FOR THE LOVE OF PICKUPS
I don’t know when your love affair with pickups began. But I sure remember when mine started. It was with a 1960 Chevy 1-ton, two-wheel-drive, long-bed my dad bought at a U.S. Forest Service auction back in 1965.
That C30 was an ugly truck with a ride just short of a rock; two-tone black with a white top, freshly painted, courtesy of Uncle Sam, and shod with what had to be the hardest tires known to man at the time—9.00×16.5 10-ply mud tires in the rear and six-rib “street” tires up front. The extra pack of “overload” leaf springs on the rear suspension didn’t help the ride quality.
The interior didn’t gain beauty points, either. Dad’s pride-and-joy was a regular cab with a vinyl-covered floor and vinyl-covered bench seat. No radio. Just a heater that could melt the ice off the vehicle parked next to it if left cranked on high for any period of time.
A 283-cubic-inch V8 sat in an engine bay you could literally stand inside while you changed plugs. That engine was stout and reliable as they come in the day. It was backed up with a four-speed with a granny-low and a 5.13:1 rear axle with a Detroit Locker. Top speed was a shade over 60mph, but in first it would literally idle up the steepest grade.
“I love pickups because they are practical, yet totally adaptable to whatever my needs may be for work or play.”
There wasn’t anything it couldn’t tow or haul, and the Chevy’s practicality and function served my dad’s purposes perfectly. He drove it to the lumber mill every day of the work week, hauled cattle feed, hay and firewood during the weekends, used it to pull stumps out of the field, and loaded the bed with a big 10-foot overhead camper during summer vacations and hunting season.
Dad was religious about its maintenance, too; every three months, regardless of mileage, he’d change the oil and filter, check the belts, grease every fitting and look at the brakes.
However, he never washed it. That was my assigned job from the first day it showed up on the Smith property—and how my love affair with pickups began.
My dad taught me how to drive behind the wheel of that pickup when I was 13. (The transmission and clutch took most of that early abuse!) The payback for that opportunity was keeping it clean and eventually doing the maintenance on my own.
When I did get my driver’s license, I already knew a pickup was perfect for my lifestyle. Forty years later those feelings are still the same.
I love pickups because they are practical, yet totally adaptable to whatever my needs may be for work or play. That same passion holds true for Tom and Larry, as well as for all of you who read ProPickup. Pickups are tools we just love to own.
Bruce W. Smith