I would expect the editor of any automotive blog to have owned and driven a massive number of vehicles to give some kind of legitimacy to the blog itself. For that reason, I feel that it is my duty to the readers to own and drive as many vehicles as possible, and for that, I thank you. Between my own personal automotive obsessions and working as a technician, I have driven hundreds of cars, each with it’s own intricacies, oddities, and personality. How trustworthy are my gearhead opinions though? Why continue on this automotive journey with me if you don’t even know where I have been? I think at this point in our internet relationship, it’s time that you learned about the triumphant rise and epic fall of my first daily driven vehicle. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I really loved that truck more than I can explain. Something about it was special to me, though I am still unsure of what.
When I was 15, I had about $500 to my name from dogs chasing me my newspaper route days, and I knew that the pinnacle of life was knocking on my door. I was getting my license soon. Sure I already owned 1 car, which will undoubtedly come up in future musings, but I needed a car that I could actually drive daily. A car that moved under its own power, maybe something with wheels and a running engine. After harassing my parents for a while, they finally agreed to let me get a second car a little early. (Thanks Mom and Dad). I immediately ripped through the “Vehicles for Parts”, and “Antique Autos” sections of the local Want Advertiser searching for the perfect older car to drive daily. A Dart would be cool, I thought aloud… or maybe an Iroc, OH how about a 1939 Studebaker, that would be really cool too..
The weeks steadily passed and my parents shot down every dumb idea I had, thankfully. Then my mom came home one day and said that a person that she knew had a 1987 Dodge Ram 50 for $500 that needed some work. Initially, I wasn’t so sure, but within a day or two I had found pictures of some Ram 50’s in MiniTruckin magazine that made me fall in love. I scrounged up every last penny I could find, and I bought it. It was the beginning of a very special relationship.
The first thing I did when I got it home was to rebuild the carburetor. That’s what you’re supposed to do right? It took a few tries, but I got the carburetor back on the truck and got it running again, albeit only slightly better than before I had touched it. Nevertheless, I pressed on. I changed fluids, fixed exhaust, and even fixed the leaky power steering. After an eternity (a few weeks) had passed, I got my license and began driving my newly improved Ram 50. We quickly became great friends, and each weekend, I would spend endless time improving different areas of her:
– Removed rust and rot
– Straightened all the metal
– Added bucket seats
– Lowered 3 inches
– New tires, polished chrome wheels
– Absurdly loud stereo system
– Tinted window
– Bug guard (they were cool then)
– Tonneau cover
– Custom frenched license plate in the tailgate
– Painted neon green brake drums and calipers
The Epic Fall:
It was beautiful on so many levels, and perfect for cruising the beaches. Rust free, dent free, and just a really astonishingly clean truck. Although the local law enforcement were not fans of my tailgate, it really did set my truck apart from the rest. Mine was special. After about a year of driving the truck, I began thinking irrationally. For some unknown reason, I decided that I could not handle the slowness of the truck any longer, and I needed a faster vehicle. What an idiot! I put the truck on the front lawn for sale for $1000 obo, and a guy I knew gave me $800 cash for it. He then drove away my original $500 purchase price, about $1000 in upgrades, and thousands of hours of making it perfect. All because I was an idiot.
Years pass, and the truck vanishes from sight and everyone’s memory but my own. It was only a year after selling it that I had realized the mistake that I had made. I constantly dreamed about turning back time, but without a Delorean, I just couldn’t. I jumped from one car to the next to the next, desperately trying to find the magic that my little Ram 50 and I once had, but the magic just couldn’t be found. It was gone for good.
Months turned to years, and my brother and I needed something to do one hot summer day. We decided to challenge the junkyards in a game of mud, oil, and grease. It was always a great time and would have been again, but destiny had other plans. There she sat, my beloved 1987 Dodge Ram 50. Smashed on every corner, missing wheels, and another truck sitting on her roof. I felt sickened. Something I had worked so very hard on was now crushed right before my eyes. It was truly an awful feeling that I would not want any other gearhead to go through. I reluctantly approached the truck knowing full well that I had done her wrong. A silent heart felt apology was in order as I slowly meandered my way around the back of the truck. My custom tailgate, the green drums, the lowering blocks, the interior, the tint. It was all still there, just horrified in every sense of the word…. I spent a few minutes thinking about all the great times we had, snapped off some pictures for memories, and then shamefully walked away.
Amazingly, this saga didn’t end that day in the junkyard, but “The Reincarnation” is a story best left for another day. Anybody interested?