Once it was one of America’s favorite work trucks. Now, of the few remaining, this truck stays in the garage if there is even a chance for rain. This very special 1952 GMC ¾ Ton Pickup is owned and ground up restored by Gary Guadagnolo of Stockton, California. His goal was to make it like the day it left the dealers show room.
Gary’s talent has been a great success to create such a “NEW” GMC. His ability in quality restoration began many years ago in his high school years. He discovered an unrestored 1927 Buick Roadster needing a complete rebuild. It was love at first sight, but what a challenge. It required 5 years to complete this hobby with his limited funds. He is still the owner and it may be how Gary got the restoration interest in the year 2000 when he remembered the 1952 GMC on his uncle’s farm. It had been left sitting outside 5 years unused. His uncle had bought it almost new!
Of course, with some sentimental feelings, and enjoying his last restoration, he began a 2 year project to make it like new again.
Just like his 1927 Buick, it was dismantled from the bare frame and then totally restored. It was like building a big model kit, except every part had to be made like it was 70 years ago.
Now, Gary occasionally takes his uncle’s truck (now almost museum quality) for local drives on nice days. What an attention getter!
Here is some data on Gary’s GMC that may be of interest:
– Overall description
In 1952, the US was involved in the Korean War. Thus, there was a limited supply of certain items. The price increase in copper, stainless, chrome plating, and die cast metal increased greatly. As trucks were for work only, most of these metals were discontinued to keep up with the competition. Most notable were items now painted such as grille, bumper, hubcaps, and the instrument panel.
One of the main focal points of this GMC is the perfectly restored deluxe 5 window cab in the original Cumberland Blue. Even the seats are in proper Maroon Spanish grain with French stitching for the seams. It includes matching door panels in same material.
Note the oil pressure gauge reaches 60# due to the full pressure engine. Chevy used a low oil pressure engine and their similar gauge shows 30#.
The optional pair of corner windows makes it a deluxe cab in 1952. They allow better visibility when backing.
The very skilled body shop that did all the repairs and painting of the Cumberland Blue metal parts was Full Circle Restoration in Lockford, California. This is a quality specialty company and that goes one step extra to the best!
Gary kept the original 228 cubic inch inline six cylinder engine. (One of the greats in the 1950’s) Its heavy 4 speed transmission was a must on the farm or pulling a heavy trailer. The rear differential case is the same but internally, Gary exchanged the 4.57 ring and pinion to 4.10 ratio for better highway speed.
NOTE: The heavy steel band over the radiator. GMC trucks used this extra support in most all. Thus, the water fill pipe is connected to back side of the top tank.
– Pickup Bed
The 8’ bed has new hard Yellow Pine and is exact wood as the GMC had when new. Gary used a black stain to give it this attractive appearance. Really nice!
NOTE: Three stake pockets are on each bed side. The middle pocket is always on the longer ¾ ton 8’ beds. This allows for more support of horizontal racks if ever needed. GM had planned ahead!
The original 6 volt positive ground system remains (Chevy is negative ground). Gary kept the single left tail light just like it always had. All needed to be like his uncle’s all those years.
– Tires and Wheels
Just like new, these 15” wheels are painted body color. The outer split rings are painted silver to appear like the original zinc plating. Very attractive. Gary found a new set of “Bias Ply” tires in an older specialty store. They are just right for this 1952.
– Special Accessory Rear Bumper
To Gary’s knowledge this special heavy rear bumper was on this GMC from the beginning. After all, this pickup was purchased for work. This custom bumper was perfect for pulling a very heavy trailer plus an added extra. It also gives protection to the rear fenders. Full Circle Restoration (mentioned above) sand blasted and then spent many hours correcting the scrapes from so many years of abuse. It now looks as though it just came from the factory! Note: Gary kept the original safety chain. It protects the paint from scrapes with a cover. The manufacturer was the Bardon Co. in Woodland, California. Their business was producing custom rear bumpers for pickups. Each brand of truck required a different shape against the different pickup.
The 1952 license is legal in California. They really add to the GMC’s appearance
Since Gary’s grand introduction of his special GMC he has entered it in six local truck/car shows and received first place in five among the competition.
NOTE: The show in which he received second place was because he used polished stainless steel bed strips and furniture quality bed wood with clear coat. The next year, to make it more like 1952, he exchanged for black bed strips and black stained hard yellow pine. He then received first place!
So this is Gary’s new GMC! He and his uncle certainly deserve to be proud of his creation.
You can contact Gary Guadagnolo at: email@example.com