MARCH 2024: 1950 CHEVY 3100—IT TOOK ONE WINTER TO BUILD THIS CLASSIC

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Car guys don’t hibernate in the winter—they build cool projects.

This 1950 Chevy 3100 pickup is a great example of how talent and ambition can create something nobody else has in one winter.

Jerry Sutherland

Marcel Kowall had an old truck cab and a vision for what he wanted to build. That’s not much to start with, but Marcel had a game plan, so he began assembling parts and assessing what he had in his own inventory of stuff.

His inventory included a set of custom aftermarket Corvette wheels he had sitting on a shelf for 25 years, so that’s where he started— he wanted to build a truck around those wheels.

Marcel knew what he wanted to use as a base for the project—a Chevy S-10 4X4. He used a 4×4 frame because it was three inches wider than a two-wheel drive S-10, so he didn’t need spacers to fit his wheels under the truck. Marcel said he simply removed the front differential and lowered the truck to get the stance and ride he wanted.

The frame was a close fit, but Marcel had to shorten it to build his version of a ’50 Chevy pickup. He cut it, welded it, and plated it to make it work. Marcel didn’t like the length between the cab and the rear fenders, so he shortened the truck bed to make it a one-off version of a classic Chevy pickup. He said people “look at the truck, but they can’t figure out what’s different—when they do, they really like it”.    

The engine was another story. It’s a 350 small block out of a 1970 Chevelle hooked up to a 700R automatic transmission, so it’s a free- breather. Marcel placed the engine higher because he didn’t want to “scrape an oil pan” in his lowered truck. An added bonus—the truck is really easy to work on thanks to the extra height.

Marcel had the cab, but he needed more to make this truck work, so he spent a lot of time on the road looking for Chevy pickup parts. It took five trucks to accumulate enough pieces to make a whole truck—Marcel is the original recycler.

This Chevy project was supposed to be simple and affordable, so Marcel used everything he could out of the donor S-10—including the wiring harness and the steering column.

The seats came out of a 2008 Ford Ranger because Marcel needed something that fit within the narrow cab. He then added aftermarket gauges that replicate the early 50s look to keep the old school look.

Marcel wanted a driver, so this is a mild truck with great street manners. He said it runs about 1800 rpm at highway speeds so the truck isn’t working, and Greg said he “gets okay mileage”. There’s an aftermarket radiator with an electric fan so he doesn’t worry about hot summer days.  Marcel drives it every day because it’s his go-to ride in the summer and—he added—”it’s easy to smoke the tires”.

Marcel started the project on October 19th and went for his 1st run on March 17th –that’s exactly how motivated and talented car guys spend their winter.                                      

Jerry Sutherland

By: Jerry Sutherland

Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post,  Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.

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