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Perfectly Aged Patina: 1954 GMC 150 Pickup

There was a time when a Chevy truck was a Chevy truck and a GMC truck was a GMC truck. They had their similarities, beyond the fact that both were designed and built by divisions of GM, but they had their notable differences too. Over the years, their respective identities got blurred but that was not the case in 1954 when this GMC 150, half-ton pickup, which is located in Apopka, Florida and for sale here on craigslist for $8,800, was made.

What immediately caught my attention is the aged patina of the finish that appears to be covered in a clear coat. It is a real fad right now in restoration circles and it makes for a pretty cool effect. There is no mention made here on the part of the seller as to whether or not that is the case with this GMC. The big, prominent chrome grille is an attention-getter too.

Traditionally, GMC trucks were considered commercial in nature whereas Chevys were more of a retail vehicle. Each had its own engines and GMC’s usually had heavier duty frames and suspension components. This GMC 150 has a 248 CI inline six-cylinder engine, generating 100 HP and backed up by a four-speed manual transmission. The same era Chevrolet would have been equipped with a 235 CI six-cylinder engine yielding 112 HP, similar engines but different. The seller states that the 248 turns freely but does not run.

Inside, we find an original looking 65-year-old interior but it appears that the bench seat has been replaced with a later model version with a pretty snappy looking covering. No word regarding the overall integrity of the cockpit or the working condition of the dash related items. There are some images of the floor included in the listing and they look sound. I’d recommend getting a proper gas cap as opposed to the Molotov cocktail unit that is currently in place.

The body and panel condition on this GMC truck looks pretty sound. There is the obvious surface rust/patina effect previously referenced but invasive rust seems to be at a minimum, a hole or two here and there. The cargo bed is another matter, fuggedaboutit – it looks like some kind of a terrarium project having gone awry. Typical for this era pickup truck, it’s a wood bed which isn’t that complicated to replicate, the issue is the understructure to which it is attached – no word regarding that.

Today, GMC advertises itself as being “professional grade” and they do have some features, like a yoga bending tailgate that the more pedestrian Chevrolet models don’t have. Brand differentiation is important for marketing and pricing purposes, something that GM has struggled with in the past. I used to work for a person who bought a GMC pickup truck in the ’80s and on the passenger side it had a GMC Sierra badge and on the driver’s side there resided a Chevrolet Silverado badge – same assembly line, different trim.

Old pickups, be they Chevrolet, Ford, GMC et al are very popular today, their collectability and rising values have been on a notable upswing. This example is intriguing in its appearance but there are unknows, in particular, the engine. Worth taking a closer look at this price point?


  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    I like this truck. Aside from the deck this could be driven and fixed up at the same time. Even though this is an Advanced Design truck, it isn’t a common sight. I would keep the same color scheme and just enjoy it. The 248 engine is a good workhorse and I wouldn’t change it. I will say that someone could change it to a 302. I saw a’58 GMC with a 302, 4bbl carb and split manifold. Sounded great and went like Jack, the Bear.

    Like 7
    • Howard A. Member

      Same here, pal. Now this differs completely from the others. It’s still nice enough, get ‘er hummin’ and fix as you go. I too liked the GMC, from a time when they really were a “Chevy with lockwashers”. The grill, the dash, really set them apart, at a cost, I’m sure. I’ve seen farmers paint those grills, :0, Again, same old thing, the way it’s geared, 55, maybe 60 tops, 1954 technology, iffy brakes, king pins and so on, but it can be done simply, and they were never meant to barrel down the boulevard anyway. I’m thinking this seller is a tad optimistic on the price, more like half that, as is, but a great find. Probably 50 Chevy’s sold for every GMC.
      Like I’ve said many times, geomechs has forgotten more than I know, but this is one of those rare occasions, I can actually correct him. The GMC’s were called “New Design”, Chevy was “Advance Design”, at least here in the states.

      Like 7
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi Howard. You are correct. GMC was never as flashy with its ads. That’s a memory jog for sure.

        Like 2
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        You know, when o actually think about it GMC wasn’t all that creative with its nomenclature or its ads. Chevy was pixie dust and unicorn whiz while GMC used more testosterone. ‘See the USA, in your Chevrolet’ vs ‘When The Job Gets Tough!’ ‘Cameo Carrier’ vs ‘Suburban Carrier!’ ‘Like a Rock’ vs ‘We Move the Rock!’

        Like 3
  2. JerryDeeWrench

    Hard to find them this nice. Unless someone ran that 248 out of oil it should run with very little work. Good luck to the new owner. We ish it was me.

    Like 2
    • Tinfreek on instagram

      the GMC had a bigger engine by a couple of inches. Physically

      Like 0
  3. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Nice looking truck with a fantastic grille along with the desirable 5-window cab. I’m liking the unusual rear step bumper, too. A lot of potential here but plenty of work needed. Hopefully, the engine can be started or you could choose to install a modern V8. Brakes should be upgraded along with other mechanical needs. The interior needs a lot of work as does the bed. Then there’s the rust and body work it needs along with un-doing whatever has been applied over the rust. And let’s be honest, it’s rust. Give it a two-tone paint job and you’ll have a real beauty. Considering the amount of work needed and the fact that it doesn’t even run, is $8,800 a fair price?

    Like 1
  4. MGSteve

    What did the old car hobby do before someone started putting clear coat over rust, dents, fading paint and calling it patina? PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE: STOP, STOP, STOP. I, for one, find this new practice disgusting, and the most unappealing, totally phony, fake thing I’ve ever seen. What’s next? glitter?

    Like 6
  5. Bing

    $8,800 a fair price? What is fair is a price that both seller and buyer agree. I have two early C 10’s so not a direct comparison. Given the motor turns but won’t run you may have a minor to major issue to deal with. Plus you have to go for a new bed. Love the look of the truck, but to me $5,000 would be a very good deal, and $6,000 would be the highest I would go.
    All of these old trucks have their issues, but you can find a driver for $8,800.

    Like 2
  6. bigdoc

    Good looking truck with a great grill. Price is good.

    Like 1
  7. Kevin in Iowa

    In the 90’s I had a collection of old trucks picked up here and there and drug home to my farm. I had a ’46 Chevy short half ton, ’48 Chevy 2 ton, ’49 Chevy 1 ton bought at a farm auction 70 miles away that I towed (tow bar) home with my ’50 Chevy 1 ton at a break neck speed approaching 30 mph. The last to join my collection was a ’51 GMC ton and a half with a flatbed. 5 window cab, beautiful chrome grille and 18″ tires. I should have kept the ’50 as it was the only one that ran. They’re all long gone. The ’46, ’49 and ’50 all went to Omaha. The others, who knows. I have a Polaroid somewhere of them all lined up.

    Like 3
    • Howard A. Member

      Hey Kevin, yeah, those days are sure gone. In the 80’s, not so much pickups, but stake beds were a dime a dozen, especially in farm country, Wisconsin. In the mid 80’s, I bought a ’55 F500 stake bed, running w/hoist, for $100 bucks, and the guy wanted to give me another non-running truck for parts. A local church had a same vintage F500 box truck they used to store chairs. It wasn’t running, had no title, but when I inquired about it, they GAVE me the truck. They were about to haul it away anyway, I did them the favor. Times sure have changed and youngun’s just don’t get it, and with $8,000 dollar trucks like this, they never will..

      Like 5
  8. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Nice overall truck. My dad had a 54 Chevy 1/2 ton pickup. It was the first year with flat side rails on the bed and one piece windshield. His wasn’t a deluxe cab, they had the extra curved windows in the back corners of the cab. His had the 235 engine and 4 speed transmission. It was an ugly pale yellow in color.
    I would like to own this truck, but $2500.00 is the best I would go on it.
    God bless America

    Like 2
  9. Del

    8800 for a non runner ?

    No way , Jose

    Like 1
  10. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    What is that thing on the tailgate? It kind of looks like a box bolted on there?

    Like 1
    • Mark

      It’s a grain gate, used to dump grain at the elevator. This was a farm truck. Notice the North Dakota tag next to it.

      Like 1
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        I thought it was at first, but the more I looked at it something did not look right. I used to work at a feed mill in my youth and ground a lot of corn but never remember a gate on a pickup with a tailgate. Oh well, Thanks for the reply, Mike.

        Like 1
  11. TimM

    Typical southern truck!! Good body and the wood and interior all damaged but the sun and heat!! It sure does beat welding and grinding though!! Great truck!!!

    Like 3
  12. Dave

    Applying clearcoat over the patina and minor body damage is the exact opposite of fake. It lets you see the truck as it really is, not buried under 17 lbs. of bondo, which is the epitome of fake. Or you can go through all the time and money involved in straightening the body out, because you’re not a hack, are you? Sheep join the rest of the flock when they paint a truck like this one.

    Like 2

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