If you attend truck shows on a regular basis, you know that Sixties GM trucks are one of the staples of the hobby. So, it really takes something special to catch your eye, even if you have an eye for great GMC 1/2-tons, no matter what the vintage. Carlos and Maria Sacchetto of Whittier, California, know this truism, and at first glance, their '65 GMC pickup might be overlooked in a field of newer and more modified trucks.
Carlos has a special affinity for mid-Sixties GM pickups. Born in Argentina in 1955, he remembers that before immigrating to the United States in 1966, this style was the most popular on the roads of his homeland. Over the years, his automotive passions have been fueled in a variety of ways. His grandfather and father were bodymen in Argentina, and they passed down their love of metal-bending to Carlos, whose first job in the industry was in Pasadena. He worked at various other shops in Southern California, before moving on to a position in the insurance industry. But, his love for all things automotive drew him back to his roots, first as a partner in a shop in nearby Downey. Then, in 1992 with his wife Maria, he purchased Eckles Auto Body and is now in the process of moving to larger quarters in Whittier.
Whittier is one of the traditional epicenters of automotive culture in Southern California, earthquakes notwithstanding-parts of the downtown area were leveled in a 4.7 Richter scale Whittier Narrows earthquake back in 1987. Carlos has built up a reputation among the region's enthusiasts, who appreciate his old-world and old-school methods of turning out show-caliber efforts. But, when it came time to build a calling card for his business, he went back to his roots and found the '65 GMC 1/2-ton you're viewing on these pages.
Carlos explained the truck's evolution this way. "I wanted to be different, break out from the more common Chevy and Ford categories. The big problem is that some of the GMC-specific trim pieces are unique and a challenge to find."
When asked how long the project took, Carlos just smiled. "It took 11 years to finish. I purchased the GMC shortly after buying Eckles Auto Body in 1992, and luckily, business was good so the truck kept getting pushed to the back of the shop. When I decided to get serious about completing it, my goal was to finish prior to moving to our new, larger facility."
It's always interesting to ask someone, who built his ride from the ground up, what was the most difficult aspect of the project. Carlos had no hesitation in answering this question. "The bed of the truck, no question about it. One of the bed panels was damaged beyond repair, and we had to replace it. The panel was difficult to locate because the truck is a shortbed. Also, designing the interior was difficult. I had so many different ideas. I thought about designing something custom, but then I decided to do it semi-stock."
We didn't have to ask what was the most noteworthy attribute of the truck-the sparkling red finish, along with the contrast provided by the wood on the bed floor and the abundance of chrome up front. Certainly greater than the sum of the parts, the overall look and stance, in this case, are provided by the 20x9.5-inch Panther wheels combined with the Falken 255/35ZR20 tires. The result is a very contemporary look to a vintage truck. The drivetrain is pretty simple, an SBC 350, mildly worked over with an automatic transmission and a sturdy 12-bolt 3:43 rearend with Positraction. The binders are a custom disc brake setup.