No. 154: ‘He was born in Pennsylvania…’

“His wife’s name is ol’ ” — but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

GMC trucks, like their nearly identical cousins at Chevrolet, rolled out a radically different machine in the spring of 1955. Gone were the billowy fenders and tiny windshields, the narrow cab and just as narrow wheelbase that had defined GMC trucks since 1947.

In their stead, GMC introduced the 150, the “Blue Chip” line. The name was apt. This truck had a wrap-around windshield, a truck industry first. Deluxe cabs offered the same option for the rear window, too. The result: Sitting up high, bumping down a country road or city street, the driver had a better view of everything – an automotive trait that for years has helped fuel the phenomenal sale of SUVs.

Even more important: For the first time in the history of GM, this truck had a V-8 under that heavy sheet of steel. It came from another cousin, Pontiac, and featured a 287-cubic-inch engine producing 155 horses. (Cousin Chevy dropped a 283 in its line of trucks. That power plant needs no further explanation.) Heavier trucks had even more powerful engines.

Other improvements: a 12-volt system was an option. They beat the hell out of the six-volt electricals that had preceded them. The discerning motorist could order a fleetside machine with fiberglass side panels – a hat-tip, perhaps, to another GM product fast capturing the nation’s fancy, the Corvette. The Blue Chip line also had some interior options; all you had to do was pay more. It is ever thus…

The Blue Chip trucks did it all from 1955 through 1961. They were big, and tough, and more business-like than their more frivolous cousins over at Chevy. The serious guy (and, yes, gal), chose GMC when it was time to get the job done.

Clearly, this old truck got a lot of jobs done before succumbing to rust and age and someone with a wrench. Based on some scant visual clues, it appears to be a ’55 or ’56.

The Blue Chip did achieve a small degree of fame in music, which brings us back to the top of this report. The lately and dearly departed Jerry Jeff Walker rarely held a concert without performing “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother.” The protagonist — born in Oklahoma, not Pennsylvania — drove a ’57 GMC pickup truck, “with a gun rack and ‘Goat Ropers Need Love Too’ bumper sticker.”

Oh, and this: his wife’s name is ol’ Betty Lou Thelma Liz.

Somewhere between Bradford and Kane, Pa., 830 miles northeast of Atlanta (Photos by State Parks and Junkyard Correspondent Marva Brackett Godin.)

Published by oldcarguy

Sisyphus in a fedora.

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