My pickup is a 1976 Scottsdale. I bought it in 1991 from my high school business teacher. I had just turned 16 and it was my first vehicle. While that teacher had taken good care of it in the short time he had it, my Dad wanted me to have the four wheel drive checked out. When he pulled the front drive shafts out, they were full of sand. Apparently it had driven in the river at some point. We got the four wheel drive cleaned up, new ball joints, fresh tires and it was ready to roll. I installed a CB radio with dual antenna, since it was the 1990’s and that’s how high schoolers socialized back then in western Nebraska—so much better than social media. Weekend nights, I could be found cruising around the western Nebraska towns listening to the best that our two local FM radio stations had to offer.
When I ran the numbers on it, I found out it was a camper special with a 454 and 4.11 gears. Somewhere along the way, the 454 had been replaced by a 327 from a ‘67 Impala and a tamer set of gears.
A few years later, I had found my lovely young bride. After the wedding reception we drove away in the pickup with my brothers and cousins chasing us. They were all driving cars, so when we got tired of zooming around town, getting away was a simple matter of getting them to follow us in to a parking lot, hop the curb and away we went.
Shortly after, I joined the Air Force and it was time for me to be on my way. I was planning on setting out from home in an ’82 Firebird I’d picked up along the way. However, the day before I left, the Firebird’s distributor gave out, so I fell back on my trusty pickup.
During a break in training in the Air Force, the truck was running on 7 cylinders, so I decided to bring it from Texas back to Nebraska and my Dad and I would put in a new 350. By the time I got through Smith Center in northern Kansas in the middle of the night, I was down to 5 cylinders but the truck didn’t let me down. I limped into my hometown sometime before dawn. Two days later, I had a brand new motor and it was running like a dream (minus one briefly frightening incident with a stuck throttle on the first drive, but that was easily remedied).
Since then it’s followed me around the Air Force through 15 assignments until we finally settled in Florida. I’ve driven it through at least 30 states. It’s had two exterior remodels over the years, and one big interior remodel. When I was younger, I never fully appreciated how rare a two-tone paint job is, but now it’s just about the only one around my hometown. LMC, or course, is my go-to for parts and accessories. The interior now features a GPS speedometer and LED lights all around. Most of the driving now is dropping the kids off at school or running errands when the weather is nice. It makes a great way to get to the occasional outing with the Scouts as well.
It’s been a work in progress for over three decades. Hopefully, I’ll get at least that many more out of it!