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Dennis Blumer's

1939 GMC 1/2-Ton

From Dennis,

     Sorry for the delay. It took a while to get the "winter grime" washed off her. Anyway, here she is: 1939 GMC, built by the "Yellow Coach and Truck Manufacturing Company, Pontiac, MI." It is an AC-102 model, 123" WB 1/2 Ton. It was purchased from the original owner in 1962 by my father. It was driven daily until 1973 when it was totaled in a rear end collision while it was parked. After that, it sat in an orchard until 1982 when I started restoration during my high school years. The truck still has its original 228 engine, 6-volt positive ground system, original hub caps, 4 speed manual tranny, heater and defroster.

Thank you for adding this to your gallery.
Dennis Blumer
Sunnyside, WA

The following article is reprinted from the Sunnyside, Washington, Daily Sun News, May 14, 1998:

Totaled to Treasured

In 1973 a driver sped out of control and smashed into a parked 1939 GMC truck.

The truck, one of only 38,000, was totaled and laid to rest in an open field for nearly 10 years before Dennis Blumer began restoring it. With all of the windows broken out, the interior rotting away and the damaged body Blumer took on a task that would be spread over the next 10 years.

The truck had belonged to Dennis' father when it was totaled, and before that it had only one other owner.

Dennis' father had bought it from its original owner in 1962 in Merlot to be used as a work truck. The first owner ran an apple orchard in Merlot and used the truck for orchard work.

After the disastrous accident, it sat in the field until 1982 when Blumer began his restoration under the unenthused eye of his father. Working on and off, Blumer "finished" in 1992, but he considers it a continuous project because there is always something to do. Blumer said he worked on the project for about five "really good" years.

When beginning restoration, Blumer learned that the 1939 GMC, built in Pontiac, Mich. by Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing, was made unlike other trucks before or after it. The United States began building war vehicles shortly after this truck was produced, according to Blumer. He considers the pickup rather economical, getting a surprising 18 miles-per-gallon. But he added that the engine holds nine quarts of oil.

Finding parts for the restoration sometimes got trying, according to Blumer. He said that the most difficult parts to find were the windshield wipers. The windshield wipers run on a special vacuum system unlike the cars of today, which run the windshield wipers from the battery.

"I can pretty much get everything I need in Sunnyside, mechanical wise," Blumer said.

But Blumer admitted that in the past few years it has been more difficult to find parts for his truck than when he first began. Blumer did all of the body work himself and a friend painted it when he was done.

He will be driving his truck, which has 132,000 miles, with all of its bonus features on the open road. What are the luxury items on a 1939 GMC? One of them is a built-in air conditioning system (the front windshield opens out by the turn of a crank in the dashboard), heat and, if he's ever stuck with a dead battery, a crank start at the bottom of the front grill.

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