Paul Scriven Carpentry
1988 Grumman GMC Kurbmaster
I USED TO drive a pickup truck and trailer combination and I got to thinking about the footprint and length. I work in a lot of older neighbourhoods with smaller driveways and tighter lots, and I was really getting tired of how difficult it was to manoeuvre in and out.
I HAD BEEN thinking about a step van for quite a few years, but I didn’t get serious about the search until last fall. That’s when I discovered there are way more of these vehicles in the U.S., in places like Michigan and Ohio. You can find them here, but most of them have been used exclusively as delivery vehicles and have a ton of miles.
I FOUND THIS one in Ohio, but it came from West Virginia. I wondered how a 30-some-year-old truck could have so few miles on it. Turned out it was owned by an electrical company and was used to service transformers, so it didn’t get driven every day.
I REALLY LIKED this van because it was equipped with quad doors at the rear. They can be tough to find, but they’re a real bonus because the back fully opens and offers great access to the cargo space.
I DIDN’T HAVE to do too much to it. The body, engine and suspension were in good shape. I basically just bought six new tires and had the brakes done. Most of the work I did was cosmetic.
IT WAS WHITE when I got it, and it turned out the original colour was yellow. I really like the vintage, old-school look, which is why I decided to go with the two-tone paint. The stars mounted on the side I cut out of aluminum.
I HAVE A few things I’ll do before the snow flies. There’s not much for heat in these things, so I’m going to install a heater in the front. I did put in a bulkhead door, which makes it quieter and will help to contain the heat a little better. And I might put in a back-up camera.
IT DOES TURN some heads, no question. People are generally curious to know what kind of truck it is and to find out a little about its history. It’s been a lot of fun so far.