Curtis Johnston's

1948 GMC Longbed

"Old Dear"

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12 November 2006
# 1718

From Curtis :

           I recently discovered your Web site and have really enjoyed browsing the Gallery. This is a photo of my 1948 GMC Longbed atop Red Mountain Pass in Southern Colorado.

           This truck originally belonged to DuPont de Nemours and was used in the late '40s and early '50s to transport nitro-glycerin and other explosives to uranium mining and oil field operations in Utah and Colorado.

           I culled the '48 (the Old Dear) in 1989 from a salvage yard in a place called Dinosaur, Colorado. The doors had "DuPont De Nemours - Nitro-glycerin Division" painted on them. Dinosaur is near some large oil fields and a stones throw from the uranium mines that flourished in the area in the 1950s. I kept some pictures of the doors in case I ever wanted to have them repainted.

           Originally, it was a 1-ton pickup with a 9 foot bed. I needed a 4 X 4 hauler, always liked the advance design trucks, and decided to satisfy both fancies in one project. For drivability, intended use, and safety reasons, I felt it needed modern running gear. I trimmed the bed 6" front and rear and set both cab and body on a '75 GMC (did I say modern?) heavy half 4 X 4 LWB frame with running gear. The truck's running gear, 350 motor, brakes, steering, etc. have all been rebuilt and the gauges have been converted to 12-volt. So about 1990, it was converted to four wheel drive to use for plowing snow and hauling timber on my property in Northern Colorado. It now earns its keep transporting grass clippings to the tip once a month.

           The truck was equipped with a Myer's snow plow and stock racks. In the winter I usually had chains on all fours just to get in and out of my mountain home's drive way in the Steamboat Colorado area. In the summer it was used to skid and haul logs on the property.

           It looks stock and is all quite functional. There is nothing fancy about the truck, it was built for heavy work and it looked pretty ordinary before I decided to freshen up the body and chrome, restore the interior, and have it painted - the effect was surprising. The work that went into the conversion was clean and sound, and beyond ordinary maintenance not much has been done to it. I know it gets a lot of looks and a lot of questions are asked about it, but its still just the Old Dear to me.

Thank you,

Curtis Johnston
Grand Junction, Colorado

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