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Truck Thursday: An Ode To The Advance Design

My fellow Hoons, this offering by this olelongrooffan contains over 2,150 words and suffered through 40+ revisions. I might suggest finding a few minutes, a comfortable seat and a cold libation while reading about Bus_Plunge and Advance Designs. Or not. Anyways, thanks for staying tuned.

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So it’s been a while since this olelongrooffan has contributed anything here in the Hooniverse. Please note my fellow Hoons, it’s not for lack of interest; I mean I probably have six or seven draft posts together and in various states of completion. But every time I commence editing one of them, I will sidetrack off to read something by one of my fellow contributors and, somehow, my stuff just doesn’t seem to measure up to their lofty offerings. Maybe it is the six year itch setting in. Yeah, it was May 1, 2010 that this olelongrooffan was bestowed the honor of contributing here in the Hooniverse. But then again, maybe I am just indolent after all. Anyway, my absence has gotten so noticeable that even some of my kinfolk who this olelongrooffan didn’t even know read my stuff here have contacted me to wonder what the hell is up? As such, this olelongrooffan decided to get off my lazy, self critiqueing ass and actually post something before the Hooniverse Overlords yank the Key to the Vault that is Hooniverse from my grimy hands.

Anyways, my fellow Hoons may remember a post this olelongrooffan did a long whiles back about the short bus my brother Bus_Plunge owned for many years and ended up selling to another grandpa down Texas way. I am told it is a pretty good read and ole Bus_Plunge himself even mentions it to me from time to time. Now that old bus is an Advance Design style truck produced by the General from the 1948 through early 1955 model years (even though the Task Force redesign occurred in 55, it appears some early 55’s were 54 AD carryovers). And Bus_Plunge surely does like him some Advance Design trucks.

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This olelongrooffan hadn’t thought much of AD trucks in a while until little brother, thejeepjunkie, posted on that book about his face this Advance Design model truck he built up to go with all of the 1/25 scale construction vehicles he is now messing with. Yeah, he is now an empty nester and has a whole bunch of spare time on his hands now that he doesn’t have to rescue the Kid from the swamps or attend the Kid’s sister’s proliferation of softball games. Yeah that ole black and yellow got this olelongrooffan to thinking about how popular Advance Design trucks are, not just with Bus_Plunge but round these here parts of the Ozark Mountains as well.

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It seems like every other place of business has one of these AD trucks as their mascot out front. Whether they be of the 5 lug wheeled dually variety seen at some eating joint down on the 76 strip in Branson or

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the 3/4 ton variety parked outside Wickman Gardens there in the Queen City of the Ozarks. Yeah, this olelongrooffan has seen a bunch of them but just never really paid a whole lot of attention to them. You see, when something is nearly ubiquitous in life, they tend to become just another aspect of said life and these Advance Design trucks had become that way to this olelongrooffan.

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But when I started documenting them, I realized that they are all over the place here. By far the most popular vintage truck here in the Ozarks that’s for sure. Even the junk dealer has one. (More about that S10 a bit later.)

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This long bed is sitting out in the middle of a field not far from the B’s Nest cabin. Granted that field is next to a farmer’s market and they decorate that truck depending on what the occasion may be. Pumpkins in the fall, red, white and blue stuff for the Fourth of July, you get the idea. And it is another of the Advance Design species.

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And over in the little burg where the B’s Nest cabin is situated, this crunched up 5 window restomod AD sits just up the hill from that humble abode.

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Hell, these things are so popular round these here parts that last summer, Bus_Plunge and this olelongrooffan rescued this rolling frame and motor for one of his friends. It was one of those projects that summer.

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So when this olelongrooffan was chatting it up with Bus_Plunge about this post, he waxed on nostalgic about all of the Advance Design trucks he has owned and the one that started it all. I tried to record every nuance about his first experience with a General Motors Advance Design truck but finally decided to lift the following from his blog post about a Corvair convertible my family owned and he drove to his job as a teenager back in the day.

That [Corvair] was the car I drove in high school and to my summer job of driving a water truck for the Greene County Road and Bridge Department. That water truck was a 1953 GMC tanker truck. My job was to water down the gravel roads. Sort of looked like [the one above]. Rokey Langsford worked with me. I drove the truck and Rokey sat on top of the tank part and he sprayed the roads with a fire hose. We would fill the truck up from the James or Finley Rivers.

Fred Schaeffer was the county judge who got us the jobs. When I was assigned the job of driving the water truck, I was told to just pull up to a stream and fill it up. The pump had lawn mower type motor. One hose went into the river, the other went into the opening at the top of the tank. When the tank was full, the hoses were reversed to spray the roads. I think all the Greene County roads are now paved, but that wasn’t so back in 1966….. Rokey passed away some years ago. His father was Les Langsford, a Springfield State Representative who also owned several trade publications. His family owns the Community Free Press. They used to publish Undercar Digest which I always thought was a keen name for a trade publication. Rokey and I did our share of swimming in rivers that summer when it was hot.

Looking back, the county road overseer, Marion Osborne, let two teenaged boys take a tank truck and told us to go out and water roads. Those were our instructions. When the crew would “athey” roads, we would go all over the county and water the piles of dirt in the middle of the roads. Graders would pull the ditches and scrape all the gravel into a long row in the middle of the road. The athey would scoop up the row of gravel and dump it into the dump trucks that were backing at the same speed as the athey, so that the gravel would dump into the bed of the truck. It was an experience, lots of heavy equipment, flag men, pick up trucks, dump trucks and Rokey and I in the tank truck! Gosh, those were good times. Just driving around in a big old truck, drinking pop and stopping at rivers and creeks to fill up the truck.

And according to Bus_Plunge, that old water tanker truck sparked an interest in General Motors Advance Design trucks that continues to this day for him.

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His first AD was a 48 one ton of which there is not an image to be found. It was green and when Bus_Plunge and his PrvtRN were talking about it during these discussions, this olelongrooffan remembered that truck as it had a custom home built camper on the ass end of it. The PrvtRN remembered with surprise that old camper and mentioned she had forgotten all about it.

The next AD Bus_Plunge acquired was the “cherry” green one seen above. (Although evidence does exist there may have been others.) Now when he bought it, it was not nearly in this condition. One of the first things he did when acquiring old trucks was to paint the wheels black with silver lug nuts and rings. This one sold many years ago but not before Bus_Plunge captured this old school photograph of his grandsons in the bed of it. That boy on the left in the above image? He graduated high school last week and stands about 6’6″ tall. I remember this truck and that no longer youngster as if it were yesterday. My-O-My! Time flies when you’re having fun.

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Shortly after Bus_Plunge acquired that shorty bus, he realized that owning just one Advance Design truck at a time was not enough so he splurged and picked up this black one ton flatbed. Once he painted it in robin’s egg blue and added the B’s Nest logos to it, he experimented with various truck beds for it.

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Among many of them was this canvas topped flatbed that was just to cool for school. This olelongrooffan remembers this truck bed, the frame work for it was constructed out of steel tubing and hog fence and this olelongrooffan thought that was a pretty sweet application. This was also one of the first trucks Bus_Plunge owned that wasn’t repainted with black wheels with silver “beauty rings” and lug nuts. That ivory fits right in with the color scheme on the B’s Nest truck.

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Now Bus_Plunge does, as my dad TheGentlemanFarmer did, when someone needed something he owned more than he, it was passed along. And that canvas covered truck bed no different and went on to new uses and a new life. And he found another plain ole flat bed for the B’s Nest truck. But he was always in search of something even cooler.

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Now this olelongrooffan has made no secret that I like my stuff stock or “period correct.” I firmly believe this is something I learned from Pops and he often said about lifted, customized stuff, back in the day, “Those engineers knew what they were doing when they designed those vehicles.” And no customization was allowed on TheGentlemanFarmer’s stuff. I believe Bus_Plunge got the same dissertation from Dad, just a generation previous. After popping the hood on the B’s Nest truck that day, Bus_Plunge couldn’t wait to point out the submerged oil filter and the oil bath air cleaner on this old straight six equipped Advance Design. Can an underhood look at a truck get much simpler than this?

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This olelongrooffan quizzed Bus_Plunge about the missing badging on the hood of his B’s Nest truck. “I think it is in my little red barn somewhere,” he commented sheepishly about these attachments removed sometime back in 2001 in preparation for the application of that robin’s egg blue paint.

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But it appears that B’s Nest logo seems to have held up rather well over the years. This olelongrooffan is not sure if I have previously passed along the origin of the “B’s Nest.” My Mom’s folks, Al and Eleanor Bansbach had a summer cabin out on the Big River just outside that city with the big Arch in which they lived. That cabin was Granny and Man’s treasure and it was christened with the moniker “B’s Nest” early upon their taking ownership of it several generations ago. And thanks to Bus_Plunge, that name is still alive and well to this day on an old lake cabin as well as an old Advance Design truck. By the way, my maternal grandfather, “Man,” drove Chevrolets the whole time I knew him.

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Now the floorboard of the old B’s Nest truck gives clues to its existence and not just as a gathering all of things needed to keep a 1954 Advance Design mostly original truck operational. It also includes those recently added (well many moons ago anyway) levers necessary to operate what is the coolest bed applied to the B’s Nest truck to this day.

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Yeah my fellow Hoons, that would be the dump bed that is now fitted on the ass end of this old Advance Design. As the story is told, this bed was found early on in Craig’s life and thehorsefarmer and Bus_Plunge went up St. Lewiee way to pick it up. It was advertised as complete, but when an inventory was completed on the accessories, the driveshaft and driveshaft coupler for it turned up missing. Bus_Plunge inquired of the seller as to the whereabouts of these rare connecting devices, the seller attempted to generate a few extra bucks by mentioning to my older brothers that those parts not included in the sale price. Well Hoons, don’t attempt to screw around a couple hillbillies from the Ozarks as that theory just doesn’t hold any water, and it didn’t that day. Those boys came home from the big city with all the parts and accessories necessary to get that leaf laden dump bed in fine operational order to this day.

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Just so long as Bus_Plunge, NotSoLilJim and his boys don’t overload that 8,800 GVW truck.

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And my fellow Hoons, trust this olelongrooffan when I tell you there is a story or a hundred about this New city block there in the Queen City of the Ozarks.

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Now this olelongrooffan knows it has been awhile but trust me, there is still a GMC Motorhome or two that I haven’t seen.

Yet.

Image Copyright Hooniverse 2016/longrooffan

  • dukeisduke

    Yes, the Advance Design to Task Force transition was mid-year (IIRC) with some overlap.

  • Andrew Pierce

    If the front end of that suburban assault vehicle in the last photo can squat as well as the back is sitting it’d be real convenient to get in and out of.

  • dukeisduke

    Good to see your posts again, dude. What are you doing to keep busy now? How’s your daughter doing in college? How many years until she’s “off the payroll”?

  • bus plunge

    Longrooffan….another great tale. My granddaughters have never quite forgiven me for passing the bus on…..but, what the hey… an old truck is like an old boat, you got to use it to keep it in shape….thus the origin of that ubiquitous phrase we hear quite often in our quests in the Ozarks: “Ran When Parked”.

    The First AD I owned I traded my father in law 150′ of ought ten electrical wire for his 1948 3800 series SRW with a masonite camper on the back. I gave it to my brother in law. Trucks just seem to stay in our family, sure, they might get traded, but they always stay in the compound.

    That green 1953 3600 long wheelbase was identical to one my wife’s father owned and traded to a friend who parked it behind a bulldozer up north of St. Joe MO. You know the rest of the tale.

    Here is a photo of it when I got it, Horsefarmer and I went up and got it. I liked this truck.

  • HycoSpeed

    I dig those mirrors on the 3 ft sticks!