1939 GMC AC-102 Long Bed 1/2-Ton
From Al :
I purchased my 1939 GMC AC-102 long bed 1/2-ton pickup in 1993.The picture here was taken when I found the truck. My son, Albert Kasishke IV is the boy in the picture and my Dad, Albert Kasishke Jr. is the elder.
I had been looking for a 1939-40 GMC pickup truck for some time. My younger brother's friend told me he knew of one in a barn in Nowata, OK. I did not hold out much hope as I had tracked down leads for a number of years and they were always 1941 and newer models.
I was very surprised when I found this old truck sitting in a barn, it was the correct year and it was pretty well complete. The only missing parts were one headlight lens and one hubcap.
We went and picked the truck up, took it to my shop and carefully took the truck apart over the next year or so. I took detailed notes of the tear down along with videos and pictures. Every part was tagged and all small parts / fasteners were bagged and tagged.
I planned on starting the restoration much sooner, but another child came along, then a couple of moves and before I knew it nearly 15 years had passed.
I had also continued to wrestle with how the truck would come back together. I love originality and would prefer to keep the truck just as it came from the factory, but I also am a firm believer in driving the truck as it was made to do. I live 25 miles from work and a fair amount of highway driving is necessary.
To enjoy the truck, I decided I needed to make the truck capable of highway speeds safely. This led me to the decision to go to an open driveline and disc brakes.
Since the original 228 engine was seized, we decided on a larger 270 GMC engine with a later model T5 5-speed transmission with an open differential. The rest of the truck will be kept completely stock.
In 2008 my Son (who is now 21) and I finally started to put the truck back together. We decided we would try to do all of the work ourselves; from mechanical to upholstery to the paint and body.
We stripped and painted the frame. Installed a disc brake conversion kit on the stock straight front axle. Purchased a rear axle from a 2002 4WD Blazer that matched the width of the stock rear axle perfectly. This also gave us rear disc brakes as well.
The original plan was to have 5-lug wheels made in the original size, but we had problems finding any that would mount the original hub caps. Instead we wound up having the front and rear brake rotors and rear axles lug holes welded up and re-drilled with the stock 6-lug pattern by Moser Engineering in Indiana. This way we can use the stock wheels and hubcaps with the disc brakes.
The truck restoration has been a lot of fun. Both my Dad and my Son help out and we enjoy working on the truck as a family. I got the bug from my Dad who got it from my Grandfather. He owned a large oil company back in the 1920's up and had a lot of trucks. Many were GMC's, including 48 World War II 2-1/2 Ton Army Trucks he bought right after the war. He converted them to oil field trucks, pulling units, tank trucks, etc.
The Tulsa, OK GMC dealer was right across the street from the school my Dad attended. He would sit in class and watch them deliver new trucks in the 1940's and '50's. He was in the oil business as well and continued to buy and operate GMC trucks.
Currently we have my 1939 GMC pickup, a rare 1937-38 GMC Trailabout Trailer, a 1948 and 1949 GMC ADCW974 Tandem Axle, 6-71 Powered Tractors and a one-owner 1940 Chevrolet 1-1/2 ton truck my Grandfather bought brand new with only 21,000 original miles.
We collect literature, antique toys, gas pumps, old signs, etc.
Our goal is to have the truck done in time to drive it to the ATHS convention in May 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. Look forward to seeing some of the Stovebolters there!
What a great story. Love those Father-Father-Father-Son stories! Very good project truck. It's too bad that more of the older ones aren't found in this condition. Be sure to check the Photobucket link -- lot's of progress pictures! ~ J. Lucas, Curator