1948 GMC Short Bed: Reasonably Priced?

right front

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This pickup listed here on craigslist in Anacortes, Washington seems very reasonably priced at $3,000 for a running and driving truck. It looks mostly stock but has a late model 235 and a four speed as well as those chrome wheels. There’s not information provided except to say he took a little trip in it.


The truck looks pretty sold with no obvious signs of rust. The top seems to have been primered and is showing surface rust.


He’s provided no pictures of the engine and just the one picture of what almost looks like a couch for the front seat. There seems to be no floor in the bed, hopefully there’s one in the cab.

right rear

This could be a truck you could just purchase and drive, making repairs as necessary. Perhaps you could have the first person who wants to borrow it put a floor in the bed (Sure you can use my truck to move, but you’ll need to fix the bed a bit). There’s lots of potential here to go with the patina. One might want to modernize the suspension and brakes or one could even enjoy it as it is. What would you do with it? Would you update it or leave it as is?

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  1. Frankie

    They put up a lot of pictures, just not of any showing the engine, dash, cab floor, bed.

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  2. jim s

    i see parts of at least 5 other chevy/gmc trucks from the same time frame in the photos. i hope the house is a single not 2 unit. nice find. on the subject of people wanting to borrow your truck, no a/c and no p/s plus a manual trans will keep the requests down. if you tell the person asking that it is a ” 3 on the tree ” that will have even people who can drive manuals walking away.

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    • Mr. Ed

      3 on a tree is no harder than a floor mounted shift.

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  3. Woodie Man

    Back in the early seventies in Colorado these were a dime a dozen. I had a five window…..’48 if memory serves me…might have been a ’50…..different grilles and windshields primarily through ’54.. This one looks like a good starting point though why there are not any useful shots of the truck beats me. Whassup with that?

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  4. Rick

    Whattaya talking about, Woodie Man? No useful shots? That’s a nice shot on the Ferry!

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  5. Terry J

    The best shot is off the rear quarter showing the bottom of the cab behind the door. If there’s gonna be rust, that’s where it’ll be. Looks pretty good. I’d drive it as is. Not a freeway hauler though. The old torque tube rear ends were low geared and the 235s were made for lower rpms. Had a couple of those myself through the years. They were known to wear out pretty fast, and then after they were worn out, they’d last forever. :-) Terry J

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  6. Mr. Bond

    I owned a few myself. Drove one daily for a few years. The 4 speed is a nice touch. It only adds bull low, but the floor shift is nicer than the 3 on the tree. 235 beats the babbit bearings on the original 216. Takes revs a bit better. If I needed a truck, I’d be all over this. Reminds me of my friends 1950 with the “3 on the tree”. He drove it across Canada, and by the time he reached Quebec, he had to use his belt on the shifter to hold it in 3rd with his foot! He found a good used trans and was on his way again in short order. Great old trucks!

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  7. JW

    Love it and would drive it just like it is, some better shots of interior and few of engine bay would sell it quicker but we are talking craigslist.

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  8. HoA Howard AMember

    Well, certainly this person does a lot with these. ( parts and cabs all over) I’ve said it many times, this era pickup trucks are hot right now, and here’s another “flipper”. Back when GMC was really different than a Chevy, and I’d bet you’d have no trouble selling this ( unlike a TVR,,,just kidding) I always liked the GMC grills, always fancier than the Chevy. What makes this attractive, is it’s ready to go, and just about anybody can fix the bed. To be honest, I’m surprised the seller isn’t asking more for it, as they clearly must know what they’re worth. Even as driver, you can’t go wrong here.

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  9. Brian (Michigan)

    In the rear shot, it looks like the frame is twisted. The shot of the passenger side with the door open, it looks really rough around the latch and weather seal surface with some rattle can cover up.
    I’d pay maybe a grand

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  10. Gary K

    These old pick em up trucks were great, had a beautiful ’54 GMC back in about ’78, put a total rebuilt 235 six in place with the old 4 spd on floor with granny, so low you could climb a tree. I like the ’54 best with the one piece windshield and the top of the bed was flat not angled. Easy trucks to work on and I think GMC had it over the Chevy as far as dash and grille design. The seller of this GMC seems to shy away from any description of the body, open bed, and engine condition. Being the more desirable short bed truck alone tells me his price does seem fair that is if it drives straight and is not rusted too bad underneath. Fix the bed with a wood kit, drive it and work on it as you go.

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  11. Dave Wright

    I owned and drove a late 53 GMC 1/2 ton in the early 70’s. Mine had a full chrome front end and corner Windows. It seems that GMC had several options for chrome on the grills. This is the basic, I have seen 2 other more extensive chrome treatments including mine. I have always preferred the GMC to the Chev if I had a choice. The round gauges and higher quality engines. Mine had big tires, air suspension, a 283 with power glide. It was painted orange and had a Tijuana interior. Great old truck. In the days in so cal when trucks were much more rare than today, I was very popular for moving people and picking up building materials. My son just bought a 53 Chev with a 5 window cab and a 235 that was an orignal Willig freight truck. Probably a parts runner, still has orignal Willig paint and sighns, runs and drives like a top.good interior. Bought it without a title for 1000.00. He is using it on his ranch while we do a Lein sale to get the paper. My 8 year old Grandson drives it all over……shifts gears, uses the clutch et all. There isn’t a dent or spot of rust in it anywhere. Several guys passed it up because it was missing the title.

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  12. Doug Towsley

    Ill just say that seems a sweet deal. Would need onsight inspection as it seems the photos are carefully framed and might be hiding something. But a flipper could do well, and its affordable for your life long dream toy as well. Or just something with way the more cool factor that some plastic POS modern truck you cant work on and one shopping cart or parking lot ding from a very expensive repair bill.

    Check out this Truck, Just saying. See Pix, Personally, Id be more inclined to put on the there “Johnson Motors, TRIUMPH” or the famous Big D cycles, or Portlands own Cycle Hub, old Triumph & BSA Shop. Heres 2 videos of last weekends show here in Portland, Both videos have the truck, but enjoy the rest,
    This ones from Mike T of our local Norton club,

    See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nphjke-ljMw

    This ones from David R of the Oregon Vintage MC

    See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za3az70uJxo&feature=youtu.be

    Promo video making fun of Hipsters. Pretty much applys to all these wanna be car shop flippers as well. Check out the grinder action…Ohhh Sparks! COOL!

    See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMwxnLwcIOs

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  13. Doug Towsley

    Sorry, all the photos of the truck i was trying to post are having issues. Check out the first 2 you tube videos to see it. Sorry, But simple make over, classy. Everyone who saw it raved about it.

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  14. Doug Towsley

    Not exactly the same truck, but these were Trucks owned by Johnson motors Triumph (JOMO the Western US Factory distributors) and were on their way to Catalina Island for the races in the 1950s. I know a guy who raced in 1958 on a Triumph prepared by legendary tuner and Triumph shop owner Bud Ekins. Ekins was a close friend of McQueen and it was actually him that performed the jump over the wire on a Triumph disguised as a German Bike in the movie the “Great Escape”. These trucks were painted in the Blue and White colors of the that shop, Wonder how valuable they would be today?

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    • Dave Wright

      Great photo……….I wonder who made the bodies……

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  15. Wayne Thomas

    What is it with Washington State? So many BFs posted here are in Washington.

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    • JW

      I also see a lot from Pennsylvania.

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    • Dave Wright

      I think that traditionally in Washington state we were not as quick to buy the newest models and drove our cars longer than a place like LA. Even today, when I visit my old home Spokane, we see a lot of older cars being driven every day. The coast might be different, but in eastern Washington, Idaho, Montana we are a pretty conservitive group that value quality over age and the rust issues are not too bad.

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  16. Matt Tritt

    Wrong engine and wheels. This truck came with a 270, not a 235 (or 216), which was superior to any Chevy engine at the time. It rains a LOT in Anacortes.

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