The Gallery

1958 GMC Pickup Truck


Owned by Dave Betker
Bolter # 13827
Richmond, British Columbia
18 July 2007 Update
# 1859

From Dave :

           Here are a "few words" to go with some new pictures. I thought a picture was worth a thousand words. (That's a bunch of beauties here ... including Keith "Workinonit" Bevan's 1942 Chevy 3/4-Ton Stakebed ~~ Editor)

           Ok, where do I begin. I was having sooo much fun with my truck, the wife gave me an ultimatum -- either she gets a toy to play with or I can't get any more 'Bolts. So determined that I am, I bought her a 1969 Buick Skylark so she can drive the kids to the car shows and have something to show too!!

           The reason it took so long to get the GMC finished was the usual Time/Money Equation. When you have the time, money ain't there. When you have the money, time is in short supply. In my case, I bought a house, got married, built a shop, had two kids, now I have the time and the money to git 'er done!!

           I have been checking out The Stovebolt Page for a while. We finally got a computer for Christmas so I could join in on the fun!!! Through the 'Bolt, I found that there was a lot more parts available for the old girl (the truck, not the Missus!) and proceeded to acquire all the parts needed to finish the box. I work for a local Dodge dealership and had the body shop finish the sheet metal work I started. I told them no rush, it's a "fill in" when it's slow. What a mistake. The parts went in in mid-April and were completed beginning of July!!! It took a threat of lost ferry fares / hotel reservations, entry fees to get it done two days before the Duncan Truck show.

           This was just the beginning of the fun. Friday the 13th lived up to its name. It all started with the fridge packing it in Friday morning. Since we were leaving Saturday morning at 5 am to catch a ferry to Vancouver Island, it had to get replaced after work. Since I drove the 'Bolt to work, I dropped in to Home Depot to get a fridge. I stopped on the way to fill her up for the first time. When I got out of the Big Box store, I smelled a strong odor of gas outside the truck. There were no visible leaks, no smell inside the cab, so I didn't think to much about it. I got home, packed and went to move the truck into the shop when there was a very strong odor of gasoline and the truck would not start! I opened the hood and found gas pouring out the carb. So I pinched off the fuel line and waited til most of the gas had evaporated. I cranked and cranked and cranked til she sputtered to life. I quickly ran her into the shop before she ran out of gas. I started to rip the carb apart. The time was 9 pm.

           I found that the float had a pinhole in it and had sunk. I dismantled a spare parts carb to rob the float so I could get her running. It took a while to find it, and finally I got her running better at 10:30 pm. I decided to take her for a run to make sure every thing was running Tickety Boo. When I was a mile from home and pulled up to a stop sign, she died. The float level was too low and the carb was fuel starved when the gas sloshed forward. No problem, right? WRONG. The battery was dead and here I was stuck.

           I pushed her around the corner and tried her again. NO LUCK. So I walked back home, scrounged up another battery and booster cables, grabbed my other truck and drove out to where she died. She jumped started easily. I put away the cables and decided to drive the old girl back and walk back for my second truck.

           I turned her around and she died again. So I jumped into the Dodge and repositioned for another jump. Started her up, cranked on the hand throttle and drove her home. I walked back to get the other truck. Now it's 11:30 pm. I load tested the battery to find that the extended cranking effectively killed the old battery, and the other battery was just a smidgen too big. At this point, I didn't care anymore and hammered the battery into the battery box, hooked her up and went for another drive to make sure she was going to be OK for the 200 mile round trip. After another few stalling incidents, I found out that the choke would keep her running on deceleration. It was now 12:30 and I had to be up at 4:30 am (and still had not packed). It would just have to do.

           I packed a few mechanical essentials, tools and stuff and went to bed. A little over two hours later, we were up and running -- bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (NOT!!!). We hurried to catch the first ferry and to meet up with Workinonit in Victoria for the trip over the Malahat Pass.

           Twice on the trip over the Pass, the throttle stuck to the floor boards, necessitating an emergency ignition kill in the most scary parts of the Pass, barely getting off the road to open the hood and un-jam the over centered throttle linkage!!! We made it to Duncan in one piece and enjoyed the company of fellow 'Bolters. We even caught a few minutes shuteye and paid for it in the price of a sunburn!!!

           We ran into more troubles on the way home -- but not of our doing. The ferry broke down and we were stuck in the ferry lineup for a few hours. We finally made it home, safe and sound! It was an interesting shake down cruise. Found a few bugs to be ironed out, but all and all a good trip.

           Now, I have a Buick that requires my attention as well as my bed wood needs coating and installation.

           So long for now. We appreciate all that the Stovebolt does for us eccentric collection of misguided old Chevy truck owners.

           Here is my Webshots album if you'd like to see more pictures.

Thanks again,

Dave and Trish Betker


05 March 2007
# 1859

From Dave :

           Hi guys. Back in 1993, my Uncle's neighbor's brother knew I was looking for a old truck, and he asked me if I wanted an old 1958 GMC. It only had one owner since it was bought new. It was used in the family's plumbing business until it was retired and sent up to the family's recreational property at Montana Lake, near 100 Mile house.

           The truck was mostly used for firewood collection and teaching the young' ns how to drive, until the inevitable -- the clutch gave up the ghost. There it sat slowly moldering under the young' ns' paint scheme waiting to "Rust in peace." Being young and impressionable, I said yes (sight unseen). I asked how much he wanted for it. Bob said a bottle of whiskey. I agreed and arranged to rent a car trailer. I headed North the following weekend.

           After a long drive, I arrived at night, parked and went to bed in a cabin. I waited to see the truck in the morning. Morning arrived none too soon and after breakfast, we went out to where the truck was parked (stopped rolling under its own power actually). I needed that bottle of whiskey after I viewed it for the first time! But being young and not knowing any better, I thought it was salvageable $$$$$!!!

           I winched the truck onto the trailer with great difficulty as only one tire held air. It took some assistance with a backhoe pushing to get it on the trailer. I left on Sunday, heading back to Vancouver with the GMC on the trailer. This was the first time towing a trailer this big so I took it easy on the way home. But Murphy wouldn't leave me alone. About an hour on the road, on a tight turn on flat farmland, an on-coming semi with a lowbed / excavator, decided at that very second, 60 feet away from my front end to snap a load cinch chain which swung out at eye level out in front of me. I made a split second decision to make a 60 mph emergency right turn thru a shallow ditch and into barbwire fence. I kept the power on to keep the trailer straight. I looped in the field and came out the hole I entered in. I ended up 4 x 4-ing back thru the ditch and parked on the shoulder of the highway to clean my shorts and inspect the damage!

           Much to my surprise, the winch bumper showed no damage from the barb wire and the GMC was still securely on the trailer! I walked back up the highway after unsuccessfully trying to raise the trucker on the CB. I picked up the 20 foot loadchain and loadbinder. I stayed there for a half hour to calm down and fix the fence with some mechanic's wire I kept in the truck for emergencies.

           After that, I had an uneventful remaining five hour trip back home. Within a half hour of getting home, I had the old GMC's engine running. That was a big surprise!

           That started a 15 year frame-off restoration. Many interruptions -- and the usual complications / delays -- buying my first house, renovating my first house, building a garage to work on it, stopping to get married, stopping again with the birth of two sons.

           I am a sucker for lost / hopeless cases. I have since acquired another parts truck, a 1958 GMC, a 1952 Desoto 274 hemi V8, a 1930 Plymouth, a 1951 and a 1955 Dodge M37 Military Powerwagon's and am acquiring a backhoe!

           The 1958 GMC is just needing box sheet metal work and paint to finish. I just acquired a 1950's teardrop travel trailer to restore to tow behind the GMC when done. The truck does run but won't move now because of a dead clutch.

           I have taken lots of pictures and just might have a saga to tell about this truck when I have the time.

           Any questions/comments email me. I have been looking at the web site and understand there is a few B.C.ers from the Great White North involved in Stovebolt's and would like to meet them in the future.

Thanks again,

Dave Betker


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Here's a line-up of Dave's Stovebolts in the Gallery: a 1958 GMC Pickup Truck, a 1956 Chevy 1500 Hydraulic Dump Truck (along with the story of a big 1967 Case Backhoe that he restored), and a 1952 Chevy 1700 3-Ton Firetruck.