Ruby (Ruby 22, if we’re being formal) is a 1962 GMC K1502 Fenderside, powered by a 305-cubic-inch V6. All that glorious patina was earned over 83,000 miles in the Ruby Mountains in northeastern Nevada.
Since 1962, Ruby has been owned and maintained by the State of Nevada’s Division of Forestry, and has the service logs in the glovebox to prove it (along with a snake bite kit).
The “K1502” makes Ruby a four-wheel drive three-quarter ton with an eight-foot bed and a GVW of 8,100 pounds. “Fenderside” is GMC-ese for the more common “Stepside” used by Chevrolet.
In love yet?
The 305 under the hood was GMC-specific and made 260 lb-ft of torque and 150 horsepower when new. It was designed with one goal in mind: durability. The block was short, heavily ribbed, and had a three-inch skirt below crankshaft centerline for extra rigidity. Cooling was increased and coolant flow balanced to eliminate hot spots. A high-output oil pump circulated up to 14 gallons per minute through the engine.
The crank itself was a beast, claimed to be twice the size of those found in comparable V8s, and with the strongest connecting rods and largest bearing areas. The cam lobes dipped in oil with every revolution, reducing wear on spinning parts.
GMC claimed the 60-degree engine would go up to 200,000 miles before a major overhaul and last three times longer than their previous model, both huge boasts for the day. In service, the engines proved to be dead reliable and stories abound of early 305s going 400,000 and even 450,000 miles without issue.
Ruby’s mighty V6 was recently removed and disassembled for cleaning and inspection. Parts were replaced as needed and a fresh coat of paint applied. The four-speed transmission got a new clutch package, and then everything was reinstalled.
The original Spicer locking hubs up front are factory fresh, and the four-wheel drive works as advertised, driving the original Goodyear Diamond tires on the original GMC three-piece wheels.
Thanks to the high elevation and dry climate of the Ruby Mountains, the body and undercarriage are amazingly free of rust. Pipes added to the edges protected the tops of the bed sides, that tailgate is in perfect condition, and the black paint is still visible on the original wooden bed floor. The rear step bumper is a custom job, most likely mounted by the State for Ruby’s specific duties.
Underneath the top coat of Forest Service green is what looks to be the original factory Crystal Green paint. Ruby’s current caretaker says that the top coat “comes off fairly well with a pressure washer.” (Please stop doing that, Sir. We beg of you).
The price for all this originality is a stout $18,200. Ruby’s history and paperwork add serious value in the mind of the seller.
Would you by this 1962 GMC K1500? We certainly would. We would sell a kidney for it. We would sell the children’s kidneys for it, and even the children themselves. Early four-wheel drives are rare enough, and high desert survivors rarer still. Ruby might just be the once-in-a-lifetime truck we’ve been dreaming about.
Hell, we’ve even named the damned thing.
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