1959 GMC 1-Ton 250
From Scott :
I came by this old Task Force GMC truck because my Grandparents (who live in North Dakota) were downsizing. They were moving from a really big house to an apartment. They couldn't keep the truck so they were going to get rid of it, along with a lot of other things.
Grandpa use to own his own True Value Hardware store. He bought the old truck in 1997. It was in an auction sale by the Farmer's Union Oil Company of Oakes, North Dakota. They were selling off old vehicles in Crosby ND at an auction sale there.
Grandpa proceeded to paint it red and rebuild it. He added an oak flat bed on the back and had the metal sides made up. There was a little rust on it then that Grandpa did his best to fix. The only other thing he did was replace the clutch.
Grandpa was retired at the time so he used the old truck as a personal vehicle to haul stuff to the dump. He was really into woodworking so he'd get large pieces of raw wood. He made tables, step stools, a baby crib and things like that for the family, Grandkids, etc. So, he used the truck like a truck.
Grandpa had a few incidents with it. The mirrors got ripped off at some time and he had to replace the driver's side mirror with a plastic one.
Over the last few years the old truck really sat. When I heard it was going to be auctioned, I was adamant about getting it. None of the rest of the family have the ability and / or space to restore an old truck. So, no one fought me for it.
The first time I drove it was September 2009. Up until then, I was active duty military stationed overseas. So, I wasn't in the North Dakota area. I ended up buying it sight unseen, you might say!
I had to go to ND to get it. I arranged for a transport company to come pick it up. They didn't show up. I was a little upset about all that. It turned out that one of my cousins was moving from ND to Virginia Beach, VA. She came out with her brother in a truck. I paid for a U-haul trailer and we loaded my old truck. Not as easy as it sounds. If you look on the pictures, you can see the center of the rear axle is just barely forward of the end of the trailer. Getting it up on the trailer, we had to pick up the rear external wheels because it was too wide. The straps to hold down the front end of the vehicle (they came with the trailer) were too short to fit around the wheels. It all worked out, tho and we had no problems after we hit the road.
When we got to California (Maryland) in early October, when unloading it, we found out that all the oak boards were loose - they were not held down by anything. So between the years it was built and the trip to MD, all the screws in the bed had sheared off. It's a miracle none fell off during the ride home.
We unloaded the truck and then my wife and I unloaded all the boards. It ran when we got it here so we drove it into the garage. That also sounds easy, yes?
Well, the bed on the truck was custom and it was 13 foot long by 8 feet wide. It barely fit in the garage bay. But, thankfully, it did.
So, I started taking pictures! John Milliman and John Vannatta from the Baltimore-Washington American Truck Historical Society came out to take a look at the truck to tell me what I had. They gave me some advice on what to look forward to.
We washed the truck down and got it cleaned up. We found old sales receipts when cleaning the interior. There is one from 1975 from Farmer's Union for delivering fuel to an old farm.
Looking at the condition of the paint, the rust spots that Grandpa had fixed were not as good as they should be. The air was considerably dryer in ND compared to MD. So, I knew these would need attention. But it's just some small spots in cab corners and front fender tips. Otherwise, the cab and cab mounts are good.
I want to leave the truck pretty much as it is. I'm not looking for a show queen; nor will I be racing it up and down the road. I have put a lot of work into it but I don't want to put a lot of money into it.
I've got the frame cleaned up and painted. There was almost no rust on it; a little corrosion.
Now I'm working on the engine. It is an Inline 6 235. It has a PTO on the transmission and we finally got it to work. A guy I work with had a PTO-driven 8,000 pound winch that he had on an old truck. He got rid of the truck but kept the winch. Then the winch was in the way. So, I bought it off him. I'll put it on the back of the truck.
We went out to see Grandparents first week of June this year. Grandpa has Parkinson's pretty bad but we took all the pictures we had taken so far along with us. He was able to pay attention to some of it and he did recognize the truck. I've used the same colors that he had for the company. He had black trucks with orange lettering. I flipped it to an orange truck with black lettering.
We hope to get it running and off the road before the winter hits. My wife Candice is expecting our first child. She's been helping me with the truck all along.