Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Oakland Street Sighting - 1939 GMC AC 1-1/2 Ton Stakebed

Patina is an interesting thing. Some vehicles don't look right unless they have some degree of wear and tear, while others don't look right unless they appear brand new. What is it about an old faded, scratched, rusty work truck that makes it cool? Perhaps it's the way that it tells its own history in every bit of oxidation, discoloration and indentation.

This is a 1939 GMC AC, which I believe to be a 1-1/2 ton flatbed/stakebed. Medium and heavy duty commercial trucks are not normally my forte, but pre-1960s and especially pre-WWII commercial vehicles are pretty cool. Most that survive have covered a great many miles and been through a lot. A fortunate few receive restorations and become show trucks or museum pieces. Most went to the scrapyard when they had outlived their usefulness decades ago.


This truck lives in Oakland where it appears to serve its owner as daily driver and junk hauler. Notably, it's a dually, or at least it is on one side. I didn't realize until after the fact that one of the wheels is missing on the left side. Some of the bed stakes are also missing. What is present, though, is the important stuff. The hard-to-find trim pieces are there. What appear to be the original sealed-beam headlamps (a feature introduced in 1939) are there. The 1939 California World's Fair license plates are there. Original plates are always a big plus in my book. Most people today wouldn't be brave enough to drive a flat black 74-year-old dually truck with a 3.7 liter six and a four-speed manual that may or may not have synchromesh in day-to-day traffic. That's part of what makes it cool.

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