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Front Page » April 2, 2013 » Opinion » The appeal of having an old truck times two
Published 599 days ago

The appeal of having an old truck times two


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advcoate publisher

Many of my friends wonder why I have two trucks, especially two old trucks. Many of them have said "Why don't you sell both of them and buy you something new?"

They just don't seem to get the appeal of an old truck and its many advantages. All they can see is the repair bills I sometimes get, particularly last year when I had to replace much of the cooling system and the transmission in one, while I was stranded at one point in the other with a burnt out starter, in the middle of a Highway 10 construction zone.

So first let's establish these two vehicles age, doing that by applying the principle of old truck, new truck, which you gonna own.

I have purchased used trucks over the years that hail from 1938, 1948, 1960, 1963, 1978, 1979, 1987, 1990 and a 1994.

As for new trucks I have owned two: a 1978 and a 1986.

Yep that's right I haven't bought a new truck since 1986.

Today I own two of those I have purchased, both now considered old, the 1987 and the 1994.

I learned a long time ago, if you are going to have an old truck, you should have an extra, like you do a spare tire. Consequently I have two.

Inevitably, if the one is down, I will need the other for some important piece of work. Between the two I am in them, with repairs less than $12,000. Tell me, what kind of truck can you buy for $12,000 right now?

While the paint on one is good (the flat bed which works great for a lot of duties), the dually diesel looks like one of the Blue Man group members with a bad sunburn that is starting to peel.

But in terms of hauling stuff they work just fine. My flatbed hauls hay, can carry two four wheelers, mounts up my dog box for my sled team all winter and is a lot of fun to drive with that big 460 in it. It is also very comfortable.

The dually hauls the heavy stuff I might need to haul and pulls my fifth wheel, plus a 14 foot trailer behind it full of toys pretty darn good, pretty much where ever I want it to.

Neither would make a good all-the-time commuter vehicle, but then they are seldom used for that.

I have to admit that often I pull up to a light and next to me will be some shiney, new GM Duramax, Scorpion Ford or Cummin's Dodge (okay Ram if you want to call them that, they are still Dodges to me) and I get a little jealous. My blue one looks a little funny because it has a lot of mid-90s customization. And my flat bed, well it looks good for a flat bed, but mid-80's pazzazz is not what most people want nowadays. Neither have blue tooth, power points to plug in all the gadgets, LED lights, etc. etc. etc.

My dually one has a lot of unintended custom stuff. Like dented running boards so that I don't need to worry about denting them anymore, interior lights that work on command (every sixth time), air conditioned seats (holes in many of them), a cassette player (so I don't have to waste all those good cassette tapes I bought years ago) and a really noisy diesel engine so no one has to guess "is that a diesel or gas powered engine."

My flatbed features a dog hair lined interior, a single CD disc player, a extended cab that has none of those pesky "extra" little doors in the back so grandkids can fall out of them, air condition that works in the winter instead of the summer, and it gets a great 8 miles to the gallon of premium fuel. (The convenience stores give me an extra cup of coffee when they see me coming, just to keep my business).

Most of all, though, even with all these fine features to appreciate, I like the fact that the poor guy in the shiney new truck next to me at the light has a $700 a month payment to make and I have none. Sure I have to keep some money aside for repairs at times, but spending a few hundred bucks a year, to a few hundred a month, makes me pretty darn happy.

I also don't have to worry about scratching either trucks paint on rabbit brush or pine trees when I am out in the boonies and I don't worry much about washing them either. When mine gets mud and grime all over them it is like a badge of honor, something my trucks wear proudly. It is not something I need to get off right away because it might mess up my $4000 custom mags or $7000 paint job with a naked girl portrayed in the mural on the hood.

When I need to fix my old trucks, I can also go to the junkyard and get much of the stuff I need, at a much lower price than new parts would cost. In some cases however they don't even make parts for my trucks anymore, so I have to use "recycled parts." Some mechanical jobs I have others do, but a lot of repairs are do-it-yourself. That certainly makes for a much more intimate experience with your truck as well. You say words to it you would never say to your spouse (either in praying and pleading what you did will work, or in swearing with cuss words you would say to no other living or non-living being.) But it can't divorce you for saying those things either.

There is also no full coverage insurance to pay for either. Sure it if gets wrecked you have to pay for the repairs, but unless its really bad, and undrivable, you really don't need to fix it anyway.

Taxes are low too.

My trucks both have character. The gasser I have to pump like hell on a cold morning to get it going. The diesel I have to be gentle with and step on the accelerator just at the right time as the glow plugs heat the cylinders and the engine catches. If I miss that little niche in starting time, it is then like explaining to your wife why you have lipstick on your collar. It takes a long time to make up.

Odors and smells are common too. The gasser always runs to rich with that big Holley carb on it. I can watch the gas gage go down as it sets in the driveway warming up. Eventually the rich gas smell is replaced with the slight tinge of buring oil as the tappet covers drip so slightly onto the exhaust headers. You can tell the diesel is a diesel all the time. It alway smells like number two fuel oil, night or day, hot or cold, running or not running.

So I love my old trucks. They are, in a word, part of me, because I feel old too. Old, but not useless or worn out, Just well seasoned.

That's not to say that I wouldn't like to have a new truck, but it would require some pretty big spiffs for me to get one.

Like someone else buying it for me and then paying the taxes and insurance on it for the next 10 years.

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April 2, 2013
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