An alternate title for this post might be: The corn-fed kid in Nebraska’s first run with a two-cycle V8 Detroit Diesel — in a 1974 Ford Louisville, no less.
It was 1982. The Louisville featured an orange and white paint scheme and a 318 Detroit and 13 speed transmission. I was 17, a senior in high school, and dumber than a box of rocks.
The truck owner wasn’t much brighter. He’d run a wire-brush grinder with no eye protection. One of the wires broke off and went into the white part of his left eye. The doc pulled the wire out, and he was going to be OK, but his eye was way too irritated for him to see well enough to drive. The truck was already loaded with corn and needed to go.
I skipped school to drive while he rode along. We came into Goodland, Kan., with the 318 Detroit just roaring in high gear at 2800 RPMs. I was sure we must have been breaking windows along Highway 61.
In the Louisville way back when, the exhaust system consisted of a really long piece of flex pipe coming off the motor and running to about four inches above the cab, no mufflers. The windows had to be kept rolled up while driving or it would cause hearing damage.
I thought I was pretty cool! We pulled up to the fuel pumps at the truck stop in Goodland, Kan. The fuel attendant was right there and he asked, “Fill it up?”
We went to the restaurant and sat down to eat, stopping by the fuel desk on the way out to pay for the fuel with a out of state check.
“I added a gallon of oil,” our fuel attendant said, matter-of-fact.
“Thanks. It uses about a gallon a day,” the Louisville’s owner said.
After being fueled, the fuel attendant had pulled the truck around and parked it in the front row, where we found it: The windshields washed, the air brakes set, the motor left running, doors unlocked. As we approached the truck I could see a small puddle of oil on the ground under the front of the motor. No cause for alarm. I was very excited to drive. It all seemed normal at the time.