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Cool Old Truck

Robert Hertz'es


1/2-Ton Pickup

8 March  03

From Robert Hertz for Anika Hertz - another husband & wife team!

I wanted to add my wife's 1954 GMC 1/2 ton pickup to this great crowd.  So, here's a bit of history.  The story begins with a 1948 Chevy/Barnette Ambulance!.  Yes, an ambulance!

I was the proud owner of that ambulance.  Unfortunately my wife couldn't drive it.  (Peep mirrors and etched glass did require a passenger at all times, so you could change lanes!)  This began a months-long argument about getting a new vehicle.  She wanted a NEW truck and I wanted anything OLD.  I didn't want payments, high insurance and the inability to work on it!  She didn't want "another project."  We owned a bakery at the time and in the middle of another argument we decided to ask a customer.  Wisdom was what we received.  "Get an old truck that has most of the work already done on it."  We agreed!

The classifieds came out and within days we were headed to the valley to look at trucks.  On a cold, damp day we got half way to our destination when she blurts out matter-of-factly "There it is."  These words are etched in history.  She actually got out of the truck and was crawling all over the truck (you guys know when your time is up looking at something because the wife gets back in the car!!) .  The owner arrived to let us test drive it.  It was what we were looking for.  It already had a 350/350, 10 bolt posi, 12V conversion, tilt column, power brakes, power steering and electric wipers.  The wife was hooked!  I saw money disappearing.  The owner was asking $4500.00.  We didn't have the money but that didn't matter.  It was clear I better figure out a way for this truck to belong to my wife.  

After returning home "to think about it" I called the seller.  In our conversation I mentioned that I had an ambulance.  Alan, the seller, was very interested.  He asked if it had been in the Auto Trader a year prior.  I said yes, it was in Los Angeles and we had bought it on our trip cross country from Louisiana after I left the military.  Alan had wanted this car but couldn't get down to LA to buy it at the time.  The conversation got back to my wife and her first words were "Will he trade?"  So began the last days of ownership of MY ambulance!  Sidebar-- The ambulance was one of 18!  Very rare!--  That weekend I traded MY ambulance for HER truck!!! 

It's been six years and we've put over 65,000 miles on her truck.  She didn't want "another project" but that's exactly what she got.  We've put in a new motor and changed over to a 700R4 (hate it!), converted to TBI fuel injection, rebuilt the Posi, installed a 20 gal fuel cell, rebuilt the suspension, put on new wheels and tires, changed the windshield, painted it Corvette yellow, installed a fiberglass tonneau cover, replaced the radiator, installed VDO gauges, a 6-program computer chip, trailer brake control, wood steering wheel, Airlift air overloads and a Flowmaster exhaust.  We also bought a horse trailer and painted it to match!!

We drive her truck in ANY weather and have no problem with driving it on 6-8 hour trips.  We also take it in our local parades.


Now I'm building a complete S-10 frame to replace the Mustang II setup and stock frame.  The NEW frame will be fully-equipped with Bell Tech springs, Edelbrock IAS shocks, Energy Suspension bushings and a HD Airlift auto-level kit.

Recently the Federal Government was kind enough to pay me for my hard work on my wife's truck.  (Back disability from the Army)  They bought me a 1955 GMC 1st series Suburban for my trouble.  I LOVE my government!  (Actually, I spent part of the disability on the Sub and paid bills with the rest.)

I'll send a story for submission to the 55 1st series section too.  For now, between her truck and my Suburban I spend a lot of time searching for parts.  With over 65,000 miles we've put on her truck and my Suburban destined for daily driver duties, we better have a good supply of spare parts in case of an accident.  When's the last time you saw a catalog listing for a reproduction 54-55 GMC grill??? I've also taken to collecting odd options for the GMC trucks and also GMC dealership memorabilia.  It just so happens that the new job I took up after we closed the bakery (the hours were killing us) was at a building that used to be the local GMC dealership from the 1920's through the late 1950's.  The owners of the business had no appreciation for history so I was allowed to scour the building for old truck stuff.  I amassed quite the collection of stuff including a very rare dealership award neon sign.  Now I buy,sell and swap 47-55 1st series parts for trucks, Suburbans, panels and even COE's. 


Curator "Robert - you and your wife look like you are having too much fun!  Nice looking old Trucks."

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