In late 1955, Chevrolet introduced the Task Force - the successor to the Advanced Design trucks - and would remain in production through 1959.
In 1954, Ford introduced a modern overhead valve V8 engine, beating Chevrolet to market. Though the Chevy OHV V8 was a year behind Ford, the small block 265 cubic-inch V8 quickly gained popularity. It was offered in the Corvette and Be Air and was very popular among stock car racers, earning the nickname the 'Mighty Mouse' motor. By 1958, the engine had grown to 283 cubic-inch. With the optional Rochester mechanical fuel injection system, it was one of the first production engines to make one horsepower per cubic inch.
For 1955, the all-new Chevy Trucks were called 'Task Force.' They were given the industry's first wraparound windshield (Chevy advertising called it a 'Sweep-Sight Windshield.'). This design was first seen a year prior on the Buick LeSabre Concept Motorama show car. Other features of the truck included shrouded headlights in visored fenders, concealed running boards, an egg crate grille, and an optional 'full view (wraparound) window.' The fenders had single headlights and there was a one-piece emblem mounted below the horizontal line on the fender.
The Task Force pickups were given power steering, power brakes, overdrive for half-ton pickups, 12-volt electrical system, tubeless tires, and key-turn starts. Series 3000 pickups were given a four-speed automatic transmission.
The wheelbase size for the half-ton pickup measured 114-inches. They had a 78 1/8 long by 50-inch wide cargo box with flat flares, and hardwood floor with steel skid strips. An optional side mounted tire carrier could also be purchased.
A Model 3204 long box 1/2-ton pickup was new for 1955. It rested on a 123.25-inch wheelbase and had a 90-inch long by 50-inch wide cargo box. The Model 3604 3/4-ton pickup had a 123.25-inch wheelbase and carried the same cargo box as the long box half-ton pickup. The long box 1/2-ton had a VGW of 5000 pounds while the 3/4-ton had a GVW of 6,900 pounds.
The standard engine was the 235.5 cubic-inch Thriftmaster six which offered 210 ft-lb of torque and just over 120 horsepower. The optional 265 cubic-inch Trademaster V8 developed 250 ft-lb of torque and 130 net horsepower. Several transmissions were available including a three-speed synchromesh with optional overdrive, a heavy-duty three-speed, a four-speed automatic and a four-speed synchromesh.
The 1-ton Pickup was the Model 3804 resting on a 135-inch wheelbase with a 108.25-inch long by 50-inch wide cargo box. It had a 7,000 pound GVW and a payload rating of 3,100 pounds.
Also available was the Model 3124 Cameo Carrier. These were available in two-tone exterior colors of Bombay Ivory and Commercial Red. These helped pave the way for the El Camino.
The Cameo Carriers offered many car-like features for the pickup truck, including fiberglass rear fenders, two-tone paint, a relatively luxurious interior, optional V8 engines, automatic transmission, and power assists.
1955 was the only year for the 7-foot bed lengths.
For 1956, Chevrolet gave their 'Task Force' pickups a wider hood emblem and the two-piece fender emblems were now mounted above the horizontal fender line. This would also be the final year for the egg crate grille.
For 1957, the trucks were given a more open grille. This would be a one-year only design, as for 1958 the grille was again changed.
For 1958, Chevrolet re-named the light-duty trucks to Apaches. The medium-duty trucks were called Vikings and the heavy-duty trucks were called Spartans. Design changes included four headlights instead of the previous two. There were given a shorter and wider grille which ran the width of the front end. Parking lights were now located in the grille instead of being in the front of the fender. This was also the first year for the factory-equipped air conditioning.
The Fleetside Pickup box was introduced mid-year of 1958. This was Chevrolet's first cab wide (75 inches) pickup. With the introduction of the Fleetside, Chevrolet discontinued the Cameo Carrier. In 1959, they introduced the El Camino.By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2014