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A Cool Old Truck

Don and Cherri Mitton's

1940 GMC 1/2-Ton Pickup

"Uncle Sam"

21 August 04

From Don:

         Here is a picture of our 1940 GMC 1/2-ton pickup. "Uncle Sam" has been lovingly restored to factory specifications. Sam's engine is the original 228 with the original 4-speed transmission. The paint scheme is true to the trucks origins. The body is painted Ferrara Blue with black fenders. The pinstripe matches the color of the wheel rims, Overland Blue.

         Uncle Sam spent his working life on a farm in Palouse, Washington. His original owners, Sam and Grace, used him to haul hogs to market and other farm chores. After Sam and Grace passed away, the truck was left to their niece, Ernestine Walters of Garfield, Washington. In 1972, Ernie and her husband, Wix, put the truck in their shop and really forgot about it.

         In 1980, Don Mitton saw the truck buried in the far corner of the shop. That started the whole process of the purchase of Uncle Sam by Don. Every time he saw Wix, he'd offer him $1,000 for the truck. Wix always replied with, "Nah ... I'm not selling that old truck." Don was persistent. It took 10 years for Don to wear down Wix. Finally, on Thanksgiving of 1990, Wix phoned Don to tell him that he could buy the old truck for what he offered .. $1,000. Don left from Post Falls, Idaho, to drive the two hours to Garfield to close the deal. The following spring, Don and his wife, Cheri, brought Uncle Sam home.

         Now the whole process of finding the the right body man to restore Sam was set into motion. Many body men came to look at the truck, but none fit the bill. One day, Scott Shawver entered the garage. When Don told him that it had to be painted Ferrar Blue (the original paint color), Scott said, "Of course!!! Can't be just any blue!!" The Mittons had found their man who would restore the truck with the respect needed to keep it true to the original specifications.

         It took Scott five months to complete the frame-off restoration. The attention to detail that Scott showed was amazing. One day, Scott was standing on the frame of the bed, running his hands along the top of the cab. He had discovered three small dents in the center of the top of the cab. No judge would see it ... the Mittons would never know they were there. However, Scott would know that they were there ... and he couldn't let Uncle Sam leave his shop until they were corrected.

         After the restoration was complete, Don and Cheri began showing the truck in local car shows. They decided to enter the truck in the "Lost In the '50's" car show in Sandpoint, Idaho. This is a huge show with more than 600 cars entered each year. The Mittons were advised that they should "just go up and have fun ... you never win in Sandpoint." Amazingly, they took first place in the stock truck class!

         To date, they have entered Uncle Sam nine times in Sandpoint. All have been first place trophies with the exception of one year when they placed second to a dear friend's 1958 Cameo pickup. All totaled, Uncle Sam has garnered over 60 first place trophies!! It's been an honor to have had a place in this truck's history. It's always amazing to watch the magic that this truck has at car shows. People are instantly drawn to it. When driving down the street, people stop to stare. The sound of that 228 purring always turns peoples heads!!

Don and Cheri Mitton
Post Falls, Idaho

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