1947 Second Series GMC 1-Ton Longbed
From Joe :
Probably not the usual approach, but I started with an engine and then looked for a truck for it ….
This GMC was the Featured Truck on Jim Carter's website for the month of July. Jim referred to it as a "very rare 1947 GMC."
Jim added, “Manufactured in Pontiac, Michigan only from April through about November 1947, this GMC is one of the few survivors of a 1-ton 9-foot-bed pickup. They were bought new for work duties! GMC called this series “New Design” whereas Chevy called the same year series “Advance Design” -- AD is the most commonly used tag. After years of heavy use and limited money by most owners through the 1950’s, most of these models were used until they were not financially repairable. Their heavy weight made them a good candidate for the crusher once they hit the salvage yard.”
In 2010 eagle-eyed Andy Seichen (a/k/a “The Pusherman” and Stovebolter) located the 302 engine for me from a mid-50’s 450 series GMC. After a complete engine rebuild, I began looking for a truck, leaning towards a 1947-1948 1-ton.
Andy came to the rescue again, finding this pickup on Craigslist. It was in central Minnesota and just what I wanted. The truck was missing its original 228 engine, radiator, driver’s door, and transmission (’47 was the last year for the non-synchro transmission).
I made this my daily hobby (work) project for about fifteen months. The big ’47 was disassembled to the frame and then reassembled with a blend of new and original used parts: complete brake system, spring shackles, kingpins, etc. In high school I restored a ’31 Model A Ford and years later a 1967 Corvette. However, this old truck was completely different -- everything is heavy duty and many parts are not being reproduced. A lot of time was spent searching eBay and salvage yards. Mike Robertson (Stovebolter) of Prosser, Washington provided a “barely used” SM420 synchronized transmission.
To improve driving quality I added tube shocks, mounted radial tires on new 16” rims, swapped the 5.14 “pumpkin” with a 4.10 from ’67-’72 ¾-ton (a 20% gain), and installed the 302. Jim Carter said that, originally, the GMC 302 sixes were used in the late-1950’s school buses and 2-1/2-ton trucks. This is the largest of the 1939 to 1959 GMC inline engines and it was an exact fit in my ’47. The larger cubic inch displacement requires a 2-barrel Stromberg WW carburetor to provide the additionally-needed fuel and air.
Mostly finished and with around 500 local break-in miles under my belt, I felt I was ready to hit the road with the truck. The 2013 American Truck Historical Society’s Annual Convention was being held in Yakima, Washington over Memorial Day weekend. Yakima was around 2,000 miles from home in Missouri and it would mean traveling through 10 states.
My co-pilot, Bob Dyck of Vassar, Kansas (owner and operator of “Bob’s Truck Farm and Rust Emporium”) and I left Smithville, Missouri a week before the convention. A few stops along the way included Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore, and Yellowstone National Park. The GMC cruised at 60 to 65 mph through both the flat lands and up through Wyoming’s Powder River Pass (9,666 feet elevation) in fourth gear.
At the ATHS convention there were over 825 trucks on display. It was an honor to have this truck featured in the ATHS Show Time special issue!
After two weeks and a total of 3,906 miles, the GMC was back in Missouri. We had a great trip and met a lot of wonderful people. GMC built a darned durable truck in 1947!
A few additional notes about these trucks from Jim Carter:
We have been privy to see this truck at the Stovebolt Reunion in Kansas City. She is a beauty. Now, we think she needs to make the trip to Homecoming! ~ Editor
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