In The Market: 1949 GMC FC-253 Pickup 137W Long Wheelbase

When online auction websites started getting popular, I was aghast at the amount of money bidders would pay for cars when they were competing with countless internet people and innumerous bots. It was oddly more than what people would pay under the narcotizing tents of Barrett-Jackson et al. However, in the past few years there has been a proliferation of sites that will charge the buy a 5% premium and something interesting happened. Supply and demand baby. The other day I noticed a decent condition Bitter SC sell on “The Market” by Bonhams for $4k and I said to myself: Self, this is a platform with more sellers than buyers. I’m in. I’ve started to look for cars that might end in a similar reasonable amount instead of the always overpriced result of bringatrustfund. Find this 1949 GMC FC-253 Pickup 137W Long Wheelbase bidding for $2,500 reserve-not-met (with a Bonhams estimate of $40k-$50k) in Portland, OR via The Market by Bonhams.

From the seller;

1949 GMC FC-253 Pickup 137WB Long Bed
Generations before pickups were fashionable for anything but work, Detroit manufacturers were busy applying lessons learned producing trucks for the Allies during WW2. Trucks became tougher and better designed, and soon proved to be indispensable tools of U.S. commerce and industry at every scale, pulling their weight and planting a seed for the omnipresent pickup of modern American roads.

The Vehicle
Introduced in 1947 alongside its near-identical twin the Chevrolet Advance Design, GMC’s New Design was met by a booming economy and high demand. Led by the Chevy, this new line of GM trucks became the best selling light-duty pickups in America, and without a four-door cab, automatic transmission, heated leather seat, V8, or 4×4 option in sight.

The auction truck is a one-ton, long-wheelbase example that was bought new at Gauker Motor Company of Mankato, Minnesota in August 24th, 1949 for $1,942.67

On the Outside
The truck gets details correct, like pie crust style 17” tires, stout, foursquare stance, and bare-bones equipment. Turn signals are optional Teleoptic items made in Racine, Wisconsin – check out the interesting arrow designs in their lenses, as well as the spectacular line of the tire-hugging rear fenders.

Graphics are modern vinyl items made in the period style, and the rear bumper has been replaced with a trailer hitch. Running boards wear great looking step plates cast with the same GMC script stamped into the tailgate, and the timber bed floor is correct as well.

The truck’s chrome grille, “radiator ornament”, and passenger side mirror were all optional, and each is listed with a corresponding price on the included original sales invoice.

On the Inside
The interior has real 1950’s machine shop office vibes, with lots of exposed, heavy gauge steel, Naugahyde, Bakelite, and the wonderful scent of well-oiled old machinery.

Despite the lack of a tach (shift with your ears!) Instrumentation is actually a good deal more complete than what is typical today, and includes gauges for amps, oil pressure and coolant temp, as well as fuel level and an 80 mph speedometer. Options include a heater and rare AM radio, the grille of which features prominent GENERAL MOTORS TRUCK signage as a focal point for the dashboard.

For 1949 the fuel tank was moved from beneath the bed to behind the tilt-forward bench seat, and the filler neck migrated from the right side of the bed to slightly higher ground immediately behind the passenger door. Note the cool little Teleoptic control pod and period flashlight strapped to the steering column.

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