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1957 GMC 1/2-Ton Panel 4 X 4

Owned by

Will Keller
Antelope, California
(between Sacramento & Roseville)


01 March 2008
# 2252

From Will :

          This is my 1957 GMC 1/2-ton panel 4 X 4, known as the “Rockbox.” I just wanted to introduce myself to other truckaholics. I wish this site had been around when I got my first one in 1973. 

          When I was 15, I helped my friend restore his 1955 Chevy 1st series truck and got addicted to old trucks. I bought a 1954 5 window Chevy. Then I bought a 1955 Ford 1/2-ton before high school graduation. After college, I bought a new 1977 Chevy Silverado for a work truck. A year later, I was on a business trip down to Los Angeles and saw a 1957 GMC / Napco 4 X 4 Suburban. I sold my Silverado fast and cheap just to buy that big old 4 x 4.

          The truck I have now is a 1957 GMC Napco 4 X 4 Panel with the barn doors in back [ pix ]. It is powered by a strong 270 ci with a small Holley 4-barrel sitting on an aluminum intake. [ Engine before and after ] It also has Fenton cast iron headers. It is a short wheel base model with factory power brakes, factory lift to accommodate the 17.5" wheels, and a PTO driven Braden winch.  Here's the dash -- before then after

          I purchased the Panel in October 1988 [ pix ] at an auction in Napa, California. I am the second owner and the first owner was the Contra Costa County Sheriffs Department. It was the Sheriff’s Search & Rescue truck. Like a fire truck, it sat most of the time.

          I purchased the truck at the auction on a Saturday, but had to go back on Monday to drive it back to Sacramento. I got my neighbor to go along so he could drive my truck back or tow me if it broke down.

          When I purchased the truck, it had 14,086 original miles on it, and now has only 15,447 on it. It started right up and it sounded great. I drove to Fairfield and decided I had better fill up the tank in case the gauge was off. When I was at the station, I noticed a CHP officer sitting on the on ramp about 75 feet away. I bet my neighbor that he would pull me over since the truck looked so different and it still showed the glue from the Sheriff’s Search & Rescue decals that were removed on the front and rear doors. I was not even past him on the freeway on ramp before his lights were on and he was on his p.a. telling me to pull over immediately, which I did.

          I barely got the window down and he was in my face.  “So, you’re the bastard that outbid me,” and then he started laughing. I did not see who I was bidding against, as this was a big well-known auction. He was the $1800 bid, and I got if for $1900. He told me he wanted it so bad, and I started laughing back that I still had another $3000 more to bid before I was done. He didn't want it as bad as I did.  

          So anyway, that is how I got this clean low mileage 4 X 4 Panel. This is my third and last panel. If anyone is interested in buying it, talk to my wife, cause I'll be dead.  Ha Ha!!!!!!!!!

          I am now looking for a clean Chevy or GMC 1-ton or larger flatbed with a big wrap around window that I can fix up to use in my granite business (Planet Granite) to deliver slabs of granite to my customers in the Sacramento, California area.

          I have enclosed some photos. I just got it painted in June of 2007. I am still working on wiring in some stereo speakers, lights, and have the interior to finish. I will add more photos as I progress.

          I would like to meet some of the other Stovebolt members sometime. So anybody who's near Sacramento, or coming into town, let me know. I always make time to talk trucks, especially Napco 4 X 4's with anyone.


Will Keller

          ~Great story Will!  My husband and I are still laughing about that police officer. 


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