Article: The Sexiest Restored Trucks to Inspire Your Next Project: HowStuffWorks
The Sexiest Restored Trucks to Inspire Your Next Project
By: Ian Fortey
Image: aspiringcarguy via YouTube
About This Article
Do you know what's cooler than a classic truck? Getting a chance to actually rebuild your own from the ground up. Where some people see a rusted-out bucket of bolts sitting in a field or forgotten in a scrapyard, you see something else, don't you? Potential! A future! A finely tuned engine, dual exhaust and polished chrome accents with a slick new paint job you can see from space. That's the thrill of custom restoration and modification. You can't go back in time snag these trucks when they first came out, but you can bring them forward in time from the past and take better care of them than they ever got when they first rolled off the line.
A lot of time and a lot of effort goes into a custom truck restoration. It's definitely a labor of love, but if you want to see what the trade-off is then all you have to do is take a look through some of the hottest classic truck restorations we could find. If these don't inspire you to get into the garage and make some magic happen, then odds are nothing will. So what are you waiting for? Shift this into gear and take a look at some of the sexiest truck restorations ever.
Back when Jeeps were Willys
When's the last time you saw a 1957 Willys Jeep Station Wagon? There's a good chance you never have, even though this model was popular back in the day and over 300,000 were produced. This was restored not even from a whole vehicle but from parts laying about. A Buick 350 engine, custom taillights, dual-reserve master cylinder and a jade-tint paint overhaul are just some of the features to bring it forward in time more than half a century.
You won't want to dodge this Ram.
Dodge added the 5.9 Cummins engine for the first time in 1989, and that started a turnaround for the company as sales began to pick up with this powerful new diesel engine under the hood. If you've seen an '89 Dodge D250 lately it's likely been on blocks or rusted out beyond belief, but this incredible restoration is painted flat black with a vinyl wrap and new panels, wheels, emblems, window tint and maybe even the kitchen sink to boot.
Taking it to task with the Task Force
The first year of Chevy's "Task Force" series, 1955 introduced the world to the wraparound windshield design as well as an optional wraparound rear windshield if you wanted to shell out for the deluxe cab. Power steering and power brakes were new for this year so this 3100 had a lot going for it and was well worth a resto-mod to bring in into this century.
A reason to get the blues
Why don't more people use this paint color? Maybe it only works on a restored Willys 1960 4x4, who knows? Comes complete with an original PTO drive winch, a tail hitch, original locking hubs, original bumpers, a pristine bed, refurbished interior and new chrome making this the kind of vehicle you're actually going to enjoy driving. Willys stopped producing these in 1965, so even finding one to work on is a job in itself.
Old meets new in perfect harmony.
This 1972 Ford F250 Custom Sport is really taking that "custom" part to heart now after this impressive restoration. This was the final year of the 5th generation of Ford's F-series and was what had previously been called the "custom cab" trim version. The restoration even has the original 360 V8 engine in it backed by a C6 automatic, so it growls just as good today as it did nearly a half-century ago when it came off the line.
Would you look at this thing? It's a 1936 Ford model 67 pickup truck with an all-steel flathead V8, chrome grille and dual exhaust. You could get a lot of wood on these models originally if you wanted to, and a lot of restorations will go with some cheaper parts when putting something like this together, but this one was done with an eye to refinement. Even the bench seat inside is original, though they were nice enough to add turn signals for you.
They don't call it "super" for nothing.
This '79 Chevy Cheyenne Super 10 350 looked about as good as any 40-year-old pickup was going to before restoration, which is to say a solid frame but wear and tear and rust had taken its toll. This thing was rebuilt from the ground up, some painstaking work with the frame and chassis all the way through that classic V8 engine and even a paint job that looks like it just rolled off the lot in time to meet the 1980s.
V8 sounds great!
The Apache was a short-lived Chevy from back in the day, only produced from 1955 to 1960. These were the first Chevys available with a V8 engine and were part of Chevy's "Task Force" series. This 1958 restoration has the full chrome across the front and the original Apache badges on the sides and even the chrome gas cap. This was the first year the trucks had the four headlights and the first year with factory-equipped air conditioning. Nice.
The 1952 OG
It's not often you're going to find a 1952 New Design Series GMC truck that has been restored this nicely, and it's even less common to find one that has the original straight-6 cylinder 3736 cc engine under the hood in perfect working order. These engines have been out of play pretty much all over the world for decades now.
Keepin' it sleek
Sometimes a paint job can really make the vehicle. There's no chance any original 1949 GMC 100 pickups rolled off the line looking quite like this one, but you can see someone really wanted to make this one stand out from the small crowd of them that are left in the world. Consider that these 1/2 ton trucks were basically sold as utility vehicles for farms back in the day and you can see that this restoration has done some amazing things.
Advance into this restored design
Chevy called these trucks "advanced design" and they were the first major new design after World War II that the automaker produced. This 1948 3100 was about as rough as it gets pre-restoration. There was no flatbed, just the skeleton of one and extensive rust throughout the entire body and frame. You can see some serious work went into restoring and modding what was left to produce an absolutely gorgeous truck.
A new spin on a classic
Few trucks scream old-school farmer quite like a classic Ford. This 1947 Ford pickup looked exactly like the kind of truck you'd expect to have seen hauling bales of hay around pre-restoration. The bed was beaten up, the interior was literally shredded and the whole thing looked like time had forgotten it. A total body overhaul and custom paint took the washed-out, beaten-up red frame into the perfect retro-cool look.
C10 does it again.
Chevy launched its C/K series of trucks in 1960, so this 1963 C10 model was right in the heart of the first generation of those trucks. These trucks were designed to be more driver-friendly than the utility vehicles of earlier years — remember, trucks were mostly used as work vehicles before. Better suspension and a drop-center ladder frame made this model more fun to drive, and this restoration job takes it to the next level making it look as good as it feels.
1931 in a million
There's old school and then there's old school, and this right here is decidedly old school. The Ford Model A was Ford's follow-up to the Model T, and 1931 was its final production year. Nearly 5 million of these had been made, and as you could imagine, a full restoration is incredibly challenging. Every inch of this bad boy was rusty and unreliable, so bringing it back to life this spectacularly was a labor of love.
Get your kicks with this '66.
A full frame-off restoration of a 1966 Chevy C10 pickup isn't something you see every day, so take a moment to appreciate the incredible work that went into this thing. A 350 Chevy crate engine replaced the long-missing original along with a new 700r4 transmission to make it a smooth, easy ride. The interior was poached from a 2000 Tahoe and it even has an aftermarket stereo with Bluetooth, something they forgot back in the '60s.
In the Army now!
Ever heard the saying "go hard or go home?" Yeah, this is that. This is a military surplus M818 tractor truck restored with a flatbed and full camo paint job to give it that authentic look you never get in your average Honda or Ford. These were 5-ton trucks used for massive hauling produced until 1982 when they were replaced by the M939 series. Looking at this restoration, you'd never know this thing was around 40 years old and obsolete.
Have a blast with the past.
If you're going to restore a classic Ford truck, the 1956 Ford F100 is definitely one of the best years to pick. The '56 was a single-year-only body style and it was distinguished by that windshield which wrapped around and had vertical pillars, unlike earlier models. And, hey, this was the first year you could get some seatbelts in one as well. This restoration was a resurrection really, as the original frame and body were in terrible condition, rusted out in a field.
This is how you keep it cool.
A frame-off restored 1951 Chevy half-ton is not something you're going to see every day. This was restored almost completely from original with a solid wood flatbed and the upgrade to a 350 Chevy crate engine and power steering. Gauges, steering wheel, even the seats were all recovered from the original so it's as close to old school as you're likely to get visually with one significant difference — they added air conditioning as well.
AA or A+?
From 1927 to 1933 Ford produced its AA models, and this 1929 is a definite standout. Ford was really trying to ensure it was the vehicle for literally everyone, so a number of variants of the AA were made available including ambulance, dump truck, express pickup and even funeral coach. The US Post Office used these as part of its delivery fleet, and this restoration takes the model to some new heights.
A ton of fun
Sometimes you just need a bigger truck, and that's why this Chevrolet 3800 is a nice change of pace from the usual. The 3800 was Chevy's one-ton model, so this was made for some heavy-duty work. This year, 1955, was the final year of Chevrolet's "Advance Design" series before the "Task Force" series took over. This was also Chevy's final year as number one in sales for trucks, and it's likely none of the originals ever had a paint job as nice as this restoration.
You'd scramble for this Scrambler.
You don't see too many of these extended cab Jeep Scramblers any more even if they only came from 1982. This restoration went to the extreme with a fully restored galvanized frame, original straight-6 engine fully restored, new tub, original gauges and a diamond-plate dash panel. Not a lot of people think "classic" when they think cars from the '80s, but this will definitely make you reconsider.
Diamond not in the rough
Diamond T has been defunct since 1967 so not a lot of people would be likely to even recognize this incredible custom resto-mod job at a glance, which is OK, it just means you need to take a second look. Mostly known for their military and commercial trucks, Diamond produced models like this 1937 Model 80 one as well. Striking custom paint and interior and an appraised value of over $130,000. Not bad.
How to make 1947 look like new.
When you're restoring a truck from 1947, you have to be all in, and that's exactly what happened with this GMC E-series 1/2-ton pickup. With new chrome front and rear bumpers, as well as grille and accents, new badges, new bed and custom paint, this thing is pristine and gorgeous. To even find a '47 GMC truck in any condition these days is a chore, let alone one that's had this much work done.
Red hot rodding
From 1946 to 1964, Willys produced Jeeps in America including this spectacular 1953 model. This was the final production year before Kaiser Jeep took over, so it's an end-of-an-era model that has been brought back to life with dual exhaust, a wicked paint job and of course a fully upgraded V8 hot rod engine to ensure it lives up to its four-wheel-drive potential.
Does the F in F1 mean fenomenal?
The first generation of Ford's F-series was from 1948 to 1952, so this 1951 F1 was really the beginning of Ford's incredible truck-making legacy. The F-series are the best selling trucks in the world today, so basically you're looking at their grandfather here. Restored from rust and neglect, this was an in-depth and thorough job from stripping the rust off the frame all the way up to a sleek paint job. No body swap on this one, just a lot of hard work.
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