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Hooniverse Truck Thursday: The Farm Truck: Dodge Sweptside Edition

If my fellow Hoons are looking for a quick, at work, read, I suggest you click back and save this one until you are at home, comfortably enskied with the cold beverage of your choice and a bit of time at your disposal…..

Much like this post, my fellow Hoons have been warned…

This olelongrooffan had planned on providing some coverage of this year’s Amelia Island Concour’s D’Elegance, last attended in 2008 with my nephew the Kid.  While there that year, we saw some pretty cool stuff including a couple of relatively rare, yet infamous, John Fitch Corvettes.  However, when I asked my fellow Hoons whether I should attend  this year’s Amelia Island Concours or the 12 Hours of Sebring,

Yeah, I was at the season closer in 1992.  Hey this olelongrooffan is not that old!  Dammit!

the overwhelming response from my fellow Hoons was to forget the static cars and go for the race cars.  Although I had attended the Rolex24 just a few weeks ago, I succumbed to those suggestions and decided to skip the Concours and head down on this past Saturday morning to Sebring, take my chances on places I could sneak into what pass I could get, see what could be seen and share the 12 Hours of Sebring experience with all y’all.

However

real life got in the way.  You see as a small General Contractor here in the greater Daytona Beach area, service to my clients (and the resultant word of mouth) still outweighs my passion for all things automotive, dammit. So, literally, just as I was packing a cooler and picnic basket to head down to the home of that World Famous Race, I received a phone call from an 87 year old woman, one of my regular clients who refers to this olelongrooffan as “My Guy”. It seems on that particular Saturday morning, she was preparing a birthday party lunch for her 79 year old “baby” sister and her garbage disposal “shit the bed”.  And that’s her Honest To God quote.  Well, my fellow Hoons, I knew at that moment this olelongrooffan would not be getting away from Sweet Lynn’s home any time soon and resigned myself to the fact the 12 Hours of Sebring 2011 had just slipped from my grasp.  All was good though, I made a few bucks and had a hoot of a time at a birthday party with the youngest, other than this 51 year old man, person there being 71 years old.  And if you think that a bunch of old Roman Catholic women are boring, just get them drinking Baileys and coffee after lunch and see what happens!!!

So now, I can just hear all of my fellow Hoons wondering what the hell this has to do with Hooniverse Truck Thursday?  Well, a couple weeks ago I was able to get a few images of the newly reassembled Crosley Pickup Truck I blogged about back in December.  I had planned to include that post for Hooniverse Truck Thursday for the last couple weeks but something always got in the way.  And today is no exception.

This olelongrooffan has always felt I have been very fortunate to be included among the highly talented contributors here in the Hooniverse.  Mr. Brennan with his fantastic contributions throughout the week and weekend, Blake with all things British and otherwise Hoonworthy, Mr. Emslie with his always enjoyable Hooniverse Asks, Ben Wojdyla…need I say anything more?….Dearthair and Atomic Toasters, Tanshanomi and Two Wheel Tuesdays…Alex with all the cool shit he comes up with, and now Mr. Scroggs…Welcome Aboard Man….along with many others….I mean Hooniverse is beyond awesome and continues to get better….IMHO….

Anyway, after I reviewed the Hoonworthy lacking images and commentary this olelongrooffan had to offer about Rick’s Crosley pickup, it all ended up on the cutting room floor, so to speak.

So now then, what the hell can this olelongrooffan offer as compensation for my shortcomings?  Hey…no comments from the peanut gallery….I did get to talk to that girl on the fender of that ’56 Nomad last month!!

Well my fellow Hoons, this olelongrooffan thought I would share with you just how I received the only trophy I have ever been presented with in my half century plus of life.

Yeah I know, black socks and red sneakers…so 70’s, at least for Jethro Bodine’s cousin!

So, my fellow Hoons, amongst all of the great blogs that have been posted here in the Hooniverse, this olelongrooffan posted, back when we contributors were becoming acquainted with our fellow Hoons and contributors, the blog where I mentioned how “I Wish I Could Blame Just Dad”….and in that particular blogpost was this image…

of my Dad, TheGentlemanFarmer and my brother, thehorsefarmer with that 1971 Sweptside Dodge pickup and the only option on it was the trim along the lower panels of it. So, besides that old Ozark Mountain oak barn in the background, the horse in front of that old barn, the big ass oak trees providing a bit of shade, and the chickens in front of that Sweptside, and many other countryfied features only remembered by my family members, this olelongrooffan remembers one day this old Sweptside looked a helluva lot different than it does in the above old school black and white photo.

But it was a workhorse.

My family, in the early ’70’s, moved from the City to a 170+ acre farm up in the Ozark Mountains, about 30 miles outside the home of Bass Pro Shops.  As an aside, I helped build the original Bass Pro showroom back in the early 80’s.  Anyway, Haven Lee Farm was located at the end of a one mile plus private gravel road and it was great Hoon fun to drive at the limits of adhesion on that road, regardless of the vehicle of choice.  My Grandmother’s 1953 Desoto with the Firedome under the hood; Uncle Stan’s ’72 Newport four door hardtop and later his New Yorker with the vinyl top and, among many others, this Sweptside.

It was a few months after I received my driver’s license at sixteen years old. Back then there was no waiting period. Just show up at the driver’s license bureau, pass the written, don’t kill anyone during the driving portion and drive off with a license to pick up pretty much any babe who will get in the car, or in this case, truck, with you.

Now, on Haven Lee Farm, the mailbox was down at the end of that driveway at its intersection with Highway 66/96.  I have included a chicken scratch map to kind of illustrate the geographic area.  Please note, my cartography skills are extremely rusty.

As you can see, in order to get down to the mailbox at that aforementioned intersection, the descent of a relatively steep hill (the Hill as it was referred to) was required.  At the bottom of the Hill was a fairly modern, at that time, bridge over Turnback Creek.  That 30 foot long bridge was constructed of prestressed concrete with 2″ angle iron railings along each side.  Now, the elevations expressed on this map are not precise as in Goose Creek was not at “0” feet elevation but are shown as a baseline for the roughly 120′ high hill that was the Hill.

Now, back in those days, the early 70’s, whenever the gravel road would wash out after a “gully washer”, my Dad would call the local farmer who also did backhoe work and he would come over and load up his dump truck with gravel he dug out of that creek and dump it on the Hill to fill in those gullies.  If you are unfamiliar with what Ozark Mountain creek gravel looks like, I offer this image shamelessly stolen from google of some of that weathered stone.

As my fellow Hoons may have noticed, creek gravel up in those parts doesn’t contain a lot of sharp edges which would allow it to compact and form a relatively stable driving surface.  No, it just kind of moved around as it was traversed and didn’t really provide much traction at all.

So, as a result, when one is traveling down the Hill at a fairly excessive speed, it is common to lose the rear end of pretty much any rear wheel drive vehicle.  This was before TheGentlemanFarmer acquired his Citroen DS21 Palas and this olelongrooffan learned vehicle control, front wheel drive version.

Anyway, this olelongrooffan  was heading down to “check the mail”, a euphemism for going for a drive without parental guidance, in that once pristine Sweptside work horse.

Well, of course, excessive speed was involved while descending the Hill and once those 7.50/16 M+S tires reached that loosely compacted creek gravel, the ass end of that 3/4 ton pick-em-up truck decided it wanted to drift, back long before it was popular, a little further and get in front of that MOPAR slant 6 motor.

If my fellow Hoons examined closely that chicken scratch map above, you will have noticed the circle with “this is it” pointing at it.  It was about this location that this olelongrooffan realized I was just along for the ride. Yep, that rear end busted loose and came spinning around and the only thing that stopped it from being successful in its endeavor was the 2″ angle iron railing adorning that modern prestressed concrete bridge.

As a result, that old Dodge truck ended up with the left rear tire hanging off the side of that bridge, the railing collapsed and this olelongrooffan was shaken up but more scared of what excuse I was going to come up with for TheGentlemanFarmer for this excursion.

Our closest neighbors, a couple in their 70’s at the time, the Britains, owners of the still operable grist mill, were out working in their garden and were on the scene in moments.  Mrs. Britain came over and gave this sixteen year old a hug telling me all would be okay while Mr. Britain, yeah, I will never know their first names, gave a cool glance to the situation, left, and returned a short time later with his tractor to extract this olelongrooffan from my predicament.

Well, I guess my Dad figured I have been gone too long and I soon saw he and thejeepjunkie coming around the corner in Dad’s ’73 maroon with a white vinyl top Buick LeSabre.  When Dad saw what had happened, he slammed on the brakes, jumped out and came running at me.

Mrs. Britain, in her affable way told TheGentlemanFarmer that it was okay, ‘Afterall, at least John wasn’t injured.’

“Injured, Hell,” was his response.  “I’m gonna kill him!”

Well, my fellow Hoons, that did not transpire that day, or on many others subsequent, although it may have been justifiable homicide.

And just what damage did this olelongrooffan inflict to receive that thrift shop trophy?

And this olelongrooffan is damn glad that bridge railing interaction didn’t happen three feet previously or else I would not be here to share this experience with my fellow Hoons this Hooniverse Truck Thursday. And TheGentleman Farmer, exhibiting his sense of humor, found that old, lopsided trophy on one of his adventures, remembered this olelongrooffan’s driving abilities matched the style of that trophy and he bought it and brought it home for presentation and perpetual remembrance of that incident in this then 16 year old’s life.

And I love him for that sense of humor. Hope my fellow Hoons do also.

As an aside, I thought I might include this as a tease for that post about the Crosley and RML Motors.

And who knows, maybe a Mystery Car post also?

  • dukeisduke

    I was gonna say Fiat 850 Spyder, but I don't see the little black plastic grille under the headlight. You did a pretty good number on that truck. What happened to it after that, anyway? Did it get a new (or junkyard) bed?

  • Didya flatbed it!?!?

  • dwegmull

    That Fiat 500 sure looks good. Any more pics? Is it for sale?

  • jeepjunkie

    that old truck lasted many a more year with a 'factory fresh' recycled bed from a local distributor of quality 'pre-owned' automotive and truck parts….the offspring of said truck led to 'stuck in the mud is a family affair'

  • fede6882

    great story, and great read too.

  • Corvette_Poncho

    Great story and awesome truck, but please stop using "olelongrooffan" so much!

  • Tom Lee,Horsefarmer

    I'd forgotten about that little slip on your part. Almost makes up for the Bus coming home one night and telling the Gentleman Farmer "Dad the cars in Lake Springfield"; "Is it in the lake, or in the lake?" and the rest of the story the Bus can relay.

    Your getting better in your writings, every post, keep it up. The Gentleman Farmer and I are proud of you.
    The Horsefarmer.

  • Lotte

    Finally had time to sit down and have myself a cold (though gelatinized…) one and my ass clenched up when I saw the busted-up rear! I wrecked once, and I know that feeling between realizing what happened and hoping that your gut instinct was wrong and everything's actually okay. Then you step out of the car; "that AIN'T gonna buff out." Horrible feeling, especially when you're young and the car's not yours. Mr. GentlemanFarmer seems to have a great sense of humour but I bet he wasn't easy on you the first few weeks; it definitely wasn't for me…

  • Buickboy92

    Awesome story! I loved it! This is why Hooniverse ROCKS! Oh and I was born in 1992, It kinda does feel like a long long time ago in a way, and other times it doesn't.

  • ptschett

    So I was playing with Google Earth and took the map as a challenge, and I'm wondering if I'm not too far off the mark to guess that this is the fateful place?

    • That green arrow marks the spot!!! Excellent find given the bare bones directions via my chicken scratches. Apparently my laptop doesn't have the right shit to support Google Earth so thanks for the visual. Man! The memories I could bore many a Hoon with that surfaced with your image. Thanks for sharing. As an aside, I usually use Google Chrome but it has been shutting down eratically for me lately so I opened this up in IE and was only then able to see your link. Go Figure.

  • bluehillsmike

    ORF, for me that was my 67' Biscayne stovebolt-3 on the tree wagon in 1975, right around graduation time, doing a Nascar slide against a guard rail above the Miss River bluffs in La Crescent, MN. Almost went over the side down 500+ feet. Put a big hunk of guard rail and sign into the back passenger side. Dad did not see until the next day–because we had alternate side parking in La Crosse WI and fortunately it was an 'odd' day. Since I was the youngest, a lot of fight was already taken out of the old man, which was merciful for me. It was also a $150 car. My youngest gets away with more too…

  • bluehillsmike

    I missed the case of beer part…