Barn Found Pickup: 1940 GMC

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Cooped up in a barn for who knows how long, this 1940 GMC Pickup is loaded with character. “Ran when parked” is a phrase we see often, but we wonder how long it has been since this GMC was driven into this sleepy barn. Appearing solid, and with a potential to be a driver again, we are intrigued by this GMC and its $3,800 asking price. Find it here on craigslist out of Columbia, Connecticut. Thanks to reader Peter R for the submission!

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While not being the most informative for sale ad, this GMC looks like a cool truck that could be revived to driver duty. There are some obvious scars on the exterior, primarily the front fenders suffer from some denting. The passenger fender even suffers from a rip, and some holes that look to have been inflicted by force, versus rust. The grill and hood look pretty straight and the grill would likely polish up better than it appears now. Thankfully the cab looks solid with no obvious damage or rust. The running boards are in fair condition and the doors look good as well. We cannot make out much of the rear of the truck, but from what can be seen, it looks pretty good. Unfortunately there are no interior photos, but the glass in this truck looks good, aside from the rear window.

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We suspect this truck to still be powered by a 216 cubic inch inline 6 with a 3 speed manual transmission. The 216 is a great engine and basically remained the same, only gaining displacement over the years.   That being said, if the engine in this GMC was dead, another engine could likely be sourced without too much trouble. With great character, and appearing solid, we definitely like this one. Would you take the gamble on the $3,800 asking price to bring home this 1940 GMC?

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Comments

  1. Van

    Sweet. What would be good for a straight 6 swap. Wasn’t there a blue flame 6 with multiple carbs? Just need a 5speed, front disk and clear coat. Maybe a well worn leather bench seat.

  2. Mike

    I looked at a 40 Chevy a long time ago, that was reported to have been sitting on a equipment shed in rural SE Missouri, when I got to it, there it sat in all of its glory the Son of the Second owner of the truck was showing it to me, and I bought it, towed it home the only trouble I had was trying to figure out all the small holes in the passenger side, and I am talking like 30 of them all along the side. Well on the day I removed the front fenders to start my frame off, I found out what had caused them when a bunch of 22 Cal bullets fell in the floor of my shop. I contacted the man I bought it from and asked him if he knew anything about it, it said more than likely his sons had set up a target against that old shed years ago, and apparently they missed the target a lot. Well after I repaired and rebuilt the old truck I nicknamed it Lil Bullet. Wish I still had that old truck I really liked driving it!!!!

    • Jeffro

      Neat story

      Like 1
  3. Johnni B

    Seems like a very fair price to me.

  4. Joe Muzy

    I didn’t look up the value but looks like a bargain to me.

  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    Great find. Deserving of a complete restoration. It’s a good thing that trucks like this are located across the country or else my place would be more congested with PHD’s (projects half done). Unless this is a Canadian-built truck, this would have the GMC – sourced 228 motor, an OHV that was introduced the year before. This motor wasn’t anymore powerful than the Chevy 216 but it benefited from full pressure lubrication. I’m not sure if it had precision bearings on the conrods or if the ones I saw were converted. It was a good tough engine.

    Like 1
    • Dave Wright

      I have always preferred GMC’s to the Chev’s. they seem to be better designed and built. This is a dandy.

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi Dave. I tend to agree with you. GMC was a bit heavier than the Chevy. They might have shared some sheet metal but the GMC had a heavier power train and chassis. It probably wasn’t until the late 60s before the two of them became virtually identical.

        Growing up on the border between Montana and Alberta I was able to see trucks and cars from both sides. The Canadian GMC was virtually a Chevy with GMC badging. I remember a couple of early ’60s GMC pickups sitting side by side in front of the coffee shop in Sweetgrass; one had a V-6 and the other had a 235 Chevy motor. During the 30s till the early 50s Cdn Chevy dealers sold a truck called the ‘Maple Leaf’ which I understand was essentially a GMC with Chevy badging. It was confined to the larger trucks though….

    • Howard A Member

      Hi geomechs, “projects half done”, HA! I always thought PHD stood for “Piled High n’ Deep”. I, for one, am glad we have you here. I knew you’d know the specs on this.

  6. jeff6599

    You know boys, all we seem to hear are smarty statements about ‘ran when parked’. Even if it ran when parked a month ago, it may not run now if nephew took the battery or pushrods out without your knowledge. The guy who said ‘ran when parked’ really means it was driven in, not pushed in; that it didn’t have a broken rod or crankcase full of antifreeze. It actually ran! We ALL know that condensation and mother nature can take a toll and that is the risk. Let go of it, sweet people.

    • Mark S Member

      I’m with you on that Jeff it doesn’t mean anything to me, maybe it was knocking and still pulled itself into its death bed. Ran when parked? So what.

  7. RicK

    Not many GMCs of this vintage survived. I suspect they didn’t sell near as many as their Chevrolet counterpart. Anyhow, neat truck – and pretty sure the windshield is hinged at the top to allow it to swing open at the bottom and take advantage of natural air con, one of my fave features from back then. And that’s some great patina going on there . . .

  8. Howard A Member

    Resto-mod. Sorry purists, probably 10 to 1 want this as a hot rod, and not a restored pickup, which is a shame, as a whole generation will grow up thinking these had fire-breathing motors and cushy interiors. Most people today couldn’t fathom the idea of driving this, with a top speed of 50 mph, shaking and rattling, and good heavens, no air bag or crash avoidance system.( that last one always makes me chuckle) It’s amazing we ever made it through this era alive. Very nice find, but sorry, got resto-mod all over it, and I guess that’s ok.

  9. Mark S Member

    Looks like there might be a spare fender in the back, what do you guys think? Also I’m sorry to to say Howard restomod doesn’t mean hot rod, to me it could be bone stock inside and out with the drive line and front suspension out of a 1960’s or 70’s gm truck. Complete with a 250 cid inline 6 and a three on the tree. Which would maintain the character while being more road worthy that would be my vision, and no rustina I hate vehicles left in that state. I say do all the work or don’t do it. Patina is only popular because it’s cheep and requires no skills. But the tin worm is still eating away at this old truck.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Mark, don’t get me wrong, all good points. I agree wholeheartedly on your mods, however, there’s probably 10 people in the country that would keep this stock (looking) and 5 of them are already speaking here. Like it or not, at shows, there’s 10 resto-mods to 1 stock truck. ( or car) This style is just too attractive to pass up, and if they build it to sell, it’s going to have to be a resto-mod. We’re a dying breed, my friend.

      • Mark S Member

        Hey Howard, yes indeed dieing breed. But with all the yelling about green house gasses and save the environment talk, the hot rods of the future are going to be carbon fibre replicas with electric motors and banks of lithium ion battaries painted with water based paints, and speakers out the back to make it sound like any engine you’d like. We’ll take a truck like this and scan it with a hand held scanner and you’ll be able to put it on your computer screen and redesign it as you see fit and then build from a full set of plans. Oh Waite a minute we already have that tech, it just hasn’t caught on yet. In the future if you want a Cord 810 you’ll be able to scan an 810 and build it on a 3D printer. Oh ya we already have the tech for that too all we really need these old cars for now is for something to scan so the printer can get started.

      • ROAR

        The GMC’s NEW 228cuin came out in 1937 and with increases to 236,248, 256, 270 and finally 302 cuin’s, they all looked the same and used most of the same bits but for crank and bore. This means that lots of chebbys and GMC’s got the bigger engines that screwed right in.
        Back then CAD, Pontiac, Olds, Ford, Merk, Lincoln, Packard, Stude, and all MOPAR were flathead BUT for chebby that had a dip system and Buick and the GMC who were OHV, I’m told that the GMC engine was derived from the buick 6. This engine with its steel crank, decent bore and stroke and Fair head made it a favorite for the racing crowd, so much that several aftermarket 12 port heads became available clear back in the 40-50’s. They’re still found in vintage racing cars. That P/u started it all!

  10. jeff6599

    There is a lot to be said for actually driving one of these for a day, even in great shape. The large pushrod starter coming up from the floor, the chock control, am radio only if any, vacuum wipers which stop upon acceleration, metal interior which echoes (can you hear me now?), manual steering 5 to 6 turns, lock to lock, non synchro low gear so you cannot shift to low unless you’re stopped and on and on the list goes. Even if you appreciate the stressless reduced speed, not much highway travel for this guy! Be careful what you wish for boys. You may get it and be VERY disappointed.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Jeff, you’re right. Don’t forget marginal brakes ( that takes both feet on the pedal to stop) limited sight from inside, feeble heat ( and even less of a defroster), and HOT in the summer, rough ride, AND HOW MUCH FOR 6VOLT HEADLIGHT??? ( 50 bucks for a new T3 3 prong sealed beam on ebay, but think of the joy of having 2 headlights again,,,,poof,,dink,,oh, oh, dang it)

      • ROAR

        Come on! the brakes are the same size as that on the 55 chev cars and p/u’s, I think that the early corvettes had the same 1-3/4″ X 11″ ( I’ll have to measure) and they worked well enough if not to today’s standards. Again, I think they came with 4:11 diff and 700X15 78 profile tyres so 70 was reasonable.

    • Woodie Man

      yeah…so?

    • Norm Wrensch

      Jeff, if you have the three speed back then you would have synchros on second and third but the four speeds had no synchros, they were all sliding gears.

  11. Rustytech Member

    Lots of viable options here. Restore it, make it driveable only, restomod, this is a nice blank slate. I like it!

  12. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Might be a barn/shed find but not in that space the pics were taken…..just makes me wonder…..

  13. Rob

    The motor, if original, would be a GMC inline six 228 engine. Second year of 228 use in light duty which ended in ’53.

  14. Rob

    Also, this is a ’39 GMC and not a ’40 (provided the gauge cluster is three round gauges and not a rectangular cluster) ’39 had no parklights on the fenders and they were in the bottom of the headlamps. This is a photo of one of my two ’39 GMCs’ dash. Right front frame rail will be stamped with the model and serial number which will define exactly what year this is. The tops of the fenders on this have rot which could be from a parklight mount, but there are no bolt holes for fastening a parklight so I suspect this is a ’39.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Rob. You’re right. The lack of park lights flew right past me. Good catch.

  15. Jay B

    This CT find is nice, the GMC half ton is hard to locate since the numbers sold originally and those that survived is smaller than the Chevy’s of that year. I have always preferred the thicker grill bars of the GMC over the Chevy, and the three gauge cluster of the dash.

    A picture of my 39, 2005 build in Oregon, purchased in New Jersey 2006

    Like 2
    • Andrew

      Jay B
      I have this exact photo of your truck before you bought it, as inspiration to get mine built. I have other photos of your truck taken during various stages of the build. Mine is Australian build spec.

  16. Jay Wright

    where is it now? *throws the straps in the trailer and loading up loads up the truck.

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