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09 March 2013 Update
# 2504
 
  Owned by
John & Peggy Milliman
Stovebolt.com founders / editors
Mechanicsville, MD

1972 GMC 9500 Road Tractor

"Gort"

 

More pictures and video of my old truck

From John :

Between racing Sweet on Interstate 81 in Virginia and hauling surplus auction scores home, it was a fun, hot summer for the Detroit 6-71 powered 9500 (Short Nose). You can read the story of how we came to own this old truck below. Since then, the truck has been to many shows in the greater Washington, DC area. She's still a blast to drive -- especially with the big drop deck trailer!

All we've really done to it has been upgrading to single piece rims and radial tubeless tires all the way around. We also upgraded the engine to spin-on filters for the fuel and oil.

Unlike all of its Yankee brothers, who long ago rusted away, Gort continues to prove its Southern hospitality and gentlemanliness by running like a Swiss watch, not rusting and just being a great solid truck.

"There's no limit to what he can do. He could destroy the Earth..."

Klaatu barada nikto!

Needless to say, bringing a semi / road tractor into the collection created a lot of turmoil (organizational ... marital ...), thus we felt that the truck needed a name that would adequately capture and reflect the sheer size, power and destructive force (both physical as well as marital ...) this vehicle represents. As we are devoted science fiction fans, we turned to the 1951 classic film The Day The Earth Stood Still and the mechanical marvel capable of wrecking the planet ... of course! And Gort it was.

You have to love that film to get the name. And if you, like Hambone, don't ... that's okay -- *we* like it.

In the photo above, Gort is ready to bring his new garage mate home -- our '71 M-817 5-ton dump truck we purchased last year through a government surplus auction. We ... aaaaa ... "needed it for the farm" I told the other Editor! Well, turns out, we DID need it for the farm, more than we had really thought.

More on the update. Ole Gort was a star of the small screen! in July of 2011, we were contacted by our friend, Jac (a "Picture Car" coordinator / agent for the Washington, DC area). Jac had previously gotten us work for our 1949 Chevy 1-ton on Clint Eastwood's "Flags of our Fathers" move. Here's the feature story of Charlie's big 15 minutes of fame.

This time, Jac needed a "semi truck" for a TV shoot in Washington, DC. Turned out that the show was the Discovery ID Channel's "The Nightmare Next Door" that recreates bizarre murder cases. Our episode was called "Murder in the Heartland" and Gort was the truck driven by one of the suspects. Fellow Stovebolter, Phil Pierce, Sr., also got cast in that episode as one of the investigating detectives. His 1971 Chevy C10 truck was in the show as well.

In July 2012, Doug "Hambone" Hamilton rode with me to go to Grigg Mullen's "Diesel Confab" in Virginia. As it turned out, Grigg picked the most blisteringly hot weekend of 2012 to hold his event. As if it wasn't hot enough, Gort developed an exhaust leak that blew heat directly onto the passenger seat area. It made for a brutal ride for Brother Hambone. On the way home, we pulled into a WaWa gas station (no parking for big rigs ...) just to get the heck out of the truck for a few minutes.

So then, a month later, Hambone and I are back at it, running 60 miles north to Ft. Meade, Maryland, to pick up a Government surplus score -- the M-817 5-ton dump truck. See the video. What a fun trip! I used a friend's 20-ton Eager Beaver low boy trailer and the trip really couldn't have gone smoother. The 6-71 ran like it was happy with a real load for a change. The truck never ran as well as it did that day, despite the wornout alternator pulley screaming a little (you can hear it in the video ... ).

So anyway, for this update, the truck continues to be a superlative piece of kit. It really is getting better as it gets older.

John

Yes, John does have a collection of trucks (but not as many as some of you all!). He has the all original 1949 Chevy 3800 1-Ton, "Charlie." He use to have another 1949 Chevy 4400 1.5-Ton (with more details on it in the Project Trucks in the Tech Tips Section) -- but we had to pass that one along after he picked up the 1972 GMC 9500, "Gort" in January 2010. Then there is the 1965 GMC 4400 Fire Engine Tanker with the Darley pump -- the "Firebolt" which kicked off the Stovebolt Volunteer Fire Department. Lastly, although not a Stovebolt, we added a 1971 M-817 5-Ton Dump WO/W "Smedley D." to the fleet. We have a 1972 International 3800 Loader/Backhoe -- plus other trucks, tractors, Gators, wagons... "for use on the farm" Someday, we'll write a fitting tale about the old Farmdawg, too. ~~ Editor


John's Big Iron  

"The truck formerly known as Heavy G"

Shown here on it's way to a movie shoot!


 

11 January 2010
# 2504

From John :

In late 2009, Billy Marlow -- a fellow 'Bolter from Maryland and a buddy -- was deciding that his collection needed a slight change as well and that he needed to move a couple of his trucks along to be able to add the truck he had wanted for a long time (I'll leave that story to him...). He decided to put his '72 GMC 9500 on the market.

Chatting it up with Billy one evening after Thanksgiving and hashing our thoughts out with each other, the thought started to take hold -- why not just grab Billy's pristine 9500? The best part about it was that it was certainly a Big Bolt road tractor, but a small enough one to manage as a beginner. Also playing a big part was the fact that this was a known truck. And it involved having to sell our '48 2-ton dump -- which wasn't a big let down. It's a solid truck with a load of potential, but again, I was into a few too many projects ... (The truck sold to a fellow Maryland Bolter). So, with all my ducks lined up, I called Billy.

One of our fellow 'Bolters and member of the Baltimore-Washington Chapter of the American Truck Historical Society, Moe Stone (See his beautifully restored 1959 GMC 860) had asked Billy to let him know if Billy ever decided to sell it. So Billy was honor bound to let Moe have first refusals. Man it was a long week waiting for Moe's answer! Billy called me at work late that week. Apparently Moe had the same issue as the rest of us -- too many projects, not enough time. Billy said we had a deal! Billy, being the true friend and gentleman he is, even delivered it the following weekend.

One of the fun things, though, has been telling the guys at work that Santa brought me a little 2-seater for Christmas.

Since we've owned it, the truck has made a run to Macungie, PA for the ATCA National Show, a run to Winchester, VA for the ATHS Tri-State show. Most recently (May, 2011) I made the 1500-mile round trip to South Bend, IN for the ATHS National Show. On that trip, we had Grigg's '48 diesel project on the trailer . Man, going through the mountains of Western Maryland along I-68 really gave me a lesson in shifting a larger truck! Only one missed shift. On the way home, I pretty much nailed it and was going up and down through the gears okay. I even passed another 18-wheeler going up a long grade (well... it was a Mexican NAFTA special ...). At the end, we had going to South Bend and back with no issues and we were only down 2 qts of oil at the end.

The rest of the truck's history is from Billy (below). This was his original entry for this truck in the Stovebolt Gallery.

The truck's particulars:

Engine: Detroit 6-71 turbo diesel (426 CID)
Transmission: Spicer 5-speed
Single rear 2-speed axle
Air brakes & driver seat ?
Air-Adjustable 5th wheel
Gooseneck hitch

Thanks Billy -- always a pleasure doing business with a friend. We still don't have a name for it, yet.

Regards,

John

Yes, John does have a collection of trucks (but not as many as some of you all!). He has the all original 1949 Chevy 3800 1-Ton, "Charlie." He use to have another 1949 Chevy 4400 1.5-Ton (with more details on it in the Project Trucks in the Tech Tips Section) -- but we had to pass that one along after he picked up the 1972 GMC 9500, "Gort" in January 2010. Then there is the 1965 GMC 4400 Fire Engine Tanker with the Darley pump -- the "Firebolt" which kicked off the Stovebolt Volunteer Fire Department. Lastly, although not a Stovebolt, we added a 1971 M-817 5-Ton Dump WO/W "Smedley D." to the fleet. We have a 1972 International 3800 Loader/Backhoe -- plus other trucks, tractors, Gators, wagons... "for use on the farm" Someday, we'll write a fitting tale about the old Farmdawg, too. ~~ Editor


From the Previous Owner ~

03 January 2009
# 2504

From Billy Marlow :

When I first got my 1946 Chevrolet COE 2-ton flatbed on the road a while back, John Milliman coaxed me into going to an ATHS / Stovebolt truck show in Southern Maryland.  I saw all these big trucks and thought, “What am I doing here? I don’t belong."

Well, all that changed. After becoming a member of the Baltimore-Washington Chapter of ATHS, I have been to quite a few truck shows. I have also gained a huge appreciation for the big trucks as well as the smaller ones.

And now, thanks to Grigg Mullen (see his 1948 Chevy 2-ton Detroit Diesel project), I am very fond of the Detroit Diesel engines, too.

I began thinking of a big truck to pull my COE to shows because the pickup that I usually pull with has more than 250,000 miles on it. Plowing snow for 14 years has taken a toll on it. In other words, I didn’t think I could ask it to pull my truck and trailer to shows of any distance much longer.

So this was my latest and greatest dream -- find a truck with a Detroit that I could paint to match my Chevrolet and have some fun with it.

Needless to say, when I told my wife Jennifer about this, I don’t think she shared the enthusiasm.

I found this 1972 GMC 9500 single axle tractor with a 6-71 Detroit, 5-speed transmission and a 2-speed rear on eBay last summer. I watched it carefully and it did not meet the seller’s reserve. I contacted the seller and, with a “partial” blessing from my wife, made a deal.

Now the problem was how to get it here from Tennessee.

Billy Marlow

W. Haworth Marlow takes his first drive (but I got second dibs ...) in "Heavy G." Eyes on the road, you!

Photo by J. Crosby Milliman who just *happened* to be there for the momentous event.

More fun pictures in Webshots.


We weighed all the options: drive down with the motor home and make a trip out of it and drive the truck back; fly in and drive home; hotels, fuel and food, etc. The seller offered to drive the 10+ hours to us for a fee that was the most reasonable option.

Jennifer and I agreed to meet him and his son right off the interstate, not too far from the house. Then we would take them to the airport.

Even at 15 years old, the son was well over the 250 lb mark and easily 6' tall. Dad wasn’t much smaller. When they arrived, they both seemed to have weathered the trip well. The son did comment that the truck was a rough ride, especially when they encountered a bridge joint. Oh and he commented that it was loud in the cab. (During my initial clean up of the truck, I found several packages of ear plugs. Hmmmm. I also found that the passenger side seat wasn’t bolted to the floor!! No wonder the boy had a rough ride. Probably a good thing he had a few extra pounds on him. Otherwise, he may have become airborne on one of those bridges.)

The seller asked if I wanted to take a test ride before leaving for BWI. Jennifer spoke up and said, “Sure!" 

With a startled look, the seller hesitantly got in the passenger side and Jennifer climbed up behind the wheel. With a few quick instructions, off they went.

After the test drive, both the Father and son were smiling and shaking their heads. With a puzzled look, they climbed into our passenger car, waiting for the next move. I guess they figured Jennifer would be taking them to BWI and I would be driving the big truck home.

Before we could get turned around, my wife was driving off in the other direction. By the time we got to the first intersection in our passenger car, all we got was a brief glimpse before us of that white GMC disappearing out of site. (Editors' Note: A variation of the Suzanne Somers/White T-Bird scene from American Graffiti that can only be found here ... in the Stovebolt Zone!)

The seller and his Son talked about that all the way to the airport. I guess they have never seen a tall blonde girl drive a GMC 9500 with a 6-71 Detroit Diesel before. It might help the story to add that she had her CDL and I didn’t. Oh and that she has spent some time behind the wheel of a loaded dump truck, during her time as a construction estimator.

I didn’t tell them this though……..

-30-


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