“Before super markets became commonplace, vendors brought produce and baked goods to the buying public in city neighborhoods and the suburbs that were beginning to sprout up across the country at that time,” said Greg Wallace, manager, General Motors Heritage Center. “The Canopy Express body type was suited for any job that needed easy access to the bed of a truck.”

Beginning in 1936, Chevrolet sold the Chevrolet Canopy Pickup – a vehicle based on the popular FB-series half-ton pickup truck. Owners could upfit these vehicles with an optional canvas canopy top and side-drop curtains. During its first model year, Chevrolet saw truck registrations top 200,000 units for the first time in company history.

Thirteen years later, the Chevrolet Canopy Express was unveiled. It was one of 345,000 Chevy Trucks built in 1949. Both the 3100 Series (half-ton) and 3800 Series (1-ton) included variants of the Express model. The 3800 was heavier duty and sported a low rear tailgate and waterproof roll-up curtains, allowing sellers easier access and better protection for their products.

Both vehicles were forerunners of the all-new Chevrolet City Express, a smaller, maneuverable cargo van that, like its predecessors, gives companies the same selling power their entrepreneurial brethren enjoyed nearly 80 years ago. The Chevrolet team recently tapped Greg for vast knowledge when they touted the historical lineage of the new City Express.