1930 Buick Pickup Truck
Looking for a one-of-a-kind project car? I've got just the thing for you. It's sitting on the windswept plains of southeastern Colorado near a town called Kim, and it probably hasn't moved for half a century.
This is a 1930 Buick pickup truck, a vehicle unique in all the world.
If you consult the history books, you'll quickly find that Buick didn't make pickup trucks in 1930. Buick did, however, build a rather jaunty coupe with a rumble seat which was known as the Model 56; one is pictured at right. Somewhere along the way, some farmer or rancher took a Buick Model 56 and replaced the trunk and rumble seat with a pickup bed, "kitbashing" it into a work vehicle. I don't know if the truck bed came from another vehicle or was scratch-built from sheet metal. I do know that whoever did the conversion was a true craftsman, if not an artist; the bed is integrated with the stock rear fenders so nicely that it looks like it came from the factory that way.
When my friend "Perk" photographed this truck last August, he wrote that it "would make great bones for a full restoration." The steel appears solid beneath the surface rust and the weathered patina, and the chrome radiator and headlights are eerily well preserved. The frame is probably in equally good shape underneath.
The interior is intact, including the aftermarket "necker's knob" on the steering wheel and the goofy Art Deco Zeppelin fan. It seems to need no more than new upholstery on the seat and a good cleaning and painting. With 95,561 miles showing on the odometer, the engine and transmission are probably due for a rebuild. If they're not restorable, you could swap in a modern engine and a four-speed, but I wouldn't hot-rod this one. Out of respect for the artistry of whoever turned it into a truck, I'd keep the appearance "stock" and restore it to its post-conversion blue-collar glory.
Notice that the keys are still in the ignition. I think the truck wants to get back to work.
--Cookie the Dog's Owner
The gorgeous Model 56 coupe belongs to Cathy and Charlie Boland, and the picture of it came from John's Old Car and Truck Pictures. The other photos were taken by the late Dr. Paul C. Perkins, an avid reader of this website and whose Lotus Elan Sprint was featured here during our last "Our Cars" Week. He was also a talented amateur photographer whose favorite subjects were airplanes, cars, architectural details, and the magnificent spaces of the American west. In the last year or so of his life, he posted a small portion of his work on a photoblog.