John C's

1916 GMC 1.5-Ton Model 31

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17 April 2006
# 1500

From John:

       I just became a member of your website and I am very pleased with it. Several members have welcomed me and have also offered to help me find a few missing original parts to my truck .. which brings me to ..

My truck~~

       It is a 1916 GMC Model 31 1.5-ton truck. Tom Mauceri, a friend of mine in New York (a very good friend indeed!) called me one evening and told me about this truck and informed me that it was for sale. At first, I was a bit unsure about whether or not I really wanted it. But I got over that very quickly and soon a price was agreed upon and it became mine. I must admit I was somewhat apprehensive about owning a vehicle this old because it was entirely out of my realm. I have always liked muscle cars and '60s and '70s trucks but never thought so much about early 1900's vehicles ... until now! I really love this thing! It truly is awesome just to see it and appreciate its character and charm. I am definitely glad I purchased it now that I actually have it in my possession. Incidentally, a Stovebolt member also told me that my truck would be the oldest on this site. I feel honored, thanks!

       The most difficult part of the deal was transporting it to eastern Tennessee from Long Island, NY. I was on a very limited timeframe and had only four weeks to have the vehicle out of where it was stored (in a residential garage at this gentleman's home ...more on that in a moment). I initially contacted Horseless Carriage Transporters, a "professional" transportation company which someone recommended and which I remembered from living on Long Island myself. I gave them a call and gave them the specifics about the vehicle, including the vehicles dimensions, and they faxed me the transportation agreement. About a week later, a driver contacted the seller to inform him that he would like to pick up the truck. It was to be picked up the next day. Now here's the lousy part of the deal. The next day the driver called and informed the seller that he couldn't come to pick up the truck because it was too tall. Remember, I already gave them dimensions of the vehicle and they faxed me the bill of lading with a confirmed price.

       For the next two weeks my rare and irreplaceable truck was sitting outside this man's home while this company did nothing but waste my time. It was outside because it was in a small garage with a seven foot high door. The truck (being almost 8 feet tall) was only able to get into and out of the garage by removing the front axle and placing the front of it on a dolly to facilitate moving it. Horseless Carriage tried to force me to pay double the original agreed upon transportation price because they misquoted me initially and couldn't "stack" another vehicle on top of mine in their trailer. When I called them about this, the owner said his driver would "lose his shirt" if he transported this vehicle at the cost I was quoted and he wasn't going to do it. My truck was still outside. What a terrible way to do business! I will never call them again and I hope none of your readers do either!

       I was now out of time for leaving it at the seller's home. I had to move my truck to a local New York shop and rent storage space for two weeks. What a bummer! Now I had to find another transporter FAST! Intercity Lines was recommended to me and I gave them a call. I spoke to Bob Sellers and he was very polite and helpful. He had heard of this problem with HC before and wasn't surprised at all. His drivers, Bob and Virginia, took good care of my truck during transport. Although I did pay a premium to have it transported due to its height, and had to wait almost three weeks to have it moved, it was well worth it. I do recommend Intercity for anyone's transportation needs.

       The history of the truck as I know it is as follows: the truck spent time in a museum in Southampton, LI for many years as part of a man's private collection before being sold. In the early to mid 1960's, it was moved from the museum to Van Buren GMC on Long Island where it spent many years on display in the showroom and then left in the rear of the shop out of sight for several decades.

       The seller acquired the truck after many years of "would you be willing to sell me that truck" with the former owner. He finally agreed and the truck was moved to his home and spent some time in his garage. The truck spent less than a year there before I purchased it in January 2006. Interestingly enough, my friend called me one evening (remember Tom?) and told me what one of his patients told him. The truck was used for parades in New Hyde Park, NY and opening ceremonies a Belmont Park ( the horse racing track in Elmont, NY). How cool is that?!

       Tom also found out the names of the person who rebuilt the engine and the person who did the necessary body and resto work many years earlier. This was too cool! One of his clients remembers my truck! I guess it's hard to forget when you see a 1916 GMC and now I know why. That is the history as I know it. If anyone looks at the photos and knows any additional information about it, please let me know.

       As I understand it, only 398 (or 351 -- I have seen two conflicting sets of numbers) GMC trucks were built in 1916 and of those, only 57 were model 31's. It does run and with very little work can be driven. The truck is all original and seems to be missing only the original jack, tool kit, rear lantern and bracket, and needs an original carburetor.

       Anybody who has original literature or any parts, please feel free to contact me as I may be interested in buying them. Also, if anyone needs photos or other information to assist them in restoring their early GMC, please contact me. I have original literature for many GMC models of the time and can take detailed photos of my truck to help you.

       The only other thing I can say is that I feel very privileged to own this vehicle and would not have had this opportunity without good friends. Thanks Tom and Glenn!

John C.
Bolter # 10664
Greeneville, Tennessee

       Impressive! And yup -- this is THE oldest truck in our Gallery. Thanks for including all the details! ~~ Editor

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