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Posts Tagged ‘1937’

1937 GMC ½ Ton

Monday, October 1st, 2018

During our 18 years’ experience with the Featured Truck of the Month Series, we have never located even one GMC ½ ton pickup of this vintage year. When we discovered it a few months ago, it was an immediate candidate to be posted for all to learn about.

The truck is a 1937 GMC T-14 ½ ton pickup owned by Larry Shisler of Tigerton Wisconsin. It spent most of it life in Montana doing rural hauling for a farm as most pickups did during the 1930’s. Larry discovered it about nine years ago near his home in Wisconsin, its old attached license plate was 1963 Montana. He immediately knew it was a perfect match for him and his interest in rare vehicles.

In 2013 he personally began the disassembly process to check all areas of the frame for cracks. This backbone of his future new older GMC had to be just right. The search for some needed replacement parts became a major project. Due to the rarity of this 80 years old lower production work truck, sometimes Larry often had to rebuild what he had.

Yes, this little GMC shares much from its Chevrolet cousin, however the GMC differences are quickly noticed. Some big changes you begin to see as you look under the hood. Other changes are the grille, the placement of the exhaust system, bumpers, dash gauges, GMC letters on tailgate, etc.

Of course, the first unique feature you see is the grille. Nothing is like this on the Chevrolet. It is totally redesigned to make the GMC look different than any truck on the road. In a time of conservative colors for truck (and cars) these brightly colored non-chrome grilles and striping made many take a second look as it moved down the road. Larry matched its Mallard Blue and Canary Yellow paint just as this ½ ton came from the factory. He found several places with spots of original color.

Larry has a factory 1937 GMC option book that shows deluxe items such as a chrome grille and bumper. It was probably made an option to allow a customer the lowest base price during the depression years.

This little GMC is about 90% finished but we did not want to wait to feature it for all to read. Maybe we can encourage a reader to even find a tired 1937 GMC like this at the end of this article!

Why a GMC small truck?

Our feature truck of the month was the second year a small truck from GMC the big truck division of General Motors. (Chevrolet has produced lighter trucks since 1918.) The US was experiencing the Great Depression and GMC was in big trouble! Sales had slowed to the level that the remaining new big truck GMC dealers were surviving by maintenance of any vehicle, selling used cars and truck plus often taking on new agricultural lines such as tractors and related farm equipment. Something had to be done fast! Thus, trying to survive resulted in the entry of GMC into the small truck market.

Timing was so important to get the first small trucks in the GMC dealerships that they used much from the Chevy pickups. Yet it was disguised with appearance items that were GMC only. If the potential buyer did not know trucks he might have not noticed the Chevy parts used in the GMC or the dealer could always say “A GMC is so improved over a basic Chevrolet!”

Because the big truck GMC dealers were usually in medium or larger cities where more sales existed, their new light trucks found a larger percentage of city buyers over farm purchases as compared to Chevrolet. Most small US towns had a Chevy dealer which sold cars and trucks.

Points of interest on this 1937:

• The two-tone grilles were usually all painted, not chromed.

• Note the left tail light. It and the bracket are pure GMC. None of the taillight items are from Chevrolet. Larry personally hand made a reverse bracket for the right side. (There was no right taillight on any GM pickups in the late 1930’s.)

• On the 1937 only, the right side seat cushion is removed to gain access to the gas tank. (Too bad for the passenger that had to step out in the cold rain or snow and wait for a fill up while the cab interior got cold in the winter!!!) See photos of this very unusual requirement for fueling a 1937 GMC Chevrolet truck.

• The carburetor was recently replaced with an original single barrel 1937 Zenith. This company was a large carburetor provider in the 1930’s & 1940’s.

• The GMC has the logo on the rear of their 1936-46 tailgates. During these years Chevrolet placed it only on the 1939 and 1940.


A very small GMC ID plate is on the lower right cowl. Nice touch!

Engine in New GMC ½ Tons

GMC never used a Chevrolet engine until about the mid 1960’s.  Though the GMC Truck Division was developing their own inline six cylinder engine, it would not be introduced until 1939.  Due to slow GMC truck sales during the Great Depression, there was no time to wait until 1939 for a light pickup.  The remaining GMC truck dealers needed help immediately!!

Thus, the GMC Division looked at the GM cars currently being marketed and decided the best engine available was in the Oldsmobile with their 230 cubic inch inline six cylinder.  It would fit in the Chevrolet frame GMC would be using. A modified front cross member was added to connect to the Oldsmobile flat head engine.  This was then used in the 1936-37 GMC ½ ton.  For 1938, one year only, GMC used the Pontiac flat head engine in their ½ ton that even had an Indian head cast in the side of the block. (The Oldsmobile engine was continued in the 1938 light trucks above the ½ ton) Both of these two flat head engines (valves in the block) had a full oil pressure system as vehicles do today.  Therefore, the oil gauge in the GMC dash reads 0 to 80 lbs.  Chevrolet low pressure dipper system in dash gauge reads 0 to 30 lbs.

Larry found papers in the truck showing a new Oldsmobile engine was installed in 1948. It looks just like the 1937 but various improvements had been done internally by Oldsmobile. Larry removed the old pan, all checked good, the pan was cleaned and reattached. It now runs great! It will soon be painted the original Oldsmobile green.

There was another very big difference in the Oldsmobile verses the Chevrolet engine. The intake and exhaust manifold combination are on the opposite side of the engine block! This required a change in design of the exhaust and the tail pipe to be on the passenger side of the truck.

On the GMC truck, this manifold position change required fuel line protection because the GMC shared the cab and gas tank with Chevrolet. The fuel line that came from the tank, now ran parallel and close to this muffler and exhaust pipe. Too dangerous not to make modifications. See photo showing the original metal baffle plate from the frame to lesson exhaust heat transfer to the fuel line. (We hope other early GMC restores remember to add this protection.)

Larry will have a new tail pipe specially made in a few weeks!

CONGRATULATIONS to Larry Shisler for saving and restoring about the rarest of the GMC ½ tons. It is a part of US history created during difficult economic times. American engineering at General Motors helped save so many GMC large trucks struggling dealers.

1937 Chevrolet Panel Truck

Friday, March 31st, 2017

Its 1947! A 14 year old Burt Fulmore thinks of a method of getting to school each day from his home in the small town of Economy to Bass River, Nova Scotia Canada, seven miles away. (This island province in eastern Canada is 450 miles above the US most northern state of Maine).

He knows his father’s 1937 panel truck is not used in the mornings for local deliveries from the family’s general store. So an agreement is made. Burt can drive the panel truck to school and in return he will make local grocery deliveries after classes twice each week for his father’s store. Sometimes he does not get home from deliveries until 7:00p.m., just in time to milk the family cow.

Burt soon transported as many as 10 class mates to school each day often in very bad weather conditions! (.50 cents per week per passenger) His friends did not hesitate to jump in the panel truck and sit on “butter boxes” or the floor for the seven mile ride to school. No, he did not have a driver’s license at 14 years old but the 1937 panel truck was the only option. In those early days, there were no school buses. (Maybe the one local policeman looked the other way as Burt was helping local children get to school). He got his license at 16 years old and continued to take his friends to school two more years until he graduated in 1951.

These pictures show the panel truck and 14 year old Burt posing for the photo in 1949. Note the round grill guard!


Burt then began attending Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, the adjacent province beside Nova Scotia. Yes, his transportation was still the old 1937 panel truck. He drove it 75 miles, to and from college every weekend until he graduated with a mechanical engineering degree in 1954.

To be sure that the truck started easily every time during the winter, each summer Burt did major engine work. Replacement piston rings were added each year to ensure high compression for successful starting. Some of the shims in the rod and main bearings were removed, if needed, which insured the moving bearing surfaces had the correct clearance. He wanted no part of replacing a noisy rod bearing in the Canadian winter after classes in a parking lot.

As with some of us, if you must keep an older vehicle running during your youth it can be more on the fun side as it was for Burt. Therefore, years later he began to think about the “Good Ole Days” in terms of having another vehicle to repair just for old times.

As the years have gone by mostly Chevrolets have become Burt’s addiction. He began with two very rare GM vehicles, maybe the only remaining examples of their kind. These are a Canadian built 1934 Chevrolet Cabriolet (not even 200 made) and a 1937 GMC 1/2 ton (352 produced). Because they were both assembled in Oshawa, Ontario in such limited numbers over 80 years ago, Burt suspects these are the last examples. Being produced in Canada there are some features that are not like those made in the USA. The devout US restorer, soon sees there are things that are Canadian only. Finding those parts from about 80 years ago are almost impossible!

While these two major restorations, were underway Burt kept thinking of his father’s old 1937 Chevrolet panel truck that he drove and repaired for many years. The decision was easily made. If he could ever find another, it would be restored just like the one he drove during his younger years.

He became so sure he could find one, Burt bought a 1937 pickup with an un-restorable body. As the chassis are the same as the panel truck, he completed a major rebuild on all the mechanical parts. It became a new rolling chassis but with no body. He hurried to find a Canadian 1937 panel but with 847 produced there appeared to be almost none. He jumped at one in 1997 in Ontario, but when he got it home it was decided it was “too far gone”. What a loss. See photo. About 2 years later he found a restorable 1937 panel truck in New York. Finally Success!

Oops, Too Far Gone

Finally, a restorable 1937 panel truck

In October 1999 this second panel truck was delivered in Nova Scotia. Burt and Mike (his youngest of four sons) began the detailed body work and paint restoration in Mike’s garage with excellent results. Completion was two years later in 2001. 3 photos below are “under construction”.




This second panel truck is now like new. It is even much better than the one he had for so many years. Even the sides are hand lettered with the company name just like his father’s. The 216 cubic inch engine with 3 speed transmission is just what Burt drove to school so many years ago.






A. About 1948 Burchell (Burt) met Lucia (Lu) in a high school class and they began dating in late 1949. It is said even their first kiss was shared in this 1937 panel truck. Burt and Lu were married in May 1955. They have four sons: Doug, David, Jim and Mike. They also share their father’s interest in all things automotive, but mostly Chevrolets.


B. Two months after the restoration was completed Burt and Lu made their first long vacation in the “new” panel truck. They toured some of New York State, visited friends and during the 2,800 mile trip had no problems.

C. After returning home from the New York vacation Burt and Lu sponsored a 50 plus reunion for their classmates to reminisce about their school days and talk about their riding in the old 1937 panel. Burt even made “Butter Boxes” (they sat on going to school) to place in the panel and several climbed in like the old days for photos.

Classmates standing in Front of the New Panel Truck

Sitting on “Butter Boxes” for a photo

Three Butter Box Seats inside the panel

Note: The wooden Butter Boxes came to the general store regularly with 60# of butter. (It would be repackaged in their store in smaller private label boxes for home kitchen use). These boxes made perfect seats for the 7 mile trip to school.

D. What a coincidence! Burt’s father had this personal initials BL, placed on the side of the early 1937. This restored panel is of course lettered the same as original however the BL can now also stand for Burt and Lu! What are the odds of this happening?


E. Notice the round grill guard attached to the front bumper. Burt removed this aftermarket accessory from a totaled 1936 Plymouth in the mid 1950’s. He then placed it on the everyday panel truck. He kept it stored over these many years. It now sets in the same position on his “new” 1937. He has never seen another!

The same grill guard Burt added to the older 1937 in the mid 1950’s

F. Look at Burt in 1947 sitting on the hood at 14 years old. Look at Burt in 2001 sitting on the hood of his new 1937, 53 years later.

2001                                            1947 (Check the round grill guard)

G. Note the center indentation on the rear photo. This was GM’s idea to allow the person loading to get closer to the body. Good Idea!

H. The panel truck has now been driven over 22,000 miles. Burt and Lu traveled as a team to places like Vermont, Quebec City, Maine and New York. That does not include so many car shows plus trailering to two national more distant shows sponsored by the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America in Flint, MI and Nashville, TN.

The happy couple about 2015

Below is a group photo of Burt and Lu’s vehicle collection. Left to right.
1957 Bel Air convertible, 1952 Styleline Deluxe Two Door, 1937 GMC ½ ton Pickup, 1937 Panel Truck, 1936 Maple Leaf 1 ton, and 1934 Master Cabriolet.

You can contact Burt or Lu @ burtfulmore@gmail.com.

1936-37 GMC Grills

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

What a rare occurrence! At the 2011 America Truck Historical Society Convention in South Bend, Indiana, we found both a 1936 and a 1937 restored GMC truck with the correct grill — each at different booths. You can go to every truck show for many years and never see even one. Therefore, we just had to get a few photos and make some comments. After all, this may never happen again.

The 1936 grill consists of seven vertical .3′ wide hollow chrome bars all the same size. The length is 25 1/4′. The notches in the receiving die cast pieces (hold the verticals in place) in the top and bottom are the same for each bar.

By 1937-38 there was a change in the center vertical bar. It became wider. It changed from .3′ in 1936 to .625′. It was also tapered back to align with the positioning of the other side bars. The overall length was shortened to 24′.

The notches in the die cast top and bottom receiving pieces are therefore different due to the width change in the center bar. They may look the same on the outside but are not where they attach to the vertical bars. See photo. Chrome was not used to add to the appearance. These bars were painted silver.

1936 GMC Grill

1937 GMC Grill

1937 upper grill bar extension front view

1937-38 bottom view

1937-1946 Deluxe Heaters

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Keeping the passenger area warm in cars and trucks during the winter was always a problem in the early years. Not only were the heater fans and cores small but the vehicles used recirculator heaters. Thus, the air in the cab was recirculated rather than using dry outside cold air being brought inside and warmed. This helped for quicker warming but with more passengers, the additional humidity from breathing caused the windows to fog inside. A wiping cloth would have been needed to clear the windshield.

To address this issue, GM provided an extra feature with the pictured “deluxe” heater. A blower motor attached to the top of the standard heater made it a “deluxe” model. This separate optional motor on top forced warm air into the defroster nozzles and onto the windshield. There were two switches under the dash, one for each motor. In colder climates, it is doubtful the small heater core could supply warm air from the two motors both at the same time! Although this is antiquated by today’s standards, it did allow some relief on colder days.

GM Deluxe Heater 1
Optional Defroster Motor on Top-Estimated 1939
Front GM Deluxe Heater
GM deluxe Heater 2
Air intake, back view ‘ Estimated 1939
GM deluxe Heater 2
Optional Defroster Assembly- Estimated 1939
Optional Defroster Assembly- Estimated 1939


1937-1938 Australian Half Ton

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The Australian 1937-38 Chevrolet trucks are much like those in the U.S., however on close observation, one can certainly see unique differences. This United States relative is obviously GM but not quite the same.

These Down-Under truck’s final assembly point was in the Holden plant in New South Wales, Australia. (Holden is a branch for GM in that country.) Much of the sheet metal was stamped at the GM Canadian plant in Oshawa, Ontario. Most all the GM trucks in the 1930’s and 1940’s that reached overseas assembly plants were from this Canadian location but unassembled.

In Australia and even in nearby New Zealand, local governments required a certain percentage of truck parts to be manufactured in those countries. This provided jobs for the local population. Parts supplied in Australia would be wiring harnesses, glass, tires, seats, a different design bed, etc.

The current photos we have of Australian 1937-38 1/2 tons are these furnished by Luke Randall from auto gatherings in Eastern Australia. He owns a 1938 to be restored so he has an interest in others of this design. You can contact Luke at lukerandall@hotmail.com.

Items of special interest on these 1937 and 1938 Australian trucks are:

  • The 3 stamped ribs on the can roof
  • A different bed design
  • The wide horizontal panel below the door
  • The double stamped belt on the cowl and door stop near the handle (In the U.S. the belt continues around the cab behind to the rear under the window)
  • The windshield is two a piece not like the one piece 1937-1938 in the U.S.
  • Doors are more rounded at the top
  • Right hand drive

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton 2

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton 3

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton 4

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton 5

Luke and passenger

1937-1938 Chevrolet Half Ton 6

Luke’s 1938 to be restored

It’s finally complete! Luke’s many hours has paid off. What a special “one of a kind” 1938.

As the beds from the Australian factory were usually a flat deck to lower retail costs, Luke added an all wood bed in the shape of a US designed bed. Very nice!

1937 Chevrolet Logging Truck

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Year/Make 1937 Chevrolet
Owner: Unkown

Look what a 216 six cylinder can do with a low speed rear end!

1937 logging truck


1937 Chevrolet from Tim Koch

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Owner: Tim Koch

This mid-Missouri 1937 Chevrolet 1/2 ton is owned by Tim Koch of Jefferson City. He chose this restoration shop to do the total project because of their reputation for quality as one of the best! The name Herrons Customs Paint is mentioned at so many local shows, it was worth Tim Koch talking to the owner and viewing his shop. The vehicles under rebuilding convinced Tim this was the company to do the restoration of his 1937 Chevy truck.

The following pictures show an excellent step by step procedure from the frame up! You can contact the shop at www.herroncustompaint.com or the truck owner at 573-636-5678, cell 573-619-3104.

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 GMC from Eddie McElrath

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Owner: Eddie McElrath

This is my latest project a 1937 GMC 1/2 ton pickup. Not exactly original but a personal preference. The previous owner had owned the truck for over 30 years and finally parted with it. It had been restored many years ago but was in need of a lot of repair to shoddy bodywork and I have added many upgrades. So far the frame and drive line are in place and currently doing the body work. I plan on doing all the work myself. Have not selected a color as of yet. Leaning to either black or a metallic red . The truck has a 350 chevy with a B & M blower with 2-4 barrels (and it all fits under the hood) , 350 turbo trannie, 12 bolt rear, mustang II front suspension and a 4 link in the rear. Should be an head turner when finished.

1937 gmc pick up truck

1937 gmc pick up truck

1937 gmc pick up truck

1937 gmc pick up truck

1937 gmc pick up truck

1937 gmc pick up truck

1937 gmc pick up truck

1937 gmc pick up truck

1937 gmc pick up truck

1937 or Older Chevrolet Pressure Plate

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Rebuilding the 1937 and older pressure plate can be a little tricky. The early design (activated with a carbon throw out bearing under pressure) requires extra steps when being rebuilt. With the help of an older shop manual (see below) the final details can be successful.

The personal letter is from Richard Wright of Westtown, NY. He did not receive the necessary final touches in the rebuilding procedure and he made the final adjustments. Fortunately, the 1935 Chevrolet shop manual has a description of how to complete this procedure. The following letter, pictures and shop manual page should be of help in the rebuilding procedure. A more advanced pressure plate was introduced in 1938. A new diaphragm design then became a standard in Chevrolet for 30 years.


The “X” mark on the clutch cover should be lined up as near as is possible with the “X” mark on the flywheel. These “X” marks are balance marks.

Place clutch pilot tool, Fig.99 into position. This tool properly lines up to the disc so that when the transmission is assembled the splines on the main drive gear shaft will line up and enter easily the splines in the clutch disc.

Assemble the nine cap screws holding the clutch cover to the flywheel, tightening each one , one turn at a time until the cover is assembled into position. Remove the clutch disc aligning tool. Assemble throwout bearing sleeve.


It is very important that the clutch levers be of the same height to assure correct clutch operation. In addition to the clutch levers being the same height, the maximum run-out of the clutch throw-out bearing plate should not exceed .020″ when measured with an indicator guage placed on the clutch housing.

clutch adjustments 1937 chevrolet

The checking and correcting may be done after the transmission and clutch throw-out collar have been removed.

To check run-out, place the indicator guage on the clutch housing through the transmission hole as shown in Fig 100. Set the dial guage at zero and check run-out while turning engine. If run-out exceeds .020″ the high lever plate should be shimmed-up by placing a shim under each side of the plate at the attaching bolts, which will result in dropping the high finger. Connecting rod shims with the ends trimmed may be used.


These operations are just the reverse of the removal operations. The tool shown in Fig 101 can be used to hold the universal joint rings in position while assembling the nuts.

1937 clutch adjustments chevrolet


There are two very important adjustments to the clutch pedal. The first is for obtaining the proper clearance between the clutch pedal and the floor board and the second for obtaining 1″ of the pedal travel before the clutch begins to disengage. These two adjustments compensate for wear of the clutch parts, and if these two operations are performed when necessary, long trouble free clutch operation can be expected.

1937 clutch adjustments chevrolet

To obtain 1/2″ clearance between the clutch pedal and the floor board, loosen nuts “A” and “B” in Fig 102 and move the pedal stop either forward or backward until the clutch pedal clears the floor board 1/2″

1937 Chevrolet 1

1937 Chevrolet 2

1937 Chevrolet 3

Below is a letter from Richard Wright of Westtown, NY.

1937 Chevrolet 1937 Chevrolet

1936 vs 1937-1938 GMC Grilles

Thursday, February 11th, 2010


Though at quick glance, the GMC grilles of these two years may seem the same, however, look close. Changes at the top show slight differences. The die cast assembly at the top of the 1937 grille gives the impression that the vertical grille bars extend through the emblem. They don’t! It’s an illusion and is die cast. The hood ornament above repeats the GMC letters.

The 1938 doesn’t have the upper die cast vertical bars. They even eliminated the GMC letters on the hood ornament.

All these emblems are extremely rare. If they have the GMC letters they usually go in a hobbyist collection. If they don’t have the GMC letters, most people don’t know what they are once separated from the truck in a salvage yard and they go to the iron pile.

1936 grill 1

1936 Grille (above)

1937 grill2

1937-38 Grille Bars (above)

1938 grill 3

1938 Upper Grille Bar Housing (above)


1947 Advance Design Cab

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The differences found on the cab during the beginning of the Advance Design years are subtle, yet on close study soon become quite evident. It probably exists on all vehicles when a body style is first introduced. Lab tests on a vehicle tend to overlook a few problems that later surface when it is in the hands of the consumer. Thus engineers made various corrections on the 1948 cab leaving the first year of this series with several unique differences.

Beginning with the Advance Design trucks in mid 1947, the top of the body cowl directly below the rear of the hood is smooth. This is the space between the rubber hood lace and vertical firewall panel. GM soon discovered that in this area an error in design existed. During heavy rain all water that flowed past the hood lace could run forward and then down the firewall. This allowed water on important items such as the voltage regulator, fuse box, wiring, fresh air heater motor, the rubber grommets that held tubes, lines and the original cotton braided wires.

By mid 1948, an appropriate stamping change was made which remained through the end of the series in early 1955. This was a groove or trough running side to side in the top of the cowl. These troughs drain rain water down the cowl sides onto the recessed area by the hood hinges and protect the firewall components. Now 50 to 55 years later we are noticing a rust condition due to these water drain troughs. Seldom will a 1947 cab have major rust in these hood hinge indentations. The cabs between 1948 and 1955 will usually be showing rust out or at least much surface rust when stored outside for many years. There is only so long this recessed area can resist the regular attack of water runoff from the troughs before it begins to show deterioration.

1947 advance design cab

No water troughs

Another very noticeable feature on only the 1947 Advance Design cab is the lack of a hump in the lower part of the dash above the steering column. On 1948-1955 cabs the hump is necessary to allow the three speed column shift lever to pass down to the shift box. During the developing stages of the Advance Design cab, after World War II, the 3-speed truck transmission with column shift did not exist. Both 3 and 4-speed transmissions were using the floor shift system and a column shift hump in the dash was not a consideration.

As the 1947 Advance Design trucks continued using the 3 and 4- speed transmissions of prior years, their park brake lever is also unchanged. It remains secured to the right side of the transmission and is a vertical hand pull lever. With the introduction of redesigned 3 and 4 speed transmissions in 1948 the park brake was activated by a foot pedal on the left side of the cab. This pedal was in 1/2 and 3/4 tons only. The 1 ton and larger continued with a hand pull lever design throughout the series.

The firewall on the 1947 cab is one of its most unique features. It is not only different from the other Advance Design years, but is an excellent example of changes that save production costs. Initially the firewall was a flat sheet of metal welded within the edges of the cowl, etc. To prevent possible flexing of this sheet, GM welded two vertical U-channels, 11/2 inch x 16-3/4 inch to the inside. These two channels are hid by the inside firewall pad and therefore are not normally seen by the owner. Close observation will show the channel spot weld dimples on the engine side of this firewall sheet.

This flat sheet type firewall differs from the other years. By 1948, the second year of this body style, a less expensive method was used. The welded vertical channels were discontinued and were substituted with stamped rounded ridges or stiffeners in the flat sheet. These could be made with one stamping while the necessary holes were also placed in the sheet at the same time.

NOTE: We are now discovering that the unique features on the 1947 cowls were carried over into the early 1948 suburban, panels, and the canopy express. As these large single unit bodies were much slower in sales, it was possible GM had an over supply of 1947 cowls at the particular assembly plant producing them. They continued to use these early cowls until supplies were used.

1936-1939 Glove Box Lock

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

This early glove box lock assembly has a weak point that makes it difficult to find complete. Its die-cast vertical pointer is held in place by a small steel tension spring. After the truck sets outside abandoned several years the spring rusts, breaks, or otherwise looses its tension. This allows the pointer to fall out and the glove box lid will no longer stay closed.

Most all locks you find will be without their pointer. The enclosed photos show a complete lock with pointer as it must be to operate.

Glove Box Lock 1

These locks do not have the ‘push button’ mechanism as the later design.  A small spring button attached to the dash moves. With this style, you pull on the key knob in the door when it is unlocked to overcome this spring button.  You don’t have to use the key to open the door.  Just pull the lock knob.  To lock the glove box door, just turn the key and the pointer moves forward.  The door is now locked.

During the beginning months of this 1936-39 lock, a double sided key blank was used. This blank has not been available for many years. If you need the early style your local locksmith may not be able to provide a key! (And the search begins.)

  • Painting your glove box door? You will need to remove this lock assembly. Here’s how: Turn the key to the right while pulling up on the pointer. You may have to jiggle it as you pull. Out it comes including the small tension spring! Now the large retaining nut can be loosened and the remainder of the assembly can be removed.
  • Lock removing tip from Scott Phaneuf, Hatfield, MA.

Glove Box Lock 2

Glove Box Lock 3

1936-1938 Cab Windlace

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

It is so unusual to find an unmolested mid 30s truck! When this all original 21,000 mile 1937 GMC appeared at a recent New England truck show, we had to take notice having never seen the correct installation of the small 3/8′ bead cab windlace on an early model. Our camera did some recording.

Left Side Cab Lace

Left Side Cab Lace (Above)

Right Side Cab Lace

Right Side Cab Lace (Above)

Rumors from a few past customers were correct, the attaching position at the upper front door corner changes. Take note of the way the two pointed windlace ends meet when the door is closed. On the top and back side of the door opening the windlace is attached to the cab. At the front, the vertical piece is secured to the door edge

Gap Cab Lace

Note the gap between the two pointed ends of the welt. Some shrinkage after 70 years.

1937 Trailabout

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Owner: Ron Loos

1937 trailabout

It’s 1937 and the Great Depression has affected all households. Sales of new cars and trucks have dropped and most manufacturers have permanently shut their doors. The struggling survivors must add ways to stay above the level of bankruptcy.

One of General Motors ideas was to increase sales by adding a new product that their GMC dealers could market. This was the Trailabout, an all purpose small trailer that could be used by both car and truck owners. GMC produced it with little added expense. Most items were already used on their 1/2 ton pickup. The bed, taillights, fenders, wheels, and hubcaps were in stock. The additional GM investment was the light weight metal frame with tongue.

Sales were low during it’s two year production. It is suspected that the $350.00 price discouraged most buyers. During the Depression people could make a trailer from a salvage yard pickup truck or just build one from used materials. The savings would be great over the Trailabout.

Today, finding a real Trailabout is next to impossible. They were bought for hauling and most were never garaged. Their wood floors were probably gone in less than 10 years.

The only Trailabout known to exist belongs to Ron Loos (ronloos@charter.net). Its life began in 1937 in Atlanta, Georgia. It was towed to a new home in Independence, Missouri in 1987, then was hauled to Ron’s home in California mid 2008. Ron is giving it a ground up restoration and will be pulling it to shows with his almost one of a kind 1938 GMC Canopy Express. Won’t that be the talk of any show!



Bob recently sold this trailabout to Brian Davis in Auburn, CA.

1937 trailabout 1937 trailabout 1937 trailabout

1937 trailabout 1937 trailabout

1937 GMC T-14

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

Owner: Richard Carroll

1937 gmc pick up truck

Not only is this 1937 GMC T-14 very unusual but it is one of the only remaining examples of a pure original in existence. It is a part of history and will remain un-restored.

Owner Richard Carroll, of Greenfield, Massachusetts saw this little ½ ton 40 years ago with a for sale sign in the window. It had been used on a farm in Swansea, Massachusetts, by the original owner and showed 15,000 miles. In the glove box were the Certificate of War Necessity Papers. This allowed 30 gallons of gasoline per quarter and for farm use only during the World War II shortages. Even in 1967 it was quite unusual and Richard just had to own it.

He now drives it for pleasure only during nice weather and has added 26,000 miles during the last 40 years. Several years ago, the Danbury Mint (producer of authentic models) heard about this rare pickup. They spent much time measuring and photographing this vehicle. In 2005 they introduced an authentic model of this 1937. It can now be purchased from their catalog of special vehicles.

1937 gmc pick up truck 1937 gmc pick up truck 1937 gmc pick up truck

1937 gmc pick up truck 1937 gmc pick up truck 1937 gmc pick up truck

1937 gmc pick up truck 1937 gmc pick up truck 1937 gmc pick up truck

1937 Chevrolet

Monday, September 1st, 2003

Owner: Al Lopez – Arizona

1937 chevrolet pick up truck

With nothing but a carport to keep the Arizona heat to a minimum, you could say I am a true back yard mechanic. All restoration of this truck took place in my backyard.

The drive train was donated by a 77 Chevy Camaro, a 350/350 combo, 3.71 gear ratio rear end, and a mustang II independent front suspension with disk brakes and rack n pinion power steering.

I want to thank Alvin Parris for his encouragement through e-mails and phone calls, to C.G. Chavira and Cisco Lopez for all their help in disassembling, welding and installation of heavy parts and to my son Cesar for helping with heavier parts and acting as parts runner. My thanks also goes to my brothers in law Pablo Olide and Lucio Cepeda for helping with body work and spraying the cab Cobalt Blue and to Juan (Jack) Ramirez for helping with the installation of the wood and assembly of the bed. Most of all thanks to my lovely wife Mary for providing us with all the sandwiches and lemonade during the hot days we worked hard during this project, also thanks to the staff of Jim Carter for supplying us with the parts needed to complete the restoration.

Al Lopez

1937 chevrolet pick up truck 1937 chevrolet pick up truck 1937 chevrolet pick up truck

1937 chevrolet pick up truck 1937 chevrolet pick up truck