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1953 “Canadian Built” GMC ½ Ton

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

Our regular readers of the Feature Truck of the Month Series know we try to find early GM trucks that are just a little different for an article. Our choice this month certainly fills these qualifications. A 1953 GMC ½ ton owned and totally restored by Allan Fisher of Vulcan, Alberta, Canada. Certainly a rare GMC 1/2 ton, plus it often pulls one of the few remaining 1956 Mercury 12 foot camper trailers in existence. Yes, also a “ground up” restoration by Allan. What an attention getter wherever this pair is seen!

A few comments on the Canadian built GMC’S that might be of interest to owners of those assembled in the U.S.A.

-The Canadian GMC pickups were assembled in Oshawa, Ontario.-They did not have the usual full oil pressure engines in the states such as 228, 248, and 270 cubic inch six cylinder engines. They came with the low oil pressure engine used in Chevrolet cars and trucks: a 216 inline six cylinder.

We were fortunate to receive an article on Allan’s GMC and Mercury trailer from his files on his two special vehicles that you might have seen on the highways in the 1950’s. Here it is for your enjoyment:

ALLAN’S OWN WORDS:

1953 GMC a real survivor: Some History This ‘53 GMC was sold in a small town in southern Alberta which had two automotive dealers. One a GMC dealer and the other a Ford dealer. In a short few years this GM was traded in to the Ford dealer. The Ford dealer also had a J.I. Case dealership for farm equipment. The good traded in GMC was painted Case orange (as it is today) and was used as a sales truck for the Case dealership in the late ‘50s. When the salesman who used the truck retired he got the GMC. It then went to his farming relatives where it hauled many 50 lb. bags of fertilizer for spring seeding. When seeding was finished back inside to keep the leftover fertilizer dry until next spring. When bags were not used anymore the old truck just sat inside forgotten. It was luck to be talking trucks over coffee when the owner of the GMC said he had a truck that was taking up space and should be gone to a new owner. I went to look at it. It was hard to see at the back of a building in the dark. But looked not bad from what I could see so made a deal and got it home only 30 miles. I put it in a building in my yard at the back in the dark and left it for another day. Five years later, time to get the old GMC out and start a cleanup. Out into the light with a careful look at it no rust any place these old trucks usually rust. Paint good for its age. “Orange” with little body damage. A good cleaning with the mouse nests gone it is a much better truck than I first thought. Now it was time to make a plan to save this good old truck. It is too nice original to hot rod but that would get it back on the road and could be driven but the cost is not cheap. A real good start for a back to very original truck but only good for driving in the summer and with faster highways it would not get driven much. Last and best I think for me is a driver that can be used for fun and light work. Upgraded for safety and faster roads at a reasonable cost so work began. First a better 6 cylinder pressure oiled engine. (GM 235 or 261) I found a GM 261 six that was to be in good shape and it really was so I cleaned it up and it bolts in. A better shifting transmission Saginaw four speed seemed best. It bolts to the engine. Rear diff. is a ten bolt GM out of a mid-size car (right width) drive shaft fits too. Steering was good put in manual disk brakes on front, (all parts in a kit) GM drums rear. Wheels changed to five bolt 15” with radial tires Changed to all 12v for better lights etc. All this upgrade were done in my backyard shop and all just bolt on.

1 1/2 years later: How is it to drive? A real treat to get out on the road. I can keep up with traffic, rides and handles well. Steers well, brakes well, no need for power brakes. But had to get the rear end ratio changed so now the 6 cyl. Run at 2850 rpm 60 mph. There were many other smaller things to do to make this truck work but all worth it. If you drive lots in town power steering would be nice. I have a 12’ canned ham travel trailer that this little truck with GM 261 engine pulls just great. This big 6 uses lots of gas, the 235 may be better for just a everyday driver. I hope this may inspire someone to start a old truck project. Just start with the truck you have it will still be fun and safe to drive. One warning you will fall in love (as I have) with these Old trucks as they become part of your life. There are many other details that I could share with someone who wants to build a truck. Contact Allen Fisher at: afishead@telusplanet.net

Like father, like son: While all of Allan’s GMC restoration was taking place, his son David (in high school) took notice! Very interesting on what could be done!

Thus, he bought a 1950 GMC truck from a farmer where he had been doing after hours work. He did the basics to make it more “road worthy” and so much cleaning and surface upgrading. Then, he had his own personal transportation to school every day.

After graduation he found a good paying job in Calgary, 60 miles away. Disposable income allowed him to get serious in his 1950 GMC upgrading. Now it has a very nice appearance, much like 70 years ago. Exception: Lift the hood and there is a Chevy small block V-8 engine.


For those that are curious of what Allan’s ½ ton pulls on occasional weekend get-away camping trips, read on!

He came across this 12 foot trailer by accident seven years ago somewhere in Alberta. An I.D. plate was stamped Mercury, El Monte, California. This forlorn forgotten trailer looked very interesting. After all, Allan liked camping as well as his newly restored GMC. Somehow, wouldn’t that make a perfect pair?

Allan was on a roll after creating his “new” ‘53 GMC so he was ready to get into this totally different type project. All the wood floor top and side wood framing was a total loss due to some roof leaks during long outside storage. Oh well, the patterns were there. Only the metal windows and roof vents were salvageable.

The metal exterior paneling was also a loss. No cleaning, polishing, or straightening would make it the way that Allan wanted it to match his GMC quality.

So luckily, he found a company in Calgary, 60 miles away that had machinery to add the original ridges on new trailer paneling. (This company has employees just repairing trailers from improper backing and wrecks on the road.) The workmen took an immediate interest in this 70 year old Mercury trailer. This was a real challenge to professionals that only repair late model trailers. The result: It may be better than in 1956. Even the depth and height of the ridges was just like the Mercury factory sold it.

Important inside restorable parts were the table, sink, clothing wardrobe, small built-in kitchen stove, and the upper kitchen cabinets.

Big Compliment: Allan Fisher did the total trailer restoration including all the needed woodwork. At least, the metal frame and axle just required major rust removal, re-coating in black and new wheel bearings.

Under Construction

Public Recognition: After this 2-year trailer restoration, Allan heard about an annual “Early Trailer Rally” that would hold its 2nd yearly meeting about 30 miles away. Of course, he had to go with the GMC as the puller! About 30 older trailers were in attendance. Allan received their “Honorable Mention” reward. Not bad for a new guy in the trailer world!

For those that have more interest in the vintage Mercury camper trailers click Google on “Mercury Camper Trailer”.

2019 – 2015

Monday, April 13th, 2020
2019 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
November/December 2019 1951 Chevrolet Suburban Tim Plake
October 2019 1942 GMC 1½ ton Flatbed Bob Combe
September 2019 1947 Chevrolet Deluxe ½ ton Pickup John Welsh
August 2019 1961 GMC Suburban Joe Disanti
July 2019 1954 Chevrolet Deluxe ½ ton Pickup Byron & Eleze Fuller
June 2019 1957 GMC Palomino and More! Ralph Wescott
May 2019 1972 Chevrolet Cheyenne Super Dave & Donna Field
April 2019 1946 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Stephen Caudill
March 2019 1955 GMC Suburban Carrier Larry Koochel
February 2019 1935 Chevy 1/2 Ton Jim McCoy
January 2019 1951 Chevy Suburban Mike & Tyler Chance

2018 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 2018 1957 Chevy Cameo Louie Hinojosa
November 2018 1961 GMC 3/4 Ton Jan & Ross Gale
October 2018 1937 GMC T-14 ½ Ton Larry Shisler
September 2018 1958 Chevrolet ½ Ton Short Bed Dick & Dolores Diestel
August 2018 1949 GMC ½ Ton Long Bed Steve & Patty Briand
July 2018 1948 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Funeral Hearse Rob Webster
June 2018 1956 Chevrolet Cameo plus Topper Bill Steeley
May 2018 1951 Chevrolet ¾ ton pickup Dr. Fred Young
April 2018 1969 Chevrolet Short Fleetside David Griffin
March 2018 1939 Chevrolet ½ Ton (Australia) Colin Carvolth
February 2018 1942 Chevrolet ½ Ton Bill Sanders
January 2018 – 18 years! 1966 GMC Ed Snyder

2017 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20171942Chevrolet 3/4 TonRoger Dunford
November 20171957Chevrolet CameoJohn Wazorick
October 20171939Chevrolet 1/2 TonRobert Bratcher
September 20171965Chevrolet 1/2 TonVinny Tumminia
August 20171941Chevrolet 1/2 TonJim Shaw
July 20171953GMC Long Bed 1/2 TonBill Miles
June 20171939Chevrolet COE 108″ WBJohn & Lisa Milton
May 20171948GMC COE Deluxe Crew CabCholly Nachman
April 20171937Chevrolet Panel TruckBurt Fulmore
March 20171948Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Deluxe PickupDave and Julie McBee
February 20171951Chevrolet SuburbanJeff & Brenda Kuhn
January 20171967Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Step BedJohn Toon

2016 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
Dec 2016 / Jan 20171967Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Step BedJohn Toon
November 20161936Chevrolet 1 1/2 TonMike Russell
October 20161959Chevrolet Spartan 100Scott Phaneuf
September 20161951Chevrolet COE Tow TruckJim Carter
August 20161947Early Chevy 1/2 TonJoe Haney
July 20161953GMC Deluxe Panel TruckMax & Margaret Davis
June 20161949GMC 3/4 TonDale Jacobs
May 20161959Chevrolet 1/2 TonSam Caudle
April 20161938GMC Cab Over, Roll-BackGlenn Garrison
March 20161951Chevrolet 1/2 Ton PickupGerald Cooper
February 20161953Chevrolet Canopy ExpressGreg Fanning
January 20161953Chevrolet 1 Ton PickupGreg Fanning

2015 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20151952Chevrolet Tanker TruckCharles Shook
November 20151952Chevrolet 2 Ton CaravanRichard Howe
October 20151953GMC 3/4 TonPossum Holler Garage
September 20151946GMC 1/2 Ton EC101Larry Dessenberger
August 20151957GMC Napco 1/2 TonDavid & Julie Bailey
July 20151936Chevrolet Low Cab 1/2 TonBryan and Beth Frogue
June 20151935American DoodlebugMr. & Mrs. Steve Mosley & Family
April/May 20151934-36Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Panel TruckUnknown
March 20151947Chevrolet 1 1/2 Ton Pickup-Open ExpressJim Carter
February 20151946Chevrolet Ice Cream TruckDon Ranville
January 20151953Chevrolet 1/2 TonVernon Buskirk

2014 – 2009

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020
2014 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20141962Chevrolet 1/2 Ton 4×4Nelson Good
November 20141941Chevrolet COEEarl Burk
October 20141952Chevrolet UTEJohn Smith
September 20141950GMC 1 Ton PickupJohn Lesmeister
August 20141954Chevrolet 3/4 TonTerry Millsap
July 20141950COEKent Zimmerman
June 20141946Chevrolet Panel TruckJim Winters
May 20141935Chevrolet ½ TonRichard Wright
April 20141942Chevrolet 1½ TonHerman Pfauter
March 20141949Chevrolet ½ TonRandy Priebe
February 20141948Chevrolet ½ TonTad Shadid
January 20141946Chevrolet ½ TonPaul Owsley

2013 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20131950’sCars of CubaAnonymous
November 20131958Chevrolet CameoAnonymous
October 20131969C-10 PickupMitch Jarvis
September 20131936GMCPat Kroeger
August 20131946Chevrolet 2 ton with Thornton DriveHoward Jones
July 20131947GMCJoe Miller
June 20131939Chevrolet ½ TonSteve Jones, New Zealand
May 20131946COE PickupBill Knoernschild
April 20131961GMC SuburbanClyde McKaba
March 20131939Chevrolet 1 ½ Ton PickupJohn H. Sheally II
February 20131961Deluxe ChevroletPaul Bremer
January 20131934Chevrolet Canopy ExpressKevin Koch

2012 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20121951Chevrolet School BusButch Voigt
November 20121958Chevrolet CameoScott Phaneuf
October 20121935Chevrolet SuburbanEd Brouillet
September 20121951Chevrolet 3/4 Ton PickupRichard and Delores Diestler
August 20121940GMC 1 1/2 Ton TruckMike Reese
July 20121953Chevrolet Canopy ExpressJohn and Michele Dunkirk
June 20121937Chevrolet Canopy ExpressRoger and Ginny Schuyler
May 20121947-55Chevrolet Panel/PickupRod Lentz
April 20121957Chevrolet SuburbanNorman Smith
March 20121953Chevrolet ½ TonUnknown, Chile, South America
February 20121971Chevrolet BlazerRussell Penniston
January 20121948Chevrolet “Heartbeat of America”Luke Stefanovsky

2011 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20111937GMC T-16 Cab Over EngineGary Witmer
November 20111959Chevrolet ½ TonCecil White, South Africa
October 20111935Chevrolet ½ TonRoger Sorenson
September 20111954Chevrolet Deluxe ½ TonPat Jackson
August 20111936Chevrolet ½ TonPat O’Brien
July 20111942Chevrolet Canopy ExpressScott & Betty Golding
June 20111945Chevrolet 1 ½ TonDirk Spence
May 20111946Chevrolet ½ TonJohn Thompson
April 20111953Chevrolet ½ TonDave & Pat Moore
February/March 20111936Chevrolet ½ Ton PickupDon Shew
January 20111950Chevrolet Truckstell OverdriveJim Brallier

2010 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20101956OpelJan van Bohemen, Belgium
November 20101946Chevrolet ½ TonDennis Odell
October 20101955Chevrolet Suburban NAPCOGeorge VanOrden
September 20101948Chevrolet SuburbanJerry Rivers
August 20101946Chevrolet ½ TonJim Adams
July 20101953Chevrolet ½ TonColin Murphy
June 20101938GMC COEJim Raeder
May 20101949Chevrolet SuburbanRoy Asbahr
April 20101949Chevrolet PanelUdi Cain, Israel
March 20101964Chevrolet ½ TonMike Light
February 20101948Chevrolet SuburbanUnknown
January 20101967Chevrolet 1 Ton PickupDan Kosteiny

2009 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20091946Chevrolet ½ TonTommie Jones
November 20091938Chevrolet ½ TonDon Cotrona
October 20091952Chevrolet ½ TonJim Swing
September 20091967Chevrolet ½ TonDennis Wegemer
August 20091951Chevrolet ½ TonJim Streeby
July 20091947Chevrolet Suburban WoodyDon Bryant
June 20091957GMC Panel NAPCORalph Wescott
May 20091946GMC 1 ½ TonCharlie
April 20091948- 49COE & Chevrolet ½ TonKen Wedelaar
March 20091939Chevrolet Model XHJCBrian Robinson
February 20091951GMC ½ TonTom Pryor
January 20091948Chevrolet 3100Scott Scheibner

2008 – 2003

Monday, February 17th, 2020
2008 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20081937GMC TrailaboutRon Loos
November 20081972Chevrolet ¾ TonEdward Eckel
October 20081948Chevrolet ½ TonRoger Darrow
September 20081940Chevrolet ½ TonJohn Buhr
August 20081949Chevrolet ½ TonSteve Jones
July 20081953GMC ½ TonJerry Willis
June 20081957Chevrolet CameoKen McCarty
March/April/May 20081954Chevrolet ½ TonAngus McDougald and Linda Challand
February 20081941Chevrolet ½ TonJeff Lewis
January 20081955Chevrolet ½ TonMarty Bozek

2006 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20061946Chevrolet COEJim Fassler
November 20061935Chevrolet SuburbanEd Brouillet
October 20061964Chevrolet ½ TonGene Satterfield
September 20061955Chevrolet ½ TonTim Etes
August 20061951GMC ¾ Ton TonThomas Albers
July 20061941Chevrolet ½ TonJim Arrabito
June 20061972GMCJohnny Patterson
May 20061954Chevrolet ¾ TonRichard and Lorie Baranek
April 20061936GMC ½ TonPat Kroeger
March 20061955Chevrolet Deluxe ½ TonTravis Goggans
January 20061949Chevrolet PanelMark Esposito

2005 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20051940Chevrolet ¾ TonClyde Johnson
November 20051934Chevrolet 1 ½ TonSteve Sickler
Sept/Oct 20051969Chevrolet ¾ TonGlenn Sexton
August 20051939Chevrolet 1 TonWill Perterson
July 20051938ChevroletDan Sauter
June 20051928Chevrolet PanelSpike and Donalda
May 20051955ChevroletJohn Carlton
March/April 20051954Chevrolet ½ TonDale Current
February 20051939Chevrolet ¾ TonSergies Lucas
January 20051950ChevroletTim Kane

2004 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20041955Chevrolet CameoJames Whalen
November 20041954Chevrolet ½ TonChuck Sanchez
October 20041950Chevrolet ½ TonPaul Frey
September 20041959Chevrolet Apache ½ TonDon Wyatt
August 20041968Chevrolet ½ TonTerry Green
July 20041955Chevrolet ½ TonKim Cooke
June 20041950GMC ¾ TonRoger Uttecht
May 20041953GMC 2 TonRob English
April 20041957Chevrolet ½ TonEric Davis
March 20041954Chevrolet ½ TonSteve Daily
February 20041956Chevrolet ½ TonDenny & Bonnie Wegemer
January 20041946Chevrolet ½ TonDenny & Bonnie Wegemer

2003 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20031955Chevrolet ½ TonIsmael Perez
November 20031956Chevrolet ½ TonGreg Sanders
October 20031946Chevrolet SuburbanJohn Hart
September 20031937Chevrolet ½ TonAl Lopez
July/August 20031950Chevrolet ¾ TonDusty Destler
June 20031952Chevrolet PanelDirk Van den Bergh
May 20031948Chevrolet ½ TonMike Klepp
April 20031955Chevrolet ½ TonBud Jones
March 20031953Chevrolet PanelJack Minton
February 20031955Chevrolet ½ TonMike Harness
January 20031955Chevrolet ½ TonMike Cargill

Meet the New Mid-1955 GMC Truck

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

With the introduction of the new 1955 GMC Blue Chip trucks. (Chevrolet used the name “Task Force.”) The GMC Truck Division made their statement with changes that were different in many ways than their Chevy competitor. Much of the sheet metal was identical to Chevrolet but there was just enough changes that allowed them to be a market and stand alone!

The new 1955 GMC trucks sometimes had their own independent dealers but more often their pickup line was marketed by GM car dealers such as Pontiac or Buick.

The stepside pickup beds were almost identical to Chevrolet but the tailgate displayed the famous GMC logo. (A nice advertising touch to show the follower, the pickup in front was a pure GMC.) To standout even more, the hood, grill, hubcaps and dash were much different than Chevrolet. The seat springs and frame were the same but the appearance of the cloth and vinyl gave a different appearance. Even the 6 cylinder and V-8 engines were different than Chevy! The GMC Truck Division would say “Our pickups are certainly a step above the competition.”

Engines:

Through the transmissions, differentials, and brake systems were mostly the same as the Chevrolet, their engines were very different. It appears that GMC would not share this most important part from their competition.

The 1955 six cylinder was 270 cubic inch. This was the same engine that had been optional in their first series 1955 trucks. (One of GMC’s greatest in the engine category.)
In regards to a V-8 engine it appears GMC was not prepared when they discovered Chevrolet had developed a small V-8 engine. (Yes, GM had a V-8 but it was 2 very large unit used in off road equipment and commercial highway vehicles. Too large for ½ to 2 ton trucks.)

Now what? GMC did what they had done in 1938 with a similar situation. The borrowed Pontiac’s engine! They could now boast, they had the largest V-8 in a pickup truck.

 

2002 – 2000

Friday, January 17th, 2020

2002 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
December 20021955Chevrolet ½ TonKeith Gunn
Oct/Nov 20021963GMC ½ TonGary Ameling
September 20021953GMC ½ TonClyde Treser
August 20021951Chevrolet ½ TonDave Hinegardner & Billie Heaton
July 20021935Chevrolet ½ TonJim Johnston
June 20021953Chevrolet ¾ TonDennis Oland
May 20021954Chevrolet ½ TonRudy Parmenter
April 20021950Chevrolet ½ TonMark DeMonaco
March 20021941Chevrolet ½ TonTom Bollinger
February 20021969Chevrolet ½ TonDanny Curran
January 20021954Chevrolet ½ TonJ.A. Ceschin

2001 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
Nov/Dec 20011951GMC ½ TonPaul McGarr
Sept/Oct 20011959Chevrolet ½ TonOlan Moore
July/Aug 20011950Chevrolet ½ TonJoe Clark
May/June 20011950Chevrolet ½ TonDon Forbes
March/April 20011946GMC ½ TonEugene Von Gunten
Jan/Feb 20011946Chevrolet ½ TonBruce Pile

2000 ARTICLESMODEL YEARMODEL MAKEOWNERS
Nov/Dec 20001953Chevrole ½ TonBob Tucker
Sept/Oct 20001951GMC ½ TonRob English
July/Aug 20001966GMC ½ TonEd Snyder

1947-55 Chevy/GMC Park Brake Floor Cover

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

Just in case, you have an interest in the Advance Design original brake system, this might catch your attention.

For ½ and ¾ tons, in the left corner of the cab floor, is the foot operated park brake. Here, the lever extends vertically up through the floor so the driver’s foot can lock the rear brakes when keeping the truck in a stopped position.

To prevent outside air from entering the cab GM used a rectangle boot cover preventing any leaks. To secure the boot, a metal plate with a long center slot attaches to the floor. The attached photo shows this as GM installed it.

A different metal plate is required when there is no foot brake. On 1 through 2 ton trucks the total hole is covered with the same plate but no center hole. Interesting! It actually then becomes a just blank-out plate to cover the now unused hole.

 

 

1955 GMC Suburban Carrier

Saturday, March 9th, 2019

They don’t get much rarer than these! In our over 200 Feature Truck of the Month Series since the year 2000, we have never even found one of these Carriers to use as an example.  In their three year production, mid-1955 to mid-1958, less than 1000 were sold through the many GMC dealers in the U.S. The limited survival rate in over 60 years is unknown. The proud owner is Larry Koochel of Liberal, Kansas.  As a special interest vehicle enthusiast and owner over the years, Corvettes being his favorite, he became aware of this GMC many years ago.  A friend told him about this truck and mentioned it was in storage near his home in western Kansas.  Larry had not heard these were ever made and being able to see it in a storage building really got his interest.  Research bought answers to this unusual factory made ½ ton.  No, it was not for sale!

Larry later heard the owner was paying for its storage garage until he was released from a state prison. Unfortunately, soon after release, he again broke the law and returned to behind bars.  Then it truly became up for sale!

It was only then the GMC came out of storage and found a new owner. This person gave it a body off restoration. Cab corners were all that was required in body part replacement before painting to the original Dover White.

Flame Red was on the wheels, inner bed panels, and rear cab secondary color. Of course, all rubber seals, window channels, most glass, and bed wood were replaced.

Now enters Larry Koochel. As a follower of special interest auto auctions he was shocked to see this same Suburban Carrier at a vintage auction two years ago and within driving distance of his home!  He immediately recognized it as the GMC he had seen years ago in storage.  Yes, he wanted it and the high bid was his!

It is now in storage near his home but this time occasional driving keeps it “up and going”! Probably one of the only Suburban Carriers in Kansas. Having a truck this unusual sure makes Larry happy being at that auction two years ago.

With the coming of the new 1955 pickups GMC knew there was no time to develop a small V-8 engine. What now?

GMC already produced a much larger V-8 but it was for very big freight haulers, not practical for the ½ tons! The GMC inline 302 was one of the strongest six cylinder gas engines in the industry but the GMC Division realized that they had to do something else to satisfy a ½ ton buyer’s V-8 wants.

Therefore, GM did the same as in 1938. They borrowed the correct size engine from the Pontiac car division.  In this case a 287 cubic inch V-8 that was used in the 1955 Pontiac.  They then became a leader of largest “small block” V-8 and with little tooling costs.  NOTE:  GMC slightly modified the V-8 heads so compression was slightly less than the Pontiac.  This made sure the engine operated well on regular octane gasoline.

Two other modifications when the Pontiac V-8 was placed in the GMC, the color changed from dark green to red orange. Of course, GMC did not want the Pontiac name stamped on the two valve covers. Thus, truck valve covers do not have the Pontiac script stamped on their top.

Why a Pontiac V-8 engine in a GMC? The new GM truck body in Mid-1955 for both GMC and Chevrolet were following some customer’s interest for more power in pickups.  Chevrolet had been developing the 265 cubic inch small block V-8 for several years to be ready for the new body designs.

Specifications for Larry’s Suburban Carrier:

Engine: Pontiac V-8, 287 Cubic Inch. 7.4 compression ratio

Transmission: 4 speed Hydromatic

Differential: 3.90: 1 semi-floating

Single exhaust and 2 barrel carburetor

Weights and Measures:Wheelbase: 114”Overall width: 74”Ground clearance: 7 1/8”Base price without options: $1,981.00

Shipping weight: 3,645 pounds

Bed length: 6’6”

Overall length: 198”

Tires: 6.70 X 15” tubeless

Options:

Hydromatic                  $210.00

Radio                           $55.00

Heater                         $40.00

Oil Bath Air Cleaner    $15.00

V-8 engine                   $106.00

The year 1955 was good at GMC Truck and Coach Division, made even better by the surprise appearance of the sporty, classy Suburban Carrier. It was a truck that was much more at home pulling up to the country club than hauling hay on the farm. NOTE: We heard a rumor that this rare GMC might be for sale for a little less than $39,000.

You can contact Larry Koochel at: lkoochel@Yahoo.com

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.

WHY SO PERFECT?

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.

 

PREPARING FOR CAMPING. SO INTERESTING!

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).

http://oldchevytrucks.com/blog/index.php/2011/04/aftermarket-dual-rear-wheels/

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.

 

 

MECHANICALES

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

 

 

THE SECOND OWNERS

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.

 

 

 

A FEW MISCELLONEOUS 1961 GMC EXTRA DATA

  • 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

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.

1949 GMC ½ Ton Long Bed

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

How many truck owners do you know that have owned their vintage GM pickup almost 40 years! Steve and Patty Briand of Woburn, Massachusetts have been the owners of a vintage GMC since 1978 and it has become part of their family.

HISTORY

This 1949 GMC ½ ton long bed was bought new by the owner of a large chicken farm in Manchester, New Hampshire. Therefore, a ½ ton was adequate but the longer 8 foot bed (not the normal 6 foot on a ½ ton) could haul more of their lighter weight products.

After about 25 years, it was sold to an individual in Massachusetts as his daily driver. He did the usual repairs and upgrades that normally occurs to a well-used truck of this age.

Just 4 years later it was for sale again. The owner had accepted a job transfer on the west coast. As the GMC still required some mechanical repairs, the owner would not drive it the 4,000 miles to his new home. The cost of hiring a transportation company was not an option. When the Briand’s saw this GMC, born in 1949, advertised at $450.00 and they found this was a running truck it was “love at first sight.” For this price it could even be used for their miscellaneous hauling needs.

Their landlord at that time had an available garage to protect it from the heavy seasonal snow. Otherwise, Steve began using it occasionally to drive to his local job. People in his company always knew Steve was on the job as the GMC was taller than the other vehicles in the parking lot!

The first big project was making it all one color instead of several colors and primers that showed its many years. Steve and Patty chose an original GMC cream. It made such a visual improvement. This color remained for almost 35 years.

PREPARING FOR THE RESTORATION

          Over the many years, the Briand’s long term goal was someday to make their GMC just like it came from the dealership in 1949. They knew this would be a major time consuming project and a big money spending project. So for about 35 years it was a driver, the restoration would wait until retirement years!

When they bought their “dream home” in 1989 the GMC was part of the equation. Their pickup must have its own private house, when restored so they built it behind their home in 2014.

The “GMC’s house” has more than parking space. An area at the side gives storage for most of the disassembling that was to occur. Even the roof supports were given extra strength for a winch, for someday lifting the cab and engine with transmission.

 

KEEPING IT GOING

No major changes (other than color) were done over the years. It was a matter of keeping it running much like in 1949, with parts hunting and discovering other owners, Steve managed to usually keep it going.

One great help was discovering and joining the North-East Chevy/GMC Truck Club. Their membership base is in Massachusetts and the surrounding states. It is now considered the oldest running vintage truck club in existence. Club contact is: gordonmil@msn.com Steve could always call on a member for emergency parts and repair advice.

 

THE RESTORATION

          After Steve’s retirement the time was right. The disassembly began in early 2016. One year was set aside for this to be Steve’s only activity. SURPRISE! The restoration has just been completed after 2 ½ years! So many unexpected extras occurs during a restoration of this size. Steve, at times, became overwhelmed. It is one big project to disassemble a 65 year old truck with rusty bolts from New England winters, a totally different set of rules exist for a quality restoration and assembly.

Steve began the long difficult job of the total restoration (he had never been involved in a project like this.) Though he enjoyed it, in a few months he realized there were so many different things to learn that were totally new to him. What now? A different approach would be necessary if it was to be completed in his lifetime.

Sometimes it is who we know that helps solve problems that may seem overwhelming. This speaks for Steve Briand and his GMC. One of his good friends had knowledge of a local shop owner that specializes in major special interest car restorations. In his many years restoring, the owner had never rebuilt a truck and was really interested in this GMC.

Good luck for the Briand’s. Steve had the pickup totally disassembled and parts completely covered their garage floor! To learn about a GMC, and not haul the many parts to his local shop. (Steve knew how it went together) the restoration shop owner offered to bring his tools to their garage and work on the weekends.

Wow! Someone must have been watching over the Briand’s. This match was certainly made in heaven!

The part time weekend project continued almost 2 ½ years. Both added to the restoration. To prevent a possible unhappy neighbor in their residential neighborhood the Briand’s invited them over to share the progress of the restoration. As the Briand’s were already very close with those nearby residents all liked watching the progress in his garage. Most had no idea what takes place in a ground up building.

Yes, sometimes a complicated item was taken to the restoration shop but most work was done in the GMC’s personal house!

 

SPECIFCATIONS

          The Briand’s have kept their GMC with its original 228 inline six cylinder engine and 6 volt electrical system. The 4 speed top loader transmission is almost bullet-proof in a GMC ½ ton. It was standard equipment in the in the large 2 ton GMC work truck! What is unusual it is an 8 foot bed and 125” wheel base like a ¾ ton but is still rated as a ½ ton.

The rear leaf springs are ½ ton 1 ¾’’ wide, not 2’ as in a ¾ ton! The smaller ½ ton differential has a ratio of 4.11 and not of the lower gear slower moving 5.14 or 4.57 on ¾ tons.

When removing the hood hinges from the firewall during the complete disassembly, they found the untouched original Brewster Green. This is now its new correct color! It has also the orange engine color that replaced olive green in 1948.

SUMMARY

          Steve and Patty Briand now have their new 1949 GMC. It is kept in its own personal home and will not be on the road during snow days. Now only an occasional light weight hauling job might be allowed.

Very important for the six volt electrical system, this GMC has the correct heavy gauge battery cable to the starter plus two ground cables. Just like General Motors did on all their 6 volt vehicles. Thus, the engine turns over almost as fast as a newer 12 volt vehicle.

The Briand’s give fair warning to a thief with an idea of breaking into the GMC’s garage to steal expensive tools. Check out their sign posted on the door!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can contact Steve & Patty email usscassinyoung@yahoo.com

Another Steve Briand’s sideline. For 35 years he had been helping 30 military veterans in the restoration and upkeep of a WWII destroyer, the U.S.S Cassin Young now kept in a dry dock in Boston. All is volunteer work and they have brought it back to its appearance 75 years ago in the Pacific.

 

A Few Photos of the Restoration

 

 

Rear of truck. Notice the rare GM accessory reflector!

The Red Wheels Sure Make the Truck Stand Out!

 

 

 

 

Steve and his buddy!

FOR THE PERFECTIONEST

If you would like getting into more details regarding this GMC ½ ton long bed read on!

½ TON LONG BED TRIVIA

From 1936 through 1955 a 8’ long bed on a GMC ½ ton was a factory option. (The more normal ½ ton bed is 6’) Our feature truck included the usual 16’’ 6 bolt wheels, longer frame side rails, an extra cross sill, and the same bed used on the GMC and Chevy ¾ ton pickups. This long bed ½ ton was not offered on Chevrolet pickups.

For this GMC option General Motors cost was not that expensive until it came to the need for a longer drive shaft behind the transmission. What do they do now?

No doubt this is where real engineering talents become necessary. This would require about a 2 foot connection for the extra bed length, between the u-joint and the short bed driveshaft used on their 6 foot bed.

GMC engineers suspected there would be some major problems if they just lengthened the ½ ton drive shaft assembly. Too much length to withstand overload abuse by some owners and repairs might be a big expense to them. It would probably be the last GMC the mad owners would ever have if the problem developed.             The decision was to continue with the proven short ½ ton closed drive shaft but create an almost 2 foot insert with and extra u-joint.

If and when this extension failed it would be much easier to repair. Some have called it GMC’s “weak link” but they were built heavy and withstood many, many years of abuse. After all it was a ½ ton, not a big work truck using this extension See photos and the enclosed blue print from a GMC shop manual.

More details of the GM Optional Reflector

To add better night visibility to all trucks, Suburban’s and panel trucks, General Motors offered a 4 inch diameter reflector as a dealer installed accessory. With the single small factory taillight, seeing of these vehicles on the road could be difficult especially if their one bulb burned out. To help correct this problem GM offered a larger reflector that could be attached to the rear license plate bracket. It greatly improved visibility to others at the rear during night driving.

This was a time when town street lights were limited. Of course, on the open road there was no lighting along the highways! This simple GM reflector was offered by the dealers to prevent rear end accidents. The customer could buy this dealer accessory from about 1940 through 1953. One of the attached photos is taken from a 1949 Chevrolet Truck Data Book. The 4 inch lens is a Stimsonite # 24 and the metal Guide ring has a stamping of X-19. Jim Winters of Rochester, Minnesota has both a restored 1946 panel truck and ½ ton pickup with this option.

1953 GMC Long Bed 1/2 Ton

Friday, June 30th, 2017
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We had heard of this special GMC over the years but had not personally talked to the owner or seen the various photos showing it in detail. The owner and person responsible for this creation is Bill Miles of Ashland, Massachusetts. After several conversations with Bill, we knew this pickup should have been a part of our Feature Truck series long before now!

It was created in 1953 and began its life as a long bed ½ ton, not a short bed as most are used to seeing. It was the decision of the General Motors Truck Division to offer a long bed ½ ton (using a ¾ ton bed) during the early years and not make it with heavier suspension, a stronger frame , and low gearing in the ¾ ton differential!

GMC had its own full oil pressure inline six cylinder since 1939. Additional horsepower allowed this extra 12” bed length on a ½ ton (not available on the Chevrolet ½ ton). The gross weight remained 4,800 pounds, the same as the short bed. It was still far below the ¾ ton gross weight of 8,800 pounds. This long bed could still have the higher ratio 4.11 differential and not the lower geared ¾ ton with 4.57 and optional 5.14 but with the same bed. The ½ ton ride was smoother, highway speed increased, and fuel economy improved over a ¾ ton.

Another very unique feature is the factory 4 speed Hydra-Matic transmission. It operates just right and was the first year GMC offered it in a pickup. Photo shows this “big brute” on a table just after its rebuild.

Our feature truck is one of these unique pickups, however with Bill’s help it has been given several additions to operate better on today’s highways. And the big plus: Most of these extras are not visible. Bill’s ½ ton has been given a higher speed and is a pleasure to drive.

To most, it appears as a very nice restored stock GMC pickup that is as was bought new over 60 years ago. It is not!

The following is the data from Bill Miles that personally explains what he added to make it so road worthy and at the same time safer to drive. His reward: 40,000 miles over the US in fun driving since he bought it in the year 2000. Many vacations were scheduled.

YOU WILL REALLY LIKE BILL’S STORY

I purchased my 1953 GMC Hydra Matic long bed half ton in the summer of 2000. At the time, it had a 270 GMC engine with Fentons, 4 wheel drum brakes, the original 4.11 rear gears, and 15 inch bias ply tires that were 27 inches tall.

Over the years, I have installed a 302 engine with a 2 bbl. Holley AA-1 Carburetor, keeping the Fenton Headers, changed the rear gears to 3.55’s, changed the tires to 215/85R 16 inch radials that are 30.5 inches tall, installed front disc brakes with a dual master cylinder, and added an original sway bar.

By changing from the 4.11 and the 15 inch tires, to the 3.55’s and the 16 inch tires(3.5″ more diameter), my engine rpm dropped by approximately 800 at 65 miles per hour.

I kept the 16 gallon fuel tank behind the seat and added a second 16 gallon tank under the rear of the bed, where a spare tire would mount if there was not a side mount. I have a valve on the floor of the cab to switch between tanks. Each tank has a sender that is wired to an On/On switch under the dash. When I flip the switch forward, it reads the seat tank, when I flip it back it reads the rear tank, all from the original gauge.

The two tanks come in handy when I am traveling. In 2009, I shipped the truck to my friend Ken Brown’s home in Yacolt, Washington. Then, my son Connor and I flew to Washington, and drove the truck home to Massachusetts. We were on the road almost a month and drove 5200 miles, visiting San Francisco, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, and other attractions.

I have driven the truck to ATHS (American Truck Historical Society) shows in Syracuse, NY, Baltimore, MD, Auburn, IN, and several times to the ATCA show in Macungie, PA. I have logged about 40,000 miles since I bought the truck in 2000.

In May 2017, I drove to the ATHS show in Des Moines Iowa, then headed south to Nashville, and Lynchburg, Tennessee, then drove north through Bowling Green, KY, toward home. I was on the road for 15 days and traveled 3800 miles. To date, I have driven the truck through 31 states.
Www.53gmc.wordpress.com

You can contact Bill Miles @ bd97@comcast.net

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Loaded and ready for travel

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Nice Phrase

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First year for the optional side mount

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The cockpit for traveling.  Look at the speed on the speedometer!

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Close-up of Hydra-Matic shift and original gauges plus a very old turn signal control.

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Only year for the Ram Horn attached to the intake manifold. It requires the new relay on the firewall.

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The 302 looks new!

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Fresh Hydra-Matic Rebuild. Now that is a heavy weight! Bill’s 1953 in the Background.

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Bill showing the “shaft extension” that gives the short bed the extra length to make it a long bed GMC ½ ton. Making this extension saved GMC so much money in designing a total new longer ½ ton drive shaft system. Some may have call it GMC’s “weak link” but it sure has not been the case for Bill Miles.

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Setting by the Bowling Green Water Tower near the Corvette Museum.

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A day at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky

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Beside a small local church in West Virginia

3.5 more diameter

1953 GMC Deluxe Panel Truck

Thursday, June 30th, 2016
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Ever hear of an older vehicle being bought on its way to the metal crusher? Our feature truck this month was one of those saved from the recycler to later become one of the most attractive panel trucks in the country!

The savior of this 1953 GMC panel truck is Max and Margaret Davis of Columbia, Tennessee. They are the owners of Possum Holler Garage one of the premier 1947-55 Chevrolet / GMC truck restoration companies.

Finding this panel truck was a “freak occurrence” while at a special interest vehicle auction. Possum Holler Garage had several of their trucks in line for the bidding, when a person stopped by and asked if they had an interest in a 1953 panel truck that he was taking to be pulverized in a few days. If they did he would sell it for the metal price of $300.00!

Of course, they bought it on the spot! It was soon setting behind their restoration shop with other unrestored Advance Design trucks to be rebuilt. When the right enthusiast asks for a restored truck, Possum Holler will often sell them a truck they have at their shop and then restore it how the customer wants or restore the customer’s vehicle. Surprise, this panel truck was in waiting less than two weeks before a person bought it and requested they rebuild it as a real eye catcher.

Of course, as these photos show, it had to be disassembled to the bare frame and then assembled piece by piece. It is now owned by Larry’s Country Diner in Nashville, Tennessee. Plans are to place it in front of the diner to attract people’s attention. No doubt, it will increase the diner’s walk-in customers immediately everyday it is on display.

Possum Holler Garage used Larry’s color suggestions and a later model drive train. The modern Chevrolet V-8 and automatic transmission even has air conditioning! It can easily get its share of speeding tickets!

A few things that are a real “stand-out” on this panel truck is the two-tone paint, outside sun visor, white wall tires, and all the chrome.

Possum Holler even turned it into a deluxe panel truck by not only having all the chrome but installing the correct 12 stainless steel fender trims and the pair of long front fender spears. (Yes, deluxe panel truck trim is now on the market in limited quantities). The total package is a real “head turner” on the road or sitting beside Larry’s Country Diner.

POSSUM HOLLER GARAGE CO. DATA:

Established in 2009, their first GM pickup truck was for the famous George Jones, one of the top country singers of the 1960’s through 1990’s. This truck now sits in a country music museum in Nashville, TN.

During the past 7 years they have restored 60 vehicles for customers over the USA. If you want yours or one of their 1947-55 GM trucks restored with top quality, contact Possum Holler Garage. Email @ mxdavis1@earthlink.net

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As they bought it

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

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Disassembly Begins

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Media-blasing the Insides

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Body Complete (What a clean shop)

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After Body Painting

ALMOST FINAL PHOTOS

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Near Completion

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Fenders Installed

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Detail Work

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Checking Door Alignment

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Almost Complete

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Look at that Trim!

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Making it ready for fenders and grill

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Front vocal point

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One of the best in the Country!

1949 GMC 3/4 Ton Pickup

Thursday, May 26th, 2016
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This special Advance Design pickup has come a long way from its early life on a Mid-Missouri farm. Owned and restored by Dale Jacobs of Dallas, Texas, this 1949 GMC ¾ ton has been down to the frame and came out just a little nicer than new.

It’s the old story. It looked very nice and ran just as well but a little extra touch would make it a nicer pickup. Well, the more he got into areas, the more he saw things that just were not quite right. After all it was a farm work truck for so many years. Before long you are tired of seeing so many imperfections, you check your bank account, and say “Let’s just make it a new truck”. It will only take time and money! It was taken down to the bare frame (the easiest part) and the building of the oversize model kit begins.

This four year project involved doing much research, making local new restoration contacts, and learning so much about early GMC’s.

Over the years Dale has owned several “special interest vehicles” including a 1954 Corvette. (Lucky guy!) However, he has always had a hidden desire for a pickup. Thus, this GMC became his project.

Dale’s ¾ ton has the optional 17” split rim wheels instead of the stock 15”. (These were original on the 1 ton pickup of these years). The extra 2” gives the truck a higher top end speed and lowers the engine RPM. Good during daily in-town driving.

Another very unique fixture is the intake manifold, mentioned in Dale’s article below. The original single barrel carburetor intake center hole was blocked off. Then front and rear carburetor receiver openings were installed to hold a pair of two-barrel Stromberg’s. It operates excellent and is probably the only one of its kind in the world! What an eye catcher! He says it easily cruises at almost 70 mph!

The following is a few of the special features Dale wrote about on his GMC. No doubt it is an overview and is the “tip of the iceberg” of all he has done to make it such an attractive well-appointed truck.

Dale’s Personal Story:

A 4 year “frame off” TOTAL restoration of this “numbers matching” GMC 3/4 ton pickup.
The “Ron Kelly Designs” complete rebuild of this original drivetrain and chassis included the GMC 228 engine long block (.08 over rebore), head, flywheel, clutch, 4-speed on the floor transmission with “granny” gear, drive shaft and rear end, all dynamically balanced. Modifications to improve performance include full-flow oil filtering, dual 2-barrel Stromberg carburetors adaptation to original intake manifold with new linkage, and Fenton dual exhaust headers with custom muffler routing.

The chassis rebuild involved frame powder coating, front and rear spring leafs with helpers, Delco lever arm shocks, duel master cylinder brake system, front end and steering linkage with drive box.

The electrical system conversion to 12 volts included the original Delco starter and generator, regulator, new Mallory dual point distributor and coil, new wiring harness, 4 corner lighting with halogen headlights and turn signaling. A new water pump, radiator with expansion cylinder and hoses improve the cooling system.

All body panels were COMPLETELY disassembled and, along with the cab, subjected to a strip and de-rust total immersion process. Reassembly with new fasteners was preceded by extensive applications of epoxy and urethane primers and initial custom lacquer paint then followed by final lacquer paint and clear coatings.

Cab restoration involved new door handles, hinges and panels, headliner with insulation, sun visors, gauge cluster and speedometer, vintage GMC reproduction stereo AM/FM radio and 7 new glass windows allowing a surround view. The air flow heater with control valve and defroster ducts, vacuum wiper motor with linkage, fuel tank with new sender, and all pedal controls were also restored to original specifications. Traversing seat with era appropriate new upholstery allows comfort with a vintage signature. Firewall, roof, floor and doors all received sound deadening applications.

Finishing touches include the re-chromed original grill, badging, radiator fan and added dual trumpet horns. Color coordinated powder coated engine side and valve covers enhance the engine bay. Also evident are new bumpers with valences, vintage Unity spot and fog lights, chromed fuel tank linkage, and powder coated original split rim wheels with new 750-17 tires. An eye-catching top grade oak bed and side rails with stainless linings and fasteners complete this classic restoration.

If you have questions on Dale’s special GMC pickup, his email is drj86wr@aol.com.

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Here it Comes!

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Open for Viewing

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Correct 9 Board Bed

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Standing Tall on 17″ Wheels

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Even a Right Side Spotlight

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Excellent Oak Side Racks

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Yes, Dual Exhaust. Neat!

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Extra Stake Pocket on 3/4 Ton

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150 Represents 3/4 Ton

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Good View of Right Side Hardware

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Original ID Plate

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Door Restored Just Right

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Side View of Interior

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Nice Dash

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Gauge Color is GMC Only

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Modern Radio Looks Original

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Heater and Spot Light Switch

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Like New!

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Two Carbs on a Single Barrel Manifold

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Dual Horns Will be an Attention Getter for Pedestrians

1938 GMC Cab Over, Roll-Back

Thursday, March 31st, 2016
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Wow! Here’s what you can do with a 2 ton 80 year old truck that has become almost beyond repair! Glenn Garrison of Germanton, North Carolina decided to build a roll back truck that was one of a kind. He wanted something no one else would have and yet could do car hauling duties as well as others.

When he saw this (almost only 1938 GMC Cab-Over-Engine 1 ½ ton survivor) he got very interested. It was so far from his home but he had never seen one before!

This rare 1938 GMC Cab-Over-Engine (COE) was in Kimball Nebraska (over 1,800 miles from his shop). It was once a city work truck and still had their ID plate attached to the door post. He had to have it! After having it transported the long distance to his shop, in Germanton, NC. he began to make serious plans to make a major transition. The badly used bed and mechanicals would be discarded and much money would be spent to bring the sheet metal and interior to new condition. Even the original GMC color, Narva Green (1938-52) was used on the exterior.

During the restoration Glenn found a downer truck to receive the now immaculate cab and front sheet metal. The choice was a 1998 GMC 6500 two ton.  The restoration continued now on the newer vehicle with cleaning and replacing parts plus finding a roll back chassis bed.  It also was restored and finished with shiny black paint.

What a project! Fortunately, Glenn has excellent abilities in repairing vehicles as was certainly needed during this project. Just getting the 1938 cab to align with the 1998 chassis was a real project!

As a part time restoration project (work duties had to continue) it took Glenn 5 years to complete this project.

It is now well recognized in Germantown. For those not acquainted with the mechanical side of trucks, now assume Glenn has come to tow their car with a 75 years old truck! You can contact Glenn by email at skgarrison@windstream.net.

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When first received. Looks like someone found some “get-by” headlights!

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1998 GMC T6500, 3116 Cat Engine 250hp, 6 Speed Manuel Transmission, Air Brakes

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Under Construction!

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Look Inside!

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The Finished Product.

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Still Beautiful, over 10 years later,

1953 GMC 1 Ton Pickup

Monday, January 4th, 2016
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Just a quick note and story for you Jim and a big “thank you” to Jim Carter Truck Parts for all the support while doing my rebuild, couldn’t have done it without you guys…..Greg Fanning, Province of British Columbia, Canada.

Well, I guess I should begin this dialogue by saying what an honor it is to have been asked to contribute a story of one of the vehicles in my fleet.

It all started during my career as a power lineman for the major utility, BC Hydro. The job required that I travel extensively building power lines around the Province of British Columbia, Canada. I began to find various old trucks and numerous parts in remote areas, so during after work hours while away from the family, it became a hobby of sorts.

This particular vehicle, a 1953 one ton dump pickup was brought to my attention by a lineman buddy from Saskatchewan, a couple of Provinces to the east of British Columbia.

One Sunday night after overstaying my welcome at the local watering hole the night before, I called this old farmer that my buddy had told me about. He was an acquaintance of his family and had bought this truck new in 1953 to haul grain. That same Sunday that I called was also Halloween in early 2000. The old boy was home that night and said he was only available the next day, so 2 hours later I was airborne and 3 hours after that I was 770 miles from home in a motel waiting to be picked up the next morning.

The truck was sitting in the field looking so tired after 50 years of hauling grain with its five foot high wooden box sides and end gate with a discharge chute for dumping. Interesting point here, my buddy always told me that if I ever bought an old grain truck in the prairies, be sure to ask about the tailgate and the hubcaps. Why I asked? The reply was instant “The tailgate was always removed to accommodate the built up intake at the grain elevators and the hubcaps were removed because of loss while pounding down the predominantly gravel farm roads….both were usually hung on the BARN WALL”.

After a thorough walk around, oil check, and a fire up, that old 235 cu. in. Thriftmaster, with its 17500 miles just purred to life. People always want to argue, and still say that motor is a 216 cu. in. because of the two “acorn nuts” peering up through the valve cover and that the first “oil pressured” 235 engine didn’t come out until 1954. Actually, in Canada, the first oil pressured 235’s were rolled off the assembly line late in 1953 using the old valve cover and rocker arm posts. Not until the first FULL year in 1954, did they bolt the valve cover directly to the head.

I asked the old boy what he had to have for his “old friend”, and without hesitation he replied “Exactly what I paid for it in 1953, $1,730.00”…. I handed him the money, (never leave home without it) and signed the deal. Then I asked, “What about the tailgate and hub caps?”… “Holy, it’s a good thing you asked” he said, “I took them off brand new and hung them on the barn wall”…..WOW, there they were flawless.

“Will this old girl get me home?” I said, “I have to be at work tomorrow”. His response was “It doesn’t leak, it doesn’t burn oil, and it doesn’t boil over”. Eleven hours and ½ quart of oil later, I was rolling in my driveway with a smile from ear to ear, a new toy and a new friend.
I did a ground up, end to end restoration that spring and still enjoy driving this old girl every summer…….can’t beat a GMC — G-reater M-ade C-hevrolet.

You may contact Greg Fanning @ gmcgreg@shaw.ca

ADENDUM:

Why a Dump Bed?

These were used by the thousands in wheat country of Canada and the U.S. It is part of our farm history 50 years ago. During the harvest these extended pickups would be in the fields and receive wheat from combines (pulled by tractors) that had gathered a full load of grain. (At one time our feature truck even had tall wood sides that fit in the stake pockets. In this way, even more wheat could be taken to the local elevators during each trip) They then loaded the wheat to haul to local grain elevators and sold. After harvest season, these pickups could be used on farms for other duties.

Manufactures sold kits that could be installed under the truck bed. On Greg’s one ton, it included a hydraulic pump that operated from the “power taken off” of the factory 4-speed transmission. This pump forced the hydraulic cylinders to dump the bed. Of course, the bed used a pivot or hinge on the rear to hold it during its rising and lowering.

Another unique feature of these wheat harvest pickups was their tailgate. Most all original gates were replaced with a custom made grain tight gate that had a small slide-up door for dumping the wheat as the bed raised.

At the end of harvest season the correct tailgate could be placed back on the pickups. In many cases the replacement gate was never removed from the truck once installed!

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Greg’s Collection

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1953 GMC 3/4 Ton

Thursday, October 1st, 2015
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Our feature truck article is a little different this month. One of the country’s leading truck restoration shops was ask to pick a favorite of those completed in their many years of rebuilding, General Motors Trucks. They chose this truck as their all-time favorite.

This very special pickup is a 1953 GMC ¾ ton. The restoration company is Possum Holler Garage owned by Max and Margaret Davis in Columbia, Tennessee. They only restore the 1947-55 Advance Design trucks, probably the best know trucks ever produced by GM. One of the enclosed photos shows our feature truck and seven others in various stages of restoration. (Their shop is as clean as most people’s personal homes)

This restoration shop purchases their trucks from all parts of the country. The employees are capable of repairing most any damage or worn out part of these trucks. Parts are available with a little research as over 5 million AD trucks were sold during the seven year production run. These years were truly the “Heartbeat of America” in trucks!

This GMC pickup was purchased from an estate sale in Colorado and transported to the Possum Holler Garage.

As with all their completed trucks, it was rebuilt from the bare frame. It is now new! All worn parts were repaired or replaced. Its 228 cubic inch inline six cylinder engine has been the same during it’s over 60 years. The 4-speed transmission is what was in most of these ¾ tons when they left the factory.

During the final stages of restoration it was discovered by the current owner, the A.J. Walker Co. of Matoon, IL. This is a ready-mix concrete company begun in the 1950’s by the current owner’s grandfather. It was love at first site! This little pickup was almost identical to granddad’s original (the company founder). The deal was made with the final color being Omaha Orange just like that first company pickup. Even the door lettering is just like an early photo.

The pickup now sets in a temperature controlled garage in Illinois. It is often seen in local parades and even shows. The company founder A.J. Walker would be proud!

Looking for an expert in Advance Design truck restoration?

Contact Possum Holler Garage at www.possumhollergarage.com

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The Feature Truck with Seven Others in Process

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Chassis Completed

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Just Before the Tailgate and Lights

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The Finished Product

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As Purchased in Colorado

1957 GMC Napco

Friday, July 31st, 2015
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WOW! What an unusual totally restored truck. When we were first shown the photos of this step side pickup, we saw this was special. No one we knew could recall anything quite like this.

The pickup is a 1957 GMC Napco ½ ton (Factory 4 wheel drive) with 125 inch wheel base. Not only is this an almost 60 years old unusual pickup but then add an original Pontiac V-8 as its engine. (Chevrolet did not offer a V-8 on their early Napco 4 wheel drive pickups).

When the demand for V-8 engines began to develop in the mid 1950’s, GMC had none to offer! Their answer was to use the 347 V-8 used in the Pontiac car. Thus, such a large cubic inch for a ½ ton pickup. Of course, no Pontiac logos were shown. GMC decals were placed on the valve covers.

The proud owners are David & Julie Bailey of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. David found the GMC on the internet and Julie encouraged him to own it. It would be an excellent replacement for their specialty car, a 1992 Pontiac Trans Am. The pickup was in Salmon, Idaho. Quite a long distance from their east Oklahoma home. They quickly recognized the unusual qualities of this pickup and bought it! What a long drive to Idaho with a flatbed trailer, however the GMC was just as good as they had hoped. It fit nicely on their trailer and off David & Julie went on their long trip back to Oklahoma.

They are members of the Pontiac Oakland Club International which has now welcomed all GMC owners to be part of the fun. The club has over 9,800 members in the US and other countries. You can contact the club website at: www.poci,org. David belongs to the local chapter, The Indian Nations Pontiac Car Club with 60 members. He is also president of the local GMC chapter with 100 members.

This Idaho GMC was in such good mechanical shape, David drove it almost daily in his home town for 6 years. Brake problems began to develop in the last year and repairs seemed to be temporary at best. Therefore, the long distant plans for a total restoration was moved up. It was decided to disassemble it to the bare frame and start back like it left the factory in Pontiac, Michigan almost 60 years ago. The Baileys even did the frame better than new. It was sand blasted and given a powder coating!

Finally four years later David & Julie had a new 1957 GMC Napco. Julie even helped install the new windshield among so many other things. At least an extra year was spent waiting for more skilled people such as a body shop and upholstery to find time to work on it. All body parts were restored and painted individually. It was the Baileys that had to assemble the parts without chipping the paint. What a job! The original colors were used, Seminole Brown and Panama Cream. The other factory option is a fresh air heater and side mount spare tire.

Also included is the factory 2 barrel carburetor, 347 cubic inch V-8 with dual exhaust, 4 speed transmission, and Spicer transfer case.

The Bailey’s current project is building a new home in Broken Arrow, however this time a separate 30 x 50 garage will be included. We wonder what specialty vehicle will be placed in all the extra space this building provides.

ADDITIONAL NAPCO DATA

Prior to 1957 the four wheel drive system used on General Motor’s trucks were provided and installed by specialized independent firms not connected with GM. These “kit” companies included American-Coleman, NAPCO, Marmon-Herrington, PABCO, etc. and made assemblies for many truck manufacturers. Beginning with 1957, General Motors selected NAPCO as their first official supplier of 4 x 4 units placed on Chevrolet and GMC trucks. Now dealers could sell factory-ready units as well as provide replacement parts listed in the GM Master Parts Catalog. GM used the NAPCO system exclusively between 1957 and 1959, however this name is not found in GMC or Chevrolet data books! Independent local NAPCO franchise dealers continued to install these units thru at least 1963. NAPCO’s can be identified by the raised N-A-P-C-O lettering on the forward side on the front axle housing.

You can contact David & Julie Bailey at: david.beetle@cox.net

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One of So Many Awards!

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Excellent From the Back Forward

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The Long “M” Continued in 1957

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Nice New Interior

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Just After the Final Paint

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New Seminole Brown Paint

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The Upper Hood Says it All

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Bed During Assembly

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The Pontiac 347 V-8 gets David & Julie’s Touch

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Bringing it Home Before the Restoration

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Close View of it Arriving in Oklahoma

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Not Bad for 45 Years and No Restoration

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Everyday Work Truck Engine

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Napco Transfer Case Made by Spicer

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Caulk Letters Showing 4WD from the GM Factory

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Grandson, Ian, in the Driver’s Seat

1957-62 GM Tool Bag

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

One of our good customers, Scott Phaneuf of Hatfield, MA recently purchased a NOS (New Old Stock) GM tool bag with all the correct tools. It was found in a San Diego dealership back storeroom. Somehow it had not been thrown away over these many years.

In earlier years canvas tool bags were with the vehicle when new at no extra charge. Later they became an extra cost option and this design is our feature item. As the quality of clear vinyl improved, they could now use this material as part of the tool bags.

Photos show the pouch, the enclosed tools, and the original cardboard box that kept the total package. The part number 987322 was for customers that had bought most all General Motors cars and trucks between 1957 through 1962.

1939 – 1946 Grilles

Friday, August 10th, 2012

To keep General Motors truck costs down, Chevrolet and GMC ½ through 2 ton shared many components during the late 1930’s through the 1950’s. However, when it came to the grille, the focal point of the truck, changes had to be very noticeable.

The truck designers were limited in creating a new grille as both makes would still have the same front fenders and hood. For these limitations, the designers actually did quite well. They almost made them able to be exchanged from one make to another. On the 1941-46, only the small filler panel between the grille and fender top had to be slightly modified.

The attached photos show how two grilles can be different and yet fit in almost identical sheet metal areas of the trucks.


1939-40 GMC

1939 Chevrolet

1940 Chevrolet

1941-46 GMC

1941-46 Chevrolet

1940 GMC 1 1/2 Ton Truck

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Owner: Mike Reese

A 70 Year Old GMC Saved From The Crusher!

1940 GMC 1 1/2 Ton Truck

1940 GMC 1 1/2 Ton Truck

This 1940 GMC 1 ½ ton had been retired along with its original owner, a farmer near Grand Rapids, Michigan for many, many years. It had been placed in a barn with badly damaged fenders, grille and related front items. The bed was beyond repair. If it was not for the sentimental value to family members, years later, it would have been sent to the crusher. A younger family member aware the truck was hidden in a barn began to consider updating it and making it roadworthy. The big plus was a pair of New Old Stock front fenders and running boards stored on the bed. This gave him the incentive to start on grandfather’s farm truck. It was a surface restoration but still became expensive. The bed was rebuilt at almost $900.00. Installing the new front fenders, finding a chrome grille and bumper surely added to the expense.

A second owner purchased the truck about 1993, however, he never did any further restoration. It sat for 10 years. Maybe this is the reason why it went up for sale. The big restoration money was yet to be spent.

The current owner is Mike Reese of Kempton, Pennsylvania. He bought it on-line in 2003 because he loved the appearance of the front end and cab. He became committed to make it look like new!

He already owned a 1951 Chevy fire truck and a 1951 Chevy 2 ton short wheel base dump truck (he still uses it for occasional gravel and dirt hauling) so he was very aware of what was ahead of him. However, he needed a lighter weight less massive older GM truck for driving to more distant truck shows and being more a part of the fun.

Mike did the final steps of the restoration, taking three years of evenings and weekends to complete. Total cleaning, painting the original Pimpernel Scarlet, all new rubber, correct interior, many mechanicals restored, etc. It was all done to exact 70 year old specifications. Finally, it became just like the Michigan farmer saw it when he bought the truck from the GMC dealership in 1940.

It’s now a head turner everywhere Mike takes it. People just stand and stare at the workmanship. They are looking at what they have only seen in black and white photos of the 1940’s.

After the first year of driving it on lesser traveled roads, Mike finally made one hidden change. He replaced the original 228 cubic inch six cylinder with a completely rebuilt 1956 270 engine. The outward appearance is identical. The two engines even used the same overhaul gasket set. Now the truck had a different personality. He could drive it on freeways to distant truck shows. He still keeps it about 60mph as the truck is still held back due to the original 4.56 ratio differential. He has not been able to find a higher ratio ring and pinion without making a major change that requires different wheels and he refuses to have a different design wheel on the front and rear. We offer our congratulations on this thinking.

One of the items that really stands out on this 1940 flat bed at all shows is the original GMC bed. Most display aftermarket beds, however Mike’s is pure General Motors. The two tall curved front panels (like a half barrel) are a true example of a truck that was ordered with the correct GM bed.

Mike Reese and his 1940 are often seen at Pennsylvania weekend truck shows; however his furthest was the American Truck Historical Society 2011 annual convention in South Bend, Indiana. Distance driven: 630 miles one way. This national club’s 2012 convention was in West Springfield, Massachusetts. This was 250 one way miles.

He never misses the world famous annual Macungie, Pennsylvania truck show 30 miles away. This year there were 600 participants on display. No judging, just lots of fun and memories.

Mike’s 1940 is quite an eye catcher at shows. He almost always receives a trophy or at least honorable mention. Yes, a home family room has many awards that prove this statement.

Mike Reese can be contacted by email— ashtonlansford@aol.com

1940 GMC 1 1/2 Ton Truck 1940 GMC 1 1/2 Ton Truck 1940 GMC 1 1/2 Ton Truck
1940 GMC 1 1/2 Ton Truck 1940 GMC 1 1/2 Ton Truck 1940 GMC 1 1/2 Ton Truck

Barn Fresh in April 1984!

1940 GMC 1 1/2 Ton Truck 1940 GMC 1 1/2 Ton Truck 1940 GMC 1 1/2 Ton Truck

1947-1955 GM panel truck seats

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Attached are some pictures of the correct 1947-1955 GM panel truck seats. The right side was a factory option. This would be special ordered if the owner was planning on two passengers. Though they have been recovered with cloth instead of factory “leatherette”, they are correct in all other ways. What is interesting is how GM made the optional right side seat to fold up against the dash. This was necessary to allow easier access to merchandise up front. No need to unload freight to get to the front storage area. It appears the seat frame and floor is painted the original grey color. A thin sheet of insulation is placed between each of the body supports. This was to lessen road noise and slow some heat from entering the cab on hot days. Another interesting feature on panel trucks; the single horizontal oak board on each side of the interior helps prevent damage to the exterior sheet metal walls. If a stack of transported items tipped while the panel truck was making a corner, there was less chance of dents being placed on the sides. Note the long metal lid over the floor box which is under the factory optional right seat. This is only provided in the panel truck and canopy express bodies.  It kept the driver’s papers in a neat compartment so they did not slide or blow across the floor.

1947-1955 GM panel truck seats 1947-1955 GM panel truck seats

1936-46 GMC Taillights & Brackets

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

1936-46 GMC Taillights

Though things were shared between GMC and Chevrolet trucks, General Motors made sure many items remained very different during the early years.  GMC preferred very few things to be similar to Chevrolet. Their customers needed to see an almost stand-alone truck with the higher price of the GMC.

One very obvious difference is the change in taillight and bracket. There is no comparison to Chevrolet. The massive GMC stamped steel one piece bracket combined with a redesigned 4 inch taillight makes the pair a “one of a kind”.  They do not interchange with Chevrolet during these years.

Finding some of these parts during a total 1936-46 GMC pickup restoration has become difficult. The bracket is now produced, however, if that happens the taillight will be a big project to get. The light is not being reproduced.

Hint: This taillight was also used on Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile station wagon tailgates from about 1949 through 1952.  Therefore, you will see more lights than GMC brackets at swap meets.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The 1936-46 GMC taillight brackets are now available for this 1936-46 pickup truck.

1936-46 GMC Taillights

 

 

 

 

 

Rear before restoration

 

 

 

 

 

Front after restoration

1936-46 GMC Taillights 1936-46 GMC Taillights

Same tail lights on early GM Wagons!

A Pair That Stops Traffic!

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

1956 GMC 1/2 ton

My 1955 GMC 100 was locally purchased in 1995 immediately after buying the ’62 Airstream which resided for decades in a Minnesota field. As these trucks were designed, developed, and built to be work trucks, this one would continue to be so. A few months were spent designing the Jimmy so that it could be a strong, safe, and reliable hauler to pull the Airstream, a kind of Wanderlust Hotel, anywhere in North America at anytime, weather permitting.

The Jimmy’s frame was excellent, the body mostly good, but all the external and much of the internal trim had been stripped and was gone. My other vehicles at the time were working GMC pickups as were their predecessors, but the ’55 would be a special work truck capable of safely running with the big dogs while towing. All sheet metal but the cab came off, and all electrics were replaced as was every moving and non-moving part (except the nylon odometer worm gear which just broke…who knew?).

The Blue Chip GMC pickups were low volume production and very, very few reproduction parts are available. Most of the difficult to find original replacement parts were scored from Old Chevy Trucks with Jim Carter personally pulling trim items from one of his Missouri yards (it is a rare circumstance to work directly with a company’s owner for help, not once but many times). One of the key and very tricky safety items is the telescoping side view mirrors which came from a Chevy/GMC tractor of the same generation (1955-59). These were cut down and chromed so that vehicles behind the Airstream could easily be seen while using the original door mounting holes.

The rebuild took two years before undergoing a flawless 1300 mile test drive to MN to retrieve the Airstream, another two year project. Since 1999, the GMC has averaged 13,000 miles/year, a testament to a great working truck.

Hunt Jones, Mountain Lakes, New Jersey

1941-1946 Park light and Headlight Assemblies

Monday, June 20th, 2011

At the beginning of the 1941 Chevrolet and GMC truck body style, the parking light assembly was placed on top of the headlight bucket.  This was the first time both were placed on the fender as a pair.  All worked well together.  To save tooling costs, GM chose to add a pre-existing assembly from the year before on the 1940 Pontiac car.  No changes were made from this Pontiac park light assembly except its long sheet metal top was now painted and not chromed.

Overseas during World War II, when civilian front fenders were used on GM military trucks (instead of the more famous flat fender ‘army truck’ style) General Motors created a parking light that emitted a small strip of light to be seen at a shorter distance.

Beginning in 1942 and continuing through mid 1947 (when this body design was discontinued), GM used a much less expensive park light housing on civilian trucks.  A one piece stamped metal cover was attached to the headlight bucket for a fraction of the cost as in 1941.  This also used a smaller less expensive glass lens.

Therefore during this 6 ½ year truck production (1941-Mid 1947) the same headlight buckets were on Chevrolet and GMC trucks.  The difference was their hole punching which adapted to changes in parking light assemblies.

1942-45 Military

1942-45 Military

NOTE:   THE 1941 PHOTO WILL FOLLOW SOON

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

Aftermarket Dual Rear Wheels

Monday, April 18th, 2011

What a unique invention. When you have a 1947 through 1959 single rear wheel 3/4 or 1 ton GM truck and need more pulling power, this is the answer. American ingenuity at its best!

This new steel center hub extension includes eight long bolts to reach the original wheel studs. This holds the factory wheel in place and then provides a threaded end for the original eight lug nuts which are holding another matching wheel.

The buyer of this aftermarket kit just had to be sure his new outer tire was the same height as the original inner tire.

Pictures and data from Scott Golding, Stratton, NE.
email: scottandbetty@hotmail.com

1934-1936 Side Mount Spare Tire Mounting

Friday, December 17th, 2010



During the early years, most roads were not paved and the quality of tires was far from that of today. Thus, tire repair was very big business. It was necessary for vehicle manufacturers to provide the easiest access to the often needed spare tire. Part of driving a car or truck was knowing how to change a tire.

On the 1936 and older pickups, the tire storage space was limited. GM chose to place a dip in the front fender and a 29″ vertical rod from the frame rail to the cowl for the tire and wheel support clamp. A long nut is threaded to the top of the rod and tightens a curved metal over the tire.  No the pickup did not use the chrome “T” handle on the car.

In viewing restored ½ ton pickups at shows it is amazing that most use the chrome die-cast “T” handle that came new on passenger cars. Not correct!  The pickup uses a hexagon securing nut.  It is designed to be turned by the lug nut tire tool usually stored under the seat cushion.

Why the difference is unknown. We assume the “T” handle nut is more convenience to turn.  The car driver would get less dirt or grease on clothes or hands during a tire change, plus the car was usually on smoother roads, not on the rough surfaces of a farm field or back roads that might loosen the securing nut.

Replacement hard parts for most of this side mount system are not being reproduced. Originals usually must be restored. The rubber grommet that protects the cowl and fender metal from the side mount hardware the securing nut and 29″ support rod are available from Jim Carter Truck Parts along with a few other older GM truck full stocking dealers.

INTERESTING: The Chevrolet 1/2 ton (1934-1936) placed the support well in the right front fender. The 1936 GMC (first year for their 1/2 ton) it was in the left front fender. The support hardware is the same. Just another way of the two marquis showing their individuality with limited expense.

1934 1936 side mount spare tire
Pickup inside view. Not quite like a Chevy car.

1934 1936 side mount spare tire

1934 1936 side mount spare tire
The 29″ vertical rod is at an angle, too far through the cab mounted support.  Shown is the top dark threads where this retaining nut fits.

1934-1936 Vacuum Wiper Motor

Friday, December 17th, 2010



This little vacuum wiper motor has such a unique appearance! They have become quite rare in recent years.

Manufactured by Trico for just this truck, it fits above the windshield frame on the left side of cab. A dealer accessory for the right side.

They have sometimes been called a “sweetheart” wiper motor due to their strange appearance.

1934-1936 vacuum wiper motor

1934-1936 vacuum wiper motor

1956 Opel

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Owner: Jan van Bohemen

1956 Opel

We just couldn’t resist placing this approximately 1956 Opel as this month’s feature truck. Did you actually think General Motors discarded the famous Advance Design 1947-55 truck cab tooling? To get a little more use of the tooling, it was modified in the late 1950’s as a German Opel truck.  Remember the small Opel car imported in the 1960’s and sold in Buick dealerships? They displayed the same lightning bolt emblem as the trucks.

Look closely at this pickup.  It has Advance Design all over it!

Its owner is Jan van Bohemen in Germany.  It started as a larger work truck, however he wanted a pickup so he made the bed and rear fenders to get the look he wanted.  Very impressive!

For your information…more data on the later-use of the Advanced Design Tooling.  Not only did they use this tooling in Europe but it was an assembly line produced truck in Brazil. Click here to see Brazil’s version.

1956 Opel 1956 Opel 1956 Opel
1956 Opel 1956 Opel

1938 GMC COE

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Owner: Jim Raeder

1938 GMC COE

When it was new, my GMC was a water truck on the Altoona PA fairgrounds. It sat under a big oak tree for many years until the second owner bought it. It didn’t have license plate on it until the 1970’s. The second owner did a basic restoration and painted it in the same colors and scheme as it was when new. He also put  two speed GMC rear end in it, shortened it, and made a fifth wheel out of it. I bought it in about 1998 with 12,500 original miles, a gas ration sticker from WWII in the window and the second owner claimed the original tires which at first I didn’t believe but now I think he may be correct. My future plans are to do a more detailed restoration and install a 302 GMC engine and five speed transmission to make it more usable while keeping the original character of the truck. I will keep the tires, engine, trans and rear end so it can be returned to stock. Since I bought the truck I have only come across five of these 38 COE’s.  Jim Raeder
1938 GMC COE

Spring Noise

Thursday, February 11th, 2010



The 1967-1972 – What’s That Noise? Gaining speed after you turn onto the highway, your GM truck (1967-1972), moves toward a cruising speed equal to the surrounding traffic. As your engine reaches about 2,000 rpm you suddenly hear a low hum up front. It does not stop as the truck speed increases. If you lower the windows, play the radio, or turn up the fan blower, this hum is not so noticeable but it is still there. How will you locate this noise source when the truck is stopped?

No problem. Others have researched this mystery noise, discovered the source, and stopped it. Who would have thought the culprit is the hood springs? It appears that on many GM trucks of this body style, the two coil hood springs develop this hum (like a tuning fork) as surrounding air speed increases. The sound becomes magnified as it transfers to the large sheet metal hood.

This noise is easily stopped by filling the coils of the hood springs with a towel or carved piece of foam. To produce what a difference this makes, tap your hood spring with a hand tool and listen to the echo. It does not occur when the coil is filled with material.

Who said automotive engineers walk on water?

spring noise

1968-1972 Longhorn

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
1968 Chevrolet longhorn 3


In recent years seeing the unusual Chevrolet Longhorn or similar GMC Custom Camper (1968-1972) has become a very rare occurrence. These oversize pickups, with 8 1/2 ft. bed floors, were built for work and thus there is a very limited survival rate. Most seen today started life as they were advertised carrying a vacation camper. They were usually more taken care of during their beginning years and the camper protected their wood bed from weather. Later in life, their heavier rear suspension caused them to be used more as a work truck.

The creation of this large pickup relates to GM’s trend of keeping down costs on what they suspect will be a low volume vehicle. With limited parts investment and by using pre-existing components, this new model was born in mid 1968.

The chassis had already been in existence since the beginning of the body style in 1967. It’s 133″ wheelbase was used under the 1967-1968 1 ton stepside pickup with leaf springs. Most of the components of this new Longhorn fleetside box had also been used on the earlier pickups. To create this new longer fleetside bed, GM simply produced a pair of six inch vertical bed extensions to place between the pre-existing sides and front bed panel. This filled the gap created in front of the bedsides when the 127′ wheelbase chassis was extended to 133 inches.

An expensive metal floor was not a part of this new longer fleetside pickup. A traditional wood plank floor with metal bed strips kept GM’s cost at a minimum.

To draw attention to this larger pickup, the Chevrolet division included ‘Longhorn’ die cast chrome letters secured at the rear of the sides. GMC’s designation was ‘Custom Camper’ and these letters are on each door above the chrome handle, not on the bedsides. To make it a little confusing, GMC also used these Custom Camper emblems in the same location on their heavier 3/4 ton, 127″ wheelbase pickup, with leaf springs. This shorter long bed could be obtained with either a wood or metal bottom bed.

When the optional deluxe upper trim was ordered on this long bed, it’s new six inch extension was placed to the rear of the bed. The resulting trim joining point was therefore not in line with the vertical bed extension joint at the front.

By altering suspension components both the Chevrolet and GMC 133 inch wheel base pickup could be ordered with either a ¾ or 1 ton rating. These special trucks were available from mid year 1968 through 1972. They were not continued with the introduction of the new 1973 body style.

1968 Chevrolet longhorn 1

Upper trim joint at rear of bedside. (above)

1968 Chevrolet longhorn 2

1968 Chevrolet longhorn 4

1968 Chevrolet longhorn 5

1968 Chevrolet longhorn 6

1968 longhorn 7

The Following is reprinted from the May 1969 issue of Motor Trend

Article byV. Lee Oertle

Why would anyone lay down $4,549.45 for a slick-looking pickup truck, even if they do call it the Longhorn? That kind of money will buy a Chevrolet station wagon, or an Impala or an SS Chevelle. That question nagged me the day a Chevrolet official handed me the keys and turned me loose in a new Longhorn pickup. When I asked a Chevrolet truck salesman the same question a few days later, he replied:

‘You’re talking about a window-sticker price, buddy. The actual base of a Longhorn pickup is $2,738 plus destination charges. The rest of it is locked up in accessories and quite a bit of optional equipment. Look at the list ‘ air conditioner alone is $392.75. Then the Turbo Hydra-Matic adds another $242.10, and the Custom Sport Truck package jacks it up another $247.50. And then; At that point, I waved him away, ‘Yeah, yeah ‘ I got eyes. I just didn’t read the fine print.’ I said, testily.

The salesman’s lips tightened a little. ‘The time to read fine print is before you buy ‘ not after.’

Good advise. Further down the sticker price list I noted that power steering on the Longhorn was $113.50. Another stopper was the $80.40 for a spare tire and wheel. On a deluxe pickup, I sort of, well, expected that a spare tire and wheel would be standard equipment. But then, I hadn’t really done my arithmetic. A quick refresher course proved that of the original sticker price of $4,549.45, a staggering $1,811.45 of it covered extras, accessories and options. Freight, license, sales taxes, carrying charges on the loan and insurance might easily push the final tally over the brink of $5,000. That’s an expensive neighborhood no matter where you live, and if anyone is tired of reading about the prices before he hears about the performance, he’ll know how I felt when I finally got behind the steering wheel.

As I rolled off the Chevrolet lot, the salesman parted with the words, ‘who buys the sticker price, anyway?’ I suppose that’s true.

IT’S DIFFERENT

From the moment a shopper takes his first walk around a Longhorn, he’ll know it’s not just another pickup. As a matter of fact, he’ll notice that it’s a longer walk. The wheelbase is up to 133 inches on this model and the cargo box is a full 8 ½ feet in length. For those not familiar with pickups, the standard pickup (any brand) has an eight-foot cargo box. The extra half-foot was added by shoving the regular cargo box along the frame ‘ and then by inserting a short panel at the forward end of the box where it intersects with the cab.

Why all the noise over a slightly larger pickup? In order to understand the significance of this, remember that any change to basic dimensions on a truck involves tremendous expense and/or ingenuity on the part of cost-cutting engineers. It’s bigger, yes, but the clever way the job was done probably hasn’t increased its construction cost very much. The next logical question would be, why? Why a longer wheelbase, for example? Anyone knows that the longer the wheelbase trucks require more turn-around space.

But, looking at it from the Chevrolet viewpoint, a longer wheelbase also improves the ride, offers a more stable platform, and makes a much better carrier for all kinds of loads. This obviously affected Chevrolet’s judgment. For instance, a suburban home owner will like the big cargo box for hauling a variety of material. The tailgate drops down to provide about 10 ½ feet of load length platform.

In case anyone wonders about how the suspension system can handle the extra length, here is the message printed in Chevrolet literature on the subject: ‘Because it’ll be carrying larger loads than other pickups, it’s been especially engineered for extra support and better balance all along its 133 inch wheelbase. Its rear suspension, for instance, is built around tough two stage leaf springs for steadier going and surer handling.’ (Coil spring front suspension teams with the rear leaf springs.)

POWER TEAMS

The Longhorn is available with five different engines and several different transmissions. Our test truck was equipped with a 396 cubic inch V-8 rated at 325 horsepower. (the other engines include the standard 250 cubic inch 6, a 292 cubic inch 6, a 307 cubic inch V-8 and a 350 cubic inch V-8.)

PERFORMANCE

The Longhorn bench seat is a firm, comfortable, non-slip type that gives the driver a feeling of command. It is neither too high for comfort nor so low that shorty-drivers have to stretch their necks. The instrument panel includes a tachometer, speedometer and functional oil and temperature gauges.

Start the engine and a muffled growl, low and strong, comes lightly through heavy cab insulation. Step on the accelerator and the Longhorn instantly takes hold. While 325 horsepower doesn’t sound too exciting in a passenger car, in a pickup it can be hairy under a lead foot driver. Lightly loaded, the Longhorn still hangs on tight right up through the gears. Surprisingly, there was little wheelspin except on wet streets after a rain.

I had no stop-watch with me but I know that the Longhorn will probably be the first pickup up a steep hill. Meant more for power than speed, the 4700-pound Longhorn nevertheless comes on strong in situations where it really counts. A pickup with a smaller engine, for example, often has a difficult time entering freeways. But the Longhorn gets right out there despite a ton of hay riding the cargo deck. In the hands of an amateur an empty pickup would be a handful. Crank it on too fast, too often, and the rear wheels will chirp or slip-grab as they try to deliver traction faster than the lightly-loaded rear tires can bite the pavement.

Our particular test truck had the optional three speed Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission. As far as I’m concerned, no other transmission makes sense with this combination of truck, engine and load ability. Shoving a stick-shift unit into the Longhorn makes about as much sense as hitching up an elephant to a pony cart.

Underneath, our test unit was wearing a Maximum Traction differential and an axle ratio of 3.07:1. Chevy rates this combo good up to about 7000 pounds. For loads over 7000 pounds, they suggest the optional ratio of 3.54:1. Though we didn’t tote anything exceptionally heavy, we found the 3.07:1 ratio an excellent choice for normal driving.

HANDLING

In this department, the Longhorn gets unusually high marks. It has a square-cornering ability few sedans can match and a sure-footed stance that keeps it straight when braking or lane-changing. By adding just 200 or 300 pounds of weight near the rear of the box, the pickup handles even better. )Extra weight cuts down on wheelspin.) Overall, the Longhorn is a solid-feeling pickup that any driver will appreciate.

There’s more than enough power for any load situation. The 396 is currently the largest engine available in a factory pickup (in any brand). The Longhorn should make a great carrier for a half-dozen trail bikes, for towing a boat, or for hauling a rented coach now and then. The luxury interior and comfortable cab will probably lure many new buyers away from station wagons and sedans. If you haven’t tried the new breed of pickups, you’re missing a most versatile family vehicle. The Longhorn is a smooth newcomer that undoubtedly will spark a host of imitations. It offers the longest wheelbase and largest cargo box of any two-door pickup, plus larger engines than competitors. As for the price? Well, like the man said: ‘Who pays sticker price, these days?’

PROBLEMS

Lest anyone suspect that I’ve been on the Chevy payroll, I have a few reservations about the Longhorn. For one thing, window glass on the driver’s side liked to slip sideways and climb up outside the channels every now and then. My guess is that the glass is a little too small for the track, or the channels were misaligned. On cold mornings, I’d climb into the cab and then, with one breath, all the windows frosted over. The longhorn is one of the few truck-cabs I’ve tested that would not clear up with the vent-windows cracked open. Steamy vapor clung stubbornly to the inside of the windshield. The only way to clear it away was to turn on the defroster full force, roll down one window, or both. On a cold morning, neither method pleased us very much.

From a purely personal viewpoint, I found it strange that Chevrolet would spend so much on interior design, but so little on panel coverings. The cab ceiling and much of the door panel areas were bare metal. Now, in a work-duty pickup that might be practical. Metal is more durable than plastic coverings, obviously. But in a class-type pickup, which the Longhorn most definitely tried to be, I found it objectionable. (There, it’s off my chest.)

1967-1972 Truck Tech

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1967-72 Chevy Truck Model I.D.



We hope the following information on Axle, Transmission and Model identification will help many of you with your questions. Accuracy was a concern as we compiled this information. Because GM made so many scheduled as well as unscheduled changes, there is much discussion about these changes.

The following is used by permission from Pickups and Panels Magazine and artist Bryant J. Stewart

1967-1968

1967 1972 truck tech 1

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
13380 115 ½ ton El Camino (6 cylinder)
13480 115 ½ ton El Camino (V-8)
13580 115 ½ ton Custom El Camino (6 cylinder)
13680 115 ½ ton Custom El Camino (V-8)
C10 115 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup
C10 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup
C20 127 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban, 8′ stake
C30 133 1 ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, 9′ stake rack
K10 115 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup
K10 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban
K20 127 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban

1969-1970

1967 1972 truck tech 2

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
13380 115 ½ ton El Camino (6 cylinder)
13480 115 ½ ton El Camino (V-8)
13580 115 ½ ton Custom El Camino (6 cylinder)
13680 115 ½ ton Custom El Camino (V-8)
C5 104 ½ ton Blazer 4×2 (1970 only)
C10 115 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup
C10 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban
C20 127 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban, 8′ stake
C30 133 1 ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, 9′ stake rack
K5 104 ½ ton Blazer 4×4
K10 115 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup
K10 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban
K20 127 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, Suburban

1971-1972

1967 1972 truck tech 3

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
13380 115 ½ ton El Camino (6 cylinder)
13480 115 ½ ton El Camino (V-8)
13680 115 ½ ton Custom El Camino (V-8)
C5 104 ½ ton Blazer 4×2
C10 115 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup
C10 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup
C20 127 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, Suburban, 8′ stake
C30 133 1 ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, 9′ stake rack
K5 104 ½ ton Blazer 4×4
K10 115 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup
K10 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, Suburban
K20 127 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, Suburban

Disclaimer: This truck I. D. information is correct and complete to the best of our knowledge and is only to be used as a guide. Pickups ‘n panels and/or the National Chevy/GMC Truck Association, and Jim Carter Truck Parts, make no guarantee of accuracy, and disclaim any liability incurred in the use of this information.

1967-1972 Panel Trucks

Thursday, February 11th, 2010


These years are the ‘last of the breed’! Due to the increasing popularity of the new G-series van, panel truck sales had continued to suffer since the mid 1960’s. By 1970, General Motors panel truck production came to a halt. GM did not even wait until the end of the body series in 1972! This ‘enclosed body on a pickup truck chassis’ (used over 50 years) was now history.

If you ever see a 1967-1970 Chevrolet or GM panel truck, tip your hat. You are looking at one of the few survivors that were once seen everyday in residential neighborhoods making deliveries.

1967 1972 panel trucks

 

 

 

 

The Final Blow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1967 GMC Super Custom

Thursday, February 11th, 2010


The first year of the 1967-1972 series of trucks had various characteristics that were unique to just that one year. For the perfectionist, 1967 GM trucks are always a challenge. Because the 1967 GMC trucks sold in smaller numbers finding one with most of its original components is unusual. Even rarer is locating a GMC Super Custom. Trucks at that time were still considered more for work than pleasure, so few put the additional money in the extra trim.

The 1967 GMC Super Custom in these photos is one of the better examples of this top of the line model. This pickup is owned by Martin Trefz in Lake Lotawana, MO. It was repainted the original red several years ago and unfortunately had its wheelwell and side trim removed at that time. Most everything else except the non original wheels remain factory installed.

1967 gmc custom 1

The 1967 grille stands out as different than other GMC’s in this six year series. From 1968 and newer the GMC letters were placed on the nose of the hood and not stamped in the grill.

On the deluxe models, the unique one year only “Custom” die cast emblems were displayed on the front fender. These are now very rare and were often removed during a repaint or minor restoration because of surface pitting and lack of new replacements.

Of course, as with other 67 makes, there are no side marker lights. Federal regulations made these necessary in 1968 and up. Thus, fenders on 1967 are one year only.

During this first year, only the deluxe cabs had upholstered door panels instead of bare metal. Instead of vertical pleats as the Chevrolet CST, the GMC Custom runs their pleats horizontally. This was the final year that both of these makes used the same arm rests that had been on GM trucks since 1964.

1967 gmc custom 2

Like the 67 Chevrolet, this year GMC, did not have chrome edges on the dash cluster. The coloring is reversed from the Chevrolet on its plastic dash cluster. The outer edge and inner rings are black. The flat surface is charcoal gray. The metal glove box door is matching colors.

Even on this Custom model, the outside mirror arms are body color, not chrome. The steering wheel is deluxe only because of the clear plastic horn button. Below its clear surface is a chrome disc with GMC letters, just try to find a horn button like this at any swap meet.

Because it is a custom, it comes with a big rear window. The other 1967’s have a much smaller glass here. Stainless trim surrounds both the front and rear window. The wing vent assemblies are trimmed in stainless, not black as on the other models.

1967 gmc custom 3

One very unique feature on both Chevrolet and GMC in 1967 is the chrome wing vent handles. They are a carry over from the 1960-1966 series. The stud assembly attaching these handles wraps around the wing glass edge. There is not a stud hole in the glass as in 1968-1972. Therefore, this glass is a one year only item.

Even on the Custom (and the Chevrolet CST) the horizontal chrome strip on the hood edge and the front fender tips did not come out until 1968.

Rear Bumpers

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

GM step beds during 1955-1966 are almost the same. They even use identical tailgates. Thus GM did not find it necessary to change the rear bumper stamping during these 12 years. However, there is one important difference which distinguishes the 1955-1959 from 1960-1966 rear stepbed bumpers.

 rear bumper plate

During 1960-1966 GM placed two stamped square holes (not in 1955 through 1959) on either side of the center dip below the license plate. This is because the later series had their license plate bracket attached to this bumper, not to the rear bed cross sill as in the earlier 1955-1959

1955-1959 GMC Hood Emblems

Thursday, February 11th, 2010


On the task force body style, 1955-1959, the GMC hoods began quite different than Chevrolet. Beginning in 1955 a large opening, 5.25″ x 25″, was used to hold a set of die cast GMC letters attached to a decorative grill.

In 1957 this grill was removed in place of a perimeter ring. Why the less attractive ring was added is a question. Possibly this grill held leaves and restricted some air intake or maybe it was a change just to be change. There was no hood opening in these last two years of this series.

By 1958-1959 GMC and Chevrolet shared the same design hood with only trim differences.

1955 1959 gmc hood

1955-1956 (above)

1955 1959 gmc hood

1957 Starndad (above)

1957 Chrome Hood Emblem

1957 Deluxe (above)

1955 1959 gmc hood

1958-1959 (above)

Accessories vs Options

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

As per GM, accessories during the 1930’s through mid 1960’s were the extra cost items sold and installed by the approved dealer. The truck was prepared for these during production so the dealership could later add them with less effort.

As much as possible GM would punch holes, attach removable plates, press in dimples, etc. to help the dealership in placing the accessory in just the right position. Several accessories using the pre-placed holes or dimples in these early Chevrolet and GMC trucks are the right side taillight bracket, fresh air heater, radio, front bumper guards, cigarette lighter, arm rest, glovebox light, and windshield washer.

Options were added at the factory. They were more difficult to install by individual dealerships and were therefore placed on the vehicle during production. This included items such as a chrome grille, 4 speed transmission on 1/2 and 3/4 ton chassis, double action shocks, tinted windows on 1953-55, two speed rear axle on larger trucks, double action fuel pump, hydrovac power brake, etc.

GMC 1/2 Ton Long Bed

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Of the many differences between the Chevrolet and GMC 1/2 ton during the early years (1936-54), the GMC offering of a long bed pickup box was one of the more noticeable. Only GMC provided this option. To obtain this extra bed length on a Chevrolet, the buyer ordered a 3/4 ton.

This difference existed with the first GMC pickup in 1936 and continued through the end of the Advance Design series in 1955. Possibly the reasoning for this was the horsepower difference between these two marquis. The base 216 six cylinder Chevrolet engine provided 92 hp. The standard 228 GMC six boasted 100 hp.

To get the approximately nine inch extra GMC chassis length not only were the two frame rails longer but the drive shaft was extended. GMC engineers did this by developing an extension which was the connecting length between the standard short bed closed drive shaft and the rear of the transmission. None of this interchanges with a Chevrolet and both makes use a totally different drive shaft design on their 3/4 ton series.

The adjacent photo shows this unique connector link installed in its GMC. A 7 3/8 inch steel jack-shaft is surrounded by a cast iron housing (it is still a closed drive shaft) and includes an extra u-joint, bearing, and seal. Though, a strongly built drive shaft system, this portion becomes the long bed 1/2 ton’s weak link after 50 years of use and abuse. Without a doubt this link has performed almost flawlessly beyond the miles expected by its designers. However, it does have its long term limitations. The many prior miles, lack of regular maintenance, and occasionally overloading the truck makes the failure of an original in today’s world a definite possibility. Watch for sources for the rare replacement parts in this connector link just in case. Otherwise surprise damage in this area can keep your GMC 1/2 ton long bed out of service for quite some time.

long bed 1

long bed 2

long bed 3

First GMC Light Duty Pick Up Truck

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Prior to the mid-1930’s, the two truck divisions of General Motors, Chevrolet and GMC, were mostly independent companies. If you wanted a 1-1/2 ton and smaller truck, Chevrolet (since 1918) could provide the model just right for your needs. If you needed a 2-ton and larger, GMC was the division to contact. They had been a large truck specialist even before 1920.

A gradual overlap began in mid-1936 with the introduction of the new “low cab” body. GMC brought out a line of light trucks in direct competition with Chevrolet. They were to give their struggling GMC dealerships additional sales during the Great Depression by fulfilling their customer’s light duty hauling needs. These new trucks shared most sheet metal with Chevrolet as well as transmissions, front suspension, wheels and differentials. A few minor changes were the grille, hood sides, lettered tailgate and hubcaps; however, the major difference was the engine.

We have heard from several sources that this first GMC 1/2 ton pickup was always a long bed of 126”. The short bed 112” was not available until 1937.

At that time GMC did not produce a small engine that could fit their new light duty trucks. Their totally new small six-cylinder overhead valve power plant was still three years away. The solution was to use a pre-existing engine from one of the General Motors other divisions. They adopted the 213 cubic inch six-cylinder flat head (valves in the block) engine from Oldsmobile. Its power, size and reliability in cars made it the best choice and replacement parts were already available from the Oldsmobile division.

This proven engine in combination with the new low cab body proved successful and allowed GMC to begin gaining ground in the small truck market.

This 213 full oil pressure insert bearing engine (updated by Oldsmobile in 1937 to 230) was main source of power during the early years of smaller GMC trucks, 1936-38. One exception was in the half-ton pickup in 1938. For this model and year only, GMC now used a different smaller flat head six-cylinder. It came from the Pontiac car division and it even has the Pontiac Indian head symbol cast in the right side of the engine block. It had 223 cubic inches. The 230 was retained on GMCs larger than 1/2-tons.

Few of these light duty GMC survive today. They not only experienced the usual heavy work jobs as trucks, but with World War II new truck shortages meant few GMCs were set idle in storage.  After the war, most were worn down to where it cost more to repair them than using them to make a down payment on a new truck.  Thus, the majority were lost to the crusher.

first gmc light duty 1

1937 GMC, Drawing by Bryant Stewart, Farley, MA.

first gmc light duty 2

1936 GMC T-14
(Photo compliments of Patrick Kroeger at pkroeger@tampabay.rr.com)
Not to be used without written permission.

1954-1955 GMC Spring Wind Clock

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

In contrast to 1954-1955 Chevrolet trucks, the same year GMC had a position in the dash for an optional gauge. It was here that larger GMC’s had a tachometer or vacuum gauge installed. The 1/2, 3/4 and 1 ton GMC’s usually did not require these engine gauges and a blank-out plate is normally found there. An option here in these smaller trucks is a spring wind clock. It was produced by General Motors and installed at their GMC dealerships.

1954 spring wind clock 1

1954 GMC dash with clock installed (above)

To save production costs, GMC used the clock that was already on the 1953-1954

Chevrolet car. In this way, their investment was limited to a chrome adapter ring that fit in the opening that held the blank-out plate.

This chrome ring has recently been reproduced and is available from most full stocking dealers including Jim Carters Truck Parts. Restorable 1953-1954 Chevrolet car clocks are found at most any medium size automotive swap meet.

1954 GMC spring wind clock 2

The following is from a 1954 GMC accessories catalog. Their wording tells the 1954 story in a full page ad.

test

White Wall Tires

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Prior to the 1960’s, trucks were used as work vehicles. On Friday nights, most were parked for the weekend and the family sedan was the transportation vehicle.

It was a conservative era when you bought only basic necessities. A $5.00 grocery purchase was more than most could carry. Finding white wall tires on a truck (even a car) would have been a rare sight, indeed. Very few cars, except for most luxurious models, would have had white walls even as an option. It should be remembered, that most roads, except highways and those in the main part of town were gravel, dirt, or sprayed annually with tar.

Of course, a dealer would have been happy to install aftermarket white wall tires, if the customer made a specific request. For a price, the dealer would provide any option to keep a satisfied customer and make a few dollars.

On GM trucks, white walls became a factory option in mid-1955, partially because of the introduction of the Chevrolet Cameo and GMC Suburban carrier and also due to more roads becoming paved. These very deluxe pickups, as well as several of the other well appointed 1/2 tons justified a white wall tire for those wanting it all!

Almost none of these deluxe models would have been given their second set of white wall tires. By then, the pickup was older and being used more as a hauler, not for appearance.

Buy Parts for 1934 to 1946 Trucks

 

Right Mirror Arm

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The 1947-1955 Chevrolet and GMC came from the factory with left mirror arms on left hand drive trucks. This was particularly important if the truck was to have a large bed that covered the rear window.

To keep sale price low, the right mirror arm was an accessory (dealer installed). It was very important that the dealer place the mirror just right so the actual mirror was viewed by the driver through the lower right corner of the windshield.

To prevent dealer mistakes, GM placed an inner panel in all trucks covering the area were the two holes would be placed. This panel had factory holes, showing the mechanic where to drill. Thus, two exterior holes could always be in the proper place. Yes, the glove box liner would be removed to make room for the drilling.

right mirror arm 1

Inner panel guide for drilling (above)

right mirror arm 2

Outer panel before drilling (above)

1963-1966 Power Steering

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Chevrolet linkage-type power steering is now available optionally on Series C10, 20, 30 models. This was formerly a dealer installed item. The equipment consists of a hydraulic pump, power cylinder, control valve, relay rod and hoses.

The power cylinder is mounted to the frame and is connected to the control valve through the hoses. The control valve is mounted on the steering drag link between the knuckle arm and the steering arm and it serves to control the flow of pressurized power steering fluid to either side of the power cylinder piston. This in turn pushes or pulls the tie rod as required for easier steering.

Power steering helps to combat driver fatigue and aids maneuverability. It also dampens road shocks and vibrations at the steering wheel and provides extra comfort and ease of handling.

1963-1966 Chevrolet Power Steering 1

1955-1957 Radiator Shroud

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

With the introduction of the new small block V-8’s in 1955 Chevrolet trucks, modified sheet metal was created to help in cooling. The new truck design came standard with the proven 235 inline six cylinder but when an optional V-8 was added, cooling modifications were necessary.

The short length V-8’s cooling fan was too far from the radiator and could pull air from above and below the engine and less through the core. To prevent this, all V-8 trucks came with an upper and lower metal baffle plate to help better pull air through the radiator.

These metal plates have become very difficult to locate in recent years. The lack of these two plates on (restored?) V-8 trucks are usually a strong indication the vehicle has been converted from an original six cylinder. The mechanic was either not aware these plates existed or had no idea of where to locate them.

During 1958-1959 the shroud was redesigned. It became a more traditional metal circle as is found on more modern vehicles. This allowed even more air to be pulled through the radiator core.

The following photos show original Chevrolet radiator cooling sheet metal from 1955-1957 V-8 trucks. The dark lines on the drawing relates to how these plates fit in the original vehicle.

1955-1957 Chevrolet Radiator Shroud

Speed Up 1948-1959 GM Pick Up

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

We often get requests for a formula to make the Advance Design pickups more freeway friendly. Their original ring and pinion gears were created to make the truck’s six cylinder work well with a load and also keep up with the 1950’s traffic on gravel roads and two lane paved highways.

Though a higher speed reproduction ring and pinion was introduced several years ago, some owners still ask for another alternative to get in the “fast lane”. One method has been used successfully for several years and requires most parts from local salvage yards. Obtain the Borg-Warner 5 speed overdrive transmission from an S-10 pickup. It must come from an earlier model with a mechanical speed sensor (on the side of the case). It can not have the more high tech electronic speed sensor as used on the later S-10 pickups with computers.

This transmission will bolt against the original bellhousing of a 1948 and newer (a nice surprise). The clutch shaft which extends out of the front of the transmission is usually too long to allow the ears to bolt flat and secure to the bellhousing face. Therefore, if this occurs, shorten the tip of the shaft about a half inch and all will fit together. This is a must. Otherwise you can even break off a transmission ear when you begin tightening the four attaching bolts.

The ears that attach the transmission to the bellhousing are usually drilled for a metric bolt. They will need to be enlarged for a standard 1/2 inch bolt as is threaded into the bellhousing.

The V-8 Camaro 5 speed transmission is also similar to the S-10. It is said to not be as low geared and this makes it more desirable. The Camaro shift lever is too far back for the 1948-59 pickup. The bench seat is in the way. To correct this, use the S-10 tail shaft housing and case top cover. This will allow the vertical lever to come through the original floor in the correct position.

The input shaft of the 5 speed will have either 14 or 26 splines. Therefore, the clutch disc must match the transmission and not the 10 splines from the original 1948-1959 truck.

The attractive S-10 boot is still available from GM and the shift knob of choice is from a late model 5-speed Jeep. It screws on perfectly and looks great! The S-10 shifter clears the seat cushion and looks like it was installed by GM.

The next step is the differential. An open drive shaft style will be necessary to match up with the 5-speed but this is a subject for an totally different technical article.

The result of this change is lower RPM’s and speed to keep up with traffic flow on most modern highways.

GMC 302 Install in Old Chevrolet

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The Trials and Tribulations of Installing a GMC 302 engine into a 1950 3/4 ton Chevrolet Pick Up

by Joel Baumbaugh

Background: About 5 years ago I “upgraded” the engine in my truck from a 216 to a 235. Lately I have felt that I wanted/needed a little more torque (especially while the bed is full of something heavy) and while one option was to rebuild and re-cam my 235 and another was to install a Chevy 350/400 (or 700R), the “popular” literature said that I could also install a GMC 270 or 302. Just to be “different”, I decided to go the latter route.

The Source: I wanted a “running” engine that I could just drop in with a minimum of trouble. The engine I found for my project was a 1959-1962 GMC engine from a School Bus. The bus had been converted into a “camper” and had then caught on fire and burned beyond repair. At first glance, the outside of the engine looked kind of rough. I checked the compression (all cyls. were at 160 lbs./sq.in), looked at the plugs (all light brown), listened to it run (no strange noises) ‘ the oil pressure was 55-60 lbs./sq.in. at idle and the rocker arms/valve area was pretty clean of sludge. Short of pulling the pan, this was as far as I could go. I bought it, brought it home and cleaned it up.

Problems/Solutions: The engine had a LOT of bus-type accessories that I did not want/need. The “massive” front Crank Pulley (the damper pulley assay) had a three-groove pulley ‘ “way” too long! After careful measurement I found that I was able to replace it with a single groove pulley off of a 235 (I replaced the front seal at this time). The water pump shaft was “very” long as well and sported a 2-groove pulley. I removed the pulley and ground/cut the pulley shaft back. The water pump on this engine did not seal against the block and/or head. This one was bolted to a thick steel plate which held a tensioner (for a double groove pulley) which weighed about 30 lbs. (weight I did NOT want) and was bolted to the front of the block. I found a rear plate (and gaskets) for the water pump from a place here in town that rebuilds water pumps. Bolting the water pump directly to the block saved me another ½ inch in engine length. The owner also sold me a flange to press on to the shaft so that I could bolt a new water pump pulley onto the pump (the original Chevy is shaft diameter is ½ inches and the 302 is 3/l8 inches). To find a pulley which would align with the bottom crankshaft pulley required a number of trips to local junk/wrecking yards. I finally found one that was the perfect depth (I’m not sure if it was originally from a Chevy or not). I had to enlarge the center hole to make it fit the GMC shaft.

The 302’s “bus” generator weighed about 80 lbs. I found that the 235’s generator mounting flange’s bolt-holes fit perfectly! However, I “did” need to reverse it and then elongate the mounting holes so that I could slide it forward to align the generator pulley groove with the crank and water pump pulleys.

The carburetor that came with the engine was a joke. It even had a governor on it. I had the option to purchase a better 2-barrel carburetor or to step up a little bit and buy a 4-barrel manifold. I did the latter. I had a (gasp) Ford ‘Autolite’ carburetor in my garage (about 400 CFM) from a ‘289’ which I bolted up to the manifold and it works GREAT! – Especially with the stock low-performance camshaft. I also at this time “upgraded” my carburetor linkage. I went to an off-road dune buggy place and purchased a new accelerator pedal and a push-pull cable. Configuring the carburetor linkage from the stock pedal to the new manifold/carburetor would have been a nightmare otherwise.

Radiator: The 302 engine “is” 1 1/2 to two inches longer than the 325 (which is longer than the 216). This means that the radiator no longer fits into its original location. I tried to modify the radiator mount to put the radiator inside. Don’t even try. The radiator needs to mount on the front of the mount. This means that you will have to borrow your neighbor’s “Saws-All” with a metal cutting blade and cut away the top and front cross bracing on the radiator support, the lower front wind deflecting metalwork at the bottom (behind the grill) and drill 6 new holes in the mount for the radiator. The upper support that contains the hood latch will need to have a rectangle cut in it to fit the top of the radiator in it as well. I now have about 2 inches clearance between my water pump pulley and the radiator. I use an electric thermostatically controlled (pusher) fan in front of my radiator. It’s quieter, doesn’t rob the engine of power (better mileage) and the water pump may last longer without the fan blades. Note: My friend and neighbor has a 1951 GMC. I have measured his engine compartment. From his bellhousing to the radiator flange he had 4 more inches to play with, so I’d bet that he originally had a longer GMC engine (he runs a Chevy 235 now), and that he could make the conversion to a 270 or 302 without any cutting being necessary.

Front Mount Yes the 302 engine “is” 1 1/2 to 2 inches longer than the 235. The front mount on the Bus’ 302 was a weird set-up which caused the engine to sit at an angle (like a Chrysler slant 6). This saved some height in the bus’ engine compartment. However, after removing the bus setup spacers, I found that the two bolt holes on the mount (on the bottom of the timing cover/block) were at right angles to the block and aligned perfectly with my truck’s original 216 mount so I was able to exchange them and everything was level ‘ no oil pan removal required! I then drilled two (new) holes through the truck’s cross member, put in longer frame-mounting bolts and added some extra rubber padding (cut from a truck mud-flap) to keep the mount from rubbing on the frame and so far its worked ok.

Rear: The bus engine I purchased was coupled to an automatic transmission. That meant that it had a flex plate (that the converter bolted to) instead of a flywheel. The flex-plate (with the old ring-gear) was MUCH larger than the flywheel I would need. I found a flywheel from a GMC 270 that fit. Although the flywheel’s diameter and the number of teeth are the same as the 1955-1959 Chevrolet, the crankshaft bolt pattern is different between the GMC’s and the Chevrolet’s. The flywheel bolts are different as well (1/2 inch dia. instead of 3/8’s”). Although I tried using an impact wrench, a gorilla on steroids must have put on the old flywheel bolts. I broke a socket and finally had to remove 3 of them with a chisel. The 3/8″ GMC flywheel bolts are not available ANYWHERE. I went to an industrial bolt supply place and bought six more grade 10 bolts. I had the heads machined thinner (like the originals) as otherwise they protrude into the pressure plate/clutch plate area and will cause binding problems. I then carefully shortened the bolts (watch those threads ‘ I put a tap on the inside of the bolt and then backed it off to remove the burrs) to match the original length as they otherwise hit the block behind the flywheel (close tolerances here…).

The pressure and clutch plates and throw-out bearing match those of a Chevy 1955-1959 10- inch set. The 302 had a roller bearing pilot bearing instead of a oillite bronze bushing. I replaced it with another roller bearing and the transmission (its a Saginaw off of a 1969 Camaro) fit in just fine.

I used my original bellhousing off of the 1950 Chevy. The old GMC one was slanted to match the front motor mount. The starter location in the GMC bellhousing was for a larger diameter flexplate and would not work. The GMC starter had the wrong number of teeth to work on the 10″ flywheel. The starter which (I found) works, was a 12 volt 9 tooth (for a 164 tooth flywheel) from a 1955 Chevrolet and works great.

Oil and Water lines: There is an oil line on the front of the block up to the head. This supplies the oil to the rocker arms. Leave it alone. I tied (T’d) into it and put on a 100 PSI oil pressure gage as my Chevy gage only goes to 30 lbs. This engine NEEDS an oil filter. If you block off the oil supply line on the driver’s side of the block you will not get ANY oil pressure in the engine. I “T’d” into the pressure side and connected up my original oil pressure gage (it’s a stretch, but it reaches). Yes, it’s always pegged on 30 lbs., but gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when I look down. The head has an external water line that goes to the thermostat housing. Leave it alone. You can put a “T” in and hook up your temperature gage (with an adapter), but I put mine further down on the block (there’s a fitting there), because it was always showing “cold” on the gage. Be careful of that temperature gage line. It cost me close to $50.00 the last time I had to replace it. The radiator hoses clamped right up although the GMC diameter on the lower radiator hose is one step smaller.

The 302’s distributor had a governor on it and was centrifugal advance only. The bottom of the distributor was different than the Chevy, but my Chevy distributor “guts” bolted right in. I was able to put in a spring kit (the GMC centrifugal advance springs were so thick that they could have been used for front struts on a Honda) and I now have vacuum advance as well.

The GMC fuel pump leaked so I replaced it with a Pep Boys electric fuel pump. I couldn’t find a replacement anywhere locally, so I guess I’ll have this one rebuilt for a “spare”.

I had a split cast-iron exhaust manifold on the Chevy 235. I “may” get a header for this motor in the future, but in the mean time I had the muffler shop split the 302’s three-inch header pipe into the two existing exhaust pipes.

And, how is it?

Well, pretty good. I have a LOT more torque. This means that I can get up to freeway speeds without wishing for bike-pedals for a little more push. I have 36″ tires on 6″ Chevy rims on the back so I’m only turning 2,800 RPM at 60 mph. The larger tires had made the truck a little “logy” getting started with the 235 ‘ now it “steps right out” from a light. I haven’t checked the gas mileage yet. I was getting 17 mpg City and 20 mpg highway with the old 235. I’d guess that I’ve lost about 2 mpg with this engine/carburetor combination.

Future When this old engine is due for a rebuild, I’ll probably buy some “lighter” pistons and a little hotter (than stock) cam. The pistons will help the engine “rev” faster, be easier on the bottom end and will probably result in higher gas mileage due to their weight difference and the higher compression. The cam will help volumetric efficiency and give me a little more torque and higher end. Of course I’ll have everything balanced ‘ IMHO it’s worth the extra money.

I hope that this story helps someone else. Remember the 270 and 302 are “basically” the same engine so I imagine that your situation will be pretty similar to mine no matter what you find. It took “6 hours” using hand tools to remove the old engine and 4 days to put back in the new.

Joel

UPDATE

Since the project above, I decided to rebuild the 302 as it was burning a little oil. I bored the cylinders out .125 thousands (it’s now 320 cubic inches), put in a “Patrick’s” M4F camshaft, and put in “Venolia” 10.5×1 forged pistons. I had everything balanced of course. I had to find and purchase another head as the old one had a crack in it (hence the oil burning). When I got the new (used) head, I pulled out the valves and cleaned/smoothed up the intake and exhaust ports/passages which were pretty rough castings, and then put in new late-model exhaust valves (I went to 1.5″) and hardened seats for unleaded gas, and I’m using Chrysler “440” valve springs. I’m now running a “Holley” 600 CFM carburetor (vacuum secondaries) with “Fenton” cast-iron headers. When first started up on a dyno (and not really broken in yet) it recorded 286 hp and 362 ft/lbs torque; not bad for a “street” engine; At this time I also put in a T-5 GM transmission from a ’91 V-8 Camaro (the V-8 transmission has better bearings to handle the torque) with a tail-shaft from a S-10 Pick-up (the shifter was almost in the same place) – so now I have a 0.74 overdrive. At 75mph (a fender-slapping speed for the old pick-up) I’m only turning 2,100 RPM; I had a new driveshaft made as the transmission yoke splines on my old one looked worn.

So far, I’m pretty happy with my set-up. Happy “wrenching” everyone;. ..jb

Joel Baumbaugh

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

Early Chevy and GMC Engine Trivia

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Though the major cab and fender sheet metal change began in mid 1947 (Advance Design), both the Chevrolet and GMC trucks kept their same proven six cylinder engines as used in prior years.

The base engine in GMC light trucks was the 228 cubic inch inline six cylinder introduced in 1939. This overhead valve unit had a full pressure oil system with its rod and main bearings lubricated from drilled lines within the crankshaft. Their high oil pressure is reflected on the dash gauge reading 0-50 pounds.

This family of engines during the Advance Design years also produced the 248 and 270 cubic inch units. The cylinder diameter in their main difference. They all share the same overhaul gaskets, water pumps, oil pans, distributors and side plates. On GMC, not Chevrolet, the cubic inch is the first three digits of the stamped serial number on the flat surface behind the distributor.

Chevrolet’s six cylinder used during most of the Advance Design years was very different from the GMC. Its standard 216 cubic inch engine was a result of continual improvements since the first Chevrolet six cylinder began in 1929. The 1940’s 216 truck engines were almost identical to that in the Chevrolet car. Therefore, millions of 216’s were on the road by the beginning of 1947. Their basic design and easy maintenance made them one of the greats in lower priced vehicles. When used on the roads of that era, they provided dependable service both on the farm and in the city.

The 216 engine was the standard power plant in the 3000 and 4000 series trucks. Its big brother, the 235 was optional on the 4000 series and standard on the 5000 and 6000 series. It is almost identical to the 216 but the increased displacement gave the needed extra power to work trucks. The 235 truck engine was not used in pickups, however, was matched to the Powerglide transmission cars with some modifications between 1950-53.

These 216 and early 235 are designed to operate without oil lines drilled in the crankshaft to lubricate their bearings.

The early 235 should not be confused with the more famous later 235 full pressure engine first introduced in Powerglide Chevrolet cars and the Corvette in 1953. During this transition year trucks continued to have the lower pressure design. By 1954 the full oil pressure 235 became the standard of the Chevrolet fleet. It was modified for trucks by using solid valve lifters in place of the hydraulics in cars. The camshaft gear was changed from fiber to aluminum.

Ghost Windows

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The door window is cranked up tight in the cloth channel and off you go on your daily errands. Suddenly, the glass begins to slowly lowers as you drive over side roads or contact a rough surface. In comes cold air, rain, and wind! Even the window handle turns. What’s this all about? Do you tape the window closed or wire the handle so it will not turn?

You have a window regulator spring problem! This large 2″ diameter round spring has either broken or become disconnected.

With no spring tension on the regulator, the weight of the glass creates the lowering of the support arm and window. Sorry, there is no good fix other than removing the regulator from inside the door. The picture below shows this circular Clock spring. It must be large to hold the weight of the glass panel.

ghost window

1939-1946 Electric Wiper Motor

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

electric wiper motor 1

Even if you prefer an original vacuum wiper motor for these years rebuildable cores have become very rare and most New Old Stock units are just not obtainable. Even new ones have their lubrication dry after 70 years.

For those that won’t except a slow moving or non-working used vacuum unit, an alternative does exist. New electric motors are now on the market in both 6 and 12 volt styles. The above photo shows a new unit before installation.

You will no longer need the original inside wiper cover plate with the indention. Replace it with the included non-indented style which gives a smooth finish.

The electric wires can be run inside the windshield post to a switch of your choice under the dash.

These kits can be obtained from Jim Carter Truck Parts at 1-800-842-1913.

Swing Out Military Windshield, 1936-1946 Chevrolet and GMC

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the early years of auto and truck design, most vehicles came with their windshields capable of tipping outward. This helped poorly insulated cabs to be more bearable during hot weather. Extra outside air would be forced into the cab and replaced some of the hot air radiating from the bare sheet metal firewall.

This idea was good but not without a few problems. Unfortunately, air movement depended on the speed of the vehicle. The faster the driving, the more air circulation. Too bad for the driver in stop and go city traffic during a hot summer day.

In GM trucks, water leaks into the cab developed as the rubber edge seal began to age. The under dash crank-out gear assembly (1936-46) was not easily reached and therefore almost never received lubrication. The gear would wear and later most became non-usable. It was then necessary to close the windshield frame permanently and the cab lost a major method of getting air flow on hot days.

The system was expensive to produce! A pair of swing hinges, a crank-out assembly, and two windshield halves added to production costs.

This windshield vent system was stopped with the introduction of the 1947 Advance Design cab. The two piece windshield now became permanently sealed. An insulated interior fire wall pad was standard. A left side cowl vent intake door forced outside air over the drivers feet and lower legs. (Of course, this was also when the truck was moving.)

A top cowl vent door (also on earlier trucks) now had a screen to prevent entry of insects. Thus, this was the end of the swing-out windshield. They were a great help on hot days when the vehicle was moving, but inevitable gear wear began a new set of problems for later years.

NOTE: During World War II, the military using civilian cabs on their larger trucks had no patience for this crank-out assembly. They wanted no malfunction in the open position while being in a Russian or German winter. They even placed the windshield hinges on the roof for less complicated repairs in the field.

Therefore, the military went back to the swing out windshield frame design that opened manually by the driver. This system was used on all 1936 and older High Cab Chevrolet trucks, Model A Fords, and so many other early automobiles that needed more ventilation. See Photos.

WWII Cab 9

WWII Cab 5

WWII Cab3

1939-1946 Door Windows

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During 1939-40 Door window breakage on truck cabs became a problem. As the cloth fabric in the door window channel became worn, the large and now loose fitting side windows were susceptible to cracking when the door was slammed. Complaints from dealers resulted in an improvement on 1941-46 doors. A one piece metal frame was placed around the edges of the top and sides of the glass and the breakage was greatly reduced. To make room for these new metal frames, the glass on the 1941-46 doors was now slightly smaller.

Therefore, the 1939-40 door glass and 1941-46 with metal frame will interchange in total in all 1939-46 doors. The smaller 1941-46 door glass can not be used without it’s frame or it will not seal into the cloth channel at the top of the window opening.

1939 door window

Chevrolet Cameo GMC Suburban Wheel Trim

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

With the introduction of the new Cameo in 1955, GM added their most deluxe features as standard equipment. This “Boulevard Pickup” was to stand out above all others.

The wheel covers were not like that on the more standard pickup. To save tooling costs on this limited production model, GM used the wheel cover on the 1955 Chevrolet Belair car. Both vehicles had 15″ wheels so the top of the line car wheel cover was chosen for the new Cameo.

cameo wheel 1

1955 Wheel Cover (above)


The same procedure occurred in 1956. The Cameo carried the 1956 Chevrolet Belair full wheel cover, not the same design as 1955.

cameo wheel 1

1956 Wheel Cover (above)


The big change in Cameo wheel trim occurred with the 1957 model. This was the first year for the 14″ wheels on the passenger car. The Belair cover was no longer a fit for the Cameo 15″ wheels. GM’s answer was to chrome the standard white 1/2 ton hub cap. To add more to the appearance, a Cameo trim ring was created to cover the outer edge of the wheel.

cameo wheel 1

1957 1958 Hub Cap and Trim Ring (above)


With the limited Cameo production in 1958, the same wheel trim was used this final year.

The 1955 year was the first for factory installed whitewall tires. It made an excellent combination with the wheel trim. This is another major change in the GM deluxe 1/2 tons looking less than work trucks. The 15″ wheels remained the same during the four years of the Suburban Carrier. GM just chromed the small standard hub cap.  No wheel ring was used as standard equipment, however the wheel was given a contrasting light color.

cameo wheel 1

1957-1960 Hubcaps

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the early years of GM truck production, many examples exist which relate to their vehicles being designed more for work. Changing a trim part for appearance reasons was usually secondary if it resulted in unnecessary expense. Often parts were used that had already been on GM automobiles. This eliminated expensive new tooling costs and kept GM truck prices in line with the competition.

An excellent example of this type thinking is shown with the 1957-1960 hubcaps. Even though the 1960 pickup was a totally redesigned vehicle, GM carried their older hub cap on this new pickup. The reasoning goes back to keeping truck prices low. The 1960 1/2 ton wheel was to be the last carrying the inside spring clips to secure the hub caps. As truck hub caps were used several years, it was not likely a new 1960 design would be created for only one year. GM held off from using a redesigned hub cap until 1961 so that it would fit on the new non-clip wheel. To stay with tradition, this new 1/2 ton cap was then used three years.

To keep the 1960 3/4 and 1 ton hub cap appearances similar to the 1/2 ton, GM again retained the earlier style. This occurred even though the larger truck inside clip split rim wheel design was basically unchanged between 1946 and the late 1960’s.

Chevrolet and GMC each had their own different hub cab design during this time, however, they both changed styles at the same time. A full Chevrolet or GMC wheel cover was unavailable for the deluxe 1957-59 truck models. GM simply chromed their standard caps that were otherwise painted white. An optional chromed GM wheel ring could be added on the 1/2 ton series in 1957-1959 Chevrolet but not during 1960. These trim rings were stock on the 1957-1958 Cameo but dealer installed on other 1/2 tons.

In 1960, a full wheel cover was introduced on the Deluxe 1/2 Ton Package. Actually, it was from a 1956 Chevrolet Belair car and 1956 Chevrolet Cameo. Once again, GM used this stamping from five year old tooling and saved production costs.

1957 1960 hubcaps 1

1960 Wheel Covers (above)

Stainless Steel on the Deluxe 1/2 Ton Pickup. 15″ Wheels only.


1957 1960 hubcaps 2

1957-1959 Wheel Rings (above)

Chromed steel wheel rings that blend with optional chrome hub caps to give appearance of full-chrome wheels. 15″ wheels only.


1957 1960 hubcaps 3

Wheel Striping

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the 1940’s through 1950’s placing pin stripes on automobile wheels occurred on most all brands. It was an inexpensive touch that added a little flair to the appearance of a new wheel. The stripe could be added quickly with a machine on a rotating wheel. The factory didn’t need a human as on the body stripes.

GM was no exception. They had been striping most new car wheels for almost 10 years. Beginning with the 1947 Advance Design trucks, this striping even was used on ½ tons that had the deluxe package (not the standard models). This extra was continued through the 1947-1955 body style.

The attached photo shows a used original never repainted 16″ 1/2 ton deluxe wheel. Note how perfect the 3/4″ stripes are applied. With the addition of the small chrome hub cap, the wheel drew attention

wheel striping 1

wheel striping 2

Sloppy Floor Shift Lever

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

sloppy floor shift lever

Problem: Slop in the shift pattern on 1947 Chevrolet & GMC 3 speed transmissions.

On the first year of the 1947-55 Advance Design trucks, their 3 speed transmission was a carryover from the prior years. It remained a floor shift unit, not a column shift as 1948 and newer. When shifting into 2nd gear finds your knuckles contacting the glove box door, repairs are needed and available.

 

Repairs:

Chevrolet did not plan on these 3 speed transmissions to be in use over 50 years so repairs in this area were not often discussed by GM. You can fix it anyway!

Remove the flat plate with the shift lever from transmission by taking out the 4 retaining bolts. (Be sure to replace this plate with cloth or cardboard so no foreign object falls inside.) Take the shift tower from the flat plate top by removing four retaining bolts. The shift lever and its 2 1/4 inch tension spring can now be taken from the tower.

Inside the top of the tower is the worn brass bushing causing most of the shift lever slop. A replacement with tension spring can be obtained from Jim Carter’s Truck Parts and most of their full stocking dealers.

1937-1947 3 Speed Shift Repair

Shift Pin

Sorry, exchanging the brass bushing will not solve all the problem. The long horizontal pin, through the shift lever ball, needs to be replaced. The pin will probably be worn on each end and needs replacement.

Using a drill bit is a good option for a new pin. If a 1/4 inch drill bit easily moves into the shift lever ball, move up to the next size. (Maybe as much as 9/32 inch drill bit). Use it to drill the hole oversize, then use this same drill bit as the new pin. After drilling, remove the drill portion on the bit, and you have a nice hardened pin! Note: do not cut the drill bit until you know the exact length needed. Get a correct size by turning the shift tower upside down and measuring the distance between the two notches to the tower walls.

Artillery Wheels

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The term artillery wheel is a nickname adapted from a scalloped type wheel often seen on US military vehicles in World War I. The similar appearance at a distance to GM’s scalloped steel wheels quickly gave them the name artillery.

On GM trucks, this style was first used during 1934-36 as a stock six bolt 1/2 ton 17 inch wheel. It was much stronger than the existing wire style wheels due to it being less susceptible to bending when hitting a large pot hole or sliding against a curb.

Though this 17 inch unit was discontinued on 1/2 tons for 1937, a redesigned 15 inch artillery began as GM’s stock wheel on that year’s 3/4 ton truck. It was stronger and wider but was still a non-split rim design. This remained the GM 3/4 ton wheel through 1945. By 1946, six bolt wheels on trucks were limited to 1/2 tons. The 3/4 ton would now have 15 inch 8 bolt split rims which remained stock into the 1960’s.

Today, we sometimes see 1947-59 GM 1/2 tons equipped with these early 15 inch artillery 3/4 ton wheels even though they were not placed on factory trucks after 1945. To many, they provide a unique appearance on the later 1/2 tons and will still hold the trucks current hub cap.

atrillery wheel 1

Regular 16″ Wheel (above)

artillery wheel 2

1934-1936 17″ Artillery Wheel (above)

artillery wheel 3

1937-1945 15″ Artillery Wheel (above)

Timing Gear

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

About 10 years after the introduction of GMC’s new inline six cylinder engine in 1939, General Motors issued a ‘Product Service Bulletin’ in regards to a recommended improvement on the 228, 248, and 270. It appears the manufacturer discovered a weakness that shortened the life of the engine timing gears. This recommendation was made for enlarging the oil supply hole leading to the meeting point of the two gears. The attached dealer bulletin was issued January 31, 1949.

This is especially interesting considering over a million GMC trucks with these engines had been built prior to this. The number includes the five years of military large trucks that were used during WWII under very abusive off road conditions!

tming gear

After Market Wheels for Older GM Trucks

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

From 1934 to 1959 GM 1/2 tons came from the factory with a tie rod assembly that extended side to side to almost touch the front wheels. With everything stock, the tie rod sits about 3/4 inch from the inside of both original six hole wheels and all fits just right.

A problem exists when someone attempts to add a more modern wheel. For example, the mid 60’s and newer 4×4 wheels have this 6 hole bolt pattern but their width causes them to contact the end of original long tie rod. Changing from the approximate 4-1/2 inch original to at least a 6 inch width just won’t work.

Solutions for adding a more sporty wheel are very limited with the original suspension. One almost unknown method is to replace the original GM multi-piece tie rod ends with the more modern knuckle ends introduced in the 1960’s. There are currently available and are 3/8 inch shorter on the outer end giving that much extra room for a slightly wider wheel. (It is not recommended that flat washers be placed over the stud between the wheel and drum as this can cause breakage.)

This GM six bolt pattern is also shared with several Japanese pickups. Some very attractive more narrow aftermarket wheels have been produced for their imports in past years.

1967-1968 Buddy Seat

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

BUDDY SEATS 1967 1968 CHEVY

What an unusual seat on the 1967-68 Chevy/GMC pickups!  It was standard equipment on the “top of the line” Chevrolet CST and GMC Super Custom pickups.

The seat consisted of two bucket seats and a much smaller center cushion referred by many as a Buddy seat.  It allowed for a third passenger or the back cushion could be lowered horizontally to give an oversize arm rest.  When you lift the lower cushion there is a large storage area. All are covered with pleated vinyl.  Yes, three pair of seat belts were included.

The three cushions contained extra foam and better springs to give the owner a more comfortable ride.  These seats were part of a more deluxe cab that had not been available in prior years.  We have no documentation that they could even be special ordered on the larger 1 ½ and 2 tons.
BUDDY SEATS 1967 1968 CHEVY

GMC Super Custom Interiors

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

super custom interiors

GMC Super Custom Interiors offer the ultimate in comfort and style, including plush bucket seats with vinyl covering and matching center seat concole. The GMC Super Custom also includes appearance and comfort options from special horn button to carpeted floor.

1946-1972 3/4 Ton and 1 Ton Ring and Pinion

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

One series of the famous “drop out” GM differentials was used between 1946 and 1972 on 3/4 and 1 tons. The complete assembly (often called a pumpkin) will interchange during these years with no alteration.

The highest gearing in this series is the 4.10 ratio and is found in most 1967-72 3/4 tons with automatic transmissions. Therefore, those “low gear blues” often associated with 3/4 and 1 tons during the late 1940’s and 1950’s can be greatly improved with no visible exterior changes. Originally these older trucks had a ratio of 4.57 in the 3/4 tons and 5.14 in the 1 tons.

Once a 4.10 pumpkin is located (usually in a local wrecking yard) it is a basic interchange requiring little more than new gaskets and gear grease. Your truck’s personality is now changed!

This interchange will fit perfectly if the “complete” pumpkin is used.  The 1963-1972 carrier is necessary and it will be part of this total assembly.  The change-over will not work if you only use the ring and pinion.

The only negative to this changeover is if you are hauling a ton of gravel up a mountain road with the original smaller six cylinder!! In this example a lower geared differential is best.

Updating 1955-1959 Seats

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

For those not requiring the original seat cushions on their 1955-59 Task Force truck, a roomy comfortable substitute is available. This unit is from a 1988 body style Chevrolet or GMC truck and is almost a bolt-in.

The legs or side brackets on this newer seat comes attached to the cushions from a used truck and sets nicely by the floor edge of the 1955-1959 cab. It almost looks factory installed! Yes, the cushion edge will slightly touch the doors but cause no closing problems.

The result is a much softer seat and a definite increase in distance between your “middle” and the stock steering wheel. Almost no interference with the in cab fuel tank.

Dim Lights

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

When you notice your head, tail and dash lights are often dim, sometimes even flicker on a rough road, check your cab to frame ground cable

Because the 1967-1972 cab and radiator supports are seperated from the frame by rubber mounts. GM used a small mount woven wire ground strap that by-passes one cab mount. This insures electrical flow even if the cab mount bolts become rusted and electrical current can not flow properly.

You must be under the cab to see this by-pass cable. Yes, GM planned for the trucks later years when rusty mounting hardware caused the lights to dim

dim lights ground strap

1939-1946 Replacement Seat Cushions

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Locating a pair of seat cushions for the 1939-46 truck has become very difficult in recent years. These early trucks increased popularity is the main reason for the shortage. Even when a pair of cushions are located the asking price often does not justify the purchase because of the age damage to the springs and frame of the lower cushion.

It is this lower cushion that has received the most wear in its 60 years. In a salvage yard the door or window left open for even a year allows rain water to soak the seat padding and hasten the damage.

As your hunt continues, here is a practical substitute that fits the cab well and gives the appearance of a re-upholstered original. Locate the common rear seat (not the middle) in a 1984-90 Dodge Caravan or Plymouth Voyager mini-van. You can even pull the factory levers on the back and the seat is quickly removed. Most salvage yards have many extras and their pricing should be under $50.00. You will even get the seat belts!

With less use of this rear seat in the van, you can find one with no tears or permanent stains.

The next step is cleaning. Simply place it in the bed of your late model pickup and find a coin operated wand car wash. The hot soapy water will make the cloth covered cushion like new for less than $5.00. Leave it in your truck for a few hours until the water drip stops. Then place the cushion where it can dry. In about 24 hours, the job is done! The padding is closed cell foam and does not absorb water.

You won’t need most of the lower metal attaching brackets. Remove them and attach the remaining metal and cushions to your trucks original seat riser. Here is where you can be creative but it is done and the remaining metal will not be visible.

For the perfectionist, the cab tapers inward as it reaches the cowl. Thus, the two doors are slightly closer to each other at the front in a standard cab. This new van cushion will touch the front of the doors because of this taper. If you don’t like this contact with the door, an upholstery shop can place a taper in the lower cushion to parallel the inside door panel. A small portion of the foam edge can be removed from the front sides of the lower cushion.

Continue to search for the original 1939-46 seat cushions. In the meantime, you have very comfortable clean cushions with seat belts. Most people will think you had your originals reupholstered.

The following article and pictures were received from Brett Courcier. He personally used this type seat and is very satisfied.

My name is Brett Courcier. I live in Fremont Nebraska. I own a 1946 Chevy pickup street rod. I wanted to take a few pictures of how my seat fit in my truck. I was trying to find a seat for my truck. I found a Plymouth Caravan minivan rear seat. It fit great. I cut off the latching pieces that go in the minivan floor and welded on a piece of 2″ square tubing to the front legs and a piece of 1″ square tubing to the rear legs. The pictures show them. My upholsterer added lumbar support to the lower back area and also added 2″ in heigth to the back of the seat. The seat comes with three seat belts and folds forward from the back of the cab. We added a full length pouch across the back of the cab for storage. I hope the pictures show enough for you. If you have any questions please contact me.

Brett Courcier

402-727-7127 or e-mail baccourcier@team-national.com

NEWS FLASH!

We just had an email showing another excellent seat for a 1939-46 Chevy / GMC cab. This photo is of a rear seat cushion from a 1990 Ford mini van. Nice fit. This person found a top of the line leather seat in a local salvage yard. A good cleaning made it a very nice inexpensive seat that fit really well!

seat 1 seat 2 seat 3

1984-1990 Dodge Caravan or Plymouth Voyager

test

1990 Ford Mini Van

1947-1955 Tail Lights

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The Chevrolet and GMC left commercial taillight used during 1947-1953 is an excellent example of GM’s conservative thinking towards trucks. The number one purpose for trucks was work! Therefore, if a part had been very successful on a prior body design, it just might be adapted later as a part in some new styling. Savings were in production costs and tooling. The results were still a good practical part for a working vehicle.

This type of thinking it shown in the Advance Design 1947-1953 pickup taillights. The same light assembly had not only been in use on trucks since 1940 but the red lens and chrome bezel was first used in all taillights on the 1937-38 Chevrolet passenger cars.

With the introduction of the new 1947 body style, this same six volt light continued to be used. It was now turned 180 degrees, so that the clear license light lens was at the bottom, and did not shine upward as in prior years. This allowed for a smaller taillight bracket with low mounted license plate. On earlier models the high positioned license caught the wind. This plus the use of trucks on rough terrain often caused bracket failure. With the left light illuminating the license plate, the optional right taillight did not have or need this lens opening.

Because the same lens was used on the 180 degree reversed taillight in 1947-1953, the red lens letters were now upside down. This was not a problem to GM as trucks were for utility purposes. Changing the lens tooling just to make the cast letters show upright was not a consideration. The red lens sold by authorized Chevrolet or GMC dealers normally had STOPRAY block letters at the top and either GUIDE letters in script or “STIMSONITE” in block letters at the bottom. In 1949 GM changed the red lens from glass to plastic. This thinner material reduced overall weight and gave a brighter red when light passed through. The various aftermarket lens manufacturers also followed GM’s procedure. Even their lens lettering is reversed when placed on the 1947-53 trucks. It appears they also designed this lens with the 1937-1938 car in mind.

The light on the pickup and larger truck has a rectangle shape with dimensions 4 inch high x 2 1/2 inch wide. An authentic 1940-1953 GM light bucket will have the block letters GUIDE-MADE IN USA stamped on the back. These letters are not visible when attached to the factory taillight bracket. In 1947-1953 the 1/4 inch block letters STOPRAY were stamped in the top of the light bucket. These letters, prior to 1947, had been stamped in the area at the rear of the license lens on the opposite end when the bucket was reversed. In this way “STOPRAY” is always seen on the top in this series of taillight. The running light bulb (illuminating both the license and red lens) is three candle power. The stop light bulb, positioned behind the center of the lens, is 21 candle power. The bezel was chrome over the black bucket until copper shortages occurred in 1952-1953 due to the Korean War. The bezel then became black.

One minor change in this design over its early years was the reversing of a very small water drain hole in the lens retaining bezel. Engineers knew this water escape hole would be needed for drying and to drain moisture from within the bucket as the cork bezel gasket began to deteriorate within several years. This drain hole was centered in the bottom of the original light bezel; however, between 1947-1953 when the light was reversed, the bottom drain went to the lower right. This was due to an internal securing bracket welded the middle of the bezel and preventing there being a place for a center drain hole.

This taillight as used on pickup and larger trucks is mostly unprotected from the elements when located beside or under the bed. Tests quickly showed that some type of seal would be necessary in the hole where the two light wires from the bulb exited the taillight. As a modern rubber seal had not been perfected, GM skillfully came up with a solution. An approximately 2 ft. long, 5/16 inch diameter cloth woven black lacquered tube was inserted one inch into the bucket taillight wire hole. The inside end was flattened on the two wires with a heavy metal staple. This prevented the loom from being removed, protected the wires, and prevented water from entering the housing.

With the total redesign of the step bed in 1954, the six volt taillights were also changed. They became round four inch diameter units with one light bulb having two filaments of three and twenty one candle power. The lens retaining bezel was chrome plated on the more deluxe truck, painted black like the bucket on the standard models. The clear license lens was in the bottom of this bucket to illuminate the plate below. With the optional rear bumper on pickups, the license plate moved to the middle of the truck and the taillight did not have the lower lens window. As before, the right light was an option.

The 1947-55 taillights on the panel truck, suburban, and canopy express (single unit bodies) had no similarity to those on the pickup and big trucks. On panel trucks a single light was placed near the center of the left “barn door”. The lens retaining bezel was chrome with dimensions of 3 inch high by 4 1/2 inches wide. A decorative stainless two inch wide strip on top of the housing has the stamped letters GUIDE R17 T. A single socket in the housing holds a double filament bulb of 3 and 21 candle power. The license plate bracket is secured to the rear of the bucket and allows illumination of the tag below the light. During these Advance Design years, this panel truck lens and chrome bezel were also used on the rear fender of the Harley Davidson motorcycle.

The canopy express and suburban bodies also displayed a single taillight with suspended lower license. It was attached to a cast metal swing bracket on the center of the tailgate. This bracket plus a special vertical connecting rod made up an ingenious design. When the tailgate was opened to its horizontal position, the taillight and license would swing 90 degrees so that it could still be seen by the following traffic.  This round taillight was normally black with a 4 3/4 inch diameter chrome lens retaining bezel. Inside are two sockets holding individual bulbs of 3 and 21 candle power. Block letters on top state GUIDCOLITE STANDARD. To save costs GM adapted this light from a prior application. It had been the GMC pickup taillight from the late 30’s through 1946. During these Advance Design truck years the light was also found on General Motors station wagons through 1952.

As the 1950’s progressed, there were increasing requests for a right tail light.  This was a GM dealer installed option to be placed on new or pre-owned vehicles. On pickups it was easy! The option included a right side light and bracket closely matching the standard left assembly.

Adding a turn single option today 1947-1955 single unit body created problems for GM designers. Neither the single factory taillight on the double door or the center unit on the tail gate were in a good position to be matched with a second live assembly. GM solved this by offering a turn signal kit containing two matched taillights. These were dealer installed beside the vehicle belt line near the doors and above the edge of the tailgate. These small bullet shaped lights were actually from a 1939 Chevrolet passenger car. It appears GM dusted off the ten year old car taillight tooling and kept expenses on this option to a minimum. The letters “DURAY” are stamped in the top of the painted housing. The chrome bezel retains a 2 5/8 inch diameter red glass lens. Due to a small water drain hole, there is a right and left on these turn signal lights.

NOTE: It is interesting that both the pickup truck and the tailgate lights, each developed during the late 1930’s, continued with separate bulbs and sockets for each filament. The door mounted oval panel truck light, introduced in mid 1947, was provided with a more modern double filament bulb in one socket.

1947-1953 GMC Parklights

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

A redesigned parklight assembly was started with the introduction of the 1947 GMC advanced body style. It was placed in the front fender 3-1/2 inches below the headlight ring. A 2-5/8 inch diameter bezel held a domed glass lens to its housing by two barrel screws.

1947 gmc parklights 1

1947 gmc parklights 2

The unit was not meant to be a combination turn signal and parklight assembly and held a 3 candle power single filament 6 volt bulb. As with other car and truck parklights prior to 1968, it did not operate when the headlights were on.

This round lens and chrome ring soon found other uses. They were placed on the parklights of Chevrolets new Corvette sportscar between 1953-1962! The ring also held a different lens to the rear of certain GM cars when they had the optional backup light assembly.

1947 gmc parklights 3

1947 gmc parklights 4

During 1952-1953, GMC used an enlarged parklight assembly only different than the 1947-51 unit in size. Dimensions were increased to 3 inches diameter to give more light area. It fit in the same front fender location and the securing ring was now painted white as was most other 1952-53 GMC trim during the Korean War shortages.

This larger glass was shared with several larger GM cars as their parklight lens. The same rings, however, were chromed. These chrome rings were also used to hold a different clear lens on several GM cars for their back up lights.

1934-1946 GMC Tail Lights

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Early GMC Tail Light

Though items were shared between GMC and Chevrolet trucks between 1936 and 1946, General Motors made sure many parts remained very different during the early years the GMC preferred very few things to be similar to Chevrolet.  Their customers needed to see an almost stand-alone truck with the higher price of the GMC.

One very obvious difference is the change in tail lights.  There is no comparison to Chevrolet.  The massive GMC stamped one piece steel bracket combined with a redesigned 5-inch tail light makes the pair a “one-of-a-kind”.  They do not interchange with Chevrolet during those year.

It was not until the new body style in mid 1947 that the two brands shared tail lights. When the larger GMC’s 5-inch light was discontinued on trucks in 1947, Chevrolet introduced it on their 1949 through 1952 station wagons and early GMC buses. It was placed in the center of the gate and was the only factory light on the vehicle.

Even though 1936-1946 taillight was used for so many years, it is becoming very difficult to find. Most GMC pickup restorers use the reproduced Chevrolet rectangular design and only a few GMC perfectionists are aware that there is a difference.

A shop in the US is attempting to remake this bracket; however, if this happens the tail light will be almost as big of a project to find.  It is not being reproduced.

Hint: This tail light also was used on Chevrolet, Buick Oldsmobile Station Wagon tail gates from about 1949 through 1952.  Therefore you will see more lights than GMC brackets at swap meets.  See Photos

1934-1946 GMC Tail Lights 1934-1946 GMC Tail Lights 1950 chevy taillight 1951 old taillight

Seat Cover Kits

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Our seat cover kits are produced with an emphasis on originality. The materials are top quality for many year’s service. Seams, ribbing, etc., are based on original seats.

We recommend that installation be done by a professional upholstery company. However, if you wish to do it yourself, here are several important steps to follow:

1. Seat springs must be in original condition. No breaks, sags, etc.

2. Over springs, place one layer of burlap.

3. Over burlap, place two layers of cotton padding. Cotton must extend down over edges of outer springs.

4. Place vinyl cover over padding. Stretch evenly to eliminate wrinkles. Press special C shape clips at rear of springs to permanently hold cover in place.

5. If clips are put in place with pliers, cover the end with tape or equivalent to lessen chances to vinyl tears.

6. Wrinkles from storage will normally disappear in several days.

1955-1957 GMC Fender Emblem

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1955 1957 gmc fender emblem

During the mid-1950’s most car and truck manufacturers begin to install optional V-8 engines in their vehicles. To set the vehicles apart from their six cylinders, V-8 emblems were designed.

This GMC front fender V-8 emblem was used during 1955 through 1957. The GMC letters were on both six and V-8 trucks.

The pictured Hydramatic emblem is removable and would not be in place on a truck with a 3 or 4 speed manual transmission.

1965 GMC Deluxe Fleetside

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the mid 1960’s, most still considered pickups work vehicles. The manufacturer designed them as haulers and few people owned them as their only family vehicle. However, a slight change was beginning with truck buyers as Americans began to have more disposable income. GM and other truck producers were aware that extras on work vehicles were finding more buyers. Each year additional pickups with deluxe equipment were ordered.

This 1965 GMC 1/2 ton is an example of this trend. Though it obviously had been a work truck, it’s optional deluxe features still remain intact. Looking at the trim shows how GMC designers were careful in adding expensive trim.

To keep cost down they placed chrome on the hub caps and grill of their base model pickup. The stainless windshield trim is identical to that placed on the Chevrolet deluxe cabs. The long anodized aluminum side trim is also Chevrolet. One exception: GMC did not use the narrow shorter side trim as found on Chevrolet fleetsides that ran parallel to this longer piece. See photo comparisons.

Most aluminum cab trim is very basic in design. Straight pieces butted together kept GMC’s cost low. Only the chrome plated die cast emblem with the word “Custom” shows extra design effort.

The curved door window trim did require extra tooling but was made of anodized aluminum. Note this aluminum window trim as it runs parallel a few inches from the windshield stainless. The use of two different materials on trim so close is very unusual.

1965 deluxe gmc fleetside 1

GMC Single Trim Strip (above)

1965 deluxe gmc fleetside 2

Chrome Standard Grille (above)

1965 deluxe gmc fleetside 3

Window Aluminum and Windshiled Stainless (above)

1965 deluxe gmc fleetside 4

Econimical Side Trim (above)

1965 deluxe gmc fleetside 5

1962-1966 Chevrolet Lower Trim (above)

1965 deluxe gmc fleetside 6

Deluxe Trim (above)

1965 deluxe gmc fleetside 7

Economical Side Trim (above)

1967 Dash Knobs

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The 1967 Chevrolet and GMC trucks are noted for numerous one year only features. As the year progressed, engineers made several changes they felt were an improvement over this first year design.

For reasons unknown, dash knobs were redesigned. The following pictures show the correct 1967standard knobs with 1.23 inch diameter serrated edges. Compare these with the 1968-72 knobs having 1.4 inch diameter and smooth edges. Pictured here are several of the deluxe style having the center silver paint. Most did not have this silver addition.

1967 dash knobs 1

1967 Choke Knob – Standard (above)

1967 dash knob 2

1967 Light and Wiper Knobs – Standard (above)

1967 dash knobs 3

1968-1972 Choke Knob – Deluxe (above)

1967 dash knob 4

1968-1972 Wiper Knob – Standard (above)

1967 dash knob 5

1968-1972 Light and Wiper Knobs – Deluxe (above)

1964-1966 GMC Custom

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

With increased prosperity in the USA during the 1960’s the demand for more extras on cars and trucks was high. Manufacturers followed this trend with additional features, at least on their top of the line models.

GMC followed this movement even though their product was mostly for work related duties. While sharing much sheet metal with Chevrolet, they certainly did not want to look like their competitor so GMC designers made a point of adding no deluxe features to the new ‘Custom’ truck that would relate to Chevrolet.

What must have been a limited budget is reflected by the inexpensive trim on their new custom cab. The post behind the doors uses three pieces of straight anodized aluminum butted together to fill the space.

What looks like an amateur creation was truly a factory design. It almost appears they needed paint divided strips for their two-tone paint option! A more expensive piece is the curved side window trim with the unusual groove to fit into the door lines.

For their custom cab GMC chromed their pre existing white grill, V-6 hood side emblems, bumpers, and hub caps. Thus, their design and manufacturing costs were lessened. Even the stainless windshield trim was already available from the Chevrolet division. A new small chrome Custom emblem on the door post is an exclusive GMC only part. (This die cast emblem was also used on the rare deluxe model GMC Suburban.)

The remaining GMC ‘Custom’ feature appears to be the paint scheme when two-tone colors were ordered. Here designers seemed to have gone to excess. No copying Chevrolet here! There must have been a 20 minute meeting on the telephone in 1964 to decide which color went on which metal body panel.

The accompanying photos are from a 1964-66 GMC Custom ½ ton pickup that was seen parked along the street. The owner was not available for comment.

The wear on the original paint and trim give no doubt that it was an untouched factory GMC. Its pure condition deserved ‘a second take’ and the following pictures were a result.

Note: Even on the Custom GMC pickup, the large back cab window was optional. Many did not want the extra sun on their neck or in the cab during hot summer days. Therefore, this deluxe cab was ordered with the small rear glass.

1964 1966 gmc custom 1

1964 1966 gmc custom 2

1964 1966 gmc custom 3

1964 1966 gmc custom 4

1964 1966 gmc custom 5

1964 1966 gmc custom 6

1964 1966 gmc custom 7

1964 1966 gmc custom 8

1964 1966 gmc custom 9

1964 1966 gmc custom 10

1964 1966 gmc custom 11

1964 1966 gmc custom 12

1964 1966 gmc custom 13

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)

GMC Blank Out

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Between 1954 and 1959 the dash cluster of GMC trucks were given a circular opening for a dealer installed clock or tachometer. These trucks left the factory with a blank-out plate to fill this opening. With most GMC’s this plate always remained in place as an option was rarely added.

The enclosed photo shows both plates used during the period. We are requesting help to identify the years each were used. Contact us for your opinion at www.oldchevytrucks.com

gmc blank out

1958-1959 Chevrolet vs GMC Trim

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

With the new Fleetside bed design in 1958 the Chevrolets placed a chrome emblem on the bed side with the word “Fleetside”. However, GMC referred to this new bed as a “Wideside” to not copy Chevrolet. A Wideside emblem was never created, thus the GMC bedsides are without letters. (The horizontal bedside trim is a 1959 option).

(images by Ralph Wescot)
1958 1959 trim
1959 Chevrolet
1958 1959 trim 2
1959 GMC

1955-1959 GMC Emblems

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the mid 1950’s, V-8 engines began to gain popularity. Many became an option in full size cars and trucks that normally were provided with a six cylinder. When this occurred, most vehicles were given a body emblem advertising that the larger power plant was under the hood.

1955 1959 gmc V8 emblems

1955-1957 (above left) | 1958-1959 (above right)

GMC trucks were no exception. During the 1955-59 body style, two different shapes of V-8 emblems were used. Both die cast designs were attached to the front fender below the GMC letters. The above picture shows these V-8 emblems and the different GMC letters that appeared above them. If the truck came with a six cylinder, only the letter emblem was used on the fender. Today, as many older trucks are given modern V-8 engines, the original V-8 emblems have become almost impossible to find. The demand for these rare emblems has far exceeded their availability.

Chevy and GMC Frames

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

These are some very rare photos. It is quite unusual to find 1947-1953 Chevrolet and GMC 1/2 ton bare frames together. Here, you can cmpare the differences in the front cross members.

As the GMC six cylinder is a few inches longer than the Chevrolet, engineers designed two different front engine cross members. In building the truck frame for the assembly line a different cross member was added depending if it was to be in a Chevrolet or GMC factory.

This is why re-builders of GM trucks today develop immediate problems when they exchange 6 cylinder engines between the Chevrolet and GMC. The two makes may look about the same in any year, however the power plant causes changes not only in the frame’s front cross members as well as sheet metal in this immediate area.

chevy gmc frame 1

chevy gmc frame 2

chevy gmc frame 3

Photos courtesy of Rob English

Email: rob@oldgmctrucks.com

Website: Oldgmctrucks.com

Buy Parts for 1947 to 1955 Trucks

1955-1959 GMC Bumper Guards

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

GMC bumper guards during these years were standard equipment and stamped from the same heavy gauge metal as the bumper (a different style and lighter gauge metal were dealer accessories on Chevrolet light trucks).

A slight change in design was made at the end of the 1956 year. A more decorative pointed end was given the guards during 1957 through 1959.

1955 1959 gmc bumper guards 1

1955-1959 GMC (above)

1955 1959 gmc bumper guards 2

1955-1956 GMC (above)

1955 1959 gmc bumper guards 3

1957 GMC (above)

1955 1959 gmc bumper guards 4

1957-1959 GMC (above)

1955 1959 gmc bumper guards 5

1955-1959 Chevrolet (above)

GMC Hood Ornament

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

These chrome hood ornaments were exclusively tooled for GMC trucks and have no similarity to the Chevrolet style. They are made up of three attached die cast pieces to create the finished product. Their slim base secures to the center of the hood divider strip.

These were dealer installed GMC accessories. As trucks at that time were mostly for work responsibilities, few owners had an interest in appearance options. Thus, these hood ornaments were rarely seen on trucks when new. Locating new or restorable unit 50 years later is almost an impossibility

gmc hood ornament 1

1954-1955 GMC Bed Reflector

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

By 1954, the Korean War shortages were history. More trim and chrome plating began to show up in trucks and cars. The Chevrolet and GMC truck divisions both introduced a deluxe model for their pickups during mid-year 1954. Hopes were to appeal to the emerging buyers with more disposable income.

The deluxe model of these two trucks shared most of the same sheet metal, however special unique items kept each individual! One of these exclusive items was used only on the top of the line GMC pickup. This was the bed-roll reflector. It was never placed on Chevrolets or the basic GMC pickup.

In today’s world this extra is almost impossible to locate. Not only was it on the deluxe GMC’s but few of these top of the line models found buyers. Most still thought of trucks as workers and ordered the basic vehicle. This reflector is on the very end of the bed roll and it is exposed to being damaged while backing.

To save tooling costs, GMC designers borrowed the red reflector lens from the 1953 Buick taillight. Unfortunately, the stainless ring (riveted to the bed roll) is exclusive only to the rare deluxe GMC pickup.

1954 gmc bed reflector 1

1954 gmc bed reflector 2

1954 gmc bed reflector 3

1954 gmc bed reflector 4

Difference – 1947-55 GMC Grilles

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the Advance Design years, 1947-55, Chevrolet and GMC each changed their grille designs twice. GMC made the change at the end of the second year and Chevrolet made the change at the end of the seventh year.

Possibly to save tooling cost GMC, not Chevrolet, always used the same grille on all truck sizes in any one year. As Chevy used a similar but slightly larger grill on their 1 1/2 and 2 ton. GMC did not change the size on trucks between 1/2 and 2 tons.

In 1947-48 GMC used a three bar heavy gauge chrome steel grille. Actually, it was for the heavy weight for the 2 tons but fit in the 1/2 ton by using a smaller grill surround.

The big grille change for GMC was in 1949 when it was made as a four bar design. To the non truck enthusiast, it looked somewhat like the earlier years which is probably what GMC designers planned.

Current GMC grille reproductions are often sold as 1947=55. Actually they are the four bar type for 1949-55. The 1947-48 GMC owners get a surprise due to the modifications needed to fit the later reproduction grille into their early housing!

Click on images below to enlarge

1947-1948 Three Bar Grille 1947-1948 Three Bar Grille C.O.E Four Bar Grille
Three to Five Ton Four Bar Grille
Half Ton to One Ton Four Bar Grille
Half Ton to One Ton Four Bar Grille

1947-1953 Chevrolet Grille Restoration Tips

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1947 1953 grill restoration 1

Between 1947-1953 the Chevrolet 1/2, 3/4, and 1 ton grilles were made from the same tooling. However, the paint colors and some with chrome plating made a difference. For the perfectionist, the following data will help you build a correct grille during your restoration.

Painted Grilles

1947-1948

The standard grille has inner and outer bars the body color. Horizontally, a pin stripe is run on the edge of the five outer bars. It is the same color as the cab stripe.

1949 to Mid 1951

Standard grilles have outer bars the body color without a horizontal stripe. The inner back splash bars are Waldorf white.

Mid 1951-1953  (Korean War Years)

Outer bars on standard grilles are the body color as prior years. The back splash color changes to Thistle Gray (light gray) to match the newly introduced gray hub caps and bumpers due to Korean War shortages.

Chrome Grilles

1947-1948

The deluxe grille has the five outer bars in chrome. The four inner bars remain the cab color.

1949-Mid 1951

Chrome grilles for these years are plated on the outer bars. The back splash color remains the same white as the painted grille.

Mid 1951- 1953

Chrome grille bars were not available due to Korean War copper shortages.  Thus, these grilles are the same on deluxe and standard trucks.

Vertical Bar Supports

1947-1953 Both Painted and Chrome Grilles

The two outer vertical bars touch the fenders and are therefore their color. Unfortunately, the reproduction grilles are easily recognized at shows because the owners have not often painted their outer bars fender color!  The three smaller inner vertical bars are semi-flat black. This prevents them from being easily seen when viewing the vehicle at a distance.

NOTE:  We see no reference to chrome outer bars being offered during the 1947-53 Chevrolet Advanced Design years.

1947-1948 GMC Grille and Bumper

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Used only the first 1 1/2 years into this body style, these GMC grilles stand out for their different shape and very heavy duty construction. Because of it’s weight this assembly, it sets on the frame and is given extra support by a pair of steel rods extended at an angle to the frame rail.  See photo.

The grille has three horizontal bars and uses a heavier gauge metal than the four bar grille introduced in 1949. This same unit is found during 1947 and 1948 in all 1/2 ton through 2 ton GMC trucks.

On these early 1/2, 3/4, and 1 ton trucks the splash apron from the grille to the bumper is even different. The front bumper is the most unusual. It is rounded much like an automobile and has three bumper bolts on each side.  They all have the small grille guard on the 1/2 and 3/4 ton.

Some suppliers of 1947 – Early 1955 bumpers and grilles state they are all the same.  But, they are not.  The 1947-1948 stands alone!

1947 1948 gmc grill 1

1947-1948 “3” Bar (above)

1947 1948 gmc grill

Note the 3 bumper bolts.  The center secures the front splash apron and securing braces.  The other two are used by the dealers to attach GMC accessory larger grille guards to the bumper.

1947 1948 gmc grill 2

1947-1948 “3” Bar (above)

1947 1948 gmc grill 3

1947-1948 Angle Grille Support (above)

1947 1948 gmc grill 4

1949-1955 “4” Bar (above)

1947 1948 gmc grill 4

Unique GMC Hood Ornaments

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The big news for GMC in 1936 was the introduction of their first 1/2 ton pickup. Though GMC now shared cabs with Chevrolet trucks, the visual exterior differences were mostly noticeable in front of the hood.

The GMC grill was totally redesigned and did not resemble the Chevrolet truck. This unique grill was modified little between 1936 through 1938 but the top grill ornament was changed with each of these years.

Watch for these ornaments at swap meets, antique shops, and older vehicle trade shows. They are extremely rare! Even locating the real thing for the following photos was very difficult.

1936

hood ornaments 1

The first year for the newly designed GMC 1/2 ton (cab shared with Chevrolet trucks) and the last year for the exterior radiator cap. This example of flowing artwork rivals even nicer automobiles of that year.

1937

hood ornaments 2

hood ornaments 4

The hood must be raised to reach the hidden radiator cap but a fixed die cast logo (similar to 1936) remains the focal point at the top of the grill.

1938-1946

GMC extends the smooth front hood hold down upward several inches and eliminates the die cast letters. This chrome extension (not like Chevrolet) can be just as rare as the early style. Once off the truck at a salvage yard, it soon becomes mixed with scrap iron because of no identifying GMC letters.

hood ornaments 3

Hub Caps-Used 15 Years

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Many of the tech articles on this web site emphasis’s the subtle ways that truck parts were made economically by GM. Truck often received Chevrolet car items that were used the year before. Sometimes even other GM brands sent their older items to be placed on assembly line trucks.

Of all the ways GM saved money on truck parts, none is more unique than the savings on 1/2 ton hub caps. Chevrolet pickups used the same baby moon style hub cap from 1940 through 1955. The skins and basis are the same. A relative inexpensive addition was simply changing the lettering or emblems on the outer brass skin. They required a change in tooling, not expensive for a company the size of the Chevrolet Motor Division. The stamping department just kept making the same base and skins. The skin surface stamping changed as was required by the design department each year.

Check the following pictures. The base hub caps are all the same. Some of the car hub caps are the same as the trucks. Even GMC trucks decided to use these caps between 1947-55. After all, just placing the three GMC letters on the skin added much savings to the company’s bottom line.

hub caps 1

1940 Chevrolet 1/2, 3/4 ton and car (above)

hub cap 2

1941-1946 1/2 ton, 1941- 1945 3/4 ton, and 1942 -1948 car (above)

hub cap 3

1947-1951 GMC, Chrome (above)

hub cap 4

1947-1951 Chevrolet, Chrome (above)

hub cap 5

1954-1955 1st Chevrolet (above)

hub cap 6

1952-1953 Chevrolet Painted (above)

Early GMC Hood Side Trim

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Early GMC trucks changed their hood side emblems about as much as Chevrolet, however there is no similarity in appearance. The following shows the GMC changes over 14 years.

1935-36   Anodized silver aluminum with a semi-flat black background. (In 1936, GMC entered the light truck market and carried the emblem from larger trucks of earlier year) Right and left are the same.

test

 

1937   One year only! Made just like the 1935-36 except for the short wing extensions on each end.

test

early gmc hood side trim 1

1937 GMC Hood Side Trim

 

1938-46   A more streamline design was carried through 1946. Its streamlined rounded point on only the front creates a different part for the right and left.

early gmc hood 2

1938 – 1946 GMC Hood Side Trim

Counterfeit Hub Caps

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Companies outside the Chevrolet Motor Division have always produced replacement parts for the aftermarket industry. Manufacturers begin reproducing non-original parts very soon after a new vehicle is introduced.

A problem occurs on decorative trim such as hub caps. Here, Chevrolet (and other manufacturers), display their logo to attract positive attention. To reproduce a Chevrolet hub cap, non-GM companies have at times altered the bow tie logo. In this way, they have avoided legal action by GM and market a hub cap that was close to the original. Their hope is that most people would not notice the small changes. These caps were usually produced in the 1930’s ‘ 40’s and marketed through auto parts stores or by mail order.

In today’s world, these caps have become very rare as few collectors use them on their vehicles. GM has now given approval for reproducing these obsolete correct logo caps and most collectors want the real thing. The few remaining ‘counterfeit’ caps have a place on your garage wall with their unique history.

counterfeit hub caps 1

counterfeit hub caps 2

counterfeit hub caps 3

1939-1940 Chevrolet GMC Grilles

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The 1939-1940 Chevrolet and GMC grilles may look the same when they are seen separately, however they are not! By sharing fenders, hood top, headlight stands, etc. , the grilles overall dimensions had to be the same. To keep each marquee individual, GM made the grilles different. When the two are compared side by side, what a difference!

1939-1940 GMC Grill
1940 Chevrolet Grill
1939-1940 GMC Grille
1940 Chevrolet Grille

 

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)

 

Rear Axle Bumpers

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The placement of rear axle bumpers by GM on 1/2 tons proved to be an important feature. Owners can often load cargo over recommended weights, their shock absorbers may lose their resistance, and there is the existence of uneven road surfaces. All this can make axle bumpers very important.

During the hauling of freight, these bumpers occasionally stop metal to metal contact between the frame rails and the axle housing. GM placed them just above the rear axle.
See photos.

rear axle bumper

1947-1953 1/2 ton (above)

In 1954 GM increased the depth of the 1/2 ton pickup bed from 15″ to 18″. To do this they lowered the frame rail arch above the rear axle. This shortage of space caused the bumper to be placed at the side of the frame but still above the axle.

rear axle bumper

1954 1/2 ton (above)

Early Leaf Springs

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Leaf spring width on 1/2 ton pickups remained at 1 3/4 inches until the introduction of the two inch width on the Task Force 1/2 tons in mid 1955. The early narrow springs worked well considering the engine horsepower and weight limitations of the 1/2 tons. The two inch springs became standard equipment on the rear of the 3/4 ton in 1946 but their fronts still remained the smaller size. This is because the increased weight carrying ability of the 3/4 ton is mostly felt in the rear. Only 1 ton and heavier were totally without the 1 3/4 inch springs.

With the abuse given pickups in the early days (poor roads, overloading, and almost no lubrication), the springs have held up well. Most mid 1955 and older 1/2 tons continue to operate with their tired original narrow springs.

In today’s world a new variable exists that puts even more demands on these small springs. It is the increased horsepower of later model engines. No problem if these trucks, converted to more powerful engines, are driven as if they still have their original six cylinder. However, problems arise with jack rabbit starts with or with a heavy freight load. Most of these Advance Design 1/2 ton’s with transplanted V-8’s have had their original closed drive shafts replaced with open systems. The replacement axle housings are clamped to the 1 3/4 inch rear springs. When heavy acceleration is forced on these modified trucks, the axle housings try to rotate due to the extra torque. Much of this movement is held in check by these narrow springs. They just weren’t designed for this. Breakage and permanent bending can occur.

Don’t push your 1 3/4 inch rear leaf springs beyond their limits. If you demand fast acceleration with your V-8 1/2 ton, convert to later model 2″ or 2 1/2″ springs. Check specialized suppliers, including Jim Carters Truck Parts (part # HP580), for add-on kits.

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Tailgate Trim

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

It was during these years that General Motors began offering more style to their pickup truck line. Though most still considered a truck as a work vehicle, a growing segment of pickup buyers were being strongly influenced by trim and accessories that even rivaled many automobiles.

For the first time on GM fleetside pickups, decorative trim became available on the tailgate of their middle and upper level models. Even on the basic gate that had no trim, the stamped letters were given a contrasting color. During all of 1967-1972, the middle and more deluxe series gates carried three upper strips making one line running the width of the gate. These three strips were the only tailgate trim offered for 1967-1968. During 1969-1972, an additional horizontal strip (66 3/4′ long) was attached to the lower gate edge but only on the middle series fleetsides.

It was on the top of the line 1969-1972 pickup that Chevrolet went all out in tailgate appearance. On the 1969-70 CST and 1971-1972 Cheyenne, the lower trim strip was replaced with a very attractive wood grained horizontal band at the center. Though it covered the basic Chevrolet and GMC stamped gate letters, the band carried its own chrome die cast letters over the wood (vinyl) decal.

The following photos show both the three styles of trim on the 1967-1972 fleetsides. Note the lower narrow strip is not placed on the gate with the wood band. Tail light rings or bezels are designed to harmonize with the tailgate trim. The 1967-1968 CST light trim is different than the later design.

tailgate trim 1

1969-1972 Middle Series (above)

tailgate trim 2

1969-1972 Cheyenne (above)

tailgate trim 3

1967-1972 Chevrolet (above)

tailgate trim 4

1967-1968 Chevrolet CST (above)

1967-1972 GMC Grills

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The main cross grill stamping making up the 1967-1972 GMC grilles may at first appear the same but they definitely are not.

The more noticeable difference is the large GMC letters stamped in the center of the 1967 grille (one year only). Therefore, these three letters are not placed on the hood front as during 1968-1972. Between 1967-1970, the vertical center bar (3″ x 10″) is slightly raised above the outer edges.

This vertical center bar on the 1971-1972 GMC grille is slightly depressed between its outer edges. This depression is painted satin black. At a distance, it gives the appearance of a split grille with two equal halves.

1967 1972 gmc grills 1

1967 (above)

1967 1972 gmc grills 2

1968-1970 (above)

1967 1972 gmc grills 3

1971-1972 (above)

1967 GMC Super Custom

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1967 GMC Super Custom

1967 gmc super custom

During the first year of this new body design GMC’s top of the line was referred to as the “Super Custom”. An unusual piece of chrome die cast trim was added to this model in the center of the front fender this year. (not on Chevrolet) It is identifiable in the GMC Master Parts Book as: Group# 10.095, Part# 3903748/

It is now very difficult to find and probably will never be reproduced.

NOTE: This factory drawing shows the now rare full wheel covers, on the Super Custom.

 

Low Cost Front Suspension Upgrade

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The straight axle ½ ton GM pickups (1959 and older) were built tough! They served their purpose as the best in work vehicles for over 30 years. Other than an occasional kingpin replacement, they were almost ‘bullet proof’.

In today’s world, the reasons for owning an older truck, has generally changed. Most have been retired from work responsibilities and have become ‘fun trucks’ driven with care on smooth streets. Hauling merchandise is far down the list of their use.

The resulting demand for a smoother ride and better braking is the reason for many suspension options available from supply houses. For those willing to compromise on originality for an easier ride, one of the most proven and less expensive upgrades is the front suspension of the AMC Pacer. The price is right and the results are excellent. This coil spring rack and pinion front suspension assembly gives passenger steering and ride qualities.

A specialized adapter plate (available from the catalog on this web site, HP127) allows for the connection to your ½ ton truck. Instructions explain parts to remove from the Pacer assembly before the plate is welded in place. The total assembly is then bolted to the truck front cross member. No cutting on your truck! You can even trim the Pacer coil springs to get a lowered level on the total vehicle.

The adapter plate is not expensive. The main project is locating a good Pacer front suspension. This AMC vehicle was produced between 1975 and about 1982. The later years even had disc brakes.

low cost 1

AMC Pacer (above)

low cost 2

1947-1953 Advance Design (above)

Lever Action Shock Absorbers

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

 

lever action shock

Early Rear Axle Bumper

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Mechanical components on trucks were usually kept for many years by GM. Unless an improvement was needed, there was no need to change a proven design.

early axle 1

An excellent example of this is the rear ½ ton axle bumper. The design was used from 1929 through 1946 on Chevrolet and GMC ½ tons. A rubber bumper is held down on the rear axle housing by a metal cover with two ears. These ears are firmly secured by the two u-bolts that connect the leaf spring to the round axle housing. If the truck is overloaded or the shock absorbers are worn, the rubber bumper prevents metal to metal contact between the axle and frame rail.

Two of the attached photos show an original used retainer with bumper in place. The black bumper (now reproduced) is how the rubber part looks when new.

early axle 2

early axle 3

early axle 4

early axle 5