QOTD: What Beater Would You Pick To Drive To The Gambia?

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Robert Kim’s plans to drive his ’86 Olds wagon in the 3700 mile Banjul Challenge got me thinking: What cheap old beater would I take on that trip? When I hopped into my trusty rusty old ’66 Ford this afternoon to haul a load of brush to the yard waste recycling dump, the answer was of course at hand.

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Knock on wood, but my truck has not had the slightest need of any mechanical attention for quite a few years now. Of course I don’t drive it much, maybe a couple of thousand miles per year. But I’ve certainly done well over that 3700 miles without any attention.

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I literally can’t remember he last time I gave it a tune up, so that would probably be a good idea before setting off. Points, condenser, and plugs; maybe $15 or so. An oil change and filter. The single fan belt still looks good, but maybe bring an extra along.

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The only mechanical breakdown I’ve had in the last 15 years or so was when the stupid fiber camshaft gear broke, but I replaced that with a steel set of gears for a HD truck engine. They won’t break, but they howl, and folks ask me if I added a blower to the old 240 six.

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A set of new tires at Costco might set me back a couple of hundred. These are only the first new tires I’ve put on it some 15 years ago or so; the first ones were some great low-mile Michelins I got from a junkyard for $10 a pop. I’d probably go ahead and pop the drums off, and slap in some new linings. Maybe some new shocks too. And bring along a grease gun. What else would I need?

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A younger back and butt, as well as some new ears. This baby is noisy at speed, and its getting worse as the holes in the floor get bigger. The real problem might be in leaving it behind in Africa; I have a hard time imagining getting rid of it. But if I get to the point of being ready to let it go, I’d much rather take it to The Gambia instead of The Crusher.