Canadian Gold: 1953 GMC 9430 Shortbed

Most of us love old trucks, especially when they look like they were used but not beat, maintained but not babied. This 5-window 1953 GMC 9430 shortbed pickup can be found here on eBay in Sweet Grass, Montana which borders Canada. There is no reserve and the current bid price is just over $5,900.

I always wonder how vehicles get this look, almost like the “patina” (i.e. surface rust) was somehow applied because it’s so even in certain areas. The front end of this beauty doesn’t show a flake of paint but from the edge of the hood and front fenders back it looks like normal wear. The photos of this one are plentiful, nice job, seller! I can’t imagine how hard it would be to sell a truck like this, as in, I would want to keep it forever.

The seller says that this was a Canadian model GMC and there is a 9430 badge on the front fenders. Our friend and frequent commenter and truck expert, Geomechs, lives around this area if I remember right and I think he may even have a truck similar to this one. It’s one of GM’s Chevy division’s Advanced Design or GMC’s New Design series of trucks.

The interior looks just about exactly what you thought it would look like and probably what it should look like after 66 years of use. The seller calls this a barn find and an incredibly solid truck. It looks like it, there would be so much more rust on this pickup if it would have been in an area that used a lot of road salt.

They mention that because it’s a Canadian GMC it has Chevy’s Stovebolt-six instead of GMC’s US-based engines. Can anyone confirm that? Geo? They have provided two YouTube videos, here and here, and it’s great to see and hear the truck in action. Have any of you owned a 1953 GMC pickup?


  1. JerryDeeWrench

    Yes its a Chev engine must likely a 216 . looks like a solid truck make it run and stop and drive it.

    Like 3
  2. JerryDeeWrench

    I looked closer at the oil presure gauge it is a 60 lb gauge which makes it a 261 engine with full presure oil to the crank. Very rare.

    Like 3
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Jerry, I’m going to guess 235. In ‘53, when Chevy started its transition to full pressure lube, and phased out the 216, the first 235 engines retained the old two-stud valve cover. It got phased out during the year and the flat topped cover took over. I might add to the confusion and mention that Chevy sold a 235 Babbitt-pounder before that. It was used in the larger trucks and in 1950 was put in cars equipped with the ‘revolutionary NEW’ Powerglide (super contradiction in terms) automatic transmission.

      Like 6
      • JerryDeeWrench

        Geomech you could be right about that is a full presure oiler I forgot about that engine. Good catch

        Like 2
      • Kenton

        I have a 1951 GMC 9100 1.5 ton. I’m not sure if the engine is original but its a 235 with a 2 stud valve cover. There was lead babbit on the crank and splash lube. The truck was my Great Grand fathers then my Uncles …then mine to rebuild, I guess you could call it a family farm find. We Farm N.E. of Calgary Alberta Canada

        Like 5
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Boy, Kenton, that’s in nice shape. I’m sure there are a lot of stories that that old truck could tell…

        Like 3
  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    Growing up on the border did give me some interesting insights on cars and trucks. GMC was a real mixed bag for the border region. I saw GMC 228s and 216s in trucks with Montana plates; the 216 was obviously a Chevy engine. I understand that the genuine Canadian-built GMC light trucks ran Chevy engines (which this one obviously has), complete with splash lube conrods, poured-babbit bearings and anemic oil pressure. Big trucks were largely American and used the Pontiac-based or GMC-built engines. 1.5 – 3 ton Canadian trucks could be either/or. Now if you want a real puzzler, check out a Maple Leaf…

    Like 4
    • Howard A Member

      Didn’t we see this truck before? I seem to remember those lights on the cab and snow tires on the front of a 2 wheel drive? Looks like a good ol’ truck,,,that will most assuredly become a resto-mod.

      Like 4
      • M.C.S.

        PLEASE, NO!

        This truck deserves so much better. There are far too many “resto-mods” in the world already, and not nearly enough originals!

        Like 2
  4. Tyler

    That is a Chevy engine. I don’t think the 261 was introduced until 1954. The 60lb oil pressure gauge indicates a full-pressure engine, that would make this a 235, unless it was replaced.

    Like 3
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I think you’re right. I didn’t check the year. Chevy engines got full pressure lube in ‘53…

      Like 2
  5. Gaspumpchas

    Another sweetie from Sweet grass…good luck to the new owner, the fact that its not a Babbitt pounder is a big plus!!

  6. TimM

    The Canadians sure did make it confusing!!! About ten years ago I saw a Canadian GTO looked like a cross between two different cars!! I had to look it up and make sure it wasn’t someone’s idea of what a GTO should be!! Strange things happen in that country!!!

  7. JerryDeeWrench

    I knew I would stir up some debate on what this engine was. I first seen a full presure oiling engine with a full tin side pan and two bolts holding the valve cover on in 1953 that looked a Chev. It was in a shop that my dad worked. I had just blew my 216 and needed a engine. Dad said it was out of a GMC . I talked to the owner of the Company he said it was out of a duce and half war truck. I traded him labor for it took it home and it looked just like my 216 except the oil pan was bigger. I pulled the pan and there was no dippers in it. The pan took the same gasket as my 216 it had the same water pump. I put it in my 40 chev and drive it thru my Senior year of school. The transmission was only good for a very short time as was the right rear Axel. I found a mother engine like it in the 80s and put in a Chev pick up. Like I said they were rare.

    Like 2
  8. sam

    I love the style of trucks from this era. Your post really caught my eye because I was just looking at this one:

  9. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this baby sold for $9,003!

    Like 1

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