Friday, December 25, 2015

A Little Holiday Reflection

Looking back as 2015 comes to a close, and recalling the single day in May that made it a fantastic year...


Monday, December 14, 2015

Another Beauty for the "Other Trucks" File

I enjoy being on the road for the day job. You never know what you'll see. On Friday (12/11/15), as I was making my way along Saw Mill Rd in New Fairfield, this gorgeous '55 Ford came into view. Thankfully, there was room for me to pull in so I could snap the photo. The truck was sitting outside at New Fairfield Auto Body. I chatted briefly with Woody, the owner of the truck and the business, who was happy to allow me to take the photo and post it here. He also owns the all original '86 Ford sitting next to the '55. Thanks, Woody! Great to meet you!


Monday, December 7, 2015

Facebook Fail

Silly me. When I created the Facebook page for my truck I actually thought my posts would be made available to everyone who followed the page. While I certainly didn't expect that EVERY fan would see EVERY post, I thought the average reach would be far better than the roughly 10 percent it is, especially with all the time invested in getting my page name out there through daily interaction with many other people and pages. As anyone who has tried to promote a blog or fan page with no budget can tell you, it's glaringly obvious that Facebook purposely limits exposure in an effort to force page owners to pay for it. I especially love their notifications almost immediately after posting something that say "Your performing better than 95% of your other posts! Click here to boost it!" Boy, there's some real rocket science. If it gets a few likes and a couple of comments within a few minutes of being posted, of course it will be doing better on average than all the posts that have been there forever. What they're really saying with these notifications is "Give us money and we'll allow more people who are already fans of your page to see your post. Otherwise, watch it disappear." I guess all the money they make from all the ads they cram into more than 1.2 billion monthly active user feeds wasn't enough.

Admittedly, it's perfectly reasonable for Facebook to seek compensation for the exposure they offer, particularly from large for profit companies using the platform to push their products to the masses. But behemoths like Walmart, for example, aren't exactly setting the world on fire with their compelling Facebook content. Unless, of course, you're compelled by cheesy slogans like "Conquer Christmas!" and "Look like a gift giving master!" Conversely, there are countless individual fan pages offering content that actually makes it worth going there, creating the opportunity for Facebook to capitalize on countless additional page impressions that they can then cram full of ads. Call me crazy, but I say that is indeed offering real value in return for the exposure.

The very least Facebook could do is make our content readily available to everyone who has liked our pages. But they won't, of course, because squeezing out every last possible penny of short term profit is the way of the business world today. And long term vision (as in allowing individual page owners unrestricted growth and access to their audience, thereby creating countless additional page views and a huge additional revenue stream for Facebook) is fast becoming history.

And that's why I'm done sharing my story through Mr. Zuckerberg's website. Unless you have deep, easily replenished pockets and the willingness to submit to Facebook's extortion, you're pretty much spinning your wheels as a page owner.


If you're reading this, thank you. I appreciate you taking the time. If you would like to stay updated, please go to the top of the page and leave your email address to subscribe. I can't see these addresses, so it's impossible for me to do anything with them. You'll simply get a notification every time a new post goes up. I'll be posting once or twice per week on average, maybe a little more in the warm weather months.

This 1949 Chevy has been in our family since the summer of 1981. On May 30, 2015, I finally lived the 34 year dream of driving it, and had a fantastic summer going to shows, cruise nights and just cruising around. But that's just part one of the big dream. Next up (hopefully!) is full restoration and an epic cross country/ Route 66 road trip. In an effort to fund the next phase, I have written "John's Old Truck – Living the Dream and Honoring Mom," including dozens of photos, which is available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. Shirts and other items are also available at John's Old Truck Shop and Uncle John's Tees.

I would be honored and very appreciative if you'd like to help this overgrown boy live his lifelong dream. I'm also interested in exchanging links with other sites in an effort to build traffic. If you have a site you think fans of this one would also enjoy, I'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me directly via email anytime. Thanks again for stopping by! See y'all down the road...



Friday, December 4, 2015

Coming Soon

This page will very soon be the exclusive online home for John's Old Truck. I've added many photos to the feed here and will be making one or two posts per week, about the same as my soon to be former social media page. I'll have another post in a few days that will fully explain the decision to make this change.

I truly appreciate all the interest this project and the story behind it have generated, and hope you'll follow along here by subscribing to the posts via email. I can't see these addresses, so it's impossible for me to do anything with them. You'll simply receive an email notification whenever a new post goes up.

2015 has been a fantastic year. I finally drove this truck for the first time at the end of May after dreaming about it for 34 years, and spent the summer cruising around like a teenager who just got his license. But that's just part one of the big dream. Next up is full restoration and the epic cross country/Route 66 road trip at the top of my bucket list. If you would like to help the cause and get a little something for yourself as well, please grab the short story "John's Old Truck - Living the Dream and Honoring Mom" online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords, and visit the t-shirt links to the right here.

Thanks again! See y'all down the road...



Sunday, October 25, 2015

New E-Book is Up

"John's Old Truck - Living the Dream and Honoring Mom" features many photos and history that I have not previously shared.

Available right now at Amazon, coming very soon on Nook and Smashwords. Hope you'll take a few minutes to check it out and share with friends and family.

Thanks as always for riding along!



Sunday, September 6, 2015

Looking Back: Our First Summer on the Road

Plenty of driving time left for the year, but with Labor Day Weekend and the hometown Sycamore wrapping up their cruise season yesterday, I figured it would be a good time to reflect on a fantastic first summer behind the wheel.

First things first: This truck would unquestionably still be sitting silent if it were not for some very special people, who, over the course of the last five years, lent the expertise that really made this thing happen. Brian rebuilt the carburetor. Jim made it run again for the first time since 1985, and did a bunch of wiring to get the brake lights, turn indicators and horn working. Dean welded up the rough spots on the rear fenders so I could get them back on. Steve fixed a bad spot in the frame and installed the front disc brake kit. And Alex smoothed out the bed sides, welded on the new stake pockets, fabricated a mount for the new dual feed master cylinder, finished up the brake job and worked with Jim on the final wiring. I don't know if I'll ever be able to fully express the appreciation I have for these friends and all their help.

The Danbury DMV was packed on May 21st, but I could not have cared less. I had a pen, my checkbook and all the necessary paperwork, and I knew that all I had to do was get in the door and I would eventually get my turn that day. When my number was called a little less than 90 minutes later, I bounded up to the counter like a giddy little school kid. I asked the 20 something guy who was helping me if he was into old trucks. “Nah, not really,” he said. I smiled and laughed and thanked him for being part of a very special moment anyway. Then I took my plates and smiled all the way out the door. Finally, the old truck was once again officially registered.

Nine days later, on Saturday May 30th, 2015, with many friends and family in attendance to indulge this old overgrown boy, the 34 year dream became reality. And what a very special day it was...

Here's a shot of the brothers and me from the big day. Left to right: Dan, yours truly, Chris, Pete...

Another day I could only dream about for a long time finally happened on June 6th. Our first trip to cruise night at the Sycamore in Bethel, the town where I grew up...

On July 11th came our first car show, an annual event put on by the Warren Volunteer Fire Company...

Right next to the actual Sycamore tree on August 22nd...

And last night at the final cruise of the Sycamore season, next to Dean's Camaro...

In between it all there were a few trips over to Alex's in Brewster, New York (45 minutes via the back roads), and lots of short "just for fun" drives around town. I'm very appreciative of all the smiles and kind comments from people at our various stops. It's been an awesome summer.

I have to admit that many times during the ten year stretch between buying this truck from my brother and finally getting it on the road, I wondered if it would actually happen before I was too old to drive. But if you want something bad enough, you'll find a way to persevere through the lean times and hang on to the dream. I wanted this more than I can tell you. As I've said many times, for the 34 years I have known this truck it has been impossible to look at or even just think about without also thinking of Mom, whose tragic death I learned about less than five minutes after seeing the truck for the first time. Through all the times of doubt, when the whole idea of driving it seemed so overwhelming for this total amateur, her memory was always there, as if to say "DON'T let this go, John. MAKE it happen. Don't worry about how long it takes."

So I didn't let go, and so it is. We finally got 'er goin' down the road again. Thank you, Mom. I love you and miss you every day.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Reunion Road Trip

In every August since 1969, we've gathered on the family farm in southeast Ohio for the annual family reunion. The 47th edition happened last weekend. It's a wonderful tradition that I'm proud to be a part of, and we look forward to it every year.

The farm is just down the road from where I saw this truck for the first time 34 years ago. Hoping to have it in good enough shape to make the 600 mile trip by the time the 50th reunion rolls around in 2018. It would really be special if we can bring this thing full circle, back to where I first laid eyes on it.

Here's a little video documentation of this year's reunion festivities...


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Rear View

Yesterday was a truck day from start to finish. The new splash aprons (the pieces between the cab and rear fenders) that arrived Friday went on, as did the rear fender braces I've had forever but found just yesterday while searching for primer. Also finished an update of the rear bumper, and thought it would be a good idea to explain what people who roll up behind us in traffic are looking at. Click on the photo for a larger view...

Mom & Dad - This project has always been a tribute to Mom, who died tragically just as the truck came into the family in August of 1981. Two and a half years later, in February 1984, Dad was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away in July that year. Suddenly, just barely out of my teens, I was truly on my own. It was a little scary as I recall, but thankfully I had found direction in a radio career that was just beginning. Funny how it took years for some of it to finally sink in, but Mom and Dad taught me a lot.

Be Kind - The logo for Arizona based Ben's Bells, a non profit organization with the mission of spreading kindness. One of their programs had already been brought to a Newtown school, and after the Sandy Hook tragedy when so many were seeking them out, they decided to add a second location in Newtown. They have since outgrown that space, and are in the process of opening their new location in Bethel. Please check out their website to learn more.

LT - Liz Teed, another loved one lost to tragedy in November 2014. Lizzy, as I always called her, was first a classmate way back in the day, then sister-in-law to my better half. When Meg was doing her "due diligence" on me 15 years ago, it was Liz who recalled those school days and put in the good word. I'll always remember her as one of the warmest, kindest people I have ever known, and I'm sure it came quite naturally to her to be involved with Ben's Bells.

S.H.E.S. - Sandy Hook Elementary School, about a 15 minute drive from our house. The loss of 26 perfectly innocent souls in December 2012 will forever be hard to fathom. Just my small way honoring those souls, and showing support for their loved ones and the community.

The rest pretty much speaks for itself. It may have taken 34 years, but I am indeed living the dream every time I take this thing down the road. And the best part is we're just getting started. At the top of the bucket list is a ground up restoration, followed by a cross country road trip featuring a full length run of Route 66. Not sure exactly how we'll get there, but then again I wasn't sure how we'd get on the road either. I just hope it doesn't take another 34 years... ;-)

Please feel free to say hi via email anytime. Thanks for riding along!


Sunday, July 12, 2015

First Show, First Award

Never mind the fact that mine was one of only two in the pre-1950 truck category, or that the '48 Chevy they wanted to give the award to had already left. At its first official show appearance yesterday, John's Old Truck won its first award!

My friend Jim (on the right), who helped to run the event for the Warren Volunteer Fire Department, SWEARS he had nothing to do with it. I think he convinced the other guy to leave early.

Honestly, awards never have been and never will be the goal with this truck. After dreaming about it for 34 years, there is no greater award than just driving the thing. That said, I still got a kick out of it. I was just disappointed that I didn't have a speech prepared...

The first new fire truck ever purchased by the town of Warren - A beautiful 1946 Dodge

Hangin' with some gorgeous rides at Warren Wooods

And that was just the start of a great day. After 3 weeks off because of bad weather and the Fourth of July holiday, the Sycamore cruise night in Bethel was packed...

It had been a long time, but this truck is no stranger to the roads of the old home town. Just getting to cruise night is as much fun as being there. I spend most of my time with the truck to chat with people, but over the course of the evening I'll also walk a few laps around the parking lot to check out the various rides. Here's a beautiful '57 Chevy truck making its first Sycamore appearance yesterday:

My second favorite Chevy truck model. If I'm ever able to build my dream garage, you can count on a '57 being in it. But we'll leave the chickens in the coop...

And as the sun started to set on another fine day, it was time to make my exit to avoid blinding other drivers with my high beam only headlights. Something else for the repair list...

See y'all down the road!


Sunday, June 7, 2015

First Cruise Night

I can remember driving by cruise night at the Sycamore in my hometown of Bethel, Connecticut as a teenager, wishing like crazy that I had something cool enough to take part. The stock '70 Ford Torino (except for the Cragars) with the 302 I drove at the time was only a dozen or so years old, and I figured far from worthy of sharing space with all those gorgeous hot rods. I think brother Pete would have fit right in with this old truck, which looked a lot better then than it does today, but it was busy being a work truck. Part of that work, by the way, included regularly hauling hot asphalt to make curbs and speed bumps. As much as this made me cringe back in the day ("Hot asphalt in the back of that beautiful truck? Are you nuts?!"), I think it actually helped to preserve the now refinished bed wood that remains.

Fast forward 30-plus years to yesterday, when this dream ride finally rolled in for its very first Sycamore cruise night:

Other than giving a couple friends a quick look at the engine I didn't leave the hood open, figuring just another dusty old straight 6 is hardly something to be showing off. Especially considering all the other incredible power plants on display. Someday I'd like to have maybe a small block V8 with some chrome and a nice neat engine compartment, in which case we'll sit there with the hood up like everyone else. For now I'll just try to keep the hood from becoming partially unlatched whenever we hit a good bump.

A great time overall. Spoke with lots of nice folks, including one guy who had actually been driving by our house regularly for years, all the while wondering if John's Old Truck would ever move from its spot in the driveway. He recognized it with a big smile as he approached, seeming genuinely surprised that it was finally going down the road under its own power. The moment that topped the evening, for sure. We're gonna have a lot of fun with this old thing...


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Saturday, May 23, 2015

One Week to Go

Insurance and registration secured this week as planned. For the first time in 30 years, this truck is officially street legal. Upgrading from the original single feed master cylinder to the new dual feed required some metal fabrication, but the word from Alex is that the hard part of his work is done. Now it's just a matter of running the new lines and bleeding the system.

After 60 minutes at the DMV on Thursday we're officially registered!

Also Thursday - Stopped by to check progress, Alex had his gorgeous '69 Firebird out

The original single feed master cylinder bolted to the driver's side of the frame but the new dual feed will mount toward the front, which required the new mount

Test fist of the new MC. Directly above is the access hole for the original (on the floor of the cab), which we'll need to enlarge for full access to the new one

As Alex pointed out in our conversation yesterday, there are plenty of things on this truck that will need attention "sooner rather than later," as you might imagine with any vehicle that's been sitting for so long, but we will be safe and ready to go down the road when the brake system work is done.

Hard to imagine that in just one week's time the dream will finally be real.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Another Trailer Ride

We're still on target for the first drive May on 30th, two weeks from yesterday. I'll always be appreciative of all that my friend Steve has done for this project (securing the trailer to haul the truck to his house and back, fixing the frame, mounting the disc brake kit on the front, and providing countless valuable tips and advice), but we weren't able to match things up schedule wise to get the brake job wrapped up in time for the big day. I have a lot of family and friends coming from near and far to be here, and it would have been an absolute nightmare trying to reschedule. Thank you again for everything, Steve! Really hope you can be here for the first drive, and of course looking forward to parking this thing next to your gorgeous '38 Chevy Sedan Delivery on cruise night at the Sycamore.

I had no idea if we would fit into Alex's schedule when I made the call yesterday. Thankfully the answer was yes, and he came by with the trailer. For some reason I'm not able to add photos to the blog today, so please see our Facebook page for documentation of the truck moving from its spot in the driveway for only the second time in the past 5 years.

The insurance/registration process is underway and should be all wrapped up by the end of the coming week. Then a week from Saturday, we drive!


Monday, May 11, 2015

On the Ground Again

After getting the new rear brakes on, we were having a small adjustment issue with the right side. Not 100% sure, but I think it's mostly due to the parking/emergency brake cable. Finally got the shoes to go in enough to get the drum on. We've still got some adjusting to do, but the wheels are on and we're ready for the trailer ride over to Steve's for the new master cylinder and brake lines.

Mothers Day 2015: Off the blocks!

Got a good quote from Hagerty yesterday for the insurance. Looks like we'll go with them unless there's a better deal out there. Then as soon as I have the card, it's just a matter of a trip to the DMV for the registration and we'll be that much closer to driving day...


Monday, April 27, 2015

Closer to Stopping

We all have our faults. One of mine is the occasional tendency to over-think things. With the rear brakes in pieces and no instructions despite hours upon hours of searching online, I was more than a little worried that I wouldn't have them done in time for the big day on May 30th. I could have easily found someone to do them for me, but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to get it done myself. After all, this is John's old truck. And my friends have done so much for me already. I really needed to put the big boy pants on and get to work.

After taking a couple days to not think about it, I went out and gave all the parts a good cleanup.

Then I grabbed all the pictures I had printed, took a deep breath, and went to it. And suddenly, like the childhood moment when you realized you could ride a bike without falling over, it all started making sense.

Big thanks to my friend and fellow '49 Chevy truck owner Richie for stopping by to check my work and bringing with him a couple of tools I didn't have so we could get everything on. Just some adjusting left to do, then we can make it a roller and get it over to Steve's lift for the install of the new master cylinder and brake lines.

We're gettin' there...


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Great day yesterday! I'm very lucky and appreciative to have friends who actually know what they're doing. With major thanks to friends Alex Jim, the truck now sports new wiring from the firewall back, with tail lights, turn indicators and the horn all good to go...

"Okay John, which junior high home economics class did this wiring job?"

With the wiring being far more involved than originally thought, we didn't get to the rear brakes. Hopefully soon. If need be, I can attach the wheel cylinders myself so we can at least get the truck on the lift to run the lines and add the new master cylinder. But with zero brake job experience, I'm thinking I should probably have some help putting the shoes on. After all, being able to stop is kind of important...

One way or another, we'll git 'er done and be ready to roll for the big day on May 30th.

Alex underneath, Jim up top, feeding the wires

Tail lights just about ready to rock

Alex tries out the driver's seat

Wrappin' it all up with a couple cold ones - Thanks again, friends!


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Smooth Shiftin'

Nice find in the mailbox after work yesterday! Only needed one set but doubled up because they were just a couple bucks each. Always good to have spares... Now that pesky shift linkage should stay where it's supposed to and not bind up.

Friends coming to the rescue today, as we take care of the rear brakes and tail lights. Then it's just a matter of gettin' 'er over to Steve's to mount the new dual feed master cylinder, run the new brake lines and bleed the system, after which we'll be ready to roll mechanically.

The final piece of the puzzle will be insuring and registering the truck. The 30-plus year old registration papers that my brother saved should help to make the DMV part of the process fairly painless. Honestly, I don't care how long the lines are that day. I'll be smiling the whole time...


Friday, April 3, 2015

New Battery Time

Hadn't planned on getting the battery today, but figured why not? The battery place is right down the street...

And now the "to do list" is one item shorter as we prepare for the first drive!


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Setting the Date

After reaching out to all the key figures over the weekend and receiving a unanimous favorable response, we have a date for the first drive. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, this truck will go down the road under its own power for the first time since 1984 on Saturday, May 30th. I wanted to set a date well ahead of time, since we'll have family and friends coming from near and far to be here.

Just a few things to wrap up in the meantime:

Rear brakes

Tail lights

New battery

A trailer trip to Steve's outdoor lift, to run the new brake lines and install the new master cylinder

Shift linkage repair (to keep it from jamming)

Registration and insurance

Really looking forward to what will be a huge day for this old boy, as well as sharing it here through pictures and video. Thanks to all for coming along for the ride!

- J


Friday, March 20, 2015

The Thank You Series, Part 7 of 7

Spring 2015 arrives today at 6:45pm, along with an inch to several inches of new snow, according to the forecast. Old Man Winter lookin' to get his last licks in, I guess. No biggie. We're gonna go right ahead and welcome in the new season with excitement and anticipation, as we look forward to this old beauty finally going down the road again for the first time since 1984.

The Thank You Series is the result of my desire to publicly show my heartfelt appreciation for some very special people, without whose help and inspiration this whole thing would still be nothing more than a fanciful dream. I've had a wonderful time putting the series together, and can't wait to get on the road and take y'all along for the ride! With that, it's time for our final installment...

Part 7 of 7: Peter, Daniel, Christopher
My three older brothers. It was Pete who brought this truck into our family in 1981. Powered by the sense of adventure we inherited from our mother, he set out that summer to live his own lifelong dream of riding his bicycle from coast to coast. It was during this epic ride that he discovered the truck in Missouri. He left a deposit and went back after completing his bike trip to finish the deal, then drove the truck home to Connecticut. For all the details from then to now, please see "John's Old Truck – The Whole Story."

Late 60's

Pete and Dan not only sparked my lifelong passion for music, but are also a key influence my wide ranging appreciation for classic vehicles. In addition to Dad's Ford wagon and '68 Cutlass, there was Pete's Corvair, the '66 Mustang he and Dan shared, the old Pontiac that Dan was finally convinced to buy from our friends up the street (I think he refused at first because it had four doors), Pete's '64 Chevy van, the Rambler that used to be a telephone company car (complete with a hole in the roof where the two way radio antenna used to be), Dan's Mustang II (Why, Danny? Why?!), and of course this 1949 Chevy truck. And with the earlier rides, I definitely heard a few good swear words for the first time as the older boys and Dad would be working on them in the driveway.

Mid to late 70's

Thank you, big brothers, not only for sparing Chris and me after we constantly disrupted your band practices in our basement "Jam Room," but also all the invaluable influence. And thanks to you, Chris, for cheering this project on from day one and holding the camera that captured that first start after all those years. Big thanks also to our pit crew, who were all here when she finally fired up again: Nephews Michael and Tim and niece Kelly.

September 2013, at nephew Michael's wedding

And one more for the first born: Thank you, Peter, not only for living the dream that created mine, but also for providing me with the opportunity to make it real.

Pete with the truck in '81-'82

When this old thing is finally ready to go down the road again later this spring, Peter will be the first driver. That's going to be a very special day, and I know without a doubt that Mom will be right there riding with us.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Thank You Series, Part 6 of 7

Spring is now less than a week away and the anticipation is building. Not yet sure exactly when it will happen, but at some point before spring turns to summer, the rubber will meet the road and Johnny will be a very happy boy. As I have said and will continue to say, it would not be possible without the help of some very special people, which is why I came up with the Thank You Series. Nobody gets where they're going with such endeavors by themselves, and I believe strongly that you never forget those who so graciously give of themselves to help you. With that in mind, here's our next installment...

Part 6 of 7: Alex
We met through his sister, a close friend of my better half Meg. Janice would come over to the house, see the truck and say "You have to meet my brother," who, as it turns out, does top notch restoration and custom work. He's got a gorgeous '68 Firebird, a very cool rat rod that looks like something you might have seen on The Munsters, and is currently working on a pair of classic Mustangs.

Alex at work, flanked by his Firebird and one of the Mustangs

It was Alex who cleaned up the truck's rough bed sides, welded on the new angle strips and rear stake pockets and repaired one of the original GM six lug wheels so I could get tires mounted. He'll also be our go to guy for any mechanical work that I can't handle. Thank you for your friendship, knowledge and expertise, Alex! Can't tell you how much I appreciate it, and can't wait to see those 'Stangs all done up!

The seventh and final installment of The Thank You Series will appear on Friday March 20th, the day Spring arrives. Stay tuned!


Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Thank You Series, Part 5 of 7

The clocks went ahead one hour this morning, a sure sign that Spring is around the corner. What's also sure is that at some point in the coming season of renewal, this 1949 Chevy truck will roll down the road under its own power for the first time in 31 years, with me driving it for the first time ever. If you're new here, please check out "John's Old Truck - The Whole Story" to learn exactly how much that means to me. And one more sure thing is the fact that it would absolutely not be happening without some special people who have so graciously contributed their time and talent to help this total restoration amateur live a lifelong dream. To recognize these key contributions, I came up with the "Thank You Series."

Part 5 of 7: Steve
When I set about cleaning up the rear part of the frame on the truck, I was pretty sure we couldn't ignore the daylight that was visible where it shouldn't be on the right frame rail. Not knowing whether I'd need a new frame or if the existing one was fixable, I posted a few pictures online. Steve responded, we talked a few times and he came by to check out the truck. Eventually he was over here with a borrowed trailer and we loaded 'er up for the ride over to his place, where he did the welding fix.

video documenting the frame fix

Steve has since also mounted the front disc brake kit I got from Speedway Motors, is fabricating a mount for the new dual feed master cylinder (these trucks came with a single feed mc from the factory) and will run the new brake lines for me. And like all the other key figures in this story, he doesn't want a thing in return. “Just paying it forward,” he says. “Let me come check out the radio station some day.” Pretty sure I can make that happen, Steve! Thanks again so much for all your help.

Steve and his '38 Chevy are a regular fixture on cruise night at the Sycamore Drive-In Restaurant in my hometown of Bethel, Connecticut. I can't think of a better place to make our first stop when we finally get on the road. Looking forward to those summer Saturday nights!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Thank You Series, Part 4 of 7

Today we continue the countdown to Spring 2015, the season during which I will drive this truck for the first time, after dreaming about it for 34 years. It would not be happening without the help of some very special people, and I wanted to recognize their contributions, so I came up with the Thank You Series.

Part 4 of 7: Dean
I've known Dean and his wonderful wife Sine since my karaoke hosting days many years ago. Sine would usually be singing something from the Rocky Horror Picture Show (with me sometimes joining in, although I refused to dress like Tim Curry), and Dean and I would always talk about my truck. "We'll have it on the road some day," I would always say. "Just bring me 20 grand!" He's got a killer red '67 Camaro that not only looks like it's doing 80 sitting still, but also does a serious burnout. I've seen it happen!

Dean's killer Camaro

After I had taken the truck's bed apart and needed welding help with the rear fenders, Dean was right there to say "Hey, bring 'em over. No problem." Thank you again, my friend! Can't wait to park this old thing next to you when we go cruisin'!


Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Thank You Series, Part 3 of 7

As I type, spring is about 19 and a half days away, due to arrive in the early evening of March 20th. I decided to mark the occasion this year with the Thank You Series, in recognition of those whose help along the way has been a critical part of making this amateur's dream happen. And happen it will this spring, as all that's left before we can go down the road is a finished brake job, a new battery and a visit or two to the DMV. These posts will go up on Sunday and Thursday until March 12th, with the seventh appearing Friday March 20th, the day spring arrives.

Part 3 of 7: Hilton
This is one of the things I love most about this adventure. Complete strangers who know what it's like and are willing to lend a hand. Just a few days after we got the truck running, I went out to see if it would start without help. As I pushed the floor button to engage the starter, it snapped off. It had obviously broken at least once previously and been quickly welded back together. Thinking that having it welded yet again wasn't the best idea, I set about trying to find the entire starter bracket.

I couldn't locate the part in any of my catalogs and didn't think to try ebay, probably because I wasn't even sure how to identify it. "Starter thingy?" "Foot doohickey?" Pretty sure that wasn't going to get me anywhere. I decided to post about it on a message board where I was a member, begging forgiveness for my ignorance and describing the part as well as I could. A wonderful gentleman from Canada named Hilton responded, and we ended up speaking on the phone. Turns out he's a custom/restoration guy with his own shop, who regularly turns out projects that go for six figures. He ended up pulling the part off one of the trucks outside his shop in Manitoba, boxed it up and shipped it to me, completely free of charge. It bolted on easily and has worked perfectly since.

Thank you again for your kindness and generosity, Hilton. I'll never forget it.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Thank You Series, Part 2 of 7

Today we continue the lead-up to Spring 2015, the season when I will finally realize the 34 year dream of driving this truck. There are several key people who have helped this project along the way, without whom the dream would still be just that. I wanted to show my heartfelt appreciation, and came up with the seven part "Thank You Series" - Every Sunday and Thursday for three weeks, and the seventh post on March 20th, the day Spring arrives.

Part 2 of 7: Jim!
A radio comrade going back almost three decades, always there with a big smile and a rock solid handshake whenever you see him. Just an all around great guy, and one of those that can pretty much fix anything you throw at him. He also loves working on old rides, and jumped at the chance to help this project. Jim was not only here the day we finally got the truck running again for the first time in 27 years, but is actually the one who made it happen.

A shot of Jim in action on July 9th, 2011, when the old truck finally fired up again. Thank you, my friend! You da man! Can't wait until I can take a drive up to your place and take you out for a ride.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Thank You Series, Part 1 of 7

I've always believed that no matter how far you go or how much you accomplish in life, whether you're a wealthy international superstar or some schmuck about to realize the lifelong dream of driving an old truck, never forget where you came from and never forget those who helped you get where you are. With that in mind, I'll be doing a series of posts recognizing those whose help and friendship have been a critical part of making this dream happen. I'll be doing two per week for the next three weeks (on Sunday and Thursday), and the seventh on March 20th, the first day of Spring.

First up, my lifelong friend Brian.
We've known each other since junior high (when he first became friends with my brother Chris), ran on the high school track team together, and were always talking cars and fiddling with something under the hood. Brian was riding shotgun the day I did what I thought was a tuneup on my first car (a straight six powered '68 Camaro), and laughed hysterically when I couldn't make the thing do a burnout. I guess in all of my teenage genius I tuned it down instead of up.

Not long after that day, this is what the Camaro looked like after I hit a tree with it. I was an incredibly lucky kid, having been knocked out cold for a while but otherwise unhurt. Brian was the first of my friends to see the car as it sat in the yard after being towed home, as he happened to be driving by.

Thirty-some years later, this lifelong friend rebuilt the carburetor on the truck and helped tremendously with the first start attempt. Thanks for being there all through the years, Brian! So glad you're such a big part of this story.

Part 2 Thursday: Thanks to Jim


Sunday, January 4, 2015

2015: Year of the Truck

Anyone who has ever undertaken a total amateur project like this knows things never go as planned. When we first got it running three and a half years ago, I figured I'd be cruisin' soon after. But then I realized that the rear end was leaking on both sides, two of the brake drums were so warped they couldn't be turned, I needed a new front panel and stake pockets for the bed, and in my wallet was little more than some lint and a bunch of old business cards. I was unemployed at the time and the money wasn't there, so all that stuff would just have to wait. For a while.

The job situation has finally stabilized somewhat, but it's still not what it needs to be to maintain the every day bills and this project. I'm currently working on expanding my commercial driver's license with the hope of opening up new (and better paying) opportunities. In the meantime, I've thankfully been able to free up a few bucks here and there and we've been inching toward that monumental first drive, which WILL happen this spring.

Here's what's left on the to do list:
1 – Mount new dual feed master cylinder, run brake lines, finish brake job
2 – New battery
3 – Registration and insurance
4 – Drive

If the price is right there might be a new rear end in the mix to give us five lugs all the way around (5 lug front disc kit is already installed), but that does not need to happen before we take the first drive.

And that's pretty much where we're at. I have to say how much I appreciate the interest people are showing in our little adventure here, especially the sudden explosive growth of our Facebook fan base. One week ago we had just under 450 fans. This morning as I type that number is over 1100, and I did not pay a dime to get them. It only happened because some very cool people who manage a few pages with much larger audiences decided to share the John's Old Truck page. So once again, a big time thanks to those new friends and everyone who has hopped on board with us.

Stay tuned and we'll see ya down the road!