Monday, December 8, 2014

Kickstarter Postmortem

I have to say I was not shocked when we hit the 30 day deadline last week and were not even close to having the project funded. Ours was far from the typical Kickstarter effort. I did pretty much everything that someone with precious little spare cash can do - blogged, promoted heavily on social media, wrote press releases and enlisted the help of crowd funding professionals, all to no avail. I did get a bunch of messages from people trying to sell me expensive marketing campaigns, which might have helped. But if I had all the money they wanted me to spend, I probably wouldn't have needed Kickstarter in the first place.

So I won't be going on any cross country road trips in the old truck anytime soon. But I will drive it for the first time in the spring of 2015 after dreaming about it for 33 years, and that will be a great day. We'll also have a great time hitting local cruise nights here and there. Really looking forward to hangin' with friends who have some pretty cool rides.

See y'all down the road!


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Then and Now / Kickstarter Update

Just fidddlin' with some pics this morning and decided to do a "Then and Now" post. Top is brother Pete with the truck in 1981, bottom is as it sits in our driveway today...

Eventually she'll be sportin' the original Forester Green that many of these trucks came with from the factory. For now we just want to get down the road, which WILL happen come Spring 2015, the first day of which is only 125 days away! It's just a matter of finishing up the brake system, throwing in a new battery, then registration and insurance and we'll be rolling.

16 days and $34,530 to go. It's a long shot, but that's pretty much par for the course on Kickstarter, which has a 44% success rate across the board. Still, I believe anything can happen (you know, like potato salad guy) and we'll take this thing right to the last hour. I'd really appreciate it if you would check out our Kickstarter link, contribute if you think it's worthy and/or share with friends. Anyone with any questions on the project can contact me directly anytime from that page. Thanks again!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Going For It

Having just purchased this 1949 Chevy in Missouri in the summer of 1981, my brother Pete was on the way back with it when Mom died tragically. I saw the truck for the first time literally minutes before we heard the awful news. As you might imagine, these events created a strong emotional attachment to this old pickup that will never be broken. For as long as I walk this earth, there is no amount of money that will buy this truck.

The effort to get it back on the road has always been a tribute my mother's memory, free spirit and sense of adventure. I know she'll be riding shotgun regardless, but she would have absolutely loved the idea of a cross country/Route 66 road trip, which will not be possible without a full restoration. I know she would have also loved the regular jaunts we're planning to area car shows and cruise nights, and the idea of documenting our travels with an online video series.

And with that, on what would have been Mom's 83rd birthday, I'd like to announce the official launch of the John's Old Truck Kickstarter project. We've got 30 days to raise the money that will make the dream a reality, and would love to have you riding along!

Please see the project page for full details, including backer rewards and complete financial breakdown. And just to be clear, because many have asked: No money will actually be collected unless the $35,000 goal is reached through pledges before the 30 day deadline.

Feel free to email me directly anytime with any questions or comments:

Thank you!

John's Old Truck Kickstarter Project Page


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lookin' Like a Truck

The work day ended early on Monday, so I took advantage of the extra time and decent weather to finish up the bed. Got underneath to tighten up all the hardware that holds the metal strips in place, attached the fenders and topped it off with the tailgate. As I was tightening up the new tailgate hinges, a couple that walks by the house regularly stopped to admire the truck.

Husband: "Are you going to fully restore and paint it?"

Me: "That's the plan, one of these days."

Husband: "Whoa, that's gonna look awesome."

Me: (with a smile) "I think it looks awesome right now!"


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Almost Whole Again

Made good progress with the bed yesterday. Probably would have finished if not interrupted by rain. The bed frame is now fully secured to the truck frame, with the remaining wood, metal strips and bolts just put in place until I can get back out there to tighten them down. After that it's just a matter of the tailgate and bolting on the fenders, and the bed will be good to go!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bed and Brakes

I had been holding off on putting the bed back on the truck so it would be easier to run the new brake line, but since we'll be on Steve's lift when it gets done the bed won't be in the way. So this week I've started reassembly.

I got about that far when I said to myself "You know what? that front cross member doesn't look right. Maybe I should try to find some actual instructions on how to do this." I know the experienced guys are having a good laugh right now because putting the bed back together is probably the easiest thing to do, but keep in mind I'm a total amateur who, as I always say, knows just enough to get myself in trouble. I now have a bunch of pics printed that should allow me to have the bed done this weekend, if the weather cooperates on Saturday.

The disc brakes are good to go on the front, but I'd also like to have the rears done when it goes on the lift for the new master cylinder and brake lines. The trouble is the huck brakes haven't been used on new vehicles since 1950, so I'm having no luck finding detailed instructions. I went out there with some pics and tried to get started, quickly realizing that wasn't going to cut it. Need some help. Maybe I'll go on the hunt for an old school service station with an old timer sitting out front who can do huck brakes in his sleep...


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Chasing the Total Restoration Dream

This is the Pre-launch page for the Kickstarter project, where you can enter your email to stay updated & leave comments. The official launch date will be announced tomorrow.

Here's the way I look at it: The odds are a lot better than the lottery! And if some joker can use Kickstarter to raise over $50,000 to make potato salad, CERTAINLY we can gather enough interest among people who love classic vehicles and the idea of keeping them on the road to raise $35k to make this project happen. No money to spare? No problem. Please just share this link. The most important thing right now is to spread the word as far and wide as possible. Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions you may have. THANK YOU!


Monday, September 29, 2014

A Little Wood Work

Took the bed wood over to Pete's this evening to run it through his router. Since I flipped it and made the underside the new top, we needed to cut the grooves for the metal pieces, which I didn't think to do before I refinished the wood. I'll hit the grooves with the stain and polyurethane before we put the bed together. This is the garage, by the way, where the truck sat for 20 years before we made our deal about 10 years ago.

And while going through his stuff in preparation for my visit, Pete found a real gem. the actual sales receipt for the router, which dad bought for him as a birthday present in 1980. If you look closely you can see the date - 9/15/80.

I think it's pretty cool that 34 years later, and 30 years after he passed away, Dad has a hand in the restoration of this truck. As Pete said tonight, "The story continues." Indeed it does, big brother. Thank you.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Officially Disc

Great to have my friends Steve and Ed at the house yesterday. Thanks to them, the disc brake kit is fully installed.

The day included my mad dash to three different auto parts stores, as I hunted for the castle nut and washer we needed. Kind of important, since they hold the entire assembly on the spindle. The local NAPA had one nut/washer combo on the shelf, and the total including a few cotter pins came to $7.11. I figured it was all a sign of good luck.

Looks like we'll be sitting through another winter before taking that first drive though, since Steve's lift is outdoors and it's almost October. Fabricating the new master cylinder mount and running the lines will take him a couple of days and he doesn't want to get caught in bad weather. So while I'm disappointed that I won't actually be taking that first drive soon, I still think it's pretty cool that the old truck is now rockin' front disc brakes!


Friday, September 19, 2014

It's Gettin' Real Now

It's great to have friends who actually know what they're doing when it comes to the really important stuff. Like brakes. My friend Steve, a long time hot rodder who owns a very cool 1938 Chevy sedan delivery, will be here tomorrow to help me with the brake job. Oh who am I kidding? He'll be here to do it all for me while I feed him tools and coffee. Rumor has it we might also see my friend Ed, who drives a beautiful red '48 Chevy truck.

After we get the wheels on, the truck will go back on the trailer for a ride over to Steve's house, where it will go on his lift so he can fabricate a bracket for the new dual feed master cylinder I'll be picking up today, along with all new brake lines.

When the stopping situation is all buttoned up, all we'll have left is putting the bed back on and throwing in a new battery, then registering and insuring the truck, and we can finally go for that ride I've been dreaming about for 33 years.

It sure IS gettin' real now.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Another Step Closer to Drive Time

Just ordered the front disc conversion kit. Speedway Motors was highly recommended by far more experienced hot rod friends and actually had the best deal, even with the shipping added. Now I just need to find a couple of stock five lug wheels for the front, mount our existing tires and we'll be on the ground again when the brake job is done.

Then it's just a matter of putting the bed back together (all parts in house), throwing in a new battery, getting insured and registered... And after 33 years of being in love with this truck, I will finally drive it for the first time. It won't be long now!


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Kickstarter Video Update #2

It's less than half the length of the previous video and describes the project in detail (including the history of the truck in our family), whereas the previous vid simply provided an example of the car cruise aspect. We've had a couple of very good bits of feedback, but need to reach many more people with the preview before we can determine an overall consensus on whether or not we should officially launch. If you like the video and would like to see the project succeed, please share it. And of course feel free to reach out to me anytime with any questions, comments and/or suggestions. Thank you!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New Kickstarter Video

I shot the footage on Saturday (8/16/14). This should provide a good general idea of the presentation I'm envisioning after a successful Kickstarter effort. Please check out and share the video and Kickstarter link (in the video info) and share any feedback you may have, especially if you have any thoughts on how we might make the pitch more attractive to prospective backers. And of course, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. Thank you!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Kickstarter: Why Not?

I've just started a new job that will finally allow us to wrap up the last few things we need to do to finally get the truck on the road. Should be rolling sometime in the next month or two. It will be a huge day that we'll document with video, as we did when we fired her up three years ago.

The next goal is a ground up restoration, which is certainly not an inexpensive proposition, especially if you want to do it right. I figure 30k minimum. With the focus being on just getting to the point of being able to drive this thing, I hadn't been thinking much about how to fund the total restoration. That is until I heard the other day about some guy who used Kickstarter to raise more than $50,000 to make potato salad. That project might indeed be a total gag, but it prompted me to take a closer look at using Kickstarter in an attempt to fund our project. I'm still waiting for the official approval, but based on my research of similar projects on their site, we should have no problem getting the go ahead to launch the project. Until that happens, here is the preview page. Please check it out and feel free to offer any feedback you may have, including how you think it can be improved. And of course, I hope you'll share it with others.

One of the keys to the success of such an effort is of course creating the incentive for people to back the project. I knew I couldn't just say "Hey everybody, here's my truck! Please give me money to restore it," so I came up with the idea of also equipping the finished truck for video to document trips to car shows and cruise nights, where we can walk around and feature other vehicles as part of a regular video series. As I mention on the preview page, this is where I believe my nearly three decades of experience as a radio air personality, producer and interviewer will come in handy. Another part of the regular video series will be documentation of the occasional extended road trip, taking in the sights, sounds and people as we travel to visit friends and family in various parts of the country.

From sideline enthusiasts to backyard mechanics to top notch hot rodders and restoration pros, a passion for all kinds of classic vehicles is something shared by millions of people around the world. But we need only a tiny slice of this market to jump on our bandwagon and make this project a success. Please take a couple of minutes whenever you can to check out the preview page, share any feedback you may have and share the link. Thanks in advance for your help!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Gotta Love Free Stuff!

Here's a great example of the cool stuff than can happen when you're willing to do the dirty work. I've been getting some summer hours at the bus company where I work, doing basically whatever needs to be done - Fixing seat belts, cleaning out the inside of buses, mowing the knee-high grass, etc... Inside the garage there are several loft areas with a pile of stuff that had been sitting untouched for years. In the process of cleaning we found this little gem, which belonged to one of our mechanics. He hadn't used it for a LONG time and said he didn't need it. TA-DA! Free sand blaster and three buckets of sand for Johnny! Now all I need is a really big tarp and a friend with a portable compressor...


Friday, May 9, 2014

Surprise! Another Delay...

The rear drums sent by our friends at Possum Holler Garage in Tennessee match up perfectly. Unfortunately, the fronts don't and we won't be able to use them, so we're still on the lookout for the drums and hubs for the front. Regardless, I can't say how much I appreciate the help of Max and his crew. These are incredibly busy guys, and the fact that they were willing to take some time to help out this amateur hacker I think speaks volumes about the kind of people they are. Thank you again, Max!

I've reached out to a couple of places within driving distance to see if they would be able and willing to do a swap for the right drums, waiting to hear back. Also - My friend Rick has discovered this little beauty near where he lives in Massachusetts:

It's either a '49 or '50, which means it would have the front drums and hubs we need if it's all original. Looks to be in fairly good shape for its age. Finding out how many miles are on the truck would help to determine the probable condition of the drums. Of course, we'd have to get them off the truck before being able to tell for sure if they're good. Hopefully Rick will be able to get access to it and the owner will be willing to part it out. I'd be more than happy to make the road trip to get them if need be...


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Bed Sides Done

The bed sides are ready to rock! Just need to hit the bare metal spots with some primer... Except for a few nuts and bolts we now have all the parts we need! Next up is the brake job, getting my brother (the truck's former owner) up here to help put the bed back together, plugging in a new battery, making sure all the electrical is good to go, and gettin' down the road! Of course, I suppose we should register and insure the truck too...

A big thanks to my friend Alex from Lex's Customs for his help with the sides... You da man, Alex!


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wheels, Tires & Possum Holler

Not quite as fancy as some of the wheels you see on those restoration TV shows, but I think these will do! Before and after below...

My brother had four wagon wheels back in the day when he had the truck, but he has no idea what happened to the other two. No biggie, as long as we have four six lug wheels ready to go...

And here are the junkyard tires I just brought home. It's not easy to come across four identical tires all with great tread left, but that's exactly what happened today. As I've learned, it's all about timing on these scrounging excursions. Not bad for $150 bucks!

And finally a HUGE thank you to Max at Possum Holler Garage in Sawdust, Tennessee for sending the brake drums and bearings that arrived yesterday! These guys do absolute top notch restoration work, regularly getting top dollar at auctions like Barrett-Jackson and Mecum. I can't say enough how much I appreciate the kindness Max and the Possum Holler crew have shown to this rank restoration amateur as I chase the dream. Just one example of the many people who have helped this project along the way. After we get on the road I'll be doing an extended post to thank everyone involved. We'll be doing the brake job as soon as possible (meaning whenever my friend Steve who has promised to help has the time - lol), after which we'll put the bed back on and be just about ready to go. It won't be long now!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Old Wheel Update

As a total restoration amateur, I have to say it's great to have friends who actually know what they're doing. Took a little ride to see Alex over at Lex's Customs today. He did the fix for me on one of the front wheels, which had been rusting around the valve stem area. Alex filled in the old hole and the small area around it that had been deteriorating, then drilled a new one in a different spot. He's also taking care of attaching the new angle pieces to the inside of the bed panels. They're pretty much done except for a little grinding of the new welds. Many thanks once again to my friend Alex for all his help.

So now I can do the final cleanup on the front wheels and get them ready for paint, then all four will be ready for tires. The rears are already painted and ready to rock. Just finished them up today. I was expecting the "dark steel" paint to be a little darker, but I think this looks pretty good. Not looking to score any fashion points anyway. Just wanted to clean them up and ultimately have something that can get us down the road for a while...


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Paint Free Wheels

Clean wheels! This aircraft paint remover does an awesome job. Funny thing though, on the back of the can it says NOT to use it on aircraft. Huh? Oh well, good thing we don't plan on flying with this truck.... The two steelies on the right are definitely original. Found the GM stamp as I was stripping the paint. Small rust issue with one of those, right around the valve stem hole. Might have to fill and re-drill after the rust remover does its thing...

ALSO: Got word that the drums, hubs and bearings will be on their way here as of tomorrow. Should be doing the brake job soon!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Almost Bed Time

Big thanks to my friend Alex for his help with the bed sides this week! In the background of the first pic here you can see his latest project - a '71 Mach 1 - and his finished '69 Firebird... New stake pockets all attached, and we're just about ready to put the bed back together. But I figured it would be a good idea to wait until the brake job is done before we actually put the bed back on, so we have easy access to the brake line connections in back...

Also finally got all the old tires removed from the six lug wheels today, which I will now clean up, repaint and load up with some decent used tires. Just something to get us down the road for a while. This 33 year dream will finally be realized sometime over the next several weeks...


Monday, April 14, 2014

Possum Hollerin'

Spoke with Max from Possum Holler Garage yesterday, who's incredibly busy but still took the time to give me a call regarding a parts question. Looks like all our brake drums, hubs and front bearings will be coming from Sawdust, Tennessee! They're giving us an awesome deal and I'm VERY appreciative.

The Possum Holler guys do amazing work. Check it out for yourself:

Thanks again, Max!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Christmas in April

I could tell by the way the dogs were barking this morning that someone had pulled into the driveway. Nice surprise to see it was the UPS man, with the new front bed panel and rear stake pockets. That was fast! Ordered them from LMC Truck less than a week ago. By this time next week we'll finally have the bed ready to go back together! We'll also have the old six lug wheels all cleaned up, repainted and ready for fresh rubber. Getting closer to driving this thing!


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Beware the Sledgehammering Amateur

Well, that was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. Unfortunately, it was also a lot easier to ruin the hub with the small sledgehammer I was using to drive the studs out, as you can see with the hub in the foreground. Don't know what the heck I was thinking. Didn't even notice it until afterwards. Maybe the wife is right when she calls me "Bam-Bam."

In addition to that little example of amateur genius, you'll notice that the studs are still sticking through the backing ring on the left. That's because they had been welded to the ring. No idea why. I was also reminded what happened when I originally tried to have all the drums turned. Not enough material left to turn on the right front, and one of the rears was warped (according to the shop guy). Which is why I figured all four should be replaced. And because I wasn't being careful with the sledgehammer, now I need the hubs too. I know we'll be able to find them somewhere, just a matter of making it fit within the budget...


Gettin' There...

Just ordered up the front bed panel and rear stake pockets. Hopefully by next weekend or shortly after we'll finally be putting the bed back together. Today I'll be attempting to separate the hubs from the old front drums in case I have to order new ones, which won't come with the hub. Just remembered we need all the front bearings too. Should be able to find those locally... This thing WILL be rolling soon!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Brake Drum Bingo

On the hunt for brake drums today. The rears should be pretty easy, but the fronts could be a different story. Nothing on eBay, and a junk yard over in Brewster NY that specializes in really old stuff couldn't help me. Just found new ones for $120 bucks each (plus shipping, of course) and not even sure if that's with the hub, which attaches to the front drums on the 49's. Apparently for '50 and beyond they changed to a different kind of brakes. Guess I'll need to start looking to see if a conversion to discs for the front is possible given my limited budget, but I'd really rather just put drums on and drive this thing... Suggestions welcome!


Friday, March 28, 2014

A Great Week

First, news from my amazing accountant of a forthcoming tax refund that's WAY more than I was expecting. This will allow us to take care of some things around the house AND grab the last few things we'll need to get the truck on the road! It will be low budget, but we WILL be rolling this spring! Then upon returning home from getting the taxes done, a check of the mailbox revealed the brand new LMC Truck spring catalog! Looks like I'll have to do some investigating to see if my accountant is in cahoots with someone at LMC...

And by the way, on the cover of the new catalog is Marty Miller's beautiful 1948 Chevy. One year older than mine. If you look in the "comments by others" section on the John's Old Truck Facebook page, you'll see a comment that Marty made last month.

This weekend: The truck goes back on blocks so I can take the existing wheels off and get them ready for some new rubber. Feels good to finally be getting this project back on track... ;-)


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Who's This "John" Guy?

Welcome Spring 2014! Here's a new promo video for the old truck that provides some detail on the owner...


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Reality and Remembrance

It's been quite a while since I sat down to write an extended blog post. Today just felt like the day to take the time. A slightly different approach to keeping the dream alive, I guess. Dreaming is okay, I think, as long as you don't let it harm your ability to deal with life's reality. And since there's nothing really new to report on the project, some of that reality is the focus of this post.

My Aunt Marce died two weeks ago. The last of a generation, she is finally together again with her five siblings (including my father, who left us in 1984) and her parents.
Grandmother Alva died only 13 years ago, three months after making it to the age of 100. The remarkable strength she showed throughout her lifetime set a key example for all of us. Think you've got it rough? Think about the woman who took six children through the Great Depression, on her own after her husband died young, then buried five of them. Suddenly your own problems don't seem so daunting.

Aunt Marce at last summer's annual family reunion

I saw this truck for the very first time as a 17 year old in 1981, at the house in Ohio that Marce and Alva shared. My older brother had just purchased it and drove it 20-some hours straight from Missouri. The “Whole Story” post here explains why that turned out to be an incredibly tragic day that forged my unbreakable emotional attachment to this old Chevy.

I'd be less than honest if I didn't admit that chasing this dream can sometimes get very discouraging. I'm working, but like millions of others in this economy it's a daily struggle just to survive from one paycheck to the next. Forget having anything extra to put into the truck project. But the dream continues, and WILL be reality at some point. I just have no idea when...


Sunday, February 23, 2014

New Promo Video

New promo video for the YouTube channel, comprised of clips from several of our vids... Pass it on!

Countdown to Spring 2014: Only 25 days to go!


Friday, January 31, 2014

The LMC Truck feature is up! Lots of other great stories there as well... Many thanks to Chris and everyone at LMC!



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Just got word from the LMC Truck folks that our story will be posted on their site on Saturday! I was told it will be on their "Truck Life" page. I will post the link here as soon as I see it. If you haven't seen the site you should really check it out. Lots of great pics and stories...


Friday, January 10, 2014

LMC Truck Life

Very cool new site! Discovered it this week when I got the new LMC catalog in the mail. Share your truck story and read others. Video features too. Awesome!

I have shared the John's Old Truck story with them... Got a quick response saying they really liked it and wanted more info. Don't know how long it takes to actually get on the site, but I will definitely post about it here when we do...

LMC Truck Life