MarrsCars

General info on 1936 GMC pickup please

Recommended Posts

My father has owned a '36 GMC for as long as I can remember, and it has been sitting in the garage waiting for it's restoration for just as long. I'm trying to spur him to finally get to work on the rig but wanted some advice from the folks here first on the viability of going back to all original as compared to some other option. Here's what I know, sorry for no pics but he's half a country away at present so I cannot take any and he is not computer literate.

Body, bed and fenders are fully intact, I believe he also has many trim items like bumpers, grille, door handles, wheel mounts, and so on.

Body has very little rust and is re-primered every so many years.

Chassis is intact.

No engine or transmission.

No interior or seats.

No dash components or gauges.

No glass.

This will not be done to show standards, just a truck for my pops to run around in and have fun cruising. It won't be built for resell so that doesn't factor in, it will be handed down through the family. He will accordingly not be looking to spend "restoration" dollars on this, and we will be doing most or all of the work.

I am just starting to look into this for him and you're my first stop for info. What is parts availability on a truck like this, even repro? Of the items mentioned, what missing parts will be the hardest to locate either used or repro? Where are the best places to look, there is a company that advertises on Speed Channel for their old truck catalogs but those don't cover this age of GMC.

What is the best engine option if we want to go for near original, whats out there? Is this truck destined to become a street or rat rod or can it be made whole for reasonable cost, that's what I'm after. If all else fails he may put the body on a modern diesel chassis (keeping all the unused parts) and leave it to the next generation to restore if it comes to that.

Also does anyone know the numbers these were made in or an estimate about how many survive today, or are registered?

Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marrscars, I have a 1936 GMC T-14 1/2 ton pickup I have owned it for 34 years and have worked on and off of it for years. You have many great questions and I will try to answer some of them. Providing that your dads truck is a pickup it could be a model T-14 , T-15 or T-16 this is kind of like the modern numbering system that GMC uses today 1500,2500 or 3500 from lighter to heavy. Your dads truck is probably the rarest of all GMC pickups. You could easily say that their are fewer than 10 of these pickups in decent shape. I can not remember the exact number but I think they made about 4,000 units, which is nothing compared to Chevrolet of 36. There are several reasons for low production , GMC dealers sold mostly heavy trucks their dealerships were on the industrial side of town and most customers were farmers and commercial accounts that happened to need a smaller companion truck. Chevrolet dealers had much more traffic and were able to move more pickups. The other factor was that GM was in the middle of a major redesign on all cars and there was a trickle down effect on pickups. The beginning of 1936 only Chevrolet had a pickup which was a carryover model. Some collectors call it a 3 hinge cab or a tall cab essentially it had a lot of wood timber in the cab with a fabric top these trucks had mechanical brakes. GMC decided to start their light duty pickup line in 1936 but decided to wait until all the Chevrolet tooling was in place for the mid year change over so they got a late start. As far as restoration goes your dad has the best of all worlds, the truck is really rare and distinctive and you can utilize a lot of reproduction parts from 36 Chevy. The major difference is the engine is a Oldsmobile 6 cylinder out of 1935 or 36. If you look back on old threads you will find a guy who has a complete 36 Oldsmobile flat head that came out of a running car that he wants to sell! Another difference is GMC had a 7' bed and Chevy had a 6 or 8' bed. The front mount spare tire is on opposite fenders. The bumper has a downward curve on the GMC. The grille and hoodsides are different. The instrument panel is the same as Chevy, but the dial faces are brown on the GMC and black for Chevy. There may be other differences but can not think of them now. So now my thoughts If it was my truck I would put it back together . Go to Jim Carter online truck catalog and you will see plenty of parts for sale that will work. When it comes to used parts you will be able to use lots of parts from 36,37 & 38 Chevy you can also use GMC pickup and even some cab parts from 1 1/2 ton and larger trucks up to 1938. I might even have a dash board that will work for you. EBAY regularly has a vender that specializes in rebuilt gauge and will put in the brown dial faces for you. As far as turning it into a hotrod you probably are not going to get alot of sympathy or advice from most of the guys (myself included)! I can tell you that these trucks are narrow and there is no way that you can bolt this body on any full size pickup chassis especially a diesel. I know that their is a magazine called classic trucks (oxymoron) that is a pickup hotrod do it yourselfer and they talk about using S-10 or Dodge Dakota or ordering a complete running gear from one of their venders $$$$$$. I guess it just depends on what interests your dad. If you got it up and running the original route he would have a decent driving truck with hydraulic brakes with its only limitation is the rear axel ratio so 45 mph is as fast as you could expect to drive it, but he could rebuild the chassis himself, buy a good running engine and get out and drive it and fix the rest on the go. You can PM me if you would like, Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow Michael, thank you! I will print this out for my dad to read and I may very well have more questions for you as we move forward. I think this may be a slow summer for the project, my parents intend lots of traveling, but hopefully sooner than later as it's time has come and now that I understand how rare the vehicle is, I will push towards completing it as close to original as possible. That has always been our preference, but we weren't sure it would even be possible (on a practical budget for something like this, not spending $100,000 on a restoration).

I found this site after reading your remarks, some good info and lists many known trucks, even those not restored or still in parts.

http://www.amaoptics.com/patients/truck_1.htm

Again, a multitude of thanks, this may even be what he needs to get a fresh motivation to tackle the old rig. Merry Christmas my friend!

Update: I read your comments to my father over the phone and he was very excited. Apparently we narrowly lost the truck a year ago because my father, assuming he would never get around to finishing the work, gifted it to my nephew who then decided to sell it to fund a car he could drive right away. Clearly not my father's intentions for the truck, he bought it back! That's very much how my dad is, always willing to help the family out, but I just had to laugh at that one. He also gifted a Warlock to another nephew and an Indy Edition Dodge Ram with the blue and white Viper livery to my sister. He told me after hearing how rare the GMC was that we need to fix it up, and indicated that it will be mine when we're finished. This has really turned into an amazing gift for both my father and myself. Thank you for that, I never thought I'd get so excited about a pick-up, but I remember this thing being in our garage for as long as I remember being alive, he's probably had this thing 35-40 years or so just like yours so it definitely has history and meaning to both of us.

I found out his is what he calls a "low boy" and I've read about tall cabs, but he said he loved this one because it has that rakish look. He confirmed the condition and parts we have, but he did say we have the dash so thank you kindly but we will not require your part. He said he had three beds at one point but may have sold the wrong (meaning correct) bed, the one he has isn't round on the side rail tops but rather squared off. All the ones I've seen online have rounded tops. I told him to measure to verify as you said they were 7" beds. Do you know if this square version is from a GMC, Chevy or what it could be from? He may be able to locate the original beds as I think he knows the buyer.

By the way, I'll continue to post info that may be useful to others in the future here and will PM you with specific requests.

Edited by MarrsCars
Updated post (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marrscars, Glad that your going to go forward with project. A little history on mine, I bought it from a neighbor when I was 12 years old for $30.00 and that was 42 years ago. it was only missing the front axel, but the engine had little compression. When I was 18 years old I took the engine apart and found out that it had been bored out before and their was not enough cylinder wall left. The machine shop told me we could sleeve the engine or find another. After a couple of years I found a guy on the East coast that was turning his 36 GMC into a hotrod so I bought his engine and spent a small fortune on shipping. The good news is the engine had never been rebuilt, the bad news is the engine had been at the machine shop for 2 1/2 decades waiting to be rebuilt. The shop called one day last year and told me to pick up the engine was I excited. Then they said they were shutting down the business and that they never got around to it! I took my truck to load it up and then came the surprise, The engine was fully machined just not assembled. The owners of the shop had done the work years ago and forgot that they did! This years project is to assemble engine. To answer some of your concerns the proper bed length is 87 1/2 inches , the top of the bed angles out at about 45 degrees and then it curls under and looks like a 1 1/2 inch diameter tube. I believe that these bed panels are reproduced because it is the same as Chevrolet just a different length. As far as your concern about cost, we all know that these projects end up having twists and turns that equal money. We also are over twenty-one so we also know that we can not sell these project and get our money out of them! I can not say for certain what this project will cost, a lot will depend on condition, how much is missing, your skill and abilities, your expectation on the fit and finish and if you want to show it for trophies. However much can be bought as reproduction, this pickup has very little chrome, it has very little wood in the cab, upholstery and glass. So what you are dealing with is power train, chassis and condition of sheet metal (rust & dents) I will throw a number range out there of $10,000 to $50,000. The low end of the range would be to get the truck to run with a take out engine and a "Broom paint job" my high number would be a rebuilt chassis and a very nice paint job. Yes you can spend more if you want it perfect , but remember that these were built as trucks and they were never perfect when new. I would love to help keep your project alive and in so doing it might help me keep focused on mine. You should PM me with your contact info that way you will get answers quicker as I only get around to this site every few weeks. A few more facts my truck still has the factory paint which is Omaha Orange with black fenders. The interior sheet metal was painted with a brown wrinkle paint. The Chevrolets were black inside. My truck resides with me in Central California, Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now