Blue Chip Pickup: 1959 GMC 1/2 Tonner

Pickups are hot, no doubt about it. For Chevy/GMC guys and gals, it started with the 1967-1972 “Action Line“, then the trend moved forward with the Square Body versions (1973-1987). Now there’s a reverse move as the Chevrolet Task Force and GMC “Blue Chip Series” (1955-1959) have settled into collector’s sights. And for your review is this 1959 GMC 100 half tonner. This weathered truck is located in Encampment, Wyoming and is available, here on eBay for an opening bid of $9,500.

In 1959 a Chevy truck was a Chevy and a GMC was, well something a bit different. And the most noticeable difference was under the hood as a GMC, such as our subject truck, was powered by a 171 HP, 336 CI V8, not a typical Chevy small-block. If you think that GMC engine looks familiar, it is, it’s basically a resized Pontiac V8. According to Stovebolt, the ’59 version of the 336 was a smaller bore 389. Regardless, this GMC is a non-runner, and the seller states, “ I was told it ran in 2000 but I did not hear it run. I have NOT tried to get it running and will not do so now…that is up to the new owner” – there’s a red flag! Additionally, the brakes are inoperative. Gear changing is accomplished via a four-speed manual transmission.

The exterior is loaded up with patina, but it looks real – there’s too much Bondo for it to be posed. What remains of the Reef Green finish isn’t in great shape but it is certainly a typical shade for the era. Another place where attention will be needed is in the cargo bed, or what’s left of it – it’s mostly splinters now. Surprisingly, the brightwork, specifically the front bumper and chrome grille look great – almost too good, perhaps they have been reworked. It’s going to need some taillights too!

The interior is a typical ’50s austere truck environment. The heavy vinyl-clad bench seat has some rips but the rest looks pretty good. The seller adds, “Take a look at the original grey floors………AMAZING ! The dash is gorgeous. Has original rubber floor mat too”. I would have to agree, it is truly well preserved with the aforementioned seat issue being the only thing that needs attention. Having said that, the ignition switch is missing and there are no keys. That can be easily remedied with a replacement switch, but an attempted starting exercise, in the interim, will require touching wires together.

The attention-getter here, I would suggest, is the fact that this is a GMC pickup, very similar to the more commonly found Chevrolet, but it has gone its own way with a GMC engine. Sure, it needs work but it seems like a good place to start a truck project. The auction is close to ending and no one is bitting, so far, with that opening $9,500 bid. That being the case, maybe this GMC pickup may make a second appearance with a lower opening – and that might be something to wait for, right?


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  1. local_sheriff

    Love this gen trucks especially with the fleetside bed. While I’d like to have one it’s completely out of the question simply because I’m too tall to comfortably fit in the cab. This very week I assisted with installing a TMI bench in my chief’s ’55 stepside and even that didn’t help much…

    It’d be extremely interesting just how many Pontiac go-fast goodies could be utilized in the GMC spec mill and how much it could possibly wake it up. At least in car engine form Pontiac engines can be screamers. IMO this is a great unusual starting point just not at the $

    Like 2
  2. Dave

    I have a ’58 stepwise. The GMC specific model doesn’t get the aftermarket support that the Chevy does, but most stuff is identical. I made the bedwood myself, really nothing to it and no reason to buy the premise kits.

    Like 3
  3. Lowell Peterson

    Absolutely the right asking price. Sold one for a customer recently half as good chev 6 cylinder not run 45 years , rusty , had 15 buyers ! Yes cash in hand all show up to pay $6500 ! Amazed me and the customer. Ended up as bidding war! Owner asked $3500, I didn’t listen!

    Like 1
  4. Mountainwoodie

    As General McAuliffe said in another context “Nuts”……

  5. GCS Member

    It didn’t sell? Perfect price and actually worth a lot more with hardly any rust. I prefer a 55-56 GMC but this is a painfull tug at the heart strings in this shape.

    Like 1
    • GCS Member

      I just noticed the other toys behind it. Must be testing the waters. I love seeing these. Barnfinds has become an addiction due to these.

      Like 1

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