Lady Liberty (by way of Emma Lazarus) said it best: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…” There’s no other explanation for the irrational affinity I feel for abandoned derelicts. The more forlorn its state, the more likely I am to cut across three lanes of traffic to get a closer look, well-being be damned; therefore, the threat of tetanus belongs to nature, not nurture. These three ’70s mediums once pulled the yoke as roofing trucks, and they’re advertised on Marketplace with a cryptic $4500 price tag. Each? For all three? There’s no way to tell without asking, and I won’t be the one to ask this time. But that didn’t keep me from going all in on my reconnaissance.
This is the ad, the heading of which reads “1976 GMC Truck.” Not one of them is a 1976 GMC truck, but that’s not important.
All 3 run and drive… Will need brake work just leaking lines. Ford has pto dump box. Super low miles under 30000 on all 3 one owner.
My intention is not to harshly judge advertising or intimate that the claim of running and driving covers a lot of ground. I love old, worn out vehicles, and these workhorses deserve some respect, in something under 800 words.
The most veteran of the trio is a 1972 Ford F600. The trucks were locked, but I crawled underneath for a quick look – the Ford definitely has an FE/FT engine. How do I know this?
I prepared for a “false buy.” Since I can’t have everything (although I try), I sometimes mentally prepare for a hypothetical purchase by ordering brochures for these same hypothetical purchases. That may sound insane – think of me what you will – but now I know that the Ford most likely has a 330 or a 361 V8. As stated in the ad, it also has a PTO unit, which could come in handy if you do the sort of things that I’ve never had to do in 46 years. I think I like the looks of the Ford best, but it’s also the roughest, at least when the box is taken into account, so I’d pass on this one.
I was hoping for a weird GMC V6 under the hood of the next truck, a 1974 GMC 6000, but the brochure claims that only Chevy engines were available in 1974. This one has a small-block under the hood, so it’s basically a Chevy with different trim. To digress, there were thousands of variations of all three of these trucks; an operator truly could tailor their vehicle to their needs. The variety of wheelbases, transmissions, and axles is staggering.
Before I continue, it behooves me to say that these trucks have been off the road for quite some time. Not only will the brakes need work, but they will need all new tires, which always adds considerable expense to your new-to-you old truck. These belong to the Ford.
The GMC has some typical Michigan rust on the exterior, but the bed is in better condition than the Ford’s. The small-block is an easier proposition to find parts for than any Ford FE, so it has that working in its favor. Finally, being a “squarebody” gives it a little extra cachet, since that generation of truck is currently wildly popular. General Motors used this body style forever for a reason.
As some folks say, however, I’ve saved the best for last. Although I didn’t crawl underneath this 1976 Chevy C60 (bonus points for its bicentennial credentials), I imagine that it has the same 350 as the GMC, although a 366 big-block was also available. The Chevy has less rust than the others, and I’ve already prepared myself for finding one.
Greenlight Collectibles recently released this “patinaed” 1980 Chevy grain truck, and I bought it about a year ago because of my love for all things with wheels and an engine. Little did I know that I could someday have the real thing.
But not right now: I have no need for a roofing truck, as much as I’d like one. These three have been sitting here for a month or so, and I hope they find a buyer that doesn’t immediately head for the scrap yard. As a man who has tried selling things that few need or want (Anyone want a set of 13″ small bolt pattern Chrysler wheels? 10 bucks, OBO!), I know how fine a line one walks to find a “good home” for something you own. As a guy who makes impulse purchases, however, I also know how quickly a purchase can cease to make sense. Maybe my doppelganger will show up and sweep these things off their feet. Until then, a little shopping never hurt anyone.