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A Cool Old Truck

Jack Halton's

1951 GMC 1/2-Ton

From Jack,

      I've had this 1951 GMC for 11 years and have been making steady progress on getting it to where I want it, in terms of performance, safety, and comfort. I bought it in Maryland where it had been a barn-stored farm truck most of it's life, showing only 46K miles. It was a daily driver up until recently.

      My first major change was to install a Saginaw 4-speed using the kit from Patrick's (occasioned by a U-joint failure). I built and installed a 302 GMC engine with Howard F298 cam, 3 Rochesters on a McGurk intake, VD&D Nicson headers, 060 Egge cast pistons, HEI ignition, port-matched head with Chevy V8 valves, block modified for remote spin-on oil filter, etc.

      Little did I realize, the torque tube and rear were about to bite the dust too. Live and learn. What I've ended up with is a 3.90 '56 truck rear, open drive and a Saginaw overdrive adapted to the 4-speed. Net ratio in overdrive is 2.73. This combination was good for 80 MPH cruising at 2400 RPM, but the stock brakes and suspension were just too scary at those speeds! So another big project, installing an AMC pacer IFS, and monoleaf rear springs, was next. Now the truck handles and stops pretty well.

      Along the way I swapped out the triple carbs for a single Edelbrock 600 4 barrel on a water-heated Clifford intake. I can average almost 20 MPG at highway speeds if I keep my foot out of it (easier said than done)! Every summer I take a solo road trip to an Inliners meet somewhere, averaging 2500 miles or so each journey.

      I built this truck to drive, and don't hesitate to take it anywhere. Only recently have I gotten around to some cosmetic improvements. The corner cab windows were salvaged from a junk cab and transpanted into my former 3 window. Next were seats from the same Pacer donor car, Wayne rocker and pushrod covers (not easy to find for a GMC), a set of American Racing 200 Torq-thrust wheels, and soon the rest of the interior will be freshened up, and bodywork, paint, glass, and re-plating will keep my wallet lean for the next year or so.

      To this point, I've done most everything myself and have learned from my mistakes. A major debt of gratitude must go to good advice (and parts) from Patrick Dykes (Patrick's), Tom Langdon (Stovebolt Engine Co), K. Pat Smith and all the other Inliners International crew.

Thanks for a great site,

Jack Halton
Winter Park FL

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