01 November 2013
# 3039

 
Owned by
Frank VanderBroek
"Stranger"
Bolter # 32224
Madrid, Iowa
 

1959 GMC 370 LCF

"Salvage Yard Find"

 

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More pictures of my old truck

 

From Frank :

HELLO, as you see, I'm back! Gee, fun flies when your having time. Wait! Nope, time just flies!!!!

I have been popping in and out of Stovebolt just to try and keep up with what's going on with all the Bolters. Sadly, free time has been scarce. Preparing for winter, projects to a point where they can sit for a winter without harm, and of coarse trying to fix whatever may come through the shop.

Early this spring, I went salvage yard finding. Me and my buddy Stuart have become good friends with about six or seven salvage yard owners and they allow us to roam the yards to find parts or better yet vehicles!

On this particular day, we went to McCallsberg, Iowa. We were given permission to "search" for goodies, again. A hand shake and we were in the "what can we not live without mode!"

I was immediately drawn towards the far right hand corner of the lot as we went through the entrance. At the end of the row of vehicles, I could see only the roof of what appeared to be a 1955 / 1959 truck. When I got over to it, it was partially buried in a tomb of sheet metal. It in fact was a "what?"

I could make out that it was a big truck with duals and a kinda funny but very solid cab. After getting the hood open, I was more confused. There was clearly a v-8 with GMC decals on the valve covers. So, part of the mystery was solved.

I put pressure on the fan belt and turned the fan, the motor moved. I yell at Stuart to come over and asked if he had any idea. He replied, "Not really." (He is 30 years my younger.)

Still confused and all the more curious, I opened the door to find a GMC hood ornament on the weathered but not too bad condition seat. There was a complete dash, a 4 speed shifter and emergency brake handle next to it, a five gallon bucket with head light bezels, clearance lights, turn signals lenses, side emblems, nuts and bolts, and mirrors on the passengers side floor board. But no grille, in, on, under, or around to be found. Overall, a clean, straight, complete truck with 22,000 on the odometer.

After looking over the rest of the yard, we met up with the owner and I asked about the truck. He told us it was a fire tanker and I guessed a 1958 or 1959. I asked what he wanted for it and he said, "Make an offer." I told him I would think about it.

The next two months we visited the yard many more times and found many treasures and looked the ol' GMC over again each visit.

Finally, I called Dick, the owner of the yard, and set up a time to visit and seriously talk about the GMC.

Long story short, I made an offer of $700. He said he wanted $1000 but would think about it.

About a month later, he called me and said he wanted $1300 or it was getting crushed.

I set up a time to talk to him and went there the next day. When I arrived there, the crusher was going and in a pile, the size of a Neon, were four 1947-1954 Chevy trucks and a 1956 panel that had been sitting off in the tree line. He was serious about crushing!!!! (The five mentioned needed a lot of work but definitely strong parts contributors.) I never thought he would actually crush them!

Anyway, we talked and I asked,"What happen to the $1000 price and why such short notice?" He gave a strange explanation. I told him I would pay the $1000 but only had $300 now. He shuffled his feet, looked at me and said, "You have bought a lot of stuff from me and have always been honest, and see me before you come in and before you leave, which is more than I can say about others. I will save it for you." A hearty handshake followed.

Three weeks later, I had the rest of the cash. So, I called my friend Joe, who has a truck and trailer. Then I called Dick and told him we were on our way. I had a big smile on my face when we pulled into the yard. We detached the trailer, and pulled the GMC from its tomb. That's the picture up above.

We re-attached the trailer to the truck and got ready to load. A big truck, three come-a-longs, and 90 degree temps make for a miserable morning! We got it loaded, chained down, and headed for home making two stops. One for a couple cold sodas each, and the other for a low bridge that we barely got under.

Safe at home, we rolled the GMC off the trailer and pushed into the yard. Tired, hot and sweaty, we called it a day at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

Eventually into the shop it went. First we emptied the interior of all the goodies. In the glove compartment we found old registrations confirming it was a 1959. We also found evidence of it being a fire tanker truck for the New Hampton, Iowa Fire department. Sweet!

Further inspection revealed my worst fear. The poor ol' GMC had been under water. Fine silt on the floor of the interior, on the intake of the motor and in the fins of the radiator.

My buddy Bill was over and thought I would show him the motor turned. Pressed the belt and tried to move the fan. UH OH ..... stuck!

We removed the flywheel cover and tried to turn the motor over via long prybar .... no luck. (Ever get that sick feeling in your stomach?)

The spark plugs were out and laying on or under the intake manifold, so some good ol' panther urine was sprayed into the cylinders. We removed the seat and fuel tank. We drained 10 gallons of "yuck" out of the tank! Pulled the oil pan off (drain pan plug missing) to make sure nothing was broke or bent. Looked clean with some oil clinging to the camshaft.

Back to the prybar ... still stuck!

Let's try to rotate the opposite direction. Complete rotation up to the stuck point! Back around the other way! Back, opposite, back, opposite, gaining on the stuck point little by little ... then up and around! And around again! (keep repeating). The motor was freed up! (Not quite as sick as earlier mentioned.)

Then we checked the wiring. It all looked good and Bill installed a battery. Turned on the lights -- front and tail worked. Installed front T.S. bulbs and -- they worked! Stop lamps -- YEP! Tried heater fan, wipers -- OH, YES!

Reinstalled oil pan and flywheel cover and filled with oil.

Then do we dare? Sure why not? Turned the ignition key ..... starter kicked in .... and motor whirled!!!! RELIEF!!!

Removed electric fuel pump, cleaned, tested. It worked also! Replaced some fuel line, installed a new fuel filter, and strapped a gallon fuel tank to the frame. Check, fuel to carb. Removed carb and cleaned it and put it back together (re-used gaskets). Cleaned and installed the spark plugs that were laying on or under the intake. Cranked to find no spark. Juice in and out of coil, filed points, spark. Still no spark at plugs. Replaced rotor with old one on hand -- SPARK!!! Crank, cough, try, cough, backfire. Timing adjustment. Crank, cough. Reset timing to #1. Crank crank, try, try again, cough ...IT'S ALIVE!!!! (SICK feeling gone!)

After running a bit and noticing gauges worked, found leak in radiator. Silver Seal fixed that. Pipes cleared out and no smoke at all now. Put in all gears and rewarded with movement. What a great reward!

A few days later, a complete cleanup, black paint on the showing frame, buff the paint and polish the chrome.

At this point in time, the GMC. is in the shop with the carb getting a rebuild kit. All fluids drained as they will get new juice. Trying to get brakes working. I contacted the GMC shop and had the VIN deciphered and am applying for a bonded title.

I have no idea what I will do with this truck -- keep, car hauler, swap meet truck, or flip. Time will tell.

I am desperately looking for a grille, and if anybody has or knows where one is at .... PLEASE contact me!

Thanks for letting me share my story, hope you enjoyed!


Stranger
Frank in Iowa

-30-


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Frank (not really a "Stranger" when we met him at the 2013 Stovebolt Reunion in Kansas City ... one heck of a friendly guy ... a little shy maybe) is a great story-teller! He has " the fever" as you can tell from his stories and his project prictures. He started out on Stovebolt with a 1955 Second Series Chevrolet Shortbox NAPCO known as "Mater's Cousin." It wasn't long after that he was saving a 1959 GMC 370 LCF from the crusher! Frank's son David soon got "the fever" and although not a Stovebolt, he and Dad are restoring a 1965 Dodge D-200 -- another neat story that's only just begun. He also has quite a display of Past Projects in his Photobucket album.