Too Many Trucks

We have a lot of trucks. In our household of two people, there’s a good seven haulers on the property. One for every day of the week.

It’s a well-known fact that everyone needs a truck, and people who deny needing a truck are just a yard project or a moving-day away from being a great annoyance to their truck-owning friends.

Truck ownership is even more crucial if you own a classic car, because there comes a day (perhaps long from now, perhaps with regularity) when you will need to retrieve that car from somewhere where it has ceased to do car things and reverted to a static work of art.

You’re probably nodding your head now, saying, “Yes, Elana, we are all in the same faulty-wired, what’s-that-knocking-sound boat. We all own a truck and trailer. Why are you telling us these things we know so well?”

Hang with me here. If you have a classic truck, it is subject to the same eventual breakdown as a car, and the only thing that can tow a truck is another, bigger truck, so obviously you need two trucks. I expect that alone is enough explanation for how the 1993 Dodge W250 Cummins turbo diesel and the 1978 Dodge Adventurer dually came to live in our driveway. So far, pretty sensible, right?

Ramping up

Here’s where things start getting out of control.

Do you remember when the famous drag racer Don “The Snake” Prudhomme found and restored the Hot Wheels “Snake and Mongoose” Funny Car haulers? They went to Barrett-Jackson in January 2014, where they sold for $990,000 as a package with two Funny Cars (ACC profiled them in issue No. 14).

Curses on The Snake, because those trucks lit a fire in our household and nothing would do but to find a Dodge D700 ramp truck of our own. Which we did. It ended up being the Dick Landy Dodge Super Car Clinic hauler from the racer’s 1970 Pro Stock season. Price: $3,000.

The acquisition of that truck is a story all its own, so let’s just say it involved a stuntshow vampire, many men with nicknames like “Rocket,” and “Hemi,” and an agricultural pest lesson about gypsy moths. Also, so much rust.

So much rust and some butchery in the intervening years between Landy’s ownership and ours led to the need for another 1968 cab to repair all the holes, so that brought us up to 3.5 trucks in the yard.

Parts for big 1968 Dodges were surprisingly easy to come by, but in some cases, buying an entire truck proved cheaper than buying bits, which is how a $1,500 1968 D800 dump truck rumbled and backfired 60 miles from Pomona, CA, to our house in the San Fernando Valley.

Once we got the D800 home, we were so pleased with it, we couldn’t bear to strip it down. Now it sits in the backyard, lording it over the other trucks like a full-size Tonka toy and greatly entertaining my niece and nephew when they visit.

Elana’s home for trucks

Once word of our growing truck rescue got out, trucks started to find us. At no point was a 1965 Ford F-350 tow truck on our to-do list, but when the original owner of one offered it to us for free, “Only take it home — I can’t bear to scrap it,” what were we to do?

I’ll admit that the enormity, both literal and financial, of the ramp truck might have been overwhelming us, and it was lovely to have a project that needed only points, a new seat, a brake job and a water pump. Sometimes you need a mid-project project to revive your enthusiasm for your main project.

Can you see how things are starting to get out of hand? They’re starting to get emotional, which is the best and worst approach to car collecting. Something has to be done. Something has to be sold. Did I mention the 1978 Datsun 620 I bought a few years back to teach myself how to drive a manual? I didn’t know how, and the turbo diesel seat didn’t go far enough forward for me to learn. Anyhow, I learned, and I sold it and that cleared up exactly half of one truck-sized parking space, which clearly meant that we should purchase a clean, low-mile 1978 crewcab Dodge dually out of the Auto Trader, which we did, for $10,000.

You can stop me again here. “Elana, didn’t you start off by saying you had a 1978 Dodge dually?” Yes, but we had a brown clubcab and this was a custom-painted yellow crewcab. A crewcab! And it came with a Lionel Richie cassette tape. Who could resist?

For sale?

At this point, even we felt we were heading into hoarder territory, so plans were made to sell the brown ’78, but then the transmission on the ’93 broke, and we had to tow it home with the brown truck, as the new yellow truck wasn’t yet roadworthy, and the Ford wrecker, well, they are called “wreckers,” for a reason. You don’t really want to hook up to them if you can help it. At least, I don’t want to hook up my own car. I’ll happily tow yours with it.

Where were we? Ah yes, brown ’78 is put into daily truck duty and the diesel is undergoing surgery, which takes us away again from ramp truck and the new yellow ’78. The dump truck is supervising. Our yard is getting crowded.

All this diesel wrenching revives a long-held desire to do a diesel swap into something. The yellow truck maybe? Next thing you know, there’s a $3,000 1989 diesel dually puffing and smoking its way into our lives. This time we harden our hearts. We will not be tricked into adopting this one, even if it is a really nice, clean first-gen. No! Tear it down. Start the swap.

Then we’ll sell the remnants, and the other brown dually, and get down to a nice normal number of trucks, like five. One for every day of the work week.