What the 1950s were to American car styling the 1960s were to trucks. Round fenders and big grilles gave trucks distinctive personalities back then. With this in mind, enthusiast Glen Olivera wanted a unique 4x4. He consulted with GM Truck Center (GMTC) in Burbank, California, to create a truck that didn’t look like anything out there.
A 1960 GMC was the starting point. GMTC wanted to see how much tire it could take with a moderate lift. Guessing that the 50-year-old frame couldn’t handle the stress of huge tires, GMTC took a donor 1985 K3500 and shortened it to fit the older sheetmetal.
A 1-ton frame obviously needs a heavy-duty drivetrain. GMTC built a Vortec 454 out of a ’99 Suburban with roller rockers, an Edelbrock intake, and an Edelbrock carburetor under a big K&N can. A supercharger might appear in the future.?>
Bulletproof running gear comes from the ’85-issue K3500 parts. Custom driveshafts with 1410 U-joints connect the NP205 to 1-ton axles. The Dana 60 front axle has a Power Lok. GMTC added a custom crossover draglink; braking power is bolstered by a hydroboost unit.
Suspension lift comes from a Skyjacker 6-inch leaf lift. To fit the 46-inch Baja Claws with minimal lift, GMTC reformed each fender. This involved radiusing 12-22 inches of metal from each. The lips were then hand-formed to keep a factory look. Inside, the cockpit is basic. Four Equus gauges, a carpet kit, and vinyl upholstery do the job.
Glen Olivera has apparently achieved his goal: owning a truck that isn’t a clone. (His secondary criterion: size does matter.)
Six inches of total lift and 46s without bulbous fenders make this GMC a functional classic.
1960 GMC K30
Engine: GM Vortec 454, Edelbrock intake manifold and carburetor, K&N air cleaner, Thorley headers, Flowmaster mufflers
Transmission: SM 465, Centerforce clutch
Transfer case: NP205
Front Axle: Dana 60, Power Lok, 4.56 gears
Rear Axle: GM 14-bolt, Detroit Locker, 4.56 gears
Springs & Such: Skyjacker 6-inch lift kit
Tires & Wheels: 19.5/46-16 Mickey Thompson Baja claws; 16x12 Weld Racing Evos
Steering: GMTC crossover