Well Optioned Workhorse: 1948 GMC Truck

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While we’re all sick of hearing about patina, there’s no denying the appeal of a truck that wears its honest-to-God workhorse graphics, such as this 1948 GMC pickup. There’s no fake mumbo-jumbo here, just the honest appearance of a vintage truck that put in a long day’s work and somehow retained the details of its past in near-perfect clarity. The GMC was ordered from the factory with the grill guard and custom bed, and is listed at no reserve here on eBay with lots of recent maintenance. Bidding is at $12,100 as of this writing.

The GMC wears its work clothes well, with the vestiges of a life as a plumbing contractor’s vehicle still evident. The seller notes the GMC is quite solid underneath, and that the original dealer invoice comes with the truck and confirms the custom add-ons by the factory. The grill guard is quite ornate, spelling out “GMC” in its intricate metal weave and looking more like the ‘roo bars they use on rigs in Australia.

I’m not sure what the custom bed design entailed, but it looks like an early stepside with a lip around the perimeter of the bed – can anyone confirm what this enabled, or why a contractor might want it? The interior looks surprisingly clean, and the cab corners confirm the seller’s claim that there’s no real rot of any kind to report. The door panels look original, as does the switchgear, steering wheel, and dash.

The seller notes a laundry list of recent maintenance, including an engine overhaul; new tires / radiator / brakes / exhaust; complete carburetor rebuild; gas tank and lines, complete OEM wiring harness replacement; and more. The GMC presents an extremely honest example, with a weathered appearance that’s impossible to fake. Not surprised to see the strong bidding on this one. Where will it end up?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Richard L Fortney

    the floor of the bed being a steel sheet would be an option from the factory, or added afterwards. The rolled bed rails also are an option way back then. Strong looking truck, would be mine except for money.

    Like 3
    • bry593

      Another bed differenc is the way the bed rail flanges are not perfectly circular at the ends. These have an abrupt angle and also the ends appear capped while stock was open. I also don’t see any intermediate bed outside stiffening ribs, nor do I see stake pockets in the bed flanges. So, a little bit different. Not sure what the benefit is unless it just a thicker gauge (stock was 18 or so, plenty thick).

      Like 1
  2. John M.

    I like it. The seller will get a good price and the buyer will get a nice honest vintage truck.

    Like 6
  3. Gaspumpchas

    Beautiful Jimmy. Good luck to the new owner. Turn the key and drive. I’m close to Connecticut, but not sure where Woodstock ct is. Let me know could arrange a look. 845-635-3662, Charlie. They don’t come much more original than this.
    Good luck.

    Like 6
  4. Dan

    As a rule, I don’t like “patina.” It strikes me as a pretentious metaphor used in an attempt to make rust and wear seem acceptable. However, this rig is an exception to that rule. Its signage managed to endure over 70-plus years, and it would be a shame to lose it to a repaint. Since I’m not in a position to bid on it, I can only hope the lucky new owner will maintain it and not make major alterations.

    Like 7
  5. art

    Nice Truck. Odd though, a New Jersey truck ordered with no heater…wow, that plumber was a hardy soul.
    The Bill of Sale lists extra equipment as “Pickup Body and Grille Guard”. Was this particular bed an option?
    The grill guard is rare for sure and it survived well. The remaining painted graphics takes it over the top for me.

    Like 4
  6. geomechs geomechsMember

    Very nice 3/4 ton. That looks like the tried and true 228 engine. It will take a lot of abuse for years down the road. Definitely not a babbit-pounder like its Chevy cousin, although the actual performance of the two is pretty close. I sometimes wonder why Chevy and GMC shared pieces of sheetmetal but decided on their own powerplants (except for Canadian-built trucks). I guess that’s the same reason all GM divisions had their own engines (and some transmissions); they just wanted to do it themselves. As for this truck, it’s a nice compromise between a full-fledged tonner and a 1/2 ton. I sure wouldn’t kick it off my driveway…

    Like 7
  7. HoA Rube GoldbergMember

    I’ve never seen a grill guard like that, but apparently, on “images” there are other GMC trucks that had that, so it must have been factory. Adam Black and Sons, I read, was a wagon builder from JC and later went into truck bodies. It was not unusual for people to buy just the cab and chassis and order a different box. Maybe they wanted a steel floor, not available from the factory. Cool truck, 50 mph as is, tops. And “switchgear”? You aren’t from around here, are you,, :)

    Like 6
    • geomechs geomechsMember

      I’ve seen similar grills, but they were welded up at one of two local welding shops. Never saw anything come out of the dealerships like that. It is well done though…

      Like 4
  8. Ken Carney

    Work it Monday-Friday, take it to Oldtown
    Friday and Saturday. Still a lot of use in
    this old gal. Would put her back to work
    while paying strict attention to her
    maintenance and welfare. She’d be mine
    if I had the cash.

    Like 3
    • J.T. WILSON

      Really no need to constantly remind us you have no money. After a couple years of you reminding us, WE GET IT!

      Like 6
      • HoA Rube GoldbergMember

        Kens last line echoes the biggest problem for many of us today, we just don’t have the cash to participate in this hobby anymore. Maybe if we keep reminding these sellers, we’re not the King of Siam, the prices might come down to sane levels again, or better yet, just stop paying these inflated prices for these. This isn’t a 5 figure vehicle, never was.

        Like 8
  9. Eric

    AHHHH! Just seeing this now and auction’s over! Damn. Woulda been cool if this was featured days ago, but such is my luck. Kinda pricey, but then again, it’s actually a decent deal considering you’d be hard pressed to find another with original paint/livery like that. Priceless. Yet another ad with no undercarriage pics however.

    Like 2
  10. Ben T. Spanner

    My Uncle was a home builder and had a 1948 GMC pu with a dump body in this color. He bought a new 1955 GMC with a V8 and Hydromatic, and a chrome grill, but kept the 1948 for occasional use

    Like 2
  11. Louis Q Chen

    Too bad this specimen is SOLD! I would have to Ct. to fetch and ship it home-Texas. Ever since the CARS movie I started to look into the old patina covered old trucks. Hope the new owner will leave it as is, maybe replace the seat cover.

    Like 1
  12. BR


    Like 0
  13. TimM

    Great looking truck!! If I could have my way I would circumnavigate the United States in a truck like this!! Do a couple 100 miles or so a day, pitch a tent and sleep till I started my next day!! It’s not a fast way to travel and I’d stay off the major hi ways!! I wonder how long it would take???

    Like 2
  14. Del

    The Grille Guard is silly.

    Did someone say its an option ?

    The guys at Spotem Johns welding shop are laughing in their graves

    Like 2
  15. Mike Martinson

    The Grille Guard is ridiculous. Now way that is a factory option. An embarrassment. Maybe an advertising attention getter for Mr. Bailey.

    Like 0

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