It was worth every penny of the $12,000 I put into it…

I can remember buying my first truck in 1986 like it was yesterday.

It had to be a specific make and model: I was looking for. A Toyota 4×4 pick-up, black in color and it had to be in good shape. I wanted it to be bone stock with as little mileage as possible.

I found one in the paper that was on the lot at a dealership in Surrey. Quickly I called them to inquire and they said they had a couple of people with deals written up, but it didn’t look like they were going to go through, so if I wanted it I had better get down there right away (Naive at that age to fall for and old trick like this).

I had to get a ride from a friend and I remember it was snowing so it was slow getting there. When I arrived it was running and they were anxious for me to drive it. I took it around the block and parked it in a vacant lot, hopped out and started to inspect it. I immediately noticed rust and some body damage. Clearing the snow off inside the truck box, I could see more damage. It looked like someone had dropped a bowling ball into it from about a high ledge. I could smell antifreeze and noticed some oil leaks.

I headed back to the dealership disappointed. The salesman was there to greet me. He asked if I had any concerns and I started to point out the obvious. He quickly dismissed them as cosmetic and said do you want to write a deal on it because he has people in the showroom wanting to buy it. I told him I was not interested.

On the ride home, I thought how quickly I had to grow up and look at everything as if someone was going to take advantage of me, sad reality. The next day I picked up the latest copy of Truck Trader and spotted the exact make and model I was looking for. I bought the 1983 edition for $9,000 from a family that only used it once a week to drive to Abbotsford and back to Coquitlam for supplies.

It was perfect; funny how God puts things in your path and everything works out in the end. A week later I started to work on it. I acquired some used 33 inch tires and installed a 4” lift kit. I drove that truck every night after work to show it off.

I washed it so many times I thought the paint was going to come off. A year had past and I purchased many more items for the truck. A major car show was coming up soon and I decided I would put it in the back of the shop and work on it so I could enter it into the show. Giving up my truck for a month was tough and I had to make a few sacrifices to get around.

My first car show was a hit. I came in second place and I was determined the following year I would be back with something they have never seen before. I poured most of my paychecks into my truck and took it off the road for two months to prepare for its transformation.

I called up the owner of Interco Tire and asked about some Supper Swamper tires. He said he had a set of 44×18.5×15 tires in his office that nobody has seen before. At that time the largest they made were 42”. I told him to send them to me I would figure out what I had to do to fit them under the truck. When they came in they looked big. So big I was getting worried. The custom leaf springs came back from the spring shop and I knew my calculations were correct. With all the multiple shocks in place, chassis freshly painted, motor work done, a lower gears installed it was ready for the tires. I cleared away the debris pile that accumulated around my truck. Placed the floor jack under the rear axle and started to jack it up. With the rear tires on and clearing the fenders it was time to move to the front. When I started to lift the front I noticed how high the hood was getting, at that point I knew I had built a monster.

With all the tires in place I slowly drove it out of the shop. The sun gleaming down on the freshly polished paint and the smell of paint burning off the exhaust system still sticks in my mind. Outside it looked like a beast; people were slowing down to take a look. The show was a week later and I came home with first place. Mission accomplished. It was worth every penny of the $12,000 I put into it.

Then I sold it for $15,500 in 1990 so that I could afford to get married . . . need I say any more?

Tell me your truck story and please send pictures.

Contact: ian [dot] harwood [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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