09 February 2012
# 2945, 6 & 7

 
Owned by
Frank & Austin
"fritter"
Bolter # 31709
California
 

1957 GMC 150 NAPCO
1957 Chevy 1/2-Ton Short Bed
1957 GMC NAPCO -2

"A family of trucks"

More pictures of my old trucks

Join the discussion about these trucks

 

From Frank :

There is a lot to this journey of our's but I will try to give you the short version. Yes, this is the short version.

I was born in Sacramento, California in 1964, right smack in the middle of what many would argue were Detroit's finest years. I can't help but think that, even though I was a just a young lad, just being around the cars and the advertising, surly influenced my adult love for classic cars and trucks.

In 1979, I was 15 years old. I had already saved $800 to buy my first car (not bad for a blue collar boy). My Dad matched my $800 and with $1,600 we went out and purchased my first car -- a 1972 Chevy Nova. Within the first year, I had removed the stock exhaust system and bolted on the forever loved headers. The two barrel was trashed and on went the four. Getting as many horses as I could get out of her, I removed the smog pump and AC unit. Keep in mind removing an AC unit out of a car when you live in Sacramento is something only a 16 year old boy would do.

To further my understanding of engines, I took a high school auto shop class and enrolled in our school's Regional Occupational Program as a wanna-be mechanic. I took my passion for speed to the local quarter mile raceway (Sacramento Raceway) and spend every Wednesday night at the "High School Drags."

In 1982, I took first place and won the tallest trophy I ever received. Even better, I won a Blaupunkt Stereo, Blaupunkt Equalizer/Amplifier, and JBL speakers … pure adrenaline!

Like many American teenagers of my day, I had nothing but great experiences and lifelong memories with that Nova. After graduation in 1982, I joined the Army to become a Military Police Officer and life moved on.

Fast forward to 2012 … I have the best wife in the world, 20 years strong this year, and three daughters and one son. As for my career choice, I never left the path of public service. What parent doesn't reflect on their life as a teenager as their kids go through that same period? As a parent, I'm no different. I love sharing my life lessons with my children. Although, I am sure they are not as enthused about my stories as I am.

Having said that, on July 11 2010, my son Austin turned 15. A few months before, my wife Cindy and I gave Austin a 1957 Chevy 1/2-ton Short Bed for his birthday. We couldn't hide the truck under the bed so he got it early. "Ol yeller," as we call her, is not show quality. She's not a beater. She's a perfect daily driver for a 16 year old young man.

After opening presents and having cake, Austin and I went out on our daily drive around our area. We enjoyed trying to find all the "old" Chevy and GMC treasures around our neighborhood. While on our drive, Austin spotted an old truck parked under a tree in someone's back 40. We could only see the truck from the rear so we were not sure exactly what it was. But we knew it was a 1955 – 1959 Chevy or GMC.

Being huge fans of the show "American Pickers," we decided to do our first free styling pick. We walked up to the door and did a "knock and talk." The owner of the truck was a very pleasant elderly gentleman named Tom. He told us the truck was a 1957 GMC NAPCO truck with a factory installed Braden PTO winch. She had spent time up in Alaska putting in the pipeline. He bought the truck for his wife over 15 years ago and she hated it. He drove it for a short time then parked it under the tree and there she sat ever since. Over time, she had sunk up to her axles in the dirt. Critters of all sorts took up residency in her interior.

We asked Tom if he would ever consider selling it. In less than a heartbeat he replied he would. We made an offer and before we knew it, we were the new owners of a 1957 GMC 150 long bed.

Far from being a runner, we towed the old truck home with her own winch chain that we found in the bed. We started in on a complete nut and bolt frame off restoration (our first).

First item on the list: drive to Sears and buy all the necessary tools.

Second item on the list: disassemble. We found ourselves extremely lucky in many ways. We discovered, minus the engine, she was a numbers correct, 1957 GMC 150 long bed, with a very rare factory in-line NAPCO package with a Braden PTO winch and fleet option front bumper. We have since found an era correct GMC 270 engine for her. We also found out we had a very valuable resource in our own backyard.

Omar Lugo, of Lugo Parts and Restoration, arguably the most knowledgeable person of 1955 – 1959 Chevy and GMC trucks, was just a few towns up the highway. In partnership with Omar, we have dedicated ourselves to restore this tarnished gem back to her original luster, and we do mean luster.

Omar did all the metal work, body work and paint. What a truly gifted artist this man is! He schooled Austin and I on the history and distinctions between 1955 through 1959 Chevrolet and GMC trucks. He also provided all the parts that we needed to do this massive project.

Austin and I did most of the rolling chassis (minus the engine … that was farmed out), brake system, and electrical system. We cleaned and we cleaned, and we cleaned some more. Boy did we clean. We restored most all of the miscellaneous parts (heater box, emblems, hubcaps, external oil cleaner, nuts, bolts, etc.).

As of early February, she is nearly done. Countless hours of hard work and sweat equity has been invested in her over the past 12 months.

Oh, and I recently purchased my next project truck. It's another 1957 GMC factory installed NAPCO. This one has the deluxe interior, big window and V8. It is an original, complete truck that is just crying out for a restoration.

Thanks for letting us share our story.

Frank and Austin

 

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