1953 1/2-ton GMC
07 February 2002
This truck (a 1953 ½ ton Model 101-22) has a really long story but I'll try to make it short and sweet. It all started with a trip to my wife's cousin's farm in Kentucky. We were looking at some of his horse's when I saw this old truck next to his barn. I thought to myself, "I sure would love to have that old truck" (at the time not knowing what was involved in restoring it).
So I asked him if he ever decided to sell it to let me know. Well about a year later, I got a call from him telling me that he had painted it and was ready to sell. Then the next weekend, we drove the four hours to Kentucky from our house in Dayton, Ohio.
When we got there and checked the truck out we realized that even though it was painted, it still needed to be restored and painted. Needless to say he wanted way too much for the truck. Fortunately for me, they like to do a lot of trading. And I wanted the truck something awful. We ended up trading cash, shotgun, old video camera, and a old lawnmower for it.
A few weeks later we had it hauled to our home. At first my intentions were to fix it up a little and drive it every so often. But after I got it home I couldn't resist taking it apart. Well one can of worms led to another can of worms and before you know it I had a 2 1/2 car garage full of parts with the only thing left but the frame and cab -- really a rolling chassis with the cab left on.
Then I got depressed. What am I going to do with this mess? I had two choices 1. To sell everything and get what I can out of it. 2. Take it as a hobbie and restore it myself with no certain time frame.
I kept envisioning what the truck would look like finished. So I decided to restore it. By the way, I had never restored a vehicle before, let alone bodywork or welding. So I went out and bought some books, and used the internet alot. Bought a wire welder, compressor, and other misc. tools.
Now for what I did to it. First I sent the engine out to Performance Clinic for a rebuild. Put a '72 Nova rear end in it with 3/4 spacers on each side. And 4' lowering blocks welded to the axle. Kept original front straight axle and removed 2 springs and put poly liners between the rest.
The body needed the most work. I cut out a lot of rusted metal and patched it. Did the body work priming and blocksanding, then got every thing ready for paint. I did paint the firewall so I could put my engine in. Oh and in between a lot of the steps, I ran out of money. Thats why it took 4-1/2 years to finish. I started it in 1996 and finished spring 2001.
After I got it from the painter, I started to put it back together. In the 4-1/2 years I had collected a room full of stuff to put on it. The last thing I did was put a new wooden bed in it. I bought some poplar wood, routed the edges, put new bed strips down, and it was finished.
Well ... probably not. I'll probably always have something to do to it.
Well, I tried to to keep it short.
Clyde's story was features in the February 21st issue of "What's New" ... great story! -- editor