Cohort Classic: 1964 or 1965 GMC B-Series Short-Conventional Truck

Fred Oliver has found a truck that’s long eluded me: the 1960-1965 GMC B Series short-conventional truck/tractor. This was a way to utilize the standard Chevy/GMC pickup-truck cab in a medium-heavy duty truck, and still keep the overall length fairly short. And it’s the exact format that Ford saw fit to copy with their N Series, starting in 1964.

This one is from 1964 or 1965, as it doesn’t have the dogleg windshield of the ’60-’63 version. And unlike the conventional GMC and Chevy trucks that had torsion bar IFS, it has a straight front axle. Since there’s no badge to tell us what’s under the hood, we’ll have to speculate among a couple of possibilities.

1960 was a big year for GMC, with a number of new products, including the L-series steel tilt cab and the D-Series “crackerbox” aluminum tilt cab, which we covered in great detail here. And then there was the B-Series, up there on the upper right. The other big news was the new 60 degree V6 engine, and the V12 “Twin Six” variant, which can be seen in that yellow tilt cab. The 6-71 an 6V-71 Detroit Diesel was also available.

Access to the engine compartment was via two butterfly hoods.

This one looks to have a RoadRanger transmission, but I might be wrong. Looks like it’s seen some hard work in its day.

The faded sign on the door reads: “Homer MI Bottling Company”. Homer is a rather small (pop. 1,668) town not far from Battle Creek. That would explain all the rust.

These trucks came in a wide range of capabilities. There was even a BW9000 off-highway tandem introduced in 1960, but soon discontinued.

In 1964, the new ToroFlow four cycle 60 degree V8 was available as lower-cost diesel alternative to the well-proven DDs. But it turned out to be a less than stellar engine.


The B series was part of an ambitious expansion at GMC to take on the rapidly growing short-cab conventional market.

In 1963, Chevrolet also got to put their bowtie on the same basic truck, as part of a growing strategy to allow Chevy to compete directly with GMC in the same sectors. Eventually the two would field the same trucks with just different badging. Prior to this, Chevrolet was not allowed to be so competitive in the big truck sector.

It’s probably been a while since truck made its last delivery, although it seems to be waiting at the loading dock. Homer Bottling Co. seems to have become defunct some time back, so this likely is their former facility.