1951 Chevrolet Truck

The 1951 Chevrolet truck got a more-durable and wider "double-decker" seat. This used two layers of springs, one atop the other. The seat adjuster went to a combination of ball and roller bearings instead of the former double rollers on a central shaft.

Another 1951 upgrade was the addition of self-energizing Bendix brakes. Here, as in passenger cars, the rotation of the drums provided some of the energy needed to force the shoes outward against the drums. This meant that the driver didn't have to push so hard on the pedal; the self-energizing action kicked in automatically whenever the driver touched the brakes.

The front stabilizer bar now bolted farther inboard on the front axle beam and attached via an articulating link, and the front stabilizer bushings mounted directly to the chassis frame. This improved cornering stability and cost less to manufacture.

Chief engineer Edward Kelley's team also adopted a swing-down spare carrier that nestled underneath the rear of the pickup bed. The new carrier moved the tire farther forward, and without the rear bumper, the tailgate could drop straight down. In the past, the unchained tailgate came to rest against the bumper.

All 1951 pickup boxes were reinforced by welding the cross sill to the stake pockets at two spots on each side. Before, heavy loads could spread the side panels so that the tailgate wouldn't lock. There were also now eight slightly wider boards for the pickup floor instead of nine, along with one fewer metal rub strip.

New accessories included a windshield washer, grille guard, plus a handheld spotlight that plugged into the optional cigar lighter. Due to the Korean military action, chromium became a rare commodity in 1951. Most Chevy trucks came with the standard painted grilles. Then for 1952, chrome plating disappeared almost entirely. A bright grille no longer was offered, even for Suburbans, and series badges disappeared from the hood sides of half-tons. Because the Korean conflict also put a hold on copper, radiators became lighter and less robust, too.

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