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17 December 2011
From Mel :
Back in the 1970's when there was no Internet, I restored a 1947 Willy's Jeep. Shortly after getting married and having kids, all of my toys went away.
Well, the kids are now grown, married and have their own kids. So I figured I would find myself a project.
Here it is: my 1958 GMC Panel that I was successful in locating just outside of Lubbock, Texas. I noticed it being there for more than three years with no for sale sign on it. One day, I got up the nerve to just knock on the door. It was sitting on a trailer. To make a long story short, I was able to buy them both. ( Score! ~ Editor )
The seller told me the old truck had been a first responder fire truck for the Lubbock Fire Department. He also said that he has pictures and the history of its service but he has not been able to find it yet.
The Panel still has the mounting holes and levers for the necessary pumps and equipment. The power train is still in its original configuration with a straight six, 4 speed manual floor shift and its sitting on 8 hole split ring rims. The back end is currently packed full of items like the front grille, side emblems and many other numerous parts that were originally installed. I hope to sort through all of this in the next few weeks.
At first I was going to restore it. After discussing my project with a close friend of my son's, I have decided to go in another direction. He has had experience with restoring and customizing many vehicles over the years and I've now decided that customizing this one will better suit my future needs. My plans now include a complete frame off rebuild. We are currently rebuilding a 454 big block with blower that should fit under the hood quite nicely. It will also be re-badged and converted from a GMC to a Chevy.
Once completed, my goal is to use it as advertising for my "Raging Bull" soda blasting business.
I plan to submit updates as the work progresses. I will be removing and selling numerous parts that will not be needed. These will include the engine, drive train, hub caps, headlights, radiator, etc. I have been told that the headlights are T-3 and can be hard to find. Anyone interested in buying parts is welcome to shoot me an email.
So far, my wife and family have been very supportive. They said that I needed something to do to keep me busy. I just hope that I can afford it.
Right now, I feel just like a little boy with a new toy.