car rolling chassis, c. 1912
A rolling chassis is the chassis of a car or truck, assembled together with the engine and drivetrain, but without bodywork. Such rolling chassis were built by car makers, for supply to coachbuilders who would later build the bodywork. Although common in the early days of motoring, such rolling chassis are now rare. A few custom markets, such as limousines, may still use them.
In some cases, a rolling chassis had a basic fuel tank and driver's seat attached, so that they could be driven to the coachbuilder under their own power. This was more common for coaches and trucks, where specialised body styles were to be built by the coachbuilders, and the chassis was much larger than a car and so more difficult to carry by another vehicle.
In restoration circles, the term is also applied to a bodyshell with suspension fitted, but with the relatively simple engine and transmission removed.