Rust-Oleum Paint Job: 1956 GMC 100 Pickup

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This is the second straight article I’ve written this weekend about interesting 1956 pickups for sale on eBay. The first was a ’56 International Harvester S-120, and this one is a 1956 GMC 100, only the second one we’ve ever featured on Barn Finds. It’s a documented California truck from San Bernardino that was a service truck for a plumbing company in the 50’s and 60’s. After that, it’s history isn’t shared, but the current owner bought it in 2012 and lists the work put into the GMC the past 11 years along with 80 photographs.  Now located across the country in Lexington, South Carolina, this ’56 GMC 100 is for sale here on eBay for a starting bid of $5,000 and a Buy It Now price of $25,000. Another thank you to super tipster T.J. for sending this interesting pickup our way.

Since making its way to South Carolina a decade ago, the GMC 100 has been garage-kept and used for home projects, car meets and parades. The seller says the truck’s original paint color was cream (Panama Cream), but at some time during its stay in California, the exterior of the truck was painted in Gloss White Rust-Oleum. The seller says it was “put on thick, was rolled on, and probably contributed from saving the body from rust.” The current condition of the exterior paint is described as being rough in places and having a unique patina. I bet it does. Based on the photos, the body looks very solid and straight, the minimal trim is there (including a hood ornament – hey, it was the 50’s), the glass looks good but there’s a cracked wing window, and I like the white sidewalls with the dog dish wheel covers.

The bed of the GMC looks like it could be wearing the original cream paint and has seen some workhorse action. It is quite a contrast to the new, beautifully refinished pine bed.

The cool, simple interior of the GMC is an interesting mix of unrestored and restored. The seller documents the cabin’s current condition very well with 31 photos. The floors are solid (and rubber mats are included), the bench seat has been nicely reupholstered, the headliner is new, the heater unit has been rebuilt, and seatbelts have been added. The seller states that everything works: all exterior and interior lights, gauges, wipers, turn signals, horn, vent controls, and the choke control.

The GMC has a clean-looking 270-cubic inch 6-cylinder that’s mated to a three-on-the-tree column shift manual transmission. The seller says the truck “starts, runs and drives excellent” and claims to have paperwork for repairs and parts from 1998 to present, including “documentation for the engine head rebuild and lower engine and transmission work and parts.”  The seller as says the truck no longer has points and has been converted to 12 volts with a Delco-Remy generator. It also has a rebuilt starter, water pump, radiator, brake cylinder, and carburetor, and also sports new shocks, exhaust system, and five Yokohama whitewall tires. These mid-to-late 50’s Chevy and GMC Task Force pickups still look great and this one – even with its Rust-Oleum paint job – is no exception. What do you think?

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  1. HoA Howard AMember

    Let’s not bash Rust-Oleum, my grandfather painted everything outside with silver Rust-Oleum. Garbage cans, lawn chairs, railings all made out of metal, he painted silver. It was a staple of every handy persons garage. AND,,Rust-Oleum ( and Amazon) pretty much replaced AMC in Kenosha, providing thousands of jobs. I suppose there are still a lot of farms in California, and every one had a truck like this. I simply can’t imagine how many could possibly be left. THIS, is what I wanted instead of the squarebody. Oh well, too late now, I’m happy with the Jeep.

    Like 13
    • Autoworker

      High school buddy shot a ‘72 Capri with Rustoleum appliance white paint. Looked great! Prep wasn’t the best, and when he would take it to the quarter car wash, sheets of paint would come off. lol, memories.

      Like 7
    • Edward Mazer

      Rustoleum is and will forever be an amazing product. Not sure if the finish quality is wh
      at alot of people consider a car quality look but it’s rust proofing. And rust repairing properties are great. I have used it on everything from my metal shed to the fire pit to metal gate hardware. This truck is a beauty and the work done to it seems to have addressed the issues all older vehicles need. Wish I was more able to afford it but not this time around

      Like 4
  2. bobhess bobhessMember

    Could use some of that Rust-Oleum on the underside before the rust goes much further. Never painted a car with spray cans. This guy must have one tough fore finger. Solid truck here, just priced a bit high maybe?

    Like 6
    • SubGothius

      Rust-Oleum also comes in non-spray tin cans, and the ad says it was “rolled on”, so no forefingers were harmed in the making of this paint job.

      Prolly woulda gone on smoother and needed to use less if he’d thinned it out tho’, as recommended in the famed $50 paint job article.

      Like 10
    • JayA

      The paint was rolled on as stated in the description, making it even more weird!

      Like 2
      • Nick P

        Not if you’re an old farmer. My son inherited his grandfather’s Ford 8N farm tractor that he bought new in 1948. It has brush strokes in it, but my son drags a set of 8ft discs with the thing.

        Like 6
  3. angliagt angliagtMember

    I used to like the look of the front end on these,but
    the more I’ve seen,the less I like it.Looks like the grille/-
    bumper were tacked on,as an afterthought.The Chevys
    look so much cleaner.
    Aside from that,looks like a nice older truck that will
    hopefully be used like one,although it’s overpriced.

    Like 6
    • HoA Howard AMember

      The GMC always leaned toward the aggressive look. “Professional Grade”, their hoaky ads claim, can’t be seen in a lowly Chevy. Quite frankly, it’s the same truck as a Chevy, so yes, technically, the front was tacked on. I think these were the last of where there was a difference between the 2. Some say, it was a Chevy with lockwashers, but they were much more. Pontiac engines, nicer dash, the grill, all said you had a bit more pride, and money. While I read, the ’56 GMC was actually $9 cheaper( $1609) than the Chevy( $1618), most GMC buyers optioned them out.

      Like 5
      • JustPassinThru

        Actually, in those years there was quite a bit of difference, Chevy/GMC. The engine (and probably transmission, as well) were not available in a Chevrolet. Pontiac-sourced, IIRC, but that was a stopgap. It’s a new-for-the-era OHV engine, and probably Pontiac, coming out of its Old-Maid Schoolteacher years, was under-utilizing it. The GMC 60-degree V6s were to come out in a couple of years.

        I’ve read claims that the frame was different, and stronger, than Chevrolet trucks, but that could just be brand-fanboys cheering. For some years, Chevrolet experimented with torsion-bar front suspension, while GMC models stuck with beam axles. That, too, got sorted out with the years.

        And the dash was considerably different. Chevrolet was in its V-era, with Vs all over…under the CHEVROLET branding, instrument cluster, sales literature. Interestingly, it seems GMC spent the money for an entirely different dash.

        The sheet-metal, apart from grille trim, was the same, and I was told that both brands were made on the same line. Chevrolet people supervised assembly, and later design, of light-duty GMC trucks.

        Like 4
      • Roger Roslwski

        GMCs of this vintage were made in Pontiac, Michigan in their own factory.

        Like 0
      • SubGothius

        Yeah, GMC’s current “Professional Grade” slogan came from the brand-fanboy grapevine “wisdom” that JustPassinThru alluded to.

        GM held focus group clinics to ask buyers what they thought distinguished a GMC from a Chevy, and they got a lot of comments along the lines that GMCs were supposedly built more “heavy duty”, had thicker sheetmetal or heavier/reinforced frames, etc.

        Obviously all bogus assertions for any GMC of recent decades, but they decided to leverage that brand perception with the “Professional Grade” slogan that alluded to those “heavy duty” notions without actually claiming any of it.

        GMC long ago became simply a way for GM to provide a truck line for non-Chevy GM dealers to sell, lately equipped, trimmed and styled a bit nicer to fit those brands’ upmarket positioning.

        Like 1
  4. Troy

    There’s a truck like this sitting in a yard in the small town of Clarkston Washington I’ve never stopped and asked if they were interested in selling

    Like 1
  5. Gregory Garon

    I see it has a craigslist engine rebuild job by the new rattle can paint and must have got a bargain on a carton of white rust oleum. Should have left it alone and sold as is for more money.

    Like 1
    • Lothar... of the Hill People

      Gregory, the e-bay ad, the BF article and the previous comments all state the white paint was rolled on. Reportedly, no rattle cans were involved.

      Like 4
      • Rex Rumfelt

        Lothar, how about the hand people? Knew them in Denver from the Exodus.

        Like 1
  6. Steve

    You can do a quite credible paint job with rustoleum if you’re willing to put the work in. You can also add enamel hardener to it if you wish. Heaps of vids on youtube for this.

    Like 5
    • Thomas HandzikMember

      I second that steve. If prep is done correctly and multiple light to medium coats to prevent the “hangers “. FYI rustoleum also makes a clear coat. Try it !!! You will be surprised how much it helps finish and shine!!

      Like 1
  7. Kenneth Carney

    Nice old truck as is. It reminds me of
    the days when folks all over the country used Rust-Oleum to spruce up an old car or truck needing a fresh
    coat of paint. Reminds of a father/son project Dad and I did back
    in ’69 or so. Dad bought an old ’55
    Chevy pickup that had been used as
    a parts chaser for a local truck stop.
    It ran great but the body was on the
    gnarly side. So we broke out the
    Bondo and a few cans of Rust-Oleum
    to “restore” the old gal and give ‘er a
    new lease on life. And when the paint
    dried, we sanded down the orange peal on the panels, added another coat to smooth out the “finish”, and
    called it a day. Even my Mom and
    sister got into the act when they
    recovered the seat in dark blue
    metallic naugahyde! It sure looked
    good with the light blue paint Dad and
    I used to cover the outside of the
    truck. Sure looked great with a set of
    baby moons on the rims and a new set of whitewall tires too. Dad sold
    Old Blue to one of his friends on the
    police force and that paid for our last
    family trip to Yellowstone. And after
    a trip to the first Street Rod Nationals
    over in Peoria Illinois in 1970, I began
    my career in the music business playing one nighters over Summer
    Vacation til I graduated high school
    in ’73. Thanks for the memories!

    Like 8
    • Gary

      Cool story, sounds like you witnessed some real history.

      Like 1
      • Kenneth Carney

        As a matter of fact I did. After Dad sold the truck, I told him I
        wanted to go to the Nats in
        Peoria. Money was tight and he
        told me that he couldn’t spare the cash for me to make the trip. A neighbor down the street
        was getting his ’35 Ford pickup
        ready for the Nats and said he
        needed help to get it finished on
        time. We struck a deal and I’d
        go to his place and help him
        out after school and on weekends. Mom and Dad were
        okay with it provided I kept my
        grades up so I took it. Like I said, it was a ’35 Ford pickup
        that ran a 283 Chevy V-8 hooked to a Powerglide tranny.
        It sat on a 21/2 to 3 inch rake
        thanks to the dropped front axle
        and the big ‘n’ littles front and rear. The most unique thing about the truck was the exhaust
        system. The guy made 2 diesel
        style stacks out of torque tubes
        from a ’56 Buick. He took ’em to
        work with him to Eureka where he had ’em chrome plated. True
        to the deal, I climbed in the right
        seat and had the time of my life.
        I’m 68, and to this day if I close
        my eyes and think back, it seems like only yesterday that
        I saw some of the finest street
        rods from all over the country and Canada as they paraded 3
        abreast down the street in front
        of the Fox Theater. Ron Week’s
        blown and hammered ’34 Ford
        2-doir, Orville Elgie’s ’37 Ford
        sedan delivery, Avon’s Solid
        Gold ’39 Cadillac town car, Jim
        Jacob’s ’30 Ford Model A panel,
        they were all there. The ground
        literally shook from the rumble
        of all those powerful V-8s. I went with my neighbor all four
        days and got the thrill of a lifetime. Dad and I talked about
        building a car of our own for the
        ’71 Nats but life got in the way.
        I started playing music over the
        road opening for country music
        stars like Dave Dudley, Del Reeves, Mel Street, Marty Robbins, and many others. I’ve
        had a full life for a fat old blind
        guy. And for that, I’m torever thankful.

        Like 4
    • Terry

      Love that story, happy for a life well lived.

      Like 2
  8. Jerry

    Like many have said, Rustoleum alkyd enamel is a great product from the can. Thinned w Acetone, enamel hardener, sprayed from a HF gun, a 1500 grit color sanding and you have a fine paint job. Maybe not $10,000 but a good one. The hardener even speeds up enamel’s slow drying problem.

    Like 2
  9. Oregonman

    I restore and sell old Honda trail 90s from 69 to 83. I use Rustoleum after I’ve taken it down to bare metal then finish the whole job off with Rustoleum clear coat. In my opinion and all of the people that have purchased the bikes they come out beautiful. IMHO…

    Like 2
  10. Gerry

    The original Earl Schrieb paint job!! Lol

    Like 1
  11. Glenn SchwassMember

    I love it. I’d return it to cream.

    Like 1
  12. Robert Levins

    Nice article! AND wow what a beautiful truck! I think the deal maker here is a “Decent” paint job. Not a museum paint job but nice, you know- two or three steps up from “Rustoleum”. The question is price. If it’s what it’s advertised as being, I would put the price at 18k. After a “Decent” paint job I’d be looking at 20-23k total. It would be worth that and you would still be able to pay on your mortgage. Nice truck, hope the new owner has good luck with it!

    Like 0
  13. Maggy

    I’ll paint any car any color 29.95….no ups …no extras.

    Like 3
  14. Robert Levins

    Earl Sheib- died on March 1, 1992 at the age of 85. Earl Sheib paint shop was founded in 1937. Earl Sheib paint and body shop “Chain” went defunct on Jul 16th 2010. Yeah, “I’ll paint any car any color only $29.95”. Of course that was back in the 1970’s. Later on the price jumped to $49.95 then $69.95 and then I lost track. Many “Moons” ago.

    Like 3
    • Lothar... of the Hill People

      I think Earl’s price was up to $99.95 by the time I had my rusty ’76 (?) Nova painted in about 1987.

      Still, it was a good deal for the price. The paint stuck fairly well over my amateurish body work.

      Like 3
  15. Gray Wolf

    Painted with a drape and rubbed out with a brick! That’s how they do it down on the farm!!

    Like 2
  16. Glenn SchwassMember

    Earl Shibe would paint over bird crap, trim, door handles, and lights. If you taped it all off yourself, it was good enough if youn were selling the car. Kind of like Macco’s cheap price, if it didn’t need bodywork.

    Like 1
  17. Kenneth Carney

    Having a disability shouldn’t slow you down– and it never did
    with me. My parents always told me that I could do anything
    I set my mind to and I’ve always
    lived my life by it. The other kids wouldn’t play with me so I
    hung out with the old folks instead. Didn’t hurt one bit if
    some of them were car guys
    Worked on first engine when I
    was 12 and never looked back.
    Had to stop several years ago
    When health problems forced
    me to leave the hobby for a while. Can’t work on cars anymore but I can share my
    knowledge with those who need
    it. Nowadays, I work with my SIL delivering Door Dash and putt-puttin’ around my art shop
    making prints of classic cars.
    And…I’m still looking for the next big thin

    Like 1
  18. HotWheelsCarol

    Farm trucks and equipment get painted with whatever is handy and cheap. My cousin has a ’66 Chevy C10 that he bought outside of Austin, and he told me it was painted with Sherwin Williams white house paint with a brush! It’s not real crusty for a truck of its age, and doesn’t look too bad….
    My parents bought a ’56 GMC pickup like this one, back in 1966. It was red, and had a ’59 vintage 389 Pontiac V8 in it (originally would have had the previous year’s Pontiac V8,so a ’55 287). They fixed it up some, drove it for several years until Dad got a newer pickup (67 Chevy C10 with a 250 straight six).

    Like 0

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