BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
Best of Both Worlds
Tom Wilkinson’s remarkable custom pickup, built with his own two hands from the ground up.
What do you get when you take a 1947 GMC and attach to a 1974 Holden one-tonner chassis? The result is none other than Tom Wilkinson’s remarkable custom pickup, built with his own two hands from the ground up. It was one of the biggest challenges he’s pushed himself to complete, and after many (many!) years of hard work, his masterpiece finally made its debut. And we’re all for it!
The body of the 1947 GMC pickup is not one to be disputed. The signature headlights, grille and pronounced bonnet, are all elements of what we love about the iconic vintage. This particular pickup design had been in the works at GM’s styling department as early as 1942. Talk about getting it right! Clay models from 1943 laid the foundation for the 1947 model, with features like headlights integrated into the front fenders, tall hood, and split windshields. These models were referred to as GMC’s “Advance-Design” and were introduced after World War II as a new and completely restyled line. Production of the Chevrolet/GMC pickups began in May 1947 and was ready for consumer purchase by June.
The Holden one-tonner is still considered a legend to most Australians, popularly known for carrying the ute variation of icons like the HQ and HJ. The name itself carries its purpose and beauty. With a full-length perimeter chassis, leaf springs, longer wheelbase, and unique cab design, this hardy one-tonner is invincible to long hours of hard work and roughing it out – pulling its weight while also taking on yours! Despite the decades since it was first released, many tradies would still consider the one-tonner a heavy-duty machine even today. Its durable design was referenced for contemporary models of Holden’s utes and trucks until production ceased in 2017.
So, when it came down to a chassis that would be hardy enough to support a custom pickup, what better choice than the trusty one-tonner?
47FAT “AUSTRA-MERICAN” COMBO
Living on the central coast of New South Wales, Tom did not recall seeing many pickups on the road. This spurred him to kickstart passion project “47FAT”. His mission? To build a pickup from the ground up using a 1947 GMC frame supported by a 1974 Holden one-tonner chassis. Obtaining the parts was the easy bit; he bought the GMC off a mate and purchased the one-tonner from the local wreckers.
The real work began when it was time to put everything together. Tom built this pickup in his single car garage space, so you can probably imagine how tight it was to store parts, let alone assemble everything in place! The matte black look and the bright orange dashboard added a modern twist to the vintage icon, also done by Tom himself. This build took him 8 long years to complete, and he says that finishing it remains one of the biggest highlights of his life.
You may think the years invested into getting 47FAT up and running has probably put him off another build. Nope! He’s got another project up his sleeve, and this time it’s a ute for his other pride and joy, his daughter. Last time we asked, nothing was set in stone, but we’re excited to see what Tom has in store next!