20 January 2014
1950 GMC Truck
From Jim :
This is my 1950 GMC that I use as a daily driver to promote and deliver services for my window washing business, Great Panes. Let me clarify "daily driver" for Wisconsin, first. It does not include the winter months when the roads are salted. Clarence sleeps in a comfy barn with the other tools and toys until winter is over.
Okay, here's Clarence's history:
My Brother-in-law, Clarence, lived in Loveland, Colorado and he regularly drove by the local GMC dealership there. One day in 2001, he just happened to see this old GMC pickup truck on the lot and he just had to have it. At the time, he was putting together a muscle car collection. I think he may have harbored thoughts of putting a hotter drive train in this truck. He had always been interested in older vehicles and was a pretty competent wrench. I think he loved the two tone paint combination like I do and couldn't resist it.
Clarence claimed the truck was sold new at that same dealership, but I have no verification of that. When he got it, the truck looked good but had the usual mechanical issues from sitting without use for several years -- brakes, charging, battery, a myriad of fluid leaks, loose steering. Clarence planned on taking care of all these things, but ran out of time -- he passed away later that same year.
In the spring of 2002, I purchased the truck from my Sister and trailered it back to Wisconsin. The brakes were shot. The generator / regulator didn't function and trying to make it steer in the direction you wanted to go was an exercise in determination and courage.
Now for me, this was my first old pickup to work on but it was something I had always wanted to do. I use to drive and work on vans. I thought I was getting a truck that just needed a TLC, maybe some conversion work on the interiors and some light mechanicals.
When I got this truck home, I went to work on it right away. It needed to be driven. I rebuilt the master cylender and wheel cylinders, replaced the brake shoes. The generator went to an old auto / electric shop for rewinding. Two old brothers called it a "Speedometer Shop" and actually rebuilt the non-working speedo. Hard to find those old places around anymore.
I had a friend re-core the radiator and I replaced the rearend, oil pan, and valve and side cover gaskets to stop the hemorrhaging of fluids.
Then, another friend with a shop replaced the kingpins and I tightened up the steering sector so it would go where I aimed.
This all took about four to six weeks. Then I was comfortable with taking Clarence most anywhere. I had it back and forth between where I lived then and here a half dozen times or so, round trip of 250 miles. The truck gets 17-18 mpg which I hope to improve next summer with my driveline project.
It is an older restoration and is pretty much original except for a Chevrolet 235 motor. I also took the liberty of providing a 12 volt conversion and a HEI distributor. Future plans will be to make it a better driver, while retaining the original looks -- front disc brakes, T-5 transmission and a 3.90 differential from a 1956 pickup will make it stop and go more comfortably.
Out of the various promotions I do for my business, the truck is the most effective attention getter and has helped win many bids.
We call the truck Clarence in my Brother's honor.
This mailbox picture was featured in the 2014 Stovebolt GMC Calendar for ... winter ~ Editor),
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