1955 GMC 1/2-Ton
I am Jason Hutchison. I am 24 years old and helped my father restore this 1955 GMC 1/2-ton pickup to the current condition. The best part of this was when, on my college graduation day, my parents gave me title to the truck, and it had my name on it. Big Surprise!
This one is a lot of fun.
As for the restoration, the truck is sitting on a 1977 GMC frame so it can have the power steering and brakes. The wheelbase for the '55 and '77 shortbeds are the same. The truck was originally a long bed, but we shortened the bedsides to shortbed measurements. The motor is out of a '69 pro street Camaro, 350 ci bored over .60, with aluminum heads and intake. Holley 750 double pumper carb, with headers, and dual exhaust. Approximately 400 horsies by my father's estimation .
The tranny is a turbo 350 (will soon be turbo 400 or 4L60E, assuming I can afford one at that time).
Dad and I worked on the truck for nine months. Sometimes, he would go out and tinker with it at 4:30 a.m. prior to going to work. All so it would be done in time for my graduation.
The fun part was keeping the doghouse stock and keeping the engine cool.
We have used a 1979 Ford LTD radiator (had one sitting in the barn, and it worked). The first was bad, so ordered a new one, a water pump, and an electric fan on top of the clutch fan, with a 160 thermo to cool this beast. The radiator is a cross flow radiator turned on its side to fit in the original radiator housing. ($150 for new LTD radiator beat the $900 we were quoted at for a custom one).
History of the truck. (We know all this because we had to hunt the elderly woman down for titling reasons.) We are the third owners of this truck. The gentleman that bought it in 1955 used it on his farm in central Indiana. The second owner bought it off of his widow 10 years ago for $100 dollars. Yes, $100. It was in running condition at that time.
Owner number two began tearing the truck apart and had it literally in boxes when we found it 6-7 years ago. We didn't really know what we had at that time but when we finally started restoring it in the fall of 2001, we were amazed at what we found. We had four bumpers, two of which were immaculate. We had two grilles and two hood ornaments. One of each being chromed and ready for installation. The previous owners has just about two of everything -- and we bought it all for $800.
The restoration was funded in part by selling the extra parts on eBay. The grille went for $600 and the hood ornament $300. We have been told that this truck is rare due to the short production of first series 1955 GMC's and the deluxe cab model, making it more rare.
Beech Grove, IN
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