Blame It On COVID

The 1952 Chevy parts truck that will be used to create the rolling Route 66 information enter. ©Jim Hinckley’s America

If it had happened before the before the apocalypse of 2020 there is a very good chance that I could have blamed the decision on temporary insanity or being kicked in the head by a mule or a little to much imbibing with friends. But instead I will lay the blame on my experience with COVID in 2020, the resultant high fever, a possibly long delayed mid life crisis and the sense of doom that was fueled by a near complete collapse of our business in 2020, the rising cost of travel, the insanity of watching politicians scramble to justify the assault on the capitol in January 2021, and assorted dark storm clouds on the international front.

The truth of the matter is that there is really no excuse. I was sober and of reasonably sound mind when the purchase was made. And as is often the case with such decisions, it seemd like a good idea at the time. On occasion it still does.

For just about as long as I can remember, ownership of a Model A Ford has been a dream of mine. Over the years the dream has had various manifestations such as a Route 66 adventure in a Model A.

There is an adage about birds of a feather flocking together. And so over the years friendships and conversations developed around my fascination, and occasional obsession with owning a Model A.

Kevin Mueller, former owner of the iconic Blue Swallow Motel, figures prominently in the most recent Model A fantasies. The conversations started with a drive through Tucumcari in his Model A truck. Over a cold beer or two we would discuss a trip along Route 66 in the truck. And once we let the imagination run rampant and looked into the costs associated with shipping the truck to Europe, and then driving it to the Route 66 festival in Germany.

Model A truck in Texas

My life long focus on practicality when buying vehicles, jeans or boots, and responsibilities associated with life have always kept me from buying a Model A. Fast forward to 2021, the swirl of aforementioned crisis, real and perceived, and another milestone birthday.

In quick succession two opportunities for Model A ownership presented themselves. One was a Model A truck in Texas that was ideally suited for what had become a obsession, a Route 66 cruise. The second was a series of coincidences that led to Kevin Mueller, and his role in liquidating a collection of Model A Fords. And of course, my dearest friend was there with her gentle encouragement.

In the end I again placed the dream on hold and succumbed to practicality. At least that was one component in my decision to purchase The Beast.

With a bit of work and a few minor modications a 1951 truck would be a more practical highway cruiser than a Model A. A panel truck could be used as a rolling Route 66 information center, and a mobile studio for Jim Hinckley’s Ameerica programs. And it could be a source of revenue if advertising space was leased for the sides. And there was the fact that I had some knowledge about the Advance Design series trucks as I learned to drive behind the wheel, and have owned a few of them over the years.

In retrospect the deadlines that I set were quite impractial. Contrary to what my head keeps telling me, I am not 20 years old. That was one issue. Deadlines and a work schedule were another. And I surely never planned for anouther round of COVID that put me down for nearly a month.

Wiring in a 1951 Chevy

But I haven’t given up. I just don’t seem to have enough sense for that. And so the project continues with its frustrations, opportunity to dust off the cuss words, defective parts, fluid deadlines, and delays. I am confident that if I dedicate a few hundred hours and invest $5,000 or $10,000, it should be damn good $3,500 truck.