Owner: Tom Pryor
This 1951 GMC advance design half ton is owned by Tom Pryor of Kansas City, Missouri. Found four years ago in Clinton Missouri it was originally an Iowa farm truck. The previous owners had started a very poor attempt at restoration, sanding the old paint with little body repair then applying primer, the truck then sat in the outside elements were surface rust took over on every panel of the truck. The wood bed was rotten, electrical non-existent and field mice had taken over the interior.
My friend and project mentor Rod Adams was the driving force behind the restoration, he has given up many Sundays over four years to help me get the truck in the shape as you see in the photo. Rod owns a 1951 Chevrolet advance design himself and is very familiar with repairing these collectible trucks and has owned many over the years. Most body panels were removed and sandblasted to remove rust and coats of old paint and primer, then we hand sanded the entire truck to prepare the body for Rust Bullet primer. Originally the truck was black, but I decided the Forester Green was a better choice bringing Ol Jimmy back to life. No doubt, Rod will not take on another novice, I think I have been a challenge for him but have learned the dos and don’ts of restoration.
The interior has been restored to original factory specs as well 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 covered in Rod’s airplane hanger on his farm.
Rod and I want to make wooden side rails for the bed. I’m still not sure what color they will be, 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. With his wood working skills Rod milled and constructed a new yellow pine bed which we painted black then distressed to make the bed look worn and camouflage future scuffs, then sealed with a wood protector. I’m also considering adding an exterior windshield sun visor but for now I’m content with her profile. The running boards also posed some concern/choices, either prepare and paint like factory or cover them with a protective bed liner non-skid coating on all sides. The coating won out and I’m so glad I don’t have to worry about nicks and scrapes, plus the underside is now protected from the road elements.
The other thing that needs completion is the installation of seat belts; they have been 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.
Old and new parts were purchased from Jim Carter’s; the sales staff Lisa, Jimmy and Julie were always helpful in finding me everything needed to complete the restoration. In the end the truck turned out more than I expected. Originally looking for a knock-a-round weekend driver, the GMC has surpassed my wildest dreams. I’m most grateful for Rod’s time and talent that has brought this project to completion.