Sometimes You Just Want A Cool Truck: Ryan’s 1951 GMC

Many of the cars we feature here at Rod Authority, have elaborate back stories. Many times, they are first cars, high school dreams, family heirlooms, and the list goes on. On the other side of the coin, plenty of the cars we feature are built for no reason at all, other than the simple fact that hot rods are awesome.

GMC

That’s the case with Ryan Mounty; “I’ve always wanted a mean sounding, high-horsepower V8, and what better do drop one in than a ’49 five-window pickup.” Not only is that sound logic, but logic we can agree with. They say you can’t have your cake and eat it too, but Ryan managed to do just that by taking delivery of this beautiful GMC truck, precisely on his 40th birthday.

Ryan hails from Ontario, Canada, which is an area where, unfortunately, vehicles are ravaged by not only sub zero temperatures, but every vehicle’s mortal enemy, road salt. Sourcing a quality base from which to build, at a reasonable price, was pretty well out of the question in Ontario, so Ryan looked elsewhere.

In the end, this GMC did still come from Canada, just from the province of Manitoba, not Ontario. In Manitoba, sand is typically used in the winter, not salt. The use of sand meant that for the most part, this truck was rot free. Only a few non-structural patches were needed.

With no suitable options in Ontario, Ryan sourced his truck from Manitoba.

The project began with the truck slathered in the patina you see in the photos, and Ryan opted to keep things as they were on the exterior. Patina’s popularity continues to be as strong as ever for a driven hot rod. The reasoning here is simple. Worrying about small scratches and scuffs is simply not something you want to do when you’re blasting through back roads listening to the sound of a V8 roar.

At least one of the previous owners used the dash as their own personal calculator. One can only imagine what they were counting!

Patina also does a great job of preserving a vehicle’s history. In the case of Ryan’s GMC truck, he got it without knowing much about the previous owners. The dash however of does a good job of painting a partial picture.

Scrawled upon it are marks that indicate one of the past owners preferred to do quick mathematical calculations on the dash. What that owner was calculating, we will never know. Imagining what it might have been is a lot of fun.

GMC

Aside from the seat and a few upgraded gauges, the interior is mostly untouched.

Ryan didn’t go overboard on the interior. A lot of people add center consoles and bucket seats, but Ryan kept the factory bench and late-’40s  feel. The stock seat remains, but is now redone in a rustic brown leather.

Lap belts were added for occupant safety, and the old GMC gauges have been replaced with aftermarket pieces designed to match the ’51 dash.

GMC

The brown leather and light brown seat belts, really suit the truck.

The windows, window and door seals were also changed so that this truck could be driven in any weather. Beyond that, Ryan had Taylor’d Customs, the shop that performed most of the modifications to this truck, leave the interior as untouched as possible.

There's no climate control in this truck, so while its sealed up for summer, fall, and winter, driving won't be for the faint of heart.

The most significant outlier of the interior would be the polished AVS switch box that snakes out from between the bench and seat-back.

GMC

The low stance of the truck, that we’re sure you have already noticed, comes from the Thirty3 Pneumatics valve manifold that the AVS switch box is plumbed too. With a flick of a few switches, the truck goes from sitting in the weeds to ride height.

Up front on this truck is a Mustang II independent suspension conversion. From the back of the cab to rear bumper is a custom back half that utilizes a triangulated four link.

Air suspension allows the truck to tuck 15x7 and 15x8 wheels with no problem.

The combination of new suspension and air bags allow for the bright green ‘Artillery’  steel wheels and wide white walls to tuck up inside the fender. Bright green was chosen as the wheel color to contrast what’s left of the factory green paint.

New planks and bed strips sit above the C-notches that allow the suspension to articulate. The bed is now shallower than stock, but that is a fair compromise to pay for a killer stance.

A new bed floor is a great addition to any truck.

A replacement tailgate has yet to be found, so, until one is, a piece of weathered plywood more than does the job. The wood might be temporary, but if you ask us it doesn’t look much out of place.

A new tailgate has yet to be found, until then, Ryan uses some plywood.

To get the V8 sound he wanted from under the hood, Ryan had plenty of options available. Instead of going with the more modern LS engine, he went with the dependable, readily deploy-able crate small-block.

The high performance crate engine thumps out 380 horsepower. Visually it’s got an upgraded front drive set up, polished valve covers, and polished block-hugger headers.

The V8 Ryan wanted, now sits under the hood. It's good for 380 horsepower, according to its birth sheet.

That bright green color used outside appears again on the Cadillac style air cleaner. It’s the perfect compliment to any hot rod engine bay if you ask us.

While a cool story is nice, Ryan’s truck is an example that sometimes, you really don’t need one.

‘I’ve always wanted a mean sounding, high horsepower V8 and what better do drop one in than a ’49 5 window pickup’

All said and done, this is the perfect truck to drive around and listen to just how awesome a V8 can truly sound.

About the author

Dave Thomas

Currently living near Toronto, Dave spends much of his free time behind a camera at car events, and likes just about anything with wheels, but usually the lower the better. When not taking photos, writing articles, or going upside down on his bike he can be found in the shop wrenching on his 1951 GMC pickup.
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