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Posts Tagged ‘1961’

1961 GMC ¾ Ton

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

Ever seen a NEW GMC pickup? If not, our Feature Truck is as close as it comes to factory new.  Now owned by Jan and Ross Gale (father and son) of Princeton Junction, New Jersey.  It is so pure even the seat upholstery is as perfect as it came from the dealership over 65 years ago.  This pickup sets the judging standards for the few 1961 GMC’s now surviving.


It was first purchased by a soon to be retired couple named Clarke. He was an engineering executive for the Bell Telephone Company in Washington D.C.  The new GMC was soon taken with them to Freehold, New Jersey after the retirement.

The next project was to prepare the pickup for the Clarke’s long awaited camping trips. It is assumed the Clarke’s favorite camping grounds were not too far away because the odometer had only 41,000 miles when it was sold to the “Gale Family Collection” in 1999. (About 2,200 miles per year) When not on their camping trips, the Clarkes kept the GMC in their personal garage.  Therefore, it only saw outside weather a few weeks a year!

Keeping the GMC so perfect goes along with the Clarke’s record keeping. Included with this truck they sold in 1999 to the Gales was every repair receipt during their 38 year ownership.  This even included the first written and bound proposal when it was first bought from the GMC dealer.



The Clarkes wanted a little more than offered GMC when it was new. This pickup is a ¾ ton, Series 1502, so is one step up from a ½ ton and provided a longer bed and heavier rear suspension for their new live-in camper.  (These campers were so popular in past years)

To give the pickup more stability in heavier winds and during sharp cornering, the Clarkes had the ultimate installed. They added an extra pair of rear wheels and tires to also help in wet weather.  These two extra tires also pulled the weight of the pickup just like the originals beside them (Check the tech article below written seven years ago on what was probably added to accomplish this extra).


It was suspected the extra two rear wheels and another unusual extra were added as a package from the Morysville Body Works in Boyertown, PA. The other extra are storage boxes attached to the bed sides.  What a great extra!  This would allow much more storage on the Clarke’s camping trip.  Ross Gale says, “The tool boxes have never seen a wrench, are covered with the original paint, and are clean enough to eat off of.”  Maybe the Clarke’s did not need them after all!

By seeing the following photos, note because of the extra dual rear axle width, it was necessary for the Morysville Co. to remove the stock step side rear fenders and add the narrower rear fenders they produce. It all fits together just right with the wide dual rears.




The power plant is one of GMC’s greats. A 305 cubic inch V-6 engine was only offered by them from 1960 through about 1969 in light trucks.  All is exact as it left the factory. It was the only engine offered in 1961 a GMC light pickup

The transmission is the almost “bullet proof” 4 speed which had been used since 1948 in the ½ through 2 ton (In a ½ and ¾ ton it is almost under-worked).

Power brake unit at side




Jan and Ross Gale (father and son) are serious truck enthusiasts and refer to their collection as the Gale Family Collection – GFC. When this 1961 GMC joined their fleet in 1999, it quickly became a family favorite going to shows near and far.  Now with only 51,000 miles, it is barely broken in. (about 1,000 miles/Year.) It now has a nickname as “Blueberry.”

The Gale Family are serious collectors!

Note three other trucks in their collection in the following photo together. These types of trucks are rarely seen in any condition at car and truck shows or other vehicle displays.

  • 1949 Chevrolet 1 ton Canopy Express
  • 1959 Studebaker pickup
  • 1955 Willy’s Station Wagon

These three trucks (in photo) are currently on display in the Vintage Auto Museum of New Jersey.

One other (almost the last survivor) is a 1952 GMC 1 ton “Banana Truck” Too nice to even get outside on a cloudy day.





  • Front license plate not using the two middle holes for the bracket. Could it be New Jersey requiring two plate years later and Mr. Clarke could not find a bracket?




See below

  • Front accessory bumper guards. Nice!
  • Parking lights in the hood the same as Chevrolet but lens background totally different.

  • Notice non-split rim wheels. Most all ¾ ton 8 bolt wheels were split rims. These even secured them to the factory hubcaps. Maybe an option?
  • This 1961 has seat belts. Was it a GMC option or installed later? Federal law didn’t required seat belts on new vehicles until 1968.
  • With new storage boxes attached to the bedsides, the original taillights had to be replaced. See photo
  • Chrome grille, bumpers, windshield trim and hubcaps. ALL GMC extras.

You can contact Ross at ross.gale@gmail.com &Instagram @fringecarcollector

1961 Chevrolet Truck Assembled in Brazil

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

During 2012 National Convention of the American Truck Historical Society, we met some real truck enthusiasts that had traveled to the show from Brazil. One was, Antonio Sergio Hurtago, an owner of an older American truck museum in San Paulo.

I was given a very interesting current 12 month calendar from this museum. The most surprising page featured a 1961 Chevrolet truck assembled in Brazil. Study the attached images carefully of the cab on this larger work truck. It can be immediately recognized as a United States 1947-55. So that’s where GM sent some tooling for their famous Advance Design body! The GM factory in Brazil continued with this popular cab for additional years!

Look closely again. GM in the US did not continue to produce Advance Design gauges, so look at the photo of the 1961 dash. Yes, the 1955-1959 Chevrolet dash gauges were the ones of choice in the Brazilian factory during at least 1961.

This new Brazilian Chevrolet truck is so different from the US models, yet there is just enough prior parts, it makes it an excellent candidate for study.

1960-1961 Chevy GMC Side Trim

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the early 1960’s GM’s majority of truck buyers chose the base truck with few dealer installed options. It was ending an era of very limited disposable income among the average US citizen.

General Motors saw the trend toward more extras on trucks and began to offer visual extras such as two tone paint, side trim, and upgraded interiors.

Though there were limited takers, both Chevrolet and GMC offered full length stainless steel side trim during 1960-61. Note: Cab and front fender trim are the same on both makes. It is the fleetside bed trim that is a different length. On the Chevrolet, the rear “C” side piece requires this trim to be shorter than the GMC. See images below.

1960 1961 chevy gmc side trim 1

Chevrolet (above)

1960 1961 chevy gmc side trim 2

GMC (above)

1960-1961 Chevrolet V8 Emblem

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

By the 1960-61 years, the V-8 emblems on Chevrolet were not placed on the truck’s doors or fender but were only on the nose of the hood. They were shaped different when the truck came with a 283 V-8 instead of the standard 235 six cylinder. The V-8 front emblems have become very difficult to locate. Most remaining trucks show much pitting on the chrome V-8.

1960 1961 chevrolet v8 emblem

1961 Chevrolet Deluxe

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Owner: Greg Scott

1961 chevrolet deluxe truck

Have you ever seen one of these? Few were produced, almost none have survived.

This 1961 Chevrolet V-8 1/2 ton is one of a small percentage that came equipped with the deluxe trim package. Though most pickups at that time were standard work trucks, GM realized there was a small growing number of buyers that had a desire for a little extra on their truck.

This deluxe package not only included the unique stainless steel side trim (only available in 1960-1961) but also a stainless windshield molding, chrome bumpers and hub caps, plus rear cab trim panels behind the door window. Chrome dash knobs, right and left inside sunvisors, and a deluxe steering wheel added to the package.

Our feature 1/2 ton is owned and was mostly restored by Greg Scott of Independence, Missouri. The reason it was ordered new with such deluxe features was the needs of its original owner. A combination funeral home and cemetery operation in California used it for 30 years. They wanted the best appearance in the truck they used. The original paint was light blue and white. Greg kept the two tone paint division lines just like the original, but changed the truck color to red and white.

He purchased the truck two years ago from the second owner in central Missouri. This person had thrown away all the trim, but at least the attaching body holes remained. The long search for this trim leaves only one piece now missing. The horizontal right door strip has still not been located. Can anyone help? Yes, he knows the correct 1961 hub caps are needed. They are still on his want list. Greg says he has personally spent over 80 hours repairing the used stainless trim he found from various sources. While watching television in the evening he slowly removed dents, did surface sanding and polishing. The results are great! The photos show he placed this trim in just the right position.

The bed was removed and only the bare cab remained on the frame. All was sand blasted and then the slow assembly began. Fortunately, its 30 years in California had prevented body rust. It was like putting together a large model kit that lacked some of it’s parts.

Owner: Greg Scott 1-816-836-0960

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1938 chevrolet 1938 chevrolet 1938 chevrolet

1938 chevrolet 1938 chevrolet 1938 chevrolet

1961 Chevrolet Apache

Monday, January 1st, 2007

Owner: Bob Rhea

1961 chevrolet apache

Here’s a recent photo of my 1961 Chevy Apache 1/2 ton, 98% on-frame restoration. Original 235 6cyl “Blue Flame” engine, Power Glide tranny.