No, this is not a picture of where the truck is in the timeline of the project. This is just a little inspiration…
The truth is that the truck is sitting in the yard of the lads who are going to help me get it back up and running. After going through the truck and getting the motor to turn over we have decided on a plan of action that includes some items we hoped did not need attention. The engine did indeed turn over, but after looking at the compression we found that four of the eight cylinders did not have compression. We also discovered that it was not the original engine to the truck. Somewhere along the line a larger V-8 had been crammed into the bay and they had notched the frame on both sides to get it in. Where they had notched the frame the frame had cracked on both sides. You can imagine my disappointment. So now, we have a firm plan on the build and with the help of my amigos at the Vintage Rollers Car Club we will be tackling the following:
New (old) motor – We will look for a donor car that has a solid Chevy 350. The guys will rebuild it to ensure it is sound.
New (old) transmission – Same deal here. The guys were trying to talk me into an automatic, but I want to keep the manual 4 on the floor.
New wiring harness – New electrical throughout. I will switch back to the double headlights, instead of the rarer single. I like the look of the double better and have already picked up the double bezels.
New brakes – We will stick with drums at this point but will refurbish them and run new lines.
New fuel tank – We will drop the old and see what it looks like inside and go from there.
New exhaust – Maybe go to double.
Fix cracked frame – I was thinking of bagging it, but will hold of for now, as I am getting in deep on the money front already. We will box the frame where it is cracked and the bagging and disc brakes will happen sometime in the future.
Suspension – Instead of bagging we will drop the whole ride by 3 – 4 inches all around and see how it looks.
Wheels and tires – Wheels will come off and get a tomato red powder coating and white walls will be mounted.
Patina polish – Erik the Viking at Hold Fast Kustoms will work his magic and I will acquire the missing brightwork, which I have already started finding.
Glass – Needs everything except the back window.
Drivers door – The door is cracked in a place where you can’t get enough metal to weld. Fortunately the truck came with extra doors, unfortunately I will lose the matching patina on that side.
There is a long list of things I have left off but this is the beginning checklist. This all told will have me in at around $7,000 without the patina polish.
This whole stars-lining-up story I have been telling for a few weeks is starting to sound a little unbelievable. Since I have been giving up a few things in my public life and concentrating on more things in my private life I have been starting to feel a little grounded. Perhaps that is why good coincidences are popping up more frequently.
The latest odd coincidence I had was that I had been studying up on some underground denim producers and collectors and came across the Desert & Denim Show, happening out in the California desert. Somewhere in my reading I saw a really amazing hand-made hat and started remembering my acquaintance in New York City, Philip Treacy, and his passion for the art of millinery. At the time we used to hang out he was a young crazy oddball from London that was trying to find his way into the fashion scene in New York. We used to kid him that the art of hat making was an old person’s art and that nobody really wore hats anymore. Had I known where he would be in 20 years I would have bought every hat he was making at the time as an investment.
Forward 22 years and look at where Philip is and the state of hat demand now… Accompany that with the Makers and Heritage movements and the time is perfect for crafts like hand made hats to finally find their time in the sun.
After a little more digging to find the origin of the hat I had seen in the background of the photo from Desert & Denim I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was made by someone in my own backyard. Literally! The hat was made by Cate Havstad of the Havstad Hat Co. and it is located in Bend, Oregon. Not 2 miles from my house. Now I am obsessed to meet Cate, check out her studio, and commission a hat. Too bad I don’t like myself in hats, hers are amazing.
I took these photos from her FB page and I didn’t ask permission. I hope she doesn’t hold it against me. She looks to be a nice person…
Check out her website and order yourself a hat! I almost didn’t post all this because once she blows up I will never be able to afford one anymore.
I’m off to start learning to like myself in hats…
Today was the day I picked up the old beast. I used a hay trailer without a winch and thank goodness my friend, Fatty, had sense to remind me to pick up a couple of chains and come-alongs to help us load it. We stopped and bought some heavy duty straps as well.
It was a bit of a challenge getting it on the trailer once we got there. The kind seller of the truck ended up hooking his modern truck to a chain on the bumper of the Dodge D-100 and we dragged it up on the trailer, nearly dumping it off the side. If it hadn’t been for his help I would have had to leave and return with another trailer that had a winch.
The truck was in pretty good condition. No serious rust or corrosion. A few minor dents and dings. Brakes not functioning. No steering wheel. In need of new windows and rubber seals. In need of new tires. Electrical looks shot. Never been started. damaged door (which is why he had 2 extra doors included in the sale). But great patina.
I immediately towed it over to the Auto Clinic of Bend. Julius and his daughter, JulieAnn, are classic rat-rod specialists. Turns out JulieAnn had been after this truck for quite some time, even stopping and knocking on the door of the owner, who was not home when they knocked. So far 3 people I have talked to had been trying to get this truck. Again, the stars seemed to line up on this for me.
Getting it off the trailer took the assistance of the good guys at the Vintage Rollers Car Club. We all got behind it and pushed and shoved and gently let the brakeless monster off the trailer and onto the lot using a lock wrench on the steering wheel column to muscle it into place.
Once we popped the hood and took a look at the motor it was concluded that the motor is not the original, but it is a period V8. Someone cut the frame to stick this larger engine in, but that didn’t seem to phase Julius, as long as it wasn’t seized. The oil looked pretty good so they grabbed the fan and started to crank. It wasn’t seized! It seems we have something to work with. Next step is to fire it up and see if it has compression. The goal here is to get it running and then see what the path is to a restoration over time. A solid running engine, new brakes, new electrical, new tires, new glass, a patina polish from my friend Eric at Hold Fast Customs and a sound foundation will be ready to roll. Here she is on the lot:
I’ll keep you posted on the progress.
Wow, sometimes the picking gods shine upon you when you least expect it! I was obsessed with the Dodge Sweptside pickup and started looking for one about a month ago. None were available at any price I could stay married over, but I cam across a Craigslist listing in Washington State for a D-100 Step side for a really reasonable price of $1000. It needed a restoration, ut the bones were all there.
I emailed and emailed the listing and never got a return email so after a week I noticed the lister had added a phone number. I called him up only to find out that there was a buyer driving up to pick it up in 2 days, but that he would hold it for me as a parts car if I would be interested in buying his Stepside project he had in the garage! For only $8000 I could buy his parts and pieces and assemble my own Stepside… and then get divorced.
I gave up the thought and let the step-side go, thinking that someday I would find another in a field or something and all would be well in the world. Then my obsession ate away at me and I went over to eBay and put in an alert search for any 1958 D-100 that might come up. Less than a week later I got a listing alert for a nice 58 Step-side that was rust free and all original and was no reserve starting at $500. Then I looked at the location… and BAM! It was within a mile of my house! I spent the next week waiting and bidding and hoping and obsessing and talking to my wife about this truck I might buy. Today the stars lined up and I won the auction. The wife relented and I will be picking it up within the week. Let the work begin!
Here are the auction photos:
I will take more photos when I have it in my possession. Until then…
I entered a carpark to pick up my rental car in Cuenca, Ecuador and came across this amazing old pickup. It has now started my new obsession…
In 1957 Dodge introduced the Sweptside pickup by using the Custom Cab Dodge D100 1/2 ton long bed pickup with the application of the rear side fins from a Dodge wagon, giving it the appearance of a full width bed with classic 50’s styling, including two-tone paint, chrome accents and taillights embedded in classic fins at the rear. They continued the look in 1958 with addition of a unique new grill with inset horizontal teeth. They only used this grill for a year, and for my taste it was the perfect grill.
In 1958 they produced around 980 Sweptsides and it is believed that only around 60 complete trucks are in existence today. What a surprise to know that there is one old original in a carpark in Ecuador…
Here is a fully restored piece that is for sale for $60,000
The link to the sale is HERE
Some great old press photos from the Isle of Man T.T. races.
The first several times I visited Ecuador I had no success in finding any kind of primitive antiques. The only true antique stores were high-end antiques that had made it over from Europe at some point, and they were priced accordingly. The past two times I have been in country I have come across a few treasure troves, as the tourist market has started to expand. Utilitarian objects that used to get used up and worn out have started to become available for sale. The current government has even begun to regulate true antiquities to avoid valuable cultural artifacts from leaving the country, but the true objects of everyday use have not made the radar yet.
We came across this small roadside dealer on one of our last forays and we bought quite a few objects, including some great old wooden santos that had lost their ceramic faces long ago. I would have bought more things but the missus and I were short on cash and this was the middle of nowhere.
These hand-forged iron kitchen hooks wouldn’t fit in the luggage, but I will check next time to see if they are still there. They are awesome.
Great stone grinding rocks.
These wooden grinding vessels are a must purchase on our next visit.
I love the wooden “mashers”.
You can never be sure if the clay items are really old, or they were made for the tourist market. Since the government has put a clamp-down on exporting cultural artifacts the sellers will never tell you they are real or not. They will all tell you that they are not real and let you decide. We have purchased them over the years and still are not sure, but in this case I would imagine most are real. They are too small to have much value to anyone making them for the tourist market, and this place is so far out of the way that not many tourists frequent it. I guess we will let you decide if they are real or not…
I love these old santos. They are found in many of the old ranches and have been around for many years. They used to have ceramic faces, or carved wooden faces with glass eyes, but after many years in the humidity the faces have fallen off. It adds to the character for me. I picked up quite a few of these.
Odds and ends.
This Coca Cola sign was the one that sent my OCD spinning out of control. The old guy told us that it came off of the Coke distributor in the nearest city and had been there since the 1960’s on the outside of the building. We were in our family’s small SUV and it was packed to the hilt with people so we were not able to transport it. I was obsessed with it, but the missus kept insisting that it would be impossible to get back to the U.S. and impossible to get back to Guayaquil with the current car set up. She wouldn’t let me buy it! I have been obsessing for weeks trying to get my brother in law to go and pick it up and store it for me at his house until the next time I go back. This week he broke my heart by telling me that he went back and it was gone! He couldn’t understand why anyone would have bought it, except me, as he knows I am a crazy collector. I will add this to my infamous list of “things that got away” and will continue to obsess over it for years, or at least until I find something else to fixate on.