Yes, I’m a fan of patina, if it’s been come by honestly. And this old Chevy truck has earned it more honestly than any other possibly could. If it were possible for a vehicle to attain sainthood, this truck would be canonized by now. Or at least its owner. And I can be a witness to how it’s earned its patina and sainthood.
For at least 15 years or more, I’ve seen this truck parked at various Goodwill drop-off points; those empty trailers parked in a lot where folks come to dispose the detritus of modern life that still has value (an decreasing reality given the cheap stuff we mostly buy now). And sitting motionless in the pickup was a thin, older man, dressed and looking like someone from the 1930s Great Depression. Old-style dark twill work pants with suspenders and a long sleeve shirt. Old leather shoes. Hair combed and held in place with Brylcreem. I interacted with him a couple of times when I availed myself of his services. I’m not sure whether he was a volunteer or paid, but I’d like to think the former.
When I spotted his truck in front of the Goodwill offices, I decided I better memorialize him and his truck before he gets in it one of these days, starts up the old six, and they are both ascended into heaven.
Something tells me quite strongly that these two have been bonded for a very long time. Possibly since the truck was new, but more likely it was bought used. He strikes me as thrifty to an extreme, something that’s quite unusual nowadays.
The plates are genuine old-timers, not the ones folks buy to affix to their vintage toys.
The interior says it all. I think of all the thousands of hours he’s sat quietly and patiently here while waiting for someone to show up with a donation. Maybe he studied Zen Buddhism in his younger days.
Ideally he’d be working for St. Vinnie’s, the competing local outfit that does similar things. Actually, our St. Vinnys is a powerhouse, having built many low-income housing projects and many other useful activities. It’s a coincidence that they have a store right next to the this Goodwill store and offices.
Why didn’t I take a look into the topper? It’s a bit newer than the truck. He probably decided he wanted to keep his wood floor from rotting out, among other reasons.
1962 is the year Chevy ditched the weird eyebrows on the top of the hood, and went with a more conventional flat affair. The inevitability of there being a six under the hood of this one is absolute. The last year for the venerable 235 inch “Blue Flame” six.
It’s hard to tell what color this was originally, but I do see a few patches of that very common green that so many of these sported.
Even our healing rains can’t stop all of the forces of entropy.
Good luck in trying to fake this kind of patina. There’s only one way: the hard way. Sitting out in a parking lot for decades in the sun and rain.
I hope to keep seeing him and his venerable truck for as long as possible.
My grandparents had a 61 that they bought new. A 6 with 3 on the tree. They put a cab height aluminum canopy on it with a bed across the box, Coleman stove and travelled all over Western Canada. They drove to Alaska, The Yukon and the Northwest Territories at least three times. They traded it in on a 67 Chev half ton that they found used. This one had the 292 six and 4 speed and an Alaskan Camper on it. It was the lap of luxury compared to the first rig. I still remember all the rock chips and plastic bubbles on the headlights.
My grandfather babied those trucks. He would unlatch the hood and raise it a few inches after a “run” to let her cool down!
That’s a fine old truck. It’s good to see it still out and about.
Like its owner, its suspension is getting creaky, its lights dimmer, and the old lungs and heart don’t propel it with as much alacrity as they once did. Nevertheless, it keeps going, a little slower with each passing year, though the aches and pains become more pronounced.
As a result of a recent trip to Bennington VT, where Robert Frost once lived and is now buried, this old truck reminds me of his poem “Mending Wall.” “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, that sends the frozen ground-swell under it, and spills its upper boulders in the sun…”
Will this old relic, like Frost’s wall, be mended by caring people, and thereby serve its purpose a little longer, or will it travel, however slowly, down the road more often taken by old vehicles, and inevitable for their owners?
1962 was also the next-to-last year for that wrap-around windshield (that appears to have a nasty crack in this vehicle). I used to prefer the greenhouse shape of these earlier trucks, but have now decided that I like the 1964+ versions better. The trapezoidal shape of the door windows is kind of jarring to me now.
It seems that trucks like this were still burbling away all across the rural midwest up until maybe 15 or 20 years ago. Now it seems that restored ones are the only ones you see, and even then it is almost always the 1964+.
The grill looks like a last-minute decision, doesn’t it? It’s as if they couldn’t decide between the single lamps or sticking with the doubles as in 1960-61. I know the single lights are larger but still, that’s how those wide bezels always looked to me.
Also, 1962 was the last year of the torsion-bar front suspension. ’63 would bring the coil spring configuration in the front to match the rear coils.
Though I’ll bet when the ’63 appeared, some saw it as obsolete based solely on the wrap-around windshield, a feature that had disappeared most everywhere else two years earlier. Yet the ’63 is my favorite of this era, followed closely by the ’66.
Weren’t quad lights an option? Looks like a truck that came with few options.
I have never seen a ’62 with quad headlights (not counting GMC). These headlight bezels do look odd, like quads definitely would fit. My theory is that management could not decide and stylists were stuck with coming up with a design in time for creating tooling. The result is not very attractive. Remember 1957 Chrysler Corp. cars? They had the same dilemma and handled it slightly differently, but still looked odd.
I can hear the gasoline sloshing around in the tank, right behind the seat.
I had a Dodge like that. The gas gauge quit working, so for a while I used the odometer and the sloosh, slosh, slish method of telling about how much I had left. Sloosh was a mostly full tank, slosh was halfway- ish, and the thinner slish sound was getting down to the last couple of gallons.
I still do that with my F100. Its fuel gauge works intermittently, so I rely on the odometer when I remember the number, the slosh sound, and also usually carry a can with a gallon or two in the back.
What a great catch and good write up Paul. I am guilty of buying a pair of those retro looking Sesquicentennial/Pacific Wonderland Plates for my beater Caravan and now they are on my vintage Camry.
Put some extra headlights on that thing and you have our old neighbor, Baird Hahn’s truck. (I also miss names like “Baird Hahn.”) Baird was more of a tinkerer and a visitor than a farmer, but he was a gifted natural mechanic who usually had a good solution for your mechanical problem. There was only, really, seat space for one in the cab of his C10; the rest being taken up by individual parts or little boxes full of them. I never saw him actually use one of those parts, so I assume they had all been discarded there. And the cab always smelled strongly of Swisher Sweets, his cheap cigar of record.. By the time he drove away even I was ready to get back to work, but you could never have a better neighbor in a pinch. I can still hear that 235 six buzzing and humming up the road.
Pacific Wonderland plates were issued between 1959 and 1964. Maybe it was new or only a couple of years old when he bought it. Gotta love PNW patina on an old C10.
It would be interesting Paul to know if he has seen you and the Ford around over the years and wondered about it? They are of the same generation.
Does that look like a
column-shift bowl to anyone else?
It sure does. Wonder what that is all about.
Four speed transmission swap. We did the same with a freind’s ’64 C20. Problem was that the cab floor was a different stamping for each transmission. So, mods were necessary for an automatic or four speed in a three speed truck.
Makes me wonder if it actually has a 235. 283 V-8 was an option and just about any SB fits without modifications.
I hate to revive an older post…but what is that on the glove box? Very neat old truck. It tells a story with appearance alone.