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Benchmark Classics
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1938 GMC  

A revolving inventory of 25-50 show quality collector grade vehicles.

USD 34,900
Click on image to ENLARGE

Country State / Province City / Town Zip / Postal Code
United States WI Madison 53719

Listed under categories:


1930-49 Pre-War

Color Exterior:   
Color Interior:  
Odometer: 6930 Miles
Transmission: AUTOMATIC
Convertible: NO
Advert No: 032084


Hot rod -noun Slang . An automobile specially built or altered for fast acceleration and increased speed.   Street rod -noun An old automobile that has been well maintained and typically has been provided with a powerful, modern engine and modern interior fittings.       Panel truck -noun A small truck having a fully enclosed body, used mainly to deliver light or small objects.     In 1964, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said of hard-core pornography that, while it may be hard to define, "I know it when I see it." The same could be said about hot rods and street rods; while what one is may be tough to pin down exactly, most of those whom Barry Maguire calls "The Car Crazy" know one when they see one.   It is not often that a discussion of real hot rods revolves around a panel truck, so unless you''re a fan of "The Grave Digger," the legendary Monster Truck racer based on a 1950 Chevy Panel Van, the odds are pretty good that you''re not terribly familiar with the narrow world of pontoon-fendered hot rod delivery trucks. Here''s an opportunity to get schooled on the subject, courtesy of a very unusual street rod that sits behind the big door at Benchmark Classics, America''s Hot Rod, Custom, Specialty and Muscle Car Playground in Middleton, Wisconsin.   "It" is a 1938 GMC Panel Truck. It is "Complex in its simplicity and simple in its complexity." I''d call it flat out gorgeous (that''s right, this is a little truck we''re talking about!) and a hot rodders dream. This is "Show and Go" taken to a wonderful conclusion.   We''ll begin with the "Show" portion of our program. For those you more focused in the "Go" report, hang in there; you will NOT be disappointed, I promise.   This is one of those vehicles that should be looked at first in pictures but then really does need to be seen in person. The reason behind that begins with the colors. The upper portion of the body, all the way around, is a rich metallic silver.  The wide running boards and fabulous fenders might look blue in photos; in person, they''re actually painted a candy apple purplish blue. What a color, just beautifully applied. In traditional hot rod style, the body''s been shaved; there are no exterior door handles, unnecessary badging or trim. This treatment highlights the surprisingly graceful lines of the basic body, hood, fenders and art moderne bullet headlamps.   Inside, the silver and purple/blue color scheme is both repeated and then reversed. The dash and door panels glow with the purple/blue combination, while there''s a purple velvet headliner (a great installation) that flows down the interior walls to meet up with silver carpeting across the lower sides and floor, matching the silver of the bucket seats.   The purple/blue dash has a brushed, stainless insert fitted with a Sun gauge cluster. There''s a custom, chromed tilt steering wheel and a set of classic round chromed pedals. The entire effect can be summed up in two words that have probably never been used before when referring to a 1938 GMC Panel Truck: Simple and Elegant. Really.   When builders get started on a rod, there''s almost always a tilt one direction or the other on the "Show and Go" teeter-totter. One look is all it usually takes to know whether a ride is meant to be a "cruiser" or a "cruise missile." As much of a knockout as this 1938 is visually, there''s definitely another side to the story.   Crack the side-opening, center-hinged cover on the long hood with "General Motors Truck" emblazoned down its side, and, wonder of wonders, sitting inside you''ll find a 454 Chevy big-block mill, in full Edelbrock dress. Chromed Edelbrock valve covers top Edelbrock heads; an Edelbrock manifold sits under an Edelbrock four-barrel, surrounded by a big Edelbrock air cleaner. There are Aeroquip hoses, a chromed alternator, and a stainless radiator surround. The engine compartment is such a showpiece, that there''s a mirror-polished stainless firewall, reflecting everything right back at you. Either that, or there''s a whole other dressed 454 behind the first one. Check it out and decide for yourself! By the way, this isn''t an engine for the faint of heart. It requires some version of 100 octane fuel, either racing gas or pump gas with the additive of your choice. When they say, "Light it up!" with this one they aren''t kidding.   Having walked around this beautiful ride, here''s one immediate realization: Benchmark Classics'' 1938 GMC Panel Van was built by someone with a great deal of race car fabrication experience. Oh, it''s beautiful all right, but this one is meant to put ALL that Rat motor power to the ground. There are little touches that tell you right away, like the perfectly isolated and covered fuel cell and battery box at the rear. It''s when you slide underneath that both the builder''s background and artistry are fully revealed.   Where to start? First of all, you''ll quickly see the artist''s hand at work as the color scheme from up top continues down below. Sitting there in the middle you''ll see the Turbo-Hydromatic 400 tranny, flanked by the custom exhaust that exits in front of the rear wheels. The driveshaft has elegant cages and pass-throughs as it heads to the chromed rear-end. There''s a coil-over suspension set up to control the monster Mickey Thompson Sportsman Pro tires. It''s a runner, no doubt about it. This teeter-totter ride definitely tips to the Go side of Show and Go.   "Complex in its simplicity, simple in its complexity." A 1938 GMC Panel Truck that began its life nine decades ago as a humble delivery vehicle now sits at Middleton, Wisconsin''s famous Benchmark Classics ready to deliver in an entirely different manner. Ask yourself a series of questions: Am I ready to own something that really is unique? Do I want to own a vehicle ready to take on all-comers at the strip? Do I want to make eyes pop and women tremble when I pull into the cruise in at the Sonic? Mull over what you REALLY want in a street rod. If you have enough of what it takes, this little o'' truck will deliver you all you can handle, Show AND GO.  

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