The Norman Transcript

Headlines

January 4, 2014

1950 GMC pickup restored

NORMAN — Ron LaPratt’s 1950 General Motors truck is arguably the finest pickup in Oklahoma.

It may not be the biggest, fastest or strongest, but it has undeniable personality-plus from having been restored as a labor of detail-focused love. And with only a minor addition for modern safety considerations, the GMC half-ton truck was refurbished to be exactly as it was when it rolled off a Michigan assembly line.

LaPratt first learned about the truck several years ago from deer hunting buddies. It was owned by a Kansan and stored in a Wichita shed from which it hadn’t moved in more than 17 years.

As soon as LaPratt saw the old truck he knew he was going to buy it. The Kansan’s plan had been to restore it as a first vehicle for a 16-year-old, but all he’d actually done was turn the truck into a true basket case.

“We used a Jeep to pull it out of the shed and three wheels were just sliding,” LaPratt said. “They were locked up tight.”

He had to jack the truck up and break the rusted brakes free from the drums. Many of the parts, such as the original radio, seats, bumpers, hood and fenders, were in the owner’s basement.

“The engine and drive train were still on the chassis,” he said.

LaPratt towed the GMC back to his rural northeast Norman home on acreage and began removing every nut, bolt and screw. He took upward of 400 photos to document the process of tearing it apart and to help him remember how to reassemble it.

“I wanted to put it back together exactly how it came out of the General Motors factory,” he said.

Part of the desire to accomplish it in that manner may be the fact that LaPratt retired after decades working as a skilled trades carpenter in GM plants both at Pontiac Plant No. 6 in Michigan and Oklahoma City Assembly.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Oklahoma City Memorial Bombing museum gets tech boost

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A memorial and museum built to remember the worst act of domestic terrorism on American soil is in the midst of a $7 million upgrade so it can better portray how different the world was when Timothy McVeigh blew up the ...

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Is Okla. backing off accountability?

    One by one, K-12 education reforms passed in previous years by Oklahoma lawmakers are being targeted for weakening or repeal....

    April 19, 2014

  • Hope Trunk travels to Norman

    The rustle of paper could be heard as students meticulously folded one crane, then another and another Friday afternoon. After reading the inspiring story, “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes,” Cleveland Elementary School fifth graders ...

    April 19, 2014

  • Congressman Cole reflects on recovery

    Congressman Tom Cole’s home in Moore was not hit by the May 20 tornado but it came pretty close. His wife has made it clear she wants a saferoom, he said. In a visit to the Transcript on Friday afternoon, Cole talked about tornado ...

    April 19, 2014

  • Gaylord to get $35,000 grant for poverty project

    A team from Gaylord College is among the first winners in a national competition to fund innovative news experiments that serve communities, the Online News Association has announced....

    April 19, 2014

  • U.S. puts off pipeline decision

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is putting off its decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, likely until after the November elections, by extending its review of the controversial project indefinitely....

    April 19, 2014

  • Garage sale to benefit Team Jamie’s Crew set

    A garage sale to benefit Team Jamie’s Crew will start at 9 a.m. today at 1510 Melrose Drive....

    April 19, 2014

  • Sonic plans expansion

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma-based Sonic Corp. plans to open 1,000 new drive-in restaurants nationwide over the next 10 years, expanding the chain by about 30 percent, the company said....

    April 19, 2014

  • Singing Sooners show set

    The University of Oklahoma School of Music presents the Singing Sooners Spring Show at 8 p.m. Friday, April 25 in the Sharp Concert Hall, Catlett Music Center. Jim Graves and Stephen Ziegler serve as directors for the group....

    April 19, 2014

  • Study: Half of jailed youths have injury

    NEW YORK — About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City’s jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that’s the latest in a growing body of ...

    April 19, 2014