1955 Chevrolet Task Force Truck Review Apr 19, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)
When most people think of Chevy trucks, they picture the contemporary Silverado or Colorado. However, these modern models are the result of decades of automobile evolution and design. In 1955, Chevrolet launched the Task Force series and pioneered a new classic in truck design and engineering. Today, these classic vehicles are popular with collectors, restorers, and hot-rodders. When they were first released, the Task Force blurred the line between a work truck and a comfortable car in the same way that feature-loaded pickup trucks do today. The Task Force trucks were available with a more powerful engine and new amenities including power steering, power brakes, factory radio, two-tone paint, and chrome styling.
First Series vs. Second Series
Collectors distinguish between the First Series and the Second Series of trucks released in 1955, and these are fairly different models. Both wore the Chevrolet 3100 name, which appeared in 1946 on the series formerly known as the BK series. You could also get 3600 models, which had previously been known as BL-series, or new 1-ton models known as 3800s. The 'First Series' of vehicles released in 1955 were actually holdovers from the previous Chevrolet Advance Design. While the Advance Design had been revised in 1954, the First Series models were still based on the 1929 "cast-iron wonder" trucks. Tough and durable, it was no surprise you could still find a new model in 1955.
But the 'Second Series' of 1955 models refers to the Chevrolet Task Force trucks with with a brand-new design and a laundry list of features launched in March of 1955. The list of firsts for these trucks was extensive, and they were all high quality. Just some of these firsts were the new chassis, body, and V8 engine. The 1955 Chevy trucks in the Second Series were among the earliest vehicles in the Chevrolet lineup to offer the 265-cubic-inch V8 engine, although it was available on some passenger cars. The old 235-cubic-inch Stovebolt six-cylinder engine was still available as well, but the available V8 increased power and performance and still weighed thirty pounds less. Engines were paired with either 3- or 4-speed manual Hydramatic transmission. For the first time for Chevrolet, trucks were available with power steering and power brakes and a 12-volt electrical system. There was a wraparound windshield and an optional wraparound rear window for Deluxe Cab models, one of the many options available for interested buyers. The new windshield was just the first of many styling updates for the sleek new Task Force.
The Task Force models had a distinctive new look anchored by smooth sheetmetal and a wraparound windshield similar to the "Sweep-Sight" windshield that had first debuted on concept cars from General Motors like the Le Sabre and the Buick XP-300 in 1953. The new windshield offered improved visibility and a sleek appearance. These trucks also had an egg-crate grille styling that you could also find on Chevrolet passenger cars from the same year. There was more inspiration from the cars of the same year, as well, including the headlamp visors and the door surfaces and fender, which together provided a racy profile. Other unique aesthetic features were the running boards hiding behind the cab doors. You will notice that some of the 1955 Chevy trucks that collectors enjoy also have whitewall tires with full wheel covers. This was a common addition to the vehicles and reflected the new sense of style for trucks in the 1950s that transcended their more utilitarian past. Of course, most of these vehicles were still used as work trucks. But in the Second Series, Chevrolet emphasized style along with sound design and solid engineering.
It can be difficult if you need to distinguish a 1955 model from the next model year as most of the same new design was carried over intact. Keep in mind that the 1955 model was the only year to offer a seven-foot truck bed. For 1956, the major change was a wider hood emblem. 1956 was also the last year for the traditional egg crate grille on Chevy trucks. The next year, the trucks would receive a more open grille, an oval emblem, and the flattened hood had two decorate spears at the top similar to the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. In 1958 there was a significant styling shift with the first Fleetside (straight-sided) models rolling out of the lots, four headlights instead of two, and factory air conditioning. For years, fleetside models with Cameo fiberglass bedsides attached to the sides and tailgate of a standard pickup box have been the price leaders among Task Force models. These special molded fiberglass skins were manufactured by Moulded Fiberglass of Ashtabula, Ohio, the same company that built the early Corvette bodies.
Why Collectors Love Them
Today, collectors love the Chevrolet Task Force. They performed very well with either the 6-cylinder or V8 engine. They were also stylish and had a decent number of creature comforts, particularly for the time. From a collector’s standpoint, they are also much easier to find than some of the other models are, and there are a reasonable number of parts available, making them easy to restore or transform into a hot rod. If you want something that no one else will have, then a 1955 Task Force may not be ideal. But if you’re looking for a classic, well-designed Chevrolet truck from the 1950s, look no further.
Article updated 24 July 2017.