1951 GMC Short Bed Pickup Truck
01 May 2010 Update
From Tom :
Here is an updated photo of my 1951 GMC Advance Design pickup truck. [ Here's a larger image of the photo on the right. ]
This has taken some time but I finally got the bed racks made and installed with the help of my mentor Rod Adams. Rod, being the professional woodworker he is, milled the rack lumber from scrap lumber he had laying around his shop. We then painted them black and distressed the wood and added a staining over the top surface and finishing with an all weather protective coating.
I found distressing the bed and racks helped cover any scratches or scrapes should the bed receive down the road. I wanted to be able to use the bed of the truck to haul and to put a perfect high polish finish on the wood could inhibit me to use the truck for real use.
This old truck is not a show truck. I actually drive it when time permits, wandering the back country roads close to Kansas City.
Now I just need to get the seat belts installed and make a final decision as to what color the wheels will be. I'm thinking red but also torn between the Forester Green body color with red pin stripes on the wheels. Once I get that completed, I will follow with another update and photo.
15 December 2008 Update
From Tom :
Well, it's been five years since the start the restoration of my 1951 GMC Advance Design Pickup truck. I can honestly say I'm 99.9% complete. Its been a long haul and at times I wondered "what in the heck was I thinking" when I took on this project …. but glad I did!
I basically started out wanting a daily driver or something to knock around in on weekends and not worry about it getting scratched, etc. The result has been something much different.
My mentor during the restoration is Rod Adams, also a Bolter and has done an incredible job helping me get the truck completed as it should be. The truck has turned out much more than I expected and I will ever be so grateful to Rod and his patience teaching me the do's and don'ts of restoration. No doubt he will never take on another novice.
Just so everyone remembers what my truck looked like in the beginning, here is a shot when we rolled it off the trailer. The photo above right we took November 15, 2008 (exactly one month ago!).
Much time -- every Sunday for five years -- plus the endless search for parts and direct deposits to Jim Carters for reproduction and other used items. The interior is all original factory spec and looks wonderful. All in all it has been an incredible experience and I can't wait to get to take it out on a long ride when nice weather returns in the spring. For right now it will find home in Rod's airplane hanger on his farm.
Rod wants to make wooden side rails for the bed. I'm still not sure what color they will be or just wood stained or painted and distressed like the new bed. Rod is a true craftsman when it comes to woodworking, especially reproduction furniture … but I digress ... back to the truck.
The other thing that needs completion is the installation of seat belts. I have them purchased but not installed so that will be an upcoming project. I just don't feel safe driving any vehicle unless I'm strapped in -- even if it's just lap belts. I wouldn't mind an electric wiper motor installation but the vacuum will be just fine for now since the truck will not be driven in inclement weather … or I hope not.
I am also considering adding an exterior windshield visor to complete the appearance. If that happens, it will be added in the spring.
One thing I did do differently and am glad I did -- I had my running boards sprayed with a bed liner product on all sides. Now I don't have to worry about nicks and scrapes on fresh paint which would have driven me nuts. The liner material cleans up well and has a nice safe non-skid surface.
By this time next year, I will have hauled spring garden plants and probably some antique furniture which is another passion of mine, not to mention pumpkin hauling which I missed this year. Maybe a fresh cut Christmas tree in the bed of the truck will be a good photo for another update.
Again, thanks to other Stovebolters helping me find needed parts, not to mention Jimmy, Lisa and Julie at Jim Carters for all their patience and helping me get the parts to complete this project!
Enjoy... and a wonderful holiday season to everyone!
Tom, your truck does look fantastic ... hence we got her in several of the 2009 Stovebolt calendars. Outstanding job. So, when do you start the next one ... ~ Editor
28 April 2008 Update
From Tom :
I just thought I would send you some updated photos of my 1951 GMC Advance Design truck for my Stovebolt Gallery page.
Finally, the bed [ image ] of my 1951 GMC (along with the rear fenders and running boards [ image ] ) have been installed. Whew! I didn't ever think I would see all of the body parts pull together -- but for some reason they did.
Thanks again to my buddy Rod Adams for helping me with this project. Without his expertise, none of this would of happened! Here is a front view of my truck, with Rod's trucks in the background.
The new wiring harness is next along with a new master cylinder and exhaust system. Then I'll be hooking up the wipers and electrical items including turn signals. Maybe a fine tuning of the carburetor will be the last item before it will be street ready.
My goal is to have the old girl ready for pumpkin hauling in the fall. Until then, it's fun to wash and drive her around the farm for now.
Oh, the side spare tire mount has not been installed along with the spare tire. That will be the frosting on the cake!!!
I will update when all the above has been completed this summer.
The photo of the three trucks is from Rod's farm. He just acquired the 1951 Chevy Deluxe, which he will restore and paint like my GMC. The red 1951 he has for sale. It has a great look for a daily driver. His wife told him he had too many toys so something had to go. Neither of us agreed ..... but she won.
Thanks for looking!
08 October 2007 Update
From Tom :
As you can tell it was not an off-frame restoration but close to it. It's my first attempt at a car / truck restoration and I have learned tons over the years. It has turned out more than I expected. I had no idea what I was doing. I could not have done the restoration without my mentor and friend Rod Adams. Rod basically guided me through the entire process. Being technically and mechanically challenged, I had to rely on him to tell me what needed to be done during the entire restoration.
For any parts my truck was missing, I received help from Stovebolters. I found everything I needed just from posting a "Parts Wanted" ad in the Swap Meet.
The truck surpassed my expectations in many ways. It is not a competition show truck or a frame off restoration, but bringing back the ol' girl to life and giving her a second chance for future generations to enjoy was my greatest reward. Jim Carter's Classic Truck Parts was also a big help in supplying reproduction items -- which were many.
If I ever do a project like this again, it will be a frame-off restoration. With the work Rod and I have done to this truck, it may have been a "down to the frame" project. Frame-off restorations need a large space to store old and new parts, as well as room for the body and engine rebuild.
I have also learned to "tag" each set of bolts and screws, and parts that you remove from all areas on the truck. Cataloging everything so when it becomes time to re-install parts, you know where everything goes and what bolts / screws go with them. I went through many Baggies of all sizes so parts were not lost or separated.
At the present time we are restoring the bed, rear fenders and running boards. A new wiring harness will also be a part of this time frame. The bed should not take long to complete. Hopefully we will have it completed by end of winter. Only being able to work on the truck one weekend day for the last several years, plus some vacation time from work, we have accomplished quite a bit in four years.
Hope to drive it to a meeting someday.
17 July 2007 Update
From Tom :
Here are some updated photos of my 1951 GMC. The cab is painted now [ pix ] which is a real milestone. I thought it would be neat to post with my other Gallery photos so viewers could see I am making progress after all these years. Here's a good view from the backside.
The paint is factory enamel, color Forester Green. My buddy Rod who is pictured in the photos with beard is the one who painted the truck. We used a professional paint booth of a friend of his. The paint booth was in an airplane hanger. His buddy does aircraft restoration and let us use the booth.
We painted in one day but let it sit in the booth for a week as we did not want to move with fresh paint.
We just got the windows installed, too. The front windshield installation was tricky as the model is a Deluxe GMC cab which had chrome inserts in the rubber seal. I shined up the chrome trim prior to installation. It really looks great now.
I still have to install the exterior chrome trim on the side windows. That is the next project.
The bed is still off the truck as well as the nose piece and chrome grille. The nose piece will be painted the same green. The bed needs minor work then will be painted.
I found a rear left fender with spare tire dimple which was not offered in the 1951 production year. I think the fender came off a 1953-54 model which I was told was the only year that offered the spare tire fender / bed mount. The fenders, of course, do need some rust repair -- that will come this fall / winter.
I hope next spring we'll be able to paint the rest of the truck, install the lights, etc.
The interior is completed with the exception of installing the heater which has a new motor and core repair. Will send interior photos next week once the cab is cleaned again. Maybe a year from now, I can haul pumpkins on the farm. Will send more photos as additional progress is made.
Thanks for the great update! Good info! ~~ Editor
17 July 2007
From Tom :
I have been meaning to submit a photo of my 1951 GMC pickup truck four years ago, prior to the start of the restoration. The photo here to the right is the truck right before the work started.
I found the truck in the Clinton, Missouri area and was told it was originally an Iowa farm truck. I paid $1500 for the truck. Someone had started an unprofessional paint job and when my friend Rod found the truck, it has been sprayed with primer then left to the outside elements -- thus the surface rust.
Rod and I trailered the truck back to his farm in the Kansas City, Missouri area and started the restoration project. The truck ran good. We did some brake work in the beginning just so we could move the truck around his farm, building to building.
I chose the year 1951 for my project as that is my birth year, plus I always wanted this vintage body style. When I was growing up in rural Kansas City, a neighbor was always restoring this vintage and drove his as a daily driver. Those great memories always stayed in my mind, hoping to have one of my own one day.
At first we stripped the interior and pressure washed it. Then we completely refurbished everything. A few small interior items still left to be completed, like hooking up the heater and oil new gauge.
My friend Rod is a master of everything and has restored cars in his own collection through the years. Rod has become my mentor in this restoration project and has done 95% of the work himself as I am technically challenged but a great go-fer and can handle some minor projects.
Most of the mechanicals have been replaced as well as leaf springs, shocks and shackles. A new exhaust system is also on the list. As most of you have experienced, the list goes on and on. It probably will never be completed 100% but that is our goal.
Although the 1951 did not come with a side tire mount, I was able to find a 1953 dimpled left rear fender so I could mount the spare tire. The bed will be of pine along with pine side stakes. Interior is factory specs and looks great. A new wiring harness is on the agenda as well. This will be completed after the truck cab is painted. I also have the original windshield visor that will be painted and mounted at the end of the project.
This photo is one of my gray primed 1951 GMC. Rod's red 1951 Chevy is in the back ground (I found that one for him). Second photo is of my '51 interior before restoration. Then this photo is truck primed with Rust Bullet. Engine bay has been painted but not shown. At the present time, we are doing final wet sanding before painting with factory Forester Green. All chrome has been re-chromed.
Rod's 51 red Chevy will stay original. If mine was found in the same condition, I would never have done the restoration. Unfortunately, someone had other ideas for a quick fix .... NOT.
After my GMC goes to the paint booth in the next few weeks (can't wait to see the cab painted), I will start on the bed, fenders and running boards that are now off frame. The interior is completed. I would of never done that first but for some reason that was our starting point. Now comes the part of re-assembly after the paint, that may be the hardest part. The bed is off the truck and will be restored and painted in the fall. Our goal is to get it completed this time next year 2008.
I will update new photos, both interior and exterior as the project nears completion.