Larry Wilke's

1952 GMC 101

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11 April 2007
# 1916

Two year truck restorationFrom Larry :

           I have a 1952 GMC 101 series that took two years to finish (they are never finished ). It has a 248 engine and 3 on tree.

           For the last 25 years, I've wanted to restore a vehicle. I have gone to the large car show in a town called Iola, Wisconsin (the headquarters for Krause Publications) for the last 20 years and I swore someday I would have a vehicle to put in the show. My son-in-law found the 1952 GMC and asked if I would like to restore it. Took me all of 10 seconds to say "Yes!"

           I paid $2000 for it. It sat in a field for the last 15 years so there was a lot of work to do. My son-in-and I completely tore it apart so only the frame was left. We found a good body shop in Berlin, Wisconsin called Perfect Body & Paint. I had them repair the body and paint it since I have never done anything like this.

           After the frame was done, we started rebuilding it from the frame up. Then as each section was done, we re-assembled the body -- with some help from the body shop -- to make sure everything aligned up. I had the engine (248) rebuilt because it was froze solid. Found most of the parts I needed from Jim Carter and Chevy Duty. American Classic had all the metal I needed. They even had a complete new bed with all the mounting hardware for a lot less then having a body shop do the repairs.

           The hardest part to find was the emergency brake parts that go through the floorboard. Then someone told me about a junk yard in Miami, Oklahoma that might have what I need. I called and he had just what I needed. The internet sure makes finding parts a lot easier.

           I picked the Robin Egg Blue for the truck from a 2005 Thunderbird I saw on a car lot. The dark blue is called Onyx Pearlized Blue. I tried to keep the truck as original as possible. I did install a 3:55.1 ring and pinion from Patrick's so I can drive highway speed. Sure get strange looks driving the truck on a freeway and keeping up with them.

           It took just under two years to finish the truck. I finished three days before the Iola Car Show. So I finally was able to have a vehicle to put in the show. So far I have done well at car shows. I have won five Best of Class. This sure helps make all the work worth it. It is still fun going to car shows just to talk to all the people. I think that is the best part of all.

           I hear that most men have issues concerning spending the money or get complaints from the wife about spending all the time required to do something like this. I'm VERY lucky, because my wife loves old cars and going to car shows. In fact, I'm restoring a 1959 Edsel Ranger 2DR HT for her. She wanted a car of her own. I also have a 1956 Dodge Lancer Custom Royal. Both of these are "works in progress."

           This was my first attempt at something like this. My wife Penny and I live in the UP of Michigan during most of the year and we winter in Bullhead City, Arizona for the winter months. This way we can go to car shows all year. Life couldn't be better.

           Did mention that I'm retired and loving every minute of it?

Thank you,

Larry Wilke
"Larry Wilke"
Bolter # 14405

           Boy, not only do we have serious TRUCK ENVY here ... but probably SPOUSE ENVY and definitely TIME ENVY. Sigh! Good for you, tho! ~~ Editor

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