Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Saga of the Old Yellow Truck!


Back in 2001 I was driving to my bank on my way to work at my Pizza job. Sitting across the road from my bank was a BRIGHT yellow 1983 Ford F150. Something about that old truck just screamed ,"Buy me!" I went over and test drove it, haggled a little over the price, headed to to bank, withdrew $700, and bought myself a truck.
Or Rather, I bought my Dad a truck. I already had a 1984 Ford F150. So I drove the truck to work and afterwards gave my Dad an old beat up pick up. That was 8 years ago.
Over the next few years the Yellow Truck was driven nearly all the time. My Dad drove it back and forth to Nashville and Cleveland Tennesse from Knoxville twice a week. When he stopped driving it and started scooting back and forth in a little 4 cylinder, I started driving th Yellow Truck as my main vehicle.
In 2003 when I first went to work for the phone company I was still driving it. I drove it until I bought myself a 1989 Ford Bronco. I had long dreamed of owning a Bronco with a big 351 Windsor. Still I kept the old Yellow truck around. Not too long after that though its transmission went out. A month later though my birthday rolled around. My Dad bought me a used transmission out of a Ford Taurus from a Junk yard for $100.
I bought a BMW, an Izusu Trooper, and a 1991 Ford F150. All the while Dad drove the old Yellow F150. When time came around that we decided to move to Germany we started getting rid of all our old junk cars. Yes this maybe east tennesse where having a salvage yard on your property makes you popular, but since we didn't really have any way of upkeeping the herd with all of us gone it was time to crush cars.
One of the very first things I noticed when I got the truck was the holes in the panel between the wind shield and the passenger side window looked like it had been shot several times with a BB gun. I also noticed that the neon mustard paint was missing around the drivers side window and had been sanded and replaced with primer gray. I suspected that some kids had gotten angry with whoever owned the truck and shot it up with a pellet or BB gun. The truth was much more outlandish.
The yellow truck had been bought without a tailgate. It inhereited a brown hood and brown tailgate. Now the banana boat had a pair of rotten ends. Still even with the color wrong the over all condition of the hood was better. Come to find out there was good reason for that.
I have lived in my house for years. Before I lived there it was my grandparents property and they had had the same neighbors on either side for the better part of 20 years. When I moved in I was surprised to find that I knew the people living to either side of me. It has mostly been a friendly situation. As a result though I met the guy who painted the yellow truck yellow.
According to this source, he was working as a mechanic for a carlot when the old yellow truck came through for sale. It had been a one owner vehicle and was in good shape except for its, "Shit Brown Paint!". The truck was certainly brown because the roof of the cab is still factory brown. His boss apparently wanted to move the truck and had it painted bright yellow. Since the sticker from the carlot was still on the back bumper I believe the story.
Now interestingly enough as I went back to driving the yellow truck I learned a few more things about it. On my way home from work one day a police man stopped me. I was very confused by being pulled over because I wasn't speeding and I was wearing my seat belt. The cop came to my window and got my license and registration. After running my information he came back to the truck and asked," How long have you had this truck?" I told him I had had it for nearly 4 years. He nodded and said," I knew the guy who had it before you. It is probably not a good idea to drive this through the wrong part of town." I gave my most respectful,"Yes Sir" and drove home highly confused.
Nearly six months later I was driving through the Wendy's drive through when a car pulled up next to me and made the universal motion to roll down my window. I did and was regaled with a tale almost too incredible to believe. Come to find out this person knew the dark story behind my truck. She explained that the original owner of the truck was in some way related to her (her brother's cousin's sister's husband or some such shite. This guy had been driving the truck through a rough part of town looking to score some drugs. (her words not mine) He apparently called a guy over to the truck and the two got in an argument. The alleged drug dealer pulled out a sawed off shotgun and shot the guy through the drivers side window in his face!
I have a rule since having a child that unless I am writing my fiction I tend to spoil surprises or suspenseful situations. The guy lived. Sorry for anyone who lost interest here. He is apparently severely scarred, but he did in fact live.
So after he was shot, our hero floored the gas pedal.The truck ran down the road out of control and crashed into a fence. The impact scratched up the yellow paint, dented the front bumper, dinged the front quarter panel, and put a couple of dings in the hood. At some point while he was recovering, as the story was told, the truck was sold. A few months later apparently, I bought it.
We had the truck and passed it back and forth over the years until the decision was made to move to Germany. I couldn't bring myself to get rid of my old faithful yellow truck. In fact I got rid of my 1972 Chevelle Malibu. I got rid of all my project cars except for my BMW(which I sold but has yet to be moved or paid for), the Trooper (which we thought we had sold and didn't), and the Truck (which I had no intention of getting rid of. After looking into the cost of storage units I decided that the truck would make do sitting in a field until we returned.
Two years later Dad and I made a trip out in the Trooper to pick up the truck. With all our stuff making its way back from Germany I thought it would be nice to have a way to move things around (besides the Trooper and trailer). With much trepidation Dad and I drove out with a good selection of tools, a set of booster cables, and a gas can.
Ten minutes after arriving the truck started with no more tinkering that a jump start. That is massively impressive for a truck that has been sitting for near to two years. Well, I was massively impressed anyway. It is not bad for a 26 year old vehicle. We were still left with one problem. The drivers side tire was flat. That in and of itself would have been minor. My spare tire though was flat as well. With my handy dandy little lighter run air compressor I pumped air into both tires. When that wasn't enough to bring them to full we jacked the truck up, took off the one tire, and got both tires aired up down the road at the gas station. The whole affair took just over half an hour.
I decided I wanted to drive my truck home. As soon as I pulled out of the driveway though she died. (yes the truck is a she. I wouldn't want to be INSIDE a male truck.) I coasted down the hill and down a side road. Dad jumped the truck off again, and we traded vehicles. ( I am Johnny on the Spot for most endeavors, but Dad is just the man when it comes to stuff like that!) We dropped the truck off at my place and headed out to get back on with our evening.
The next day I got the tags renewed and added the truck to my insurance. I wanted to get her road ready so Dad could take over driving her the rest of his time in town. He and I maybe the only people on the planet that are sentimental about my old rust bucket. I at least knows he appreciates the truck as much as I do. So Dad drove her around town for a few days.
Sadly, the yellow truck took its final turn at my Mom's place. After a couple of days of sluggish running she wouldn't start again. After tinkering under the hood I found that the oil was mixed with water. With that sad discovery the yellow truck was pronounced Dead! I towed her home to my place with my Trooper, and put her resting (with two new tires now) in her place of honor, my far driveway.
I have put my heart into resurrecting the old girl. Right now the plan is to pull the motor and buy a new one. With that done I am going to chase down all the wiring quirks (yes I haven't had all my turn signals at one time since I bought the truck), replace a few key body panels, and get a paint job. I don't know if I will return to yellow. The original factory brown is out of the running though.

Keep watching for new pictures of my old truck. Oh and better believe that as soon as I make some progress the saga of the Old Yellow Truck will continue!

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