Understated Farm Truck – Kevin & Sally Smith’s 1949 Chevy 3100
Editor’s Note: Words by the owner, Kevin Smith
At first glance, this ’49 Chevy 3100 might fool you. What appears to be an unassuming original truck is actually a modern performance show-stopping custom. The journey started with a five-year search for an early Chevy 3100 five window truck. Being unable to find exactly what we wanted, we turned to Ryan Close at Young at Heart Customs, who shared our vision for an old-school farm-truck look wrapped around a modern performance drivetrain and incorporating refined, contemporary creature comforts.
The exterior of the truck retains its vintage styling but wears many subtle modifications for a crisp, smooth look. This includes Kindig flush door handles, deleted cowl and side vents (louvers retained), hidden tailgate latches, custom taillights, and a rolled rear pan with centered license plate and a tucked ’54 rear bumper. Smooth mini-tubs help fit the 12-inch-wide BFG whitewalls from Diamondback Classics, and the chassis even has a lengthened wheelbase to better center the tires in the wheel openings.
That chassis was custom built by Young At Heart to be rigid, comfortable, and versatile. It incorporates a self-leveling AccuAir air ride system, four-wheel Wilwood disc brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, and a triangulated four-link rear suspension for a great mix of performance and comfort. The chassis layout was optimized to minimize bed floor height reduction while fitting required components like an 18-gallon fuel tank, dual compressors, air tank, dual batteries, and even a tool kit and jack. Electric cylinders are used to raise the white oak bed and show off the powder coated chassis and suspension, polished stainless exhaust with SLP mufflers, and custom body-matched filler panels.
Opening the Eddie Motorsports-hinged hood reveals a 5.7-liter LS1 and 4L60E combo surrounded by custom panels fabricated to provide a smooth look while keeping all wiring and plumbing tucked neatly out of sight. The engine is highly detailed with a subtle color scheme and outfitted with stainless headers, chrome and powder-coated accessories, and a chrome cold air intake which routes the fresh air from a hidden filter.
The interior stays true to the truck’s theme, combining classic style with subtle modifications. A custom lower dash incorporates A/C vents, while hinged panels hide the stereo and AccuAir controls. Speakers, a battery disconnect switch, jumper terminals, E-brake, and storage areas are all hidden out of sight. A supportive Glide Engineering bench seat is covered to complement the Shoreline Beige interior paint, while custom gauges giving an honorable nod to the builder, Young at Heart Customs.
There are so many well-integrated details that you can find something new each time you walk around this understated “farm truck.” It definitely deserves a closer look in person. Hopefully you can catch a glimpse at a Goodguys show soon!
Photos by Steven Bunker