Vermont resident Steve Hearne, who retired in 2009 after 30 years driving truck in a variety of operations both local/regional and over-the-road, sent in the below image of his grandfather’s old Ford AA model with a subject line that in some ways said it all. That subject line is also the title of this post, for good measure: When a truck was a truck …
“That is a picture of my grandfather William Snarski’s truck,” Hearne says. “I don’t know the year it was taken, but probably in the ’50s. That old apple tree is still here, but Gramps and his truck are long gone. He used to among other things jack up the rear end and hook up a saw rig with a big flat belt to saw his firewood into chunks. He would cut with a crosscut hand saw and bring it out of the woods in 4-foot lengths, and when he had enough in the stack for the winter, out came the belt and the saw rig.”
Hearne says he can “still hear the zing of that big old saw blade as he cut wood. I am fairly sure OSHA would not approve of that operation.”
Hearne notes he himself still lives on the a portion of the 120-acre farm his grandfather owned in Bartonsville, Vt., about a mile away from the old covered bridge that was taken out when Hurricane Irene came ashore in 2011 and flooded rivers all around the Northeast. Hearne’s cousin took the video footage of that event.
“In 1958,” Hearne notes, “my father bought a new ’58 Ford car and he was on his way to show my grandparents when he got stuck in the mud on the dirt road to the farm. Gramps got it out with the old truck. Four cylinder flat head, four speed transmission with low/low 1st gear. It had a hand crank in case the battery went dead. The windshield opened from the bottom for air-conditioning.”
At some point, Hearne adds, “Mice had dined on the seat cushions. To cover the springs, grain bags were placed strategically where your butt might get pinched. My sisters and my cousins and myself had great fun pretending to drive that big rig when we were kids. As I remember, it also had a hand throttle like a tractor, and another lever on the column to retard the timing for hand starting. If you look closely you can see it has dual wheels on the rear. A neighbor has told me the fellow who bought it from Gramps has totally restored it, but I cannot confirm that. It would be great to see it in restored condition.”
We’d love to see that too, Steve. If any of you know the whereabouts of the restored rig and have a picture, by all means get in touch … Hearne says that, while his full-time hauling career is over, he still works occasionally for owner-operator Mike Putnam’s business and that he also has a “driver trainer license for Class A and B, and [works] occasionally for Northeast Driver Training LLC. I spend most of my time now working on the farm logging in the winter and gardening and haying in the summer.”
Don’t tell this owner-operator his KW T800 daycab isn’t a truck
Stay safe out there this week, everyone.