Two years ago this summer I bought a pickup truck. My neighbor had two of 'em..
an old beater and a shiny new beauty. The shiny new beauty was a four-wheel drive extended cab Dodge Ram with a Hemi engine.
The beater was a rusty, pock-marked '88 Chevy Silverado. Its only redeeming value was its engine...
A 350 cu. in. small block that ran like a sewing machine. This tired old gal had no air-conditioning, inoperative cruise control, and an AM/FM radio that worked intermittently. But the truck ran well and shifted well, and any truck that does that has value.
This neighbor had lost his job. He'd been out of work long enough his benefits were running out.
I asked how he intended to make ends meet and he indicated one of the first things he'd have to do was sell the old beater. I asked how much he wanted for it and he replied, "$900. But be aware the rear main engine seal is leaking so you'll have to keep adding oil, and the transmission is weird... at 70 mph indicated the truck is actually only going about 50."
I went home, got my checkbook, wrote him a check and drove the thing two doors to the West.
He wasn't kidding.
The truck sat for a week and when I checked the oil there was none on the dipstick. I topped off the crankcase and drove it down the highway. It's like a dragster...
It shifts into fourth gear at about 40 miles per hour, and with its straight exhaust pipe, bellows like a bull at highway speed.
But that sound! There's just nothing sounds like a sweet running V-8 engine.
I didn't want to tackle changing a rear main seal so I took the truck to my favorite mechanic and asked him to do the job. He called back that afternoon and said, "GB, the rear main is fine. Whoever put this engine into this truck dragged the engine across a concrete floor on its oil pan and holed it. It's dripping oil from two holes in the pan."
The fix required jacking the engine up, removing the pan and soldering the holes, then re-installing the pan. Total damages: $300.
We've used the truck to haul stuff a few times. When you need a pickup truck, nothing else will do the job. But there has been a problem with it...
Long trips are impractical because of noise and high fuel usage with the low gearing.
I've purchased four motorcycles in less than a year and I've had to rent a truck to go retrieve each of them. Using my old beater would have been more expensive, (and less reliable).
Two days ago another neighbor came knocking...
"I've wrecked my truck. Is your old Chevy for sale?"
"Everything's for sale!"
"How much do you want for it?"
"I'll take $1500. The drivetrain is bulletproof."
"I'll take it."
So I'm gonna make a couple hundred bucks and I've had the use of the thing for two years. For the last couple nights I've driven it to work where I'm trying to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse for my friend and neighbor. I've washed it and cleaned up the interior a little. But still, the old gal is so ugly she's endearing.
Tonight I went out to lubricate the doors and spray a little contact cleaner on the radio buttons to see if I can make it work better. My (males) Flight Nurse and Paramedic had left me a surprise...
On four sheets of typing paper taped together in a big square on the door was printed in big letters:
"Sanford N Son"
Fred and Lamont would be perfectly comfortable in this beautiful, ugly old beast.
And now I'm back in the market for a truck I can actually use to transport motorcycles.