|Stovebolt Sagas||The Ballad of El Gringo|
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Head-em up! Move-em out!
The truck did fit the borrowed trailer, but I had to modify it by taking one ramp brace off, so the 88” wide duallies would roll up properly (see the picture). It was just about to the load limit of the trailer, but the tongue did ride at just the right height and the truck was not overloaded. Just as I was getting my straps and chains out, the Squire shows up to help.
“Well lad, I see your work here is almost done. Would you send me a picture of the truck when it is done? Or maybe we (he and Gringo) could come down and see it sometime in the next few weeks.”
I assured him he could have a picture, but a trip down to see him would be premature until a year or two had gone by. (Too many projects, not enough time!) Less than an hour had gone by and I had all the straps and chains on the old beast.
Down the road we go, stopping for photos and to check the load. I arranged to have lunch with an old friend who does upholstery and appraisals. His first advice was, “Do nothing to the truck, get the title and resell it for a tidy profit.” Much as a profit was appealing, I thought I owed the aforementioned players to keep it and entertain the old boy for a while.
The trip down the highway was uneventful. Running alongside the 18 wheelers on the four lane, I got lots of thumbs up and waves. Ifin I’d have given the ole boy an air horn, he would have honked all the way home. He was sure waving those big post mirrors to everyone he saw.
The drive home allowed me to contemplate a name for this ole ’45 Art Deco farm truck. Then it came to me: “El Gringo Loco”, named primarily in tribute to my crazy friend who brokered the deal.
Ten minutes after arriving home, neighbor #2 came over, needing his truck to pick up some steel. We unhitched the trailer with the old boy still on board. I spent a few hours picking the rodent nests out of the cab and shaking hands with him. Taking off the straps, I rolled him off, as he easily settled down between two old Chevy van projects.
“Oh Sénior, I like theese place. All your other projects, they are all Chebbies.” By that time the Dodge Ram had gone home, taking the trailer home as well.
The great cover-up
I got out a big plastic tarp and covered up “El Gringo Loco” that night. I had promised SWMBO [ She Who Must Be Obeyed ] I would put it outta-site. She did not want to see another truck here. [ Yes, I too suffer from the “not-enough old vehicles syndrome” or whatever we would call it. ]
Sure enough, when she arrives home later that night, she asks, “So where is it???”
Innocent as a school boy with one too many frogs in the can, I said “Where is what?”
"That thing you bought.”
"Ooohh ... it’s over there (points) in the dark, under a tarp. Anyway, I thought you didn’t want to see it?” I got out the big flashlight and we strolled over to the tarp. Peeling back the corner, I let her look at just a bit.
"Well let’s see the whole thing. Take the tarp off.”
Several minutes went by, while I waited for a stream of criticism and complaints. An eternity for me.
"How much did you pay for thisss - - - ??? A HUNDRED?” (knowing full well most items in her shoe collection cost that much).
"It’s ... well ... it’s, it’s biggg. The headlights are cute. And the grille is a kind of toothless smile (like Tow-Mater from the movie CARS). And the fenders are huge. It almost seems like it’s .... [ wait for it now ] ... [ wait ]........ Voluptuous! .......... Yah, Voluptuous!”
The silence that followed, was earsplitting. I had never heard a big Chevy truck [ or any truck for that matter ] called Voluptuous!! Well for you MFP’s out there [ members of the female persuasion ], you know when a compliment has been delivered sincerely and when to just soak it up. Well, El Gringo Loco knew a compliment when he heard it.
As she walked away toward the house, slowly the old boy quietly broke out in his best Latino/Cowboy, two-part harmony [ think: Julio / Willie ] “To all the girls I’ve loved before .... who opened up and closed my doors ..... I dedicate this song .... “
Well, you get the drift. After that it was love for the two of them.
The Saga Continues
Straighten that smileWell, El Gringo Loco has been here for a few weeks now and he seems to be happy with his new home. There is very little grumbling, but the odd singing of Willie’s songs happens from time to time. SWMBO is not upset with him sitting up near the pole barn, as we have arranged to sell one of our surplus family cars.
We got him a new 12-volt battery and an oil transfusion. He turned over well. We pulled the small gas tank and put in a temporary (clean) smaller one from a lawn mower. He fired up and runs acceptably well for now after cleaning the points and plugs.
Several trips up and down the [ long ] drive gave him a chance to stretch his legs. He just needed to go for those loop turns into the fields at either end to compensate for no brakes. We were happy with him rolling in the field again like the farm truck he was in the old days.
Recently, I picked up a dually rear end and IFS from a newer Chevy C-30 Cubevan. Who knows, maybe a new set of running gear is in his future.
We gave him a fresh coat of medium blue rustoleum type paint to seal up the surface oxidation. My daughter, Jackie provided a little white paint for his teeth, trim, and arms (mirrors). I got out my hydraulic power pack and jacked his bumper back to center position. Then added a little royal blue bumper paint for contrast. El Gringo Loco now has a straight smile, albeit still a little toothless in spots. We like to think it adds character to the old boy.
Winter is upon us now and our big dogs have taken to patrolling around him in a protective manner. His key is still in the ignition. Another Big Bolt is saved from a terminal end. Some future time I hope to get into him and give him a good work-over. All that remains now is to paint his name on the side doors.
If you enjoyed this story, you need to read Rick's other adventure:"Go big or not at all! A story about a 1949 MAGNUM Crew Cab in the making. ~ Editor