Owner: Ralph Wescott
Regular readers of this section know we tend to give credit to trucks that are the more unusual. This month is no exception.
Our truck of the month is a 1957 GMC 1/2 ton NAPCO Panel. No doubt this type truck was rarely seen even in 1957. When you consider the factory options, it may have been almost one of a kind 52 years ago!
Why was this panel truck ordered with so many extras? The owner either had very special needs or the GMC dealer wanted the best for display in their showroom. Money must not have been a consideration.
This 1957 Panel truck has its third owner – Ralph Wescott of Largo, Florida. Its working days (may have never existed) are now over. It is kept in Ralph’s temperature controlled garage with several other classics.
In viewing this vehicle you will see the same options that are on the dealer invoice including a 347 Pontiac V-8, 4 speed Hydramatic transmission, power steering, electric windshield wipers, radio, turn signals, passenger seat, white wall tires, fresh-air heater, chrome grill and bumpers, clock, chrome dash knobs, two-tone paint, higher speed 3.07 differential, etc.
The Denver, Colorado GMC dealership then had a local NAPCO dealer add the 4X4 system. Thus, the total package with freight and handling was over $4,000. Quite a heavy price when you consider a base 1/2 ton was less than $1,500. You couldn’t carry $5.00 in groceries in 1957!
This panel truck was restored ground-up by the second owner, in Michigan, 15 years ago. He then placed it in storage as he did not like the feeling of the hard transmission shift. When Ralph bought it last year, the shifting problem was on the top of his list. It was carefully adjusted step by step with much detail. The Hydramatic now operates like new.
Note the 2 tone on the 1955-58 GM panel trucks consist of the white section by the door windows. This was to give local sign painters more success on adding a customer’s logo.
The attached photos show what a special panel Ralph has purchased. The original colors and loaded with options!
Note: The new battery caps. Ralph found the 1950’s screw style so he redesigned the battery to fit them.