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1959 Chevy Viking 40







 

 

Owned by Denney Liptak
"dliptak"
Bolter # 23729
Fort Collins, CO

Talking about this truck
in the DITY Gallery


 
01 March 2010
# 2763

More truck pictures of my old truck

From Denney :

I first spotted my truck on an eBay auction starting at 1200 bux. I'd only been searching for a 1958 / 1959 Viking for about a month at that point, but I found myself coming back to the web page wanting the truck more each time. So I began a week-long quest of 'begging' my wife. I told her I wanted to "buy this dump truck that looks like my Dad's truck but is bigger"! She heard 'dump truck' and immediately disapproved.

So, I showed her pictures and the ad and told her that I'd make it look cosmetically decent (deck stain the stake-sides, etc.) and that we could use it for our upcoming landscaping projects. I also explained that while it's not terribly practical, (any old pickup could do 98% of the work I do), this was a vintage work truck that is becoming more and more rare. It's just as cool and unique as the 3000-series but typically these big guys don't see any love! They are usually run to the ground and then sent for junkyard decor. Bri could tell how much I wanted it and couldn't deny the fact that we have a great place to store it, even living in a neighborhood.

Well, that Sunday, the guy updates his eBay ad and says that he'll take the first 1k cash offer. I figured, based on his description and photos, how could I not jump on this for 1000 bux?! (Whooboy, foreshadowing...) So I call / email him saying "I want it, I want it..." He gets back to me that next Wednesday (2/3/2010) and we talk for awhile. A really nice guy.

So I get him a $250 Paypal deposit and tell him the rest ($750) is coming via certified bank check. He removes the auction and I'm preparing for the 600 mile trek out to Kansas to retrieve the big guy. My Aunt down in Pueblo (about 2.75 hours South of me) let me borrow her diesel GMC 2500HD. I rented a trailer here in Fort Collins that was good to 6k lbs. I was told the truck weighed around 5700 lbs with a driver (when he would weigh to pickup soil) so I was hoping we'd be ok.

With the exception of a UHAUL, I'd never driven a truck as long as hers, let alone pulling a trailer just as long as the truck! I'd like to consider myself a somewhat capable driver, so I figured with some practice I'd be fine. I picked up the trailer at the rental place, verified all the lights worked and took it to the mall (empty parking lot) to play around. I got a feel for turning, etc. I tried some reversing ... not fun but I managed.

My Dad is just as excited as I am, so he was able to take half day off Friday to head out with me. My younger Sister decides she's also going to come for the ride. It proved to be a fun trio!

We set out at 1:30pm on Friday, Feb 5th from central Fort Collins. While not fun, I made it through Denver traffic pulling that trailer. It's time for more fuel, so we stop in eastern CO (Burlington). I go back to check on the trailer (which had been pulling just fine) to find the electrical cable on the ground, completely rubbed raw. Sweet. Turns out, my Aunt's connection on the hitch had a busted retaining clip and the connector jiggled out on me.

So it was now near dusk and I have no trailer lights. We decide to make a run for it to Goodland, Kansas to hit up a Walmart, which is about 30 miles away. The Kansas State Patrol would have none of that. We got about five miles from Goodland when I get pulled over.

Fortunately, the guy didn't have it in for me and gave me a warning (whew!!). I got to the Goodland Walmart and spent the next 1-ish hours field-dressing the thing. Naturally, the WAY overpriced trailer connector was too small for the OD of the trailer cable, so this was a real hack. We also had no idea of the trailer wiring color coding.

Fortunately, I brought a car battery with me (the Viking didn't come with one) so we were able to figure out what was what. Unfortunately, there's no standard for e-brake vs accessory....so we guessed. And happened to guess correctly, as the trailer brakes functioned properly. This was something I wanted to be certain of with 8k + lbs going to be following behind me tomorrow.

We continued on, making it to Salina, KS around 2:30 am, Mountain time. I was going to put us up in a 'roach motel' but Dad was kind enough to splurge on the Holiday Inn Express. I'm quite glad he did. The wi-fi and breakfast were much appreciated.

So we pull into the Holiday Inn to drop Dad off to register. I'm tired (my excuse) so I pull through the valet lane to drop him off. Whoops. Blind corner at the exit of that bad boy and I can't make it out! It took me 10 minutes of reversing that trailer and repositioning before I could make the turn, each time coming within inches of concrete barriers and other landscaping.

Dad and the night clerk could see all of this well through the big bay windows. It lead to one of the trip's tag lines, courtesy of the night clerk to my Dad: "My Lord! What is your friend doing out there?!"

We rested for a few hours, getting up at 6 am KS time (5 am CO time) to get breakfast and double check the maps. We set out by 7:30 for our destination, Emporia KS. We arrived around 10:30 am and I got my first look at the truck.

I should start by saying that I was expecting a large, beat up version of my Dad's 1958 1/2-ton. That was my biggest mistake. This truck wasn't just beat up ... it was flat out neglected. Cracked, leaking windshield, missing wing glass, lame-ass bucket-bench from a car. NO paint to be found within the cab, rust everywhere. The brake pedal wasn't only missing a return spring, it went to the floor and stayed there. No chance of building up pressure at ALL. There was even moss growing on the fenders.

We opened the hood and found wires straggled everywhere. Not only was there no battery, there weren't any battery terminals either. At first, I turned a blind eye to all of this.

My goal was to break the lugs loose on the outer real wheels as these HAD to come off in order to trailer the truck. Dad takes me aside and says "Denney, I think this thing is a bit more rough than you expected."

I knew it was ... but his statement rang cold and clear. This was not the truck that was described to me over the phone and in the eBay ad. So I began to panic. I had already paid this guy, in full, 12 hours earlier. I approached him and said "Man, I don't know ... we need to talk about this".

You can imagine how he changed from his 'nice guy' feel. He handed me the title and said for all he's concerned he's been paid and the truck is mine. He proceeded to argue that he'd had five other people pounding down his door, etc. (Yeah, probably, if they were going off the same description I was!!!) I had no bargaining chips. Indeed, the truck was mine. This was the last of my dealings with the seller.

Fortunately, the seller had a hired-hand, a mechanic of sorts. Later, we decided to name him Cooter. While a very simple man, he was able to 'wake up' my newly acquired behemoth as well as manage to DRIVE it around with NO brakes (not even e-brake). It took him about 10 minutes to get it to fire up using my battery. Fuel is leaking from both the fuel pump and the connection at the carb. It's cold out (about 32 degrees) and humid. But to our astonishment, once the truck was started, it sounded pretty damn good -- although with no muffler. Notably, Cooter also uses a piece of bailing wire to turn the 'key' to 'on' (the truck has a floor starter). So yeah, I have no keys for the truck.

We took it to a tire shop / gas station that was a mere 200 feet away. They took one look at the large lugs and turned us away. So Cooter hops in and navigates the truck through one stoplight to a shop down the street that works on semi trucks. It takes these guys about an hour to remove the outer two wheels, breaking one stud in the process. (I don't blame them. Those things were rusted tight!) They worked on the truck outside in a parking spot, using a mobile truck / air compressor unit. This thing probably doesn't have the flow of the in-shop compressor.

The owner of the shop comes out (really nice guy) and tells them to bring the (bigass!) impact gun inside to warm up. While the gun was warming, I sprayed some PB blaster and other penetrant. I'm not sure how much of an effect this had, but the warm gun was then able to tear through most the lugs. They had a helluva time with the lug that ended up snapping ... but they did the job.

I was so relieved to have help with all of this and not me trying to do it with my 2 foot breakerbar and socket. (No way in hell I would've been successful ... no way)

We get the wheels off, throw them in the bed and Cooter drives the truck up onto my trailer ... again, with NO brakes. I'll give the guy amazing credit for that. I can only imagine the outcome if I had to do the driving (falling off the front of the trailer, not stopping at stoplights, etc.). I gave Cooter all the cash I had ($20 of which the seller required Cooter to collect in order to pay KS state taxes. I probably got screwed on that) so Cooter earned 40 bux which I think he was more than happy to have received for two hours worth of his time.

We chained down the axles and we were ready to start our trek back to CO! This is where my story gets shorter, as (THANKFULLY) there were no more 'events'. The truck and trailer were rock-solid and my Aunt's truck pulled happily. Granted, I never drove faster than 60 mph. We also had to stop MUCH more often for fuel. I think I blew close to $400 in diesel fuel with all of the driving (including retrieving and returning my Aunt's truck). I did all of the driving but credit my Dad for staying awake with me the whole time. My little sister added more fun to the conversation and I think she got plenty of amusement out of the whole ordeal. She's came up with the potential names for the truck: Beowulf and Leif Ericson. (Ah, also: Lorraine, Gladys, Gretchen, and Agnes)

It got to the point where I was buying a fresh energy drink every 200 miles. I HAD to stay alert as there simply wasn't room for wiggle on the interstate, and certainly don't want to have a lazy steering wheel while hauling. We returned back to Fort Collins around 11:30 pm MDT on Saturday, 2/6. I didn't bother backing the trailer into the driveway ... toooo tired. Woke up the next morning to ~2" of snow. Very glad to have traveled before that weather!!

Bri got her first look at the truck. She actually was less surprised than I was, stating "Oh, I thought it would be bigger." That was a relief! Too bad I hadn't come across a 5000-series LCF instead. Oh well

My Mom and Dad came back over the next morning to help me 'port' the beast. I lined up the trailer and we rolled it down into its current resting spot, without taking out any fences! My Mom says "I don't know what you guys are talking about -- that is an awesome truck!" So I do have some support

My middle sister also likes the truck! I'll admit that it has certainly grown on me and I'm glad that I have it. It'll be fun to give it a caring home and bring back some dignity. Almost like adopting a dog or something -- hahaha.

My first plan is to try and stop any cancer. I need to rip out the carpet and seal up the glass, until I can buy new stuff. I simply don't have the funds for an all out restoration but I want to do what is necessary to make the truck safe and usable. I can work on cosmetic stuff as time and funds permit.

In the eBay ad, the seller did post, "ask questions to avoid misunderstandings." Oh well, I'm past all that now! I didn't take any photos of it when it was parked near his house. I was too riled up. But that first trailer photo (above) is in Emporia.

Thanks and I look forward to talking with you all!

Denney

P.S. My Dad has a 1958 1/2-ton Fleetside that has been in the family for about 20 years. He got a new bed kit for Christmas so he's waiting for the weather to warm up for some work! That truck has its own fair share of stories so I'll get him to sign up and get a profile posted too!

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