1) '53 GMC


While searching for a learning project Jack stated he previously located 2 Chevy or GMC pickups. We checked them out and found that one was a 1/2 ton GMC and the other was a 3/4 ton Chevy. Neither one was in very good shape ,however we decided to restore the GMC and use the Chevy for parts. The 2 vehicles were purchased for $500.00 and transported by trailer to the shop. Once the pickups were at the shop we started a list of things that needed attention, after we saw how long that would take we gave up on the list and started disassembly of the GMC, that was a mistake, we should have taken the time then to complete the list.  

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                                                     (A)                                                                                                     (B)

A) The 1/2 ton GMC pickup that was to be restored. 

B) The 3/4 ton Chevy pickup to be used for parts. As you can see, both vehicles were in pretty sorry shape, we decided next time      we would start a little farther up the food chain. 

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                                                (C)                                                                                                     (D)

C) GMC left front fender after Jack removed it and placed it in the fender rack. 

D) The same fender after I did some hammer, dolly, and bull's eye pick  work and applied the shrinking disk

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                                                    (E)                                                                                                     (F)                                      

E) Rusted out area at the back of the left front fender. 

F) The rusted area has been cut out, a patch fabricated and spot welded in place.

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                                                    (G)                                                                                                     (H)

G) The same fender after more hammer, dolly, bull's eye pick and shrinking (metal finishing).

H) Then, after "All Metal" filler was applied and sanded, the fender was cleaned and etched and was ready for sealer priming. 

The remaining steps taken to prep the fender for paint, but not photographed, were:

1) 1 coat of Cloverdale "Clova Prime 21" epoxy primer sealer (Gray).

2) 3 coats of Cloverdale "Clova Prime 55" acrylic urethane primer surfacer (Buff). primer (buff color).

3) Guide coat of rattle can grey primer applied then board sanded with 180 grit sandpaper until the guide coat was gone.

4) Another coat of surfacing primer was applied and wet sanded with 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper to get the 180 grit scratches out.

5) Finally another coat of sealer primer was applied which when dry could be directly painted over. For us, however, the overcoat window of time was exceeded, so when we were ready to paint we scuffed the fender with a 320 grit (gray) pad then cleaned the fender with Windex and DX330. 

Note This was before I found out about 3M Dry Guide Coat which makes guide coat sanding much easier.        

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                                                            (I)                                                                                                       (J)                               

I &J) The right front fender like the left needed a fair amount of patching and metal working which I won't repeat, however, the headlight opening had been previously repaired. When the filler was removed, the metal underneath had been heavily filed and/or ground on. The metal was paper thin so it had to be replaced.  First the headlight surround was cut out of the Chev fender and shaped to fit (there was a slight difference). Next the headlight surround was cut out of the GMC fender and the Chevy replacement welded in, then metal finished

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                                                         (K)                                                                                                     (L)                                        

K&L) Rear cab corners that obviously needed replacing. We cut these out and replaced them (not photographed) with a new set acquired from "Old Car Parts" in Portland OR.

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                                                          (M)                                                                                                    (N)                                                 

M) The underfloor of the cab as it was being repaired, the bad cab corners are still in place. 

N) Bil finishing underfloor repairs, the repaired right rear cab corner can be seen.

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                                                  (O)                                                                                                    (P)                           

O)Tailgate after spot welds have been removed with spot weld cutter and top and bottom rolls were cut in the middle with an air cutter.

P) Tailgate ends, top and bottom rolls removed from the tailgate.

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                                                     (Q)                                                                                                    (R)

Q) Tailgate after being straitened, reassembled and prepped for paint.

R) Cab completely repaired and ready for guide coat sanded.

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                                                            (S)                                                                                                        (T)   

S) Both rear fenders had been previously welded to the running boards, this is the left fender showing where we cut it loose from the running board.                                 

T) the same fender after being repaired and metal finished.

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                                                     (U)                                                                                                        (V)                                       

U) The GMC frame after removal of the body and bed.

V) The same frame after washing, sandblasting and painting with Cloverdale "DTM" polyurethane enamel.

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                                                     (X)                                                                                                        (Y)  

X) The basic truck is 1953 and the engine is 1959 so the 2 motor mounts had to be modified into a single mount. The lower piece is a portion of the 53 engine mount and the upper is a portion of the 59 mount. 

Y) The 2 portions welded together to form a single mount. 

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                                                   (Z)                                                                                                       (A1)

Z) The combined mount being tested on the 59 engine.

A1) The finished mount in place supporting the newly painted 59 engine.                                                 

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                                                    (B1)                                                                                                     (C1)

B1) Assembled body, front fenders and grill surround freshly painted.

C1)  Freshly painted bed metal pieces with some additional filling on the on the bed sides.                                                      

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                                                      (D1)                                                                                                     (E1) 

D1) Body and frame assembled and ready for the bed.

E1) The bed in place including the floor assembled from a kit purchased from The Filling Station.                                 

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                                                  (F1)                                                                                                      (G1)

F1) !959 270 cubic inch GMC engine, freshly painted, installed and operating.

G1) The exhaust manifold newly painted, after the masking tape is removed the paint will be cured by the heat of the running engine exhaust.                                                       

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                                                   (H1)                                                                                                     (I1) 

H1) The interior during insulating and assembly. The insulation was purchased at the local lumberyard, it has a bubble wrap core sheeted on both sides by aluminum foil. 

H2) Finished interior ready for the new owner.                                            

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                                                     (J1)                                                                                                      (K1)

J1) The finished 1953 GMC pickup.

K1) The pick up on it's way to San Jose where it's new owner resides.