How to Buy a 55-59 Chevy & GMC Truck: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Buy a 55-59 Chevy & GMC Truck: A Comprehensive Guide


Buying a vintage 55-59 Chevy or GMC truck can be an exciting endeavor. These classic vehicles have a charm that modern trucks can't match, but they also come with their own set of challenges. In this guide, we'll walk you through what to look for when buying one of these trucks, ensuring you make a smart and informed purchase.

Assessing the Cab: The Importance of the Cab Condition

The cab is one of the most crucial parts of any vintage truck. It's where you, as the driver, will spend most of your time, and it's also one of the most challenging areas to restore. When inspecting the cab, look for:

  • Rocker Panels: Check for rust and damage. While minor rust can be repaired, significant corrosion might require more extensive work.
  • Cab Corners: These often rust, but replacements are relatively inexpensive.
  • Lower Hinge Pocket: Dirt and debris can accumulate here, leading to rust. Ensure it's in good shape.

Windshield and Roof

Inspect the area above the windshield and the roof itself. These spots can rust significantly if not well-maintained. Look for signs of previous repairs or rust.

Interior Inspection

Dashboard and Controls

Examine the dashboard for modifications or damage. Original components are preferred, as they maintain the truck's value and authenticity. Check if the radio hole has been cut out and the condition of gauges and switches.

Seats and Floor

A well-maintained seat and floor can save you a lot of time and money in restoration. Look for rust under the floor mats and the condition of the seat upholstery.

Exterior Evaluation

Fenders and Bed

When inspecting the fenders, ensure they are free from significant rust and damage. Minor dents can be repaired, but extensive rust might require replacement panels. The bed of the truck should be straight and free from major dents.

Doors and Door Skins

The condition of the doors is vital, especially the door skins. Rust along the bottom of the doors is common but can be repaired. Ensure the outer skin and the door structure are solid.

Frame and Chassis

Serial Numbers and Trim Tags

Check the serial number and trim tags to ensure they match and are original. This will help verify the truck's authenticity and history.

Underbody and Suspension

Look underneath the truck for rust and damage. The floor pan, mounts, and suspension components should be inspected thoroughly. Bring a moving blanket to comfortably crawl under the truck during your inspection.

Final Thoughts

Replacement Parts

Fortunately, many parts for these vintage trucks are still available, including floor pans, fenders, and door skins. If the truck you are considering has extensive rust or damage, weigh the cost of replacement parts and the labor required for restoration.

Original vs. Modified

Decide if you prefer an original truck or one that has been modified. Original trucks maintain their value better, but modified trucks might have modern conveniences that make them more enjoyable to drive.


Buying a 55-59 Chevy or GMC truck is a journey into the past. By thoroughly inspecting the cab, interior, exterior, and frame, you can make a well-informed decision and find a truck that brings joy and satisfaction for years to come. Remember, door skins are a crucial component to check for rust and damage during your inspection.

Ready to restore your vintage truck? Get a high-quality replacement 56 Chevy Truck door skin, compatible with trucks made between 1955 and 1959.



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