Regardless if you are walking through a cruise night, a major national event, or merely surfing pages on the information super highway, you have the opportunity to see an endless array of classic trucks, each with their own unique story to tell. Many times, the owners can tell you every unique detail surrounding their hauler’s history including build codes and when it rolled off the production line, or who chopped it and then laid down the vibe.
However, for every well-accounted ride, there are others that will never know their truck’s family tree. These are the trucks that have been used and abused, put away wet, and treated to an arduous work ethic. Many times they were given up for dead once their engines stopped working, while at other times some received new powerplants to keep forging on. While their pasts might not sound pretty, many of them escaped to find homes with appreciative new owners. These are the trucks with checkered pasts, the once unappreciated workhorses that somehow find their ways to greener pastures once their tough days are done.
Bram Young of Wellesley, Massachusetts, grew up worshiping classic trucks and hot rods from a young age, living the dream through die-cast miniatures from the likes of Matchbox, Corgi, and Hot Wheels. This evolved into building scale models with plenty of modifications infused into their tiny unique forms. From there it was off to the races as he quickly followed by hopping-up bicycles and go-carts while also starting to work in his dad’s cabinet making business.
As the years passed, Bram moved on to college pursuing his passion for visual design, while also incorporating trucks and cars into his creative illustrations and paintings. Once out of school he became involved in buying and selling classics as well as continuing as a professional graphic designer. In ’98 he completed his first frame-off restoration on a ’55 GMC 100 pickup and never looked back. He never forgot his cabinet making skills, however, when he opened Bramz Rodz in ’08 to continue restoring classics while applying his unique woodworking nuances into each ride.
One afternoon while searching for a fresh project truck, he just so happened to find a clean ’51 GMC 100 on eBay and wasted no time placing the winning bid. Once the truck arrived from Florida at his shop, it was time to take a deeper look into its overall condition. Many times you hear horror stories of purchasing a vehicle sight unseen without having the chance to crawl under it or take it for a quick spin, but Bram didn’t find any surprises on the truck. It was rock solid, fully drivable, and ready for his personal tweaks.
To create a rock solid base, an original spine was cleaned up and treated to a few upgrades to get it closer to the asphalt and give it a lowdown stance. Up front a Mustang II IFS was grafted in place combined with coilover shocks, 2-inch drop spindles, and rack-and-pinion steering, giving it superior handling. Out back a set of lowering blocks did the trick combined with stock leaf springs, NAPA tube shocks, and a Chevy S-10 rear packed with 3.73 cogs. To bring everything to a halt, a dual power master pushes fluid through steel lines to 11 discs at each corner. Completing the stance, a set of Coker Classic P235/75R15 wide whites mounted on steelies topped with tasty vintage ’58 Bowtie dog-dish caps seals the deal.
When it came to nailing the power to the ’rails, an economical mid ’70s Chevy six-banger got the call and does the job just fine. Filled with a stock crank, slugs, and stick, it breathes through a Rochester Monojet carb topped with a swap-meet special chrome air cleaner. A taste of days past comes from an Offenhauser finned aluminum valve cover, while the rest of the engine is all business complemented by a GM/Harrison A/C unit and power steering. Word on the street is that Bram is working on a vintage Chevy Blue Flame six to soon take its place – talk about bitchin’! Gears move through a fresh GM crate TH350 trans via a custom driveshaft to churn the rear wheels.
Standing back and looking at the body you can see that the ’51 has earned its patina. The weathered green spray-job looks like it’s had 50 years to age, complemented by the addition of graphics designed by Bram and laid out by Dan Gallo of YYZ Signs in Mendon, Massachusetts. The stock grille and bumpers are accented in ivory, while a wisp of electric yellow does the deed on the steelies.
It isn’t till you come around the back of the truck and gaze into the bed that you come to fully realize Bram’s true talents in creating custom one-piece beds in a fashion he refers to as “surfboard style.” The one-piece bed wood is a combination of mahogany, maple, and cherry laminated together and finished to a mirror-like gloss showcasing Bram’s design and workmanship. Moving inside the business office, its vintage tobacco-colored vinyl covering the original bench seat, while stock gauges monitor the vitals and a ’70s-Chevy tilt column and steering wheel navigate the course. By adding his own personal touches to a patina-clad vintage GMC hauler, Bram has given the truck a flavor blast of style while also adding another chapter to the truck’s history, (much of which will never be known) and that’s what keeping ’em wicked is all about!
Bramwell D. Young
1951 GMC 100
Frame: modified stock
Modifications: smoothed, modified crossmembers
Rearend / Ratio: Chevy S-10 / 3.73:1
Rear suspension: leaf, lowering blocks
Rear brakes: drum
Front suspension: MII-style IFS
Front brakes: disc
Steering box: rack and pinion
Front wheels: steel, ’58 Chevy hubcaps
Rear wheels: steel, ’58 Chevy hubcaps
Front tires: Coker Classic, P235/75R15
Rear tires: Coker Classic, P235/75R15
Gas tank: stock
Engine: ’70s Chevy 250ci
Valve cover: Offy
Manifold / Induction: iron / 2bbl
Ignition: GM HEI
Headers: iron manifold
Exhaust / Mufflers: aluminized / glasspack
Fenders front / rear: stock
Bed: stock, custom wood by owner
Bodywork and paint by: unknown, custom lettering and highlights by Dan Gallo, YYZ Signs, Mendon, MA
Paint type / Color: old / weathered green
Headlights / Taillights: halogen / stock
Outside mirrors: peep
Air conditioning: GM/Harrison
Steering wheel: ’70s GMC pickup
Steering column: ’70s GMC pickup
Upholstery by: unknown
Material / Color: vinyl / tobacco
Carpet: rubber mat