Jim and Carol Rutledge's

1952 GMC 1/2-Ton

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19 July 2003

From Jim:

          Hi. We have a 1952 GMC Pickup and here's the story!

Early Truck Restoration or Look What Iíve been doing The Last 15 Years

          ďHey Jim whatís up with you?Ē and with that prompt, I would go off about our Stovebolt. How it was progressing, what was the latest problem I was dealing with, when I would or could be done with it, or any number of subjects that could pertain to ďthe truck.Ē I could bore the daylights out of anyone who was only casually interested or captivate someone who actually knew what I was talking about. The latter are few and far between and usually want to talk about their own projects. IMAGINE THAT!

          Early thoughts of the truck started around 1980. My wife (fiancť at the time) and I always liked old vehicles. I hadnít owned a car for quite some time so the decision to start looking for a truck was fairly easy. We watched the local papers and one day, an ad for a 1953 GMC pickup jumped out at us. Actually, as I found out later, the truck was made in September 1952 and probably sold in 1953. There were no dates on titles back then.

          We called and made an appointment to see it. We were warned that the truck hadn't run in quite a few years so we were a little skeptical of the condition of the rest of it. When we arrived an older woman answered the door and explained that the truck had been her husbands and he had been deceased for some time. Her son showed us to the garage (I use the term loosely because the garage was more like a cross between a chicken coop and a pile of boards). We were pleasantly surprised when he pulled open the door. The dust flew up ... and there sat this truck.

          You could tell it had been there for a long time but it had all of its faculties -- no dents and very little rust. (I couldnít see any but thereís always rust on a 30 year old anything.) We bought the truck for $700 and hauled it home without hearing it run. When we did get it home, it started as soon as we gave it a little pull.

          We decided to drive it for a while since it ran so well. We painted it without doing any prep work except for a little putty and wet sanding. The previous paint had been applied with a roller so our quick job was poor cosmetics at best.†It was great to enjoy the ride for a while before we started the restoration.

          Itís hard to say just when we actually started the restoration -- what year I mean. The years just seem to run together. Iíd say before 1990 we had most of the truck apart. The first picture is the only picture of the truck we have before it was completely taken apart. There were small holes in the cab corners that I thought were no bigger than a baseball were bigger than a basketball. And both sides, too. Also the lips on the inside of all four fenders were badly rotted so we decided to replace them. I think if I had known how much work fiberglass fenders would be, I would have fixed the old ones.

          The box was in good shape but it had hundreds of little dings in it. We bought a new one. That was a simple bolt together operation.

          There was a crack in the head which we had welded by local machine shop. There were layers and layers of paint which my wife diligently stripped off. We sandblasted the cab and frame and primered it. The problem was that I let the truck sit too long without any attention and it got enough surface rust back that it had to be done again! Then I painted the cab with acrylic enamel paint with no intention of sanding but mixed my paint too thick for the hardener and had massive orange peel. It took three days to sand it smooth and buff it out but it is a very nice result.†Itís a good thing I had lots of paint on it! The only thing now was I had to sand and buff the rest of the truck also. It turned out much better than I could have imagined though.

          I hope you enjoy the pictures. Iím very proud of this truck because except for the crack in the head, all the work was done by my wife and myself. I donít know if Iím any smarter or not but I would be glad to answer any questions anyone might have.

          We thoroughly enjoy using this vehicle. Itís won awards at local car shows and cruises and makes a lot of trips to Yatsonsky Farm Ice Cream Stand.


Jim and Carol Rutledge
"46 Burb"
Bolter # 4247
Northeast Pennsylvania

          Jim has a second Bolt -- a 1941 (or '46) Chevy Suburban. Plus a website with additional information and more pictures! ~~ Editor

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