Its not hard to tell when looking at the front of Chris Hay’s ’56 GMC pickup that Cadillac had a huge inspiration on the front bumper and grill. The huge front bumper that looks like it’s worth its weight in gold, and trust me those suckers are heavy. With today’s vehicles made from plastic, foam, and some sort of light-gauge recycled steel from who knows where it’s really nice to see a vehicle that is a rolling piece of Americana/art.
Like most of our CLASSIC TRUCKS readers, Chris is somewhat of a gearhead when it comes to older vehicles, and sometimes the road to driving a classic vehicle is paved with glass and nails somehow Chris found a way. Chris started off by building a ’27 Roadster pickup with dry lakes styling and was thinking about building a classic truck to either tow the ’27 or use it for a daily driver. Well, Chris searched online for a few days just for fun and found a cool GMC truck that had cool traditional styling but, as he put it, the toy money was all out. See, Chris had another secret weapon in the form of an ’06 Mustang GT that he just put a supercharger on and was planning on keeping it for a while, plus the roadster was begging to be finished. Chris would watch the truck pop up on eBay for a year-and-a-half, but by that time the economy took a dive and Chris, along with the rest of us, was in a financial bind. Low and behold, the toys had to go. The roadster pickup and Mustang GT went up for sale. Within three weeks both of the vehicles had sold and Chris was in a better financial state than he was a month prior. He started thinking about building another pickup but in a way that he could fix all the mistakes that he had made on the roadster.
Once again, Chris found himself with some play money and the eBay search key turned to the ’56 GMC pickup he fell in love with years before. It turned out that the same truck he so desired was up for sale again, but in another state. He gave the owners a call and it was a used car lot helping to sell the ’56 for the owner that had moved from Phoenix to Idaho. Chris struck a deal and followed up by having a transportation company pick it up the following day.
Once home, Chris had a really good time driving it around town. He was getting ready to stow it away for the long Des Moines, Iowa, winter when a car pulled in front of him and ruined the front end. After the accident, Chris thought about junking the truck and collecting the insurance money but something in his mind clicked and he knew that was not an option, plus he just spent most of his fun money to get the darn truck. Chris had the truck appraised and didn’t know just how hard finding parts for the front end would be. Chris ended up traveling to Arizona to find the hood, doors, and fenders from a few junkyards he also found some ’57 Cadillac hub caps that he thought would fit the truck like a glove.
With help from his brother David and Ted’s Body shop, the boys were able to get the truck straightened and put it back to the beautiful masterpiece you see gracing these pages of CLASSIC TRUCKS. On behalf of CLASSIC TRUCKS magazine and classic vehicle owners, we thank you for rebuilding it and not sending it to the crusher.