I Will freely admit that I have a weakness for pickup trucks. I also have a weakness for dual rear wheel flatbed trucks. And, thanks to my late father, I have a weakness for ’67-’72 Chevy trucks. Combine these with a habit of surfing craigslist & ebay for cheap old vehicles and it is a recipe for unexpected roadtrips to look at old junk.
A few weeks ago I ran into this particular truck, advertised for the princely sum of $700. It is a 1967 Chevy C30 flatbed with an inline six and 4-speed manual. According to the ad it needed a new radiator, but would run and drive once that had been installed. A brief conversation with the seller ensued where he informed me it had been his buddy’s daily-driver for years until he got something else, then was driven occasionally until the radiator was stolen a few years ago.
Rationalizing to myself that a truck would be handy with the new house, I and my ever-patient girlfriend headed out on a 4-hour round trip to see it. I called the seller when we were an hour out as he had requested, and got no answer. Multiple follow up calls as we got closer met with similar lack of response. We eventually found the truck anyway, parked down a steep asphalt ramp in the basement hole where a building had been and half covered with local flora.
Sitting before me was a truck that had clearly not moved in a long, long time. The flatbed wood was rotted away(something he had warned me of, and a cheap fix). But it was clear after even a cursory inspection that it was going to need far more than a radiator to be ready to hit the road. The muffler was hanging half off, the windshield was cracked, one vent window was a precariously dangling piece of broken glass hanging by rusted metal.
However the green interior was in really good condition, without a tear in the vinyl seat. And the cab seemed free of the rocker & floor rot these trucks are infamous for. So I was willing to at least give it a chance. I had dragged a collection of car-reviving items with me, battery, jumper cables, tools, gas can, carb cleaner/engine start. So out came the battery and over to the truck to pop it in and give it a shot.
No. Battery. Cables. Whoever had stolen the radiator for the copper scrap had gotten the copper battery cables too. Now I was looking at a truck that would need $20-$50 of parts to see if it cranked over, let alone started. Then a $150-$300 for rad& hoses to see if it ran & drove. Since at this point we were still in frantic house renovation mode to prepare for our upcoming move, the last thing I had time or money for was a truck where I didn’t know if it was a good runner or a paperweight.
So with much regret I called the guy to say I wasn’t interested(he didn’t answer), and headed for home. I was glad I’d walked away before getting sucked into another massive project, but at the same time I was sad to let it go because if I’d found it at a different time it would have made an excellent project truck due to the lack of rot & the good interior. Ah well, maybe next time.
I did find a really neat ghost sign in the parking lot next door, so it wasn’t all a waste.