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1952 Pickup - Butterscorched

The Overhaulin' '52 GMC
February, 2009
By Grant Peterson
Photography by Classic Trucks Staff
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It's nice to think that we can usually count on a few things in life--a warm bed, a place to come home to, finding your car where you left it. You know, the little things. But what happens when one of these things suddenly isn't there? I can't tell you from experience, and I'm grateful for that; John, however, from Los Angeles, unfortunately can tell you firsthand.

You might expect the worse to happen in a place like L.A., but that doesn't make it any easier. John went out to jump in his '52 GMC truck, just like he had everyday for the last few years, only to find it missing one morning. I can only imagine how he must have felt. Losing your keys or a wallet is bad enough, but to have your ride turn up missing must put a real damper on your day. Luckily, John found a "receipt" on his door thanking him for his donation. What? Why would he have donated his one and only means of beloved transportation to some "charity," especially after dreaming and searching for the right truck for so long? He had even sold his '65 Impala to keep this truck. Could one of his neighbors have finally gotten fed up with the loud belching straight pipes that alerted everyone to his coming and going? But seriously, who'd go to such lengths?

Still in shock, John called the number on the receipt for the charity to get to the bottom of this. He got nowhere. This went on for the better part of a week to no avail, and you could only imagine the frustration and disbelief John must have gone through. It seems that by week's end he was finally getting somewhere, and was told where the truck was. He found it alright, but it was nothing like it used to be. It wasn't good--it was beyond great!

Now the cat was out of the bag. It turns out that John's family had planned this whole fiasco behind his back. His '52 GMC was to be the next subject on the cable TV series Overhaulin', and while John was making dead-end phone calls, his truck was getting a major facelift by Chip Foose, Revo Reeves, Jerry Bermudez, J.C. Genty, the Nance Brothers, and Scratch, to name a few. Of this General Motors body style, the GMCs have never been known to have a "good-looking" fascia. So the team put their minds together and agreed to give the GMC a decidedly '55 Chevy-passenger-car-styled front end. The execution of this idea came to pass by using several '55 grilles from D&P Classic Chevy flanked by the same year parking and headlights, all of which are underlined by an upside down '56 front bumper.

With this exercise in subtlety and restraint completed, they moved to the rear of the truck with the same MO in mind. The essentially new bed from Brothers Truck Parts was shortened about 2 inches and raised 4. The front panel was curved to match the curvature of the back of the cab. The running boards and splash aprons were tweaked to coincide with the bed mods. Take note of how the rear fenders come through the inside of the bed to form factory-looking tubs. The Tri-Five influence was used again to round out the aft of the truck with a Nomad bumper that mounted custom taillights built into the bumper guards. It's important to recognize that the pleasing proportions of this truck were achieved without the usual chop, section, or channeling done to these mid-century trucks.The chassis is comprised of a Monte Carlo-based frontend with Brothers/Baer power discs all the way around, power steering, and a No Limit four-link attached to the Diff Works rearend. The Guaranty Chevrolet HT 383 crate motor that is sandwiched between the K&N air filter and MagnaFlow mufflers smokes the Michelin rubber that encases the--you guessed it--Foose Design wheels.

After Caliber Collision Center was done with the finish body and flawless paintwork, Brothers took care of the one-piece windshield. Stitchcraft then stepped up and covered the creature comforts in tan leather and carpet. All of this and more were crammed into one of the most stressful weeks John had ever had. But rest assured he's been breathing easy since his GMC was returned. For the Overhaulin' crew, it was back to work to surprise yet another unsuspecting motorist.


Facts & Figures
John "Overhauled" Doe
Los Angeles, California
1952 GMC
Rearend: Diff Works
Rear suspension:No Limit 4-link
Rear brakes:Baer
Front suspension: Monte Carlo IFS
Front brakes: Brothers/Baer
Steering box:Flaming River
engine:HT 383 SBC, Guaranty Chevrolet
Heads: Vortec
Exhaust / Mufflers:MagnaFlow
Transmission: Turbo 400
Style: '52 GMC
Modifications:Overhaulin' Team
Fenders front / rear:modified stock w/'55 Chevy caps/modified stock
Grille: '55 Chevy, D&P Classics
Bed:Brothers Truck Parts
Bodywork and paint:Caliber Collision Center
Headlights / Taillights:'55 Chevy / custom
Bumpers: '56 Chevy front / Nomad rear
Stereo: Alphasonik
Upholstery by: Stitchcraft Interiors


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