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  • This 1947 Chevy Pickup is in a league of its own

This 1947 Chevy Pickup is in a league of its own

A Head-Turning, Conversation-Starting ’47 Chevy

Dec 18, 2015
Photographers: courtesy of the owner
Although we typically stick to late-model, eight-lug GM, Ford, and Dodge/Ram trucks, every now and then something hits our inbox that's just too cool to dismiss. Such was the case with Ray Coffey’s two-tone ’47½ Chevy 3800 1-ton dualie. Perhaps it was the overall charm, cleanliness, and attention to detail that drew us in. Perhaps it was its wide-hipped, dual rear wheels that captivated us, or the four-door cab configuration (which was never a factory option). Likely, it was the combination of all these astute characteristics that led us to investigate this Kentucky jewel.
The overall appearance of this 1-ton Advance Design Chevy may resemble a ’47, but its chassis and modern amenities scream otherwise and throw it decades ahead of its time. Ray’s ability to transform something old into something new is admirable, as nearly nothing is stock on this historic vehicle. The body actually rests on a 1-ton early-’80s Chevy van chassis. The front and rear suspension have been lowered 6 inches to give the truck a sleek stance. A pristine 454ci engine resides under the cowl-induction suicide hood. Occupants are greeted by a classy, modern, leather interior, complete with plenty of modern bonuses like power windows.
As for bodywork? Yeah, there's a ton. Ray worked on automotive bodies by trade, so his skills naturally overflowed to the Chevy. The cab itself has been extended to feature four fully functional doors instead of two, executed so seamlessly as to make it hard to believe that trucks of this vintage were never offered in such a cab configuration. The rest of the body has been worked over to include various custom touches, including the GM gas filler door in the driver-side rear fender. All the subtle changes were executed to make the truck look perfectly balanced and natural.
There's one last detail that would be tragic to neglect: This truck was built in Ray’s two-car garage behind his house—let that mind-boggling fact sink in for a while! It’s amazing to think that builds like this are going on within the confines of personal dwellings. As you can imagine, this project required a few more bucks than planned and took longer than projected—15 years, to be exact. It takes home Best of Show awards whenever Ray takes it out. It’s just not fair for the competition. Based on the conversation piece it has become, we'd say it was well worth the years of hard work.
Photo 2/25   |   002 1947 Chevy 3800 1 Ton Dually Front Driver
Photo 3/25   |   003 1947 Chevy 3800 1 Ton Dually Modified
The majesty of this ’47 Chevy may blind you from noticing one really important, really large modification. The factory single cab has been stretched into a four-door, quad cab for optimal family-hauling duties—indeed a unique solution for needing a roomier vehicle. In fact, since the truck started life as a 1.5-ton dump truck, the stretched cab is but one of its major modifications.
Photo 4/25   |   004 1947 Chevy 3800 1 Ton Dually Rear Axle
Photo 5/25   |   005 1947 Chevy 3800 1 Ton Dualie Rear Wheels
Although there’s not a lot of road grime underneath the truck, we can assure you it is driven and have been told it’s quite a fun drive. The rear end is a 12-bolt GM with 4.11:1 gears. Dual 2½-inch Flowmaster exhausts provide exit routes for spent fumes and add a throaty tone.
Photo 6/25   |   006 1947 Chevy 3800 1 Ton Dually Open Doors
The spacious interior houses leather-wrapped Astro van seats and a console out of a Cadillac. Dolphin gauges help keep track of vitals. Convenient power accessories (windows, rear window, and door locks) and aftermarket air conditioning keep the family cool and comfortable.
Photo 7/25   |   009 1947 Chevy 3800 1 Ton Dually Oak Bed Floor
Photo 8/25   |   021 1947 Chevy 3800 1 Ton Dually Power Rear Window
The custom oak and stainless steel slat bed floor is just icing on the cake for this build.
Photo 9/25   |   011 1947 Chevy 3800 1 Ton Dually Tailgate
The PPG White and ’00 Monte Carlo Silver two-tone paintjob is separated by a silver leaf stripe outlined in purple pinstriping. Frenched headlights, running lights, taillights, backup lights, and a license plate make for a body that’s smoother than a freshly zambonied ice rink, while the custom roll pan and custom running boards show off fine craftmanship. Goodyear Wrangler tires wrap ION Alloy 167 wheels, chromed by California Chrome.
Photo 10/25   |   013 1947 Chevy 3800 1 Ton Dually 454 Engine
Hello there, eye candy! This chrome-clad, ’60s-era, 454ci Chevy big-block engine is bored .030 over, receives fuel from a dual-line Road Demon carburetor, and is backed by a Turbo 400 transmission. The estimated 500 hp is kept in check by cruise control. Notice the custom air cleaner is formed to match the original hood.

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