy pickups are in high demand for both classic car collectors and trucking enthusiasts. Many truck clubs exist to help connect vintage truck lovers with other enthusiasts. The National Chevy and GMC Truck Association are the largest. There are, however, dozens of regional groups.
How Do You Get the Most out of your 1957 Chevy Truck?
If you are looking to maintain a restored 1957 Chevy truck, you need some information. Fortunately, a variety of online and published resources are available to assist you. Parts catalogs have a variety of parts that are made to original specifications. Moreover, companies around the globe make products to protect the paint, engine, interior and other components of classic cars. You can also purchase a modern car cover to protect the exterior of your vehicle when you aren’t driving it.
You probably don’t want to keep your restored 1957 Chevrolet pickup in a garage. Many vintage truck owners choose to drive their vehicles in local parades. You may even want to loan yours to a car museum to allow others to learn about the history and performance of your machine.
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Of course, you can’t be an owner of a 1957 Chevy truck and not join a fan club. Car shows and other events provide the perfect opportunity to share your restoration experience. If you just want a forum for showing off your impressive pickup, you can find one at a variety of expositions around the globe.
Finally, you may want to purchase some literature to help you get the most out of your 1957 Chevy truck. We recommend the 1957 Chevrolet Truck Shop Manual, which sells on Amazon for $32. If you prefer to learn from a CD or digital book, the General Motors Factory Shop Manuel for 1957 Chevrolet pickups is available through Amazon for about $40.
The Verdict: Why You Should Purchase a 1957 Chevy Truck
We probably don’t need to convince you to purchase a 1957 Chevy Truck. When the truck first appeared on roadways, it changed the automotive game. With classic lines, a large engine and utilitarian design, the 1957 truck quickly became the truck to have. That popularity has never waned.
Whether you want to purchase a fully-restored vehicle, a modified one or a project truck, the 1957 Chevy truck is an excellent option. Simply put, wherever you go, this truck is sure to turn heads. Even better, the vintage Chevrolet pickup is fun to drive.
Featured Image: CC by, dave_7, via Flickr.