In this Month’s Truck of the Month feature, we took a look at Anthony Vincent Castro’s 1952 GMC truck. When we shoot vehicles for our magazine, we love to hear the stories behind the vehicle and this frame-off restoration definitely had a story to tell. We’ll let Anthony tell you; in his own words.
“My grandfather purchased the truck in the early ’50’s in Pomona, CA. Every summer, my family would go north to San Jose, CA to pick prunes for The Christopher Ranch. My grandfather would pick prunes with the family in the morning, and then drive in his truck to his carpentry job, and in the evening he would return to work with the family for a few more hours. My grandfather was a Union carpenter for 51 years. Throughout his years working and until his retirement in 1987, the GMC was always a dependable truck for my grandfather.
The family moved to Saratoga, CA in 1962 and settled in San Jose during the summer of 1969. In 1978 my parents, Alvino and Rosalie Castro, moved our family from Pomona to San Jose. My grandfather drove his GMC truck to southern California to help us move, and now that I think about it, we must have looked like the Mexican Hillbillies driving up I-5 with chickens, rabbits, Santa Rosa Plum trees, Apricot trees and furniture in the back of his truck!
My grandfather was a huge part of my life, but unfortunately, he passed away in May of 2009. A few years after his passing, my grandmother gave me my grandfather’s truck. Being the eldest grandson, it was an honor to be given such a proud possession of my grandfather’s. When I first got the truck home, I would stare at the GMC and try to picture what the truck would look like fully restored. I quickly realized that the truck needed a lot of work and the best thing was to do a complete frame-off restoration.
Being an avid reader of Lowrider Magazine since 1978, I have become familiar with the work of many builders featured in the magazine throughout the years. Lowrider Magazine is a great source of information to not only the Lowrider community, but also for car culture and enthusiasts as a whole. My favorite article has been the 1954 Chevy truck Eddie Tovar restored in remembrance of his grandfather, Pedro Bargas. Being close to my grandfather; I knew how special that build must have been for Eddie. Through the pages of LRM, I have been following Eddie and his brother’s work for years, and I have a great appreciation for their style and beautiful restorations. The Tovar brothers’ attention to detail is what really sets them apart from others in their profession. I would show pictures of Eddie’s work to my wife, Priscilla, and tell her, “This is the guy who I am going to have restore my grandfather’s truck.” She would smile and say, “Yeah right.”
I was determined to make this happen and my opportunity came in January 2012. I went to the Turlock, CA swap meet to look for accessories for my ’51 Chevy car and I came across Mike Ramos’ booth for The Truck Stop. From reading Lowrider Magazine, I knew Mike was big in the parts business in Southern California and knew Eddie Tovar. I went up to his booth and asked him for Eddie’s phone number. He gave me a funny look and asked if I knew Eddie and I replied, “Not yet.” He then told me that Eddie was actually at the swap meet as we were speaking, and he called him to let him know a man named Anthony wanted to meet him. Mike hangs up his phone and tells me where to find Eddie; at that point I look up to the sky and say, “Thank you Jesus!” What were the chances Eddie would be in Turlock that day?! I found Eddie and introduced myself to him, and in the process introduced myself to his wife, Teresa, and a few of their friends. I told him about my project and its special significance because of my relationship with my grandfather. I asked him, since he was already in the area, if he would be interested in taking a look at the truck. The following day on their way home, Eddie and Teresa stopped by to look at the truck. We were able to sit down and talk for a while. Both Eddie and Teresa are very kind and down to Earth people. Once I finally took Eddie to look at the truck, he walked around one side and shook his head and walked around the other side and shook his head again. It’s important to note that this truck is not an ordinary short bed Chevy Truck; this truck is a beast − a ¾ ton long bed GMC Truck. Eddie finally looked up at me and said. “Anthony, most guys would not want to restore this truck but this is special and was your grandfather’s truck. So let’s do it!” I took the truck to Hawaiian Gardens in July 2012 and the rest is history.
Eddie’s craftsmanship and attention to detail far exceeded my expectations and truly honored the memory of my grandfather. Throughout this process, I was able to learn more about Eddie and his brother’s passion for what they do and develop a friendship with the Tovar family. Eddie and Michael, thank you for all your hard work and input on this build.”
When you are growing up, you never know or realize the bonds and memories that grandparents and family members can create but as you get older, you learn to appreciate them. Once they are gone, the majority of us find a way to never forget about them as Anthony did with his Grandfather Guadalupe’s truck; a truck that will now be able to be handed down to future generations in which to create new memories that will be cherished like the ones from the Anthony’s past.
Make: 1952 Chevrolet, 3100 Pick Up Thriftmaster
Owner: Anthony Vincent Castro
City/State: Patterson, CA
Car Club: no club
Suspension: The truck was lowered 5-inches by flipping the rear end from the bottom of the leaf springs to the top of the spring and also “C” notching the frame 2 inches. The rear axle has been changed from an 8 lug to a 6-lug rear end.
Engine: 1958 Chevy 235 6-cylinder with a 1984 S-10 Chevy 5-speed manual transmission. A 1-inch exhaust was installed by Lou’s Mufflers.
Paint: PPG 2-stage 2013 Fiat Beige Cappuccino shot by Eddie and Victor Melgoza
Wheels: 15-inch original wheels and hubcaps
Tires: US Royals 4-ply 5.60’s