By Trevor Yoho
My wife, Marla, and I have long been fans of the Iola Car Show in Wisconsin. We both have displayed many cars there over the years, and I even brought 1960 Plymouth with a matching boat one year. Living in Brainerd, Minn., we have always considered the Iola show to be a fun adventure, not only as our mini summer vacation, but as a special opportunity to enjoy cars we probably won’t see at home and to spend time with both old and new friends at the campgrounds.
It really is a show any old car lover should attend. The swap meet is the perfect spot to find that special item or part that you need, especially if you’re restoring an old car or truck.
Last summer, as usual, we started our Thursday morning with an invigorating ride from the campground on the shuttle. After whisking up and down the hillside, listening to the chugga-chugga of the antique tractor that was pulling us, we were deposited at the Car Corral. We’ve never really been shopping for a car there, but it’s always fun look!
As we entered the Car Corral area I spotted a “pink” 1958 Dodge D100 “Power Giant” pickup. I already owned too many vehicles, including a 1956 Chevrolet pickup, so buying another truck was the last thing on my wish list (or my wife’s).
As we got closer to the “pink” truck I realized how straight and rust-free it was. Yes, the large back window and the side-mounted tire were “okay”, but it was still no big deal. Then it jumped out at me as I looked under the open hood! Original V-8 motor. Push-button automatic transmission. Factory power steering. I was enchanted.
As the owner of an older truck, I know the longer you own it and the older you get, the tougher the steering gets, especially when you’re maneuvering it into a "too full" garage.
Next, we looked into the cab and realized the original seat cover was still in good condition and all the essential trim parts were still there. Looking at the dash, I realized this truck was only showing 31,468 miles on the odometer. After looking over the entire truck, I started to feel pretty sure that the mileage was fairly accurate.
We talked to the fellow selling the truck and discovered that he also lives in northern Minnesota, not too far from us. He explained that he had just brought the Dodge back from Curlew, Wash., and had done nothing to it yet. He assured us that it ran and stopped, and he was quite confident of the mileage, but was not positive.
Now I was in love, but didn’t want to show it. My wife and I came back several times throughout the weekend and just looked. There were always several show attendees standing around the truck so we never really had an opportunity to talk to the seller again … but I remembered his phone number. I can’t remember my own cell phone number, but I remembered his!
As I returned home and headed back to work, I couldn’t get the “pink” Dodge Power Giant off my mind. I know how rare Dodge pickups are in general. When I considered all the original equipment and condition, I knew I had to have it.
First I had to tell my wife about my pending “affair”, and then I had to contact the seller to work out a deal. He was able to provide me with the name of the previous owner in Washington State, who I contacted immediately. He was a wealth of information and assured me that the truck really had never been “barn stored,” however, it had had many owners around the California and Washington area.
Not only did he encourage us to restore and drive the truck, but he asked if we wanted any of the old history? History? Really! Send it on! We now have the original dealer invoice and write-up sheet listing all the options included in the sale, as well as the VIN, engine number and selling price. We also have over 15 title renewals in various names, parking permits, and many service and repair orders with validating dates and mileage figures, throughout its life. We even have an original appraisal done in 1983 for collector insurance purposes when it turned 25 years old, again with the mileage confirmation. We can trace it from new and know that the mileage is correct.
The previous owner even sent us the original owners’ manual and factory repair manual.
After finally purchasing the truck in September, we performed a minor tune-up and some brake work. I then shipped it to Florida for my winter project.
I did a complete disassembly and had the body professionally painted by Insane Customs of Punta Gorda, Fla. I wanted to keep the truck as close to original as possible, but the paint had faded to pink from the original Ranch Brown. It was repainted in authentic 1958 Dodge colors – Sand Metallic and Sahara Beige – adding the two-tone effect to highlight the unique headlights, front grill and bumpers.
The original engine and drive train are intact. I detailed it under the hood, cut new oak bed boards, refinished them in American Cherry with seven coats of Spar Polyurethane then reassembled the bed and truck.
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