This is a restored and modified 1955 Chevrolet 3200 NAPCO 4×4 Pickup that’s now powered by a 300+ bhp GM Performance 350 cubic inch V8, with power going to either all four wheels or the rear wheels only.
NAPCO stands for Northwestern Auto Parts Company, a business that used to make conversion kits to turn pickup trucks and other vehicles into four-wheel drives at a time when the big three US automakers didn’t typically offer 4×4 as an option.
Fast Facts – A Restomod 1955 Chevrolet 3200 NAPCO 4×4
- The Chevrolet 3200 was a member of the “Chevrolet Task Force” series of pickup trucks first released in 1955 and sold until 1959.
- Chevrolet Task Force trucks represented a signifiant step forward in design, they were the first pickup trucks offers with a car-like wrap around windscreen and a wrap around rear window was also an option.
- From 1956 onwards, Task Force trucks could be ordered from GM with the NAPCO Power-Pak 4×4 option pre-fitted, increasing the final MSRP from $1,600 to $2,549 but vastly improving the off-road ability of the vehicle.
- Surviving NAPCO 4x4s are now worth considerably more than their 2×4 counterparts, and many have been given various upgrades to help them better keep up with modern vehicles.
NAPCO Four Wheel Drive Vehicles
The Northwestern Auto Parts Company was founded back in 1918, initially making automobile parts out of their facility in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
During WWII, in 1942, the company began building their first four-wheel drive systems. They were designed specifically to be fitted to current production vehicles as quickly and easily as possible, significantly improving the off-road ability of the vehicle in the process.
Four-wheel drive systems had already proven their mettle by this time, the Willys Jeep had become one of the most important vehicles of the war, and both Marmon-Herrington and Dodge with their Power Wagon had shown how effective four-wheel drive could be.
In post-WWII America there were many young men who had driven 4x4s during the war and learned to love their abilities. This had created significant demand for civilian 4x4s which was largely being filled by Willys–Overland with their CJ series Jeeps, and the related pickup trucks and station wagons.
For those who wanted a larger pickup truck one the best options were either the Dodge Power Wagon or a Chevrolet Pickup with the NAPCO 4×4 conversion. These conversions could be done at home in a garage, by professionals, or from 1956 onwards they could be ordered pre-fitted by GM.
These original NAPCO 4x4s are now highly sought after by collectors and they typically fetch higher prices than their standard 2×4 brethren.
The Chevrolet NAPCO 4×4 Pickup Conversion Kit
The Chevrolet 3200 was a member of the “Chevrolet Task Force” series of pickup trucks that was released in 1955 and sold until 1959, after which they were replaced with the Chevrolet and GMC C/K-Series.
The Chevrolet Task Force trucks were a major shift forward in design, with more car-like cabins, wrap around front windscreens (and rear on some models), and more powerful engines including the first V8 since 1917.
The NAPCO 4×4 conversion kit for the Chevrolet 3200 added a new front axle and differential, a front driveshaft, and a two-speed transfer case that could send power either to the rear wheels only, or to all four wheels when needed.
NAPCO extolled the virtues of the conversion, explaining that it turned the truck into a “Mountain Goat,” creating a “full sized truck that will climb steep inclines with ease.”
The Chevrolet 3200 NAPCO 4×4 Pickup Shown Here
The truck you see here has been through a thorough nut and bolt restoration to return it to better than new condition. It’s running an original NAPCO 4×4 conversion kit paired with a more modern GM Performance 350 cubic inch V8 that’s topped with a Holley Sniper EFI system.
A lift kit and new soft-ride springs were added to the suspension along with more modern shock absorbers, and it all rides on 16″ Wheel Vintique wheels mounted with 305/70 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A tires.
Inside the cab you’ll find a reupholstered bench seat, a rubber floor covering, Vintage Air climate control, a Holley EFI touchscreen controller, aftermarket speakers, a Retrosound Bluetooth digital stereo, and body-colored dashboard and door panels.
If you’d like to read more about this truck or place a bid you can visit the listing here on Bring A Trailer. It’s being offered for sale out of Eagle, Idaho and at the time of writing there are still a few days left to bid.
Images courtesy of Bring A trailer
Ben has had his work featured on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with millions of readers around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.