2017 - Volume #41, Issue #4, Page #21[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
After Seven Decades, He Finally Got To Drive His First Truck
“It steers hard like they always did,” Pearson says, but after nearly two years of restoration work with his sons’ and grandsons’ help, and encouragement from his wife, Edith, it drove well and looked almost as good as a truck right out of the factory.
Pearson’s journey to own the truck began when his uncle gave him a horse that had an injury and could no longer compete as a trotter pulling a two-wheel racing cart. Pearson was about 12 and rode the horse bareback until it got mean and hard to catch. After the horse threw him and Pearson broke his collarbone, his dad decided Pearson needed something with four wheels instead of four legs. Arthur traded the horse to a friend for the 1922 truck he had in his junk pile. Arthur owned a 1923 truck just like it and figured an extra truck would be handy to have on their Roberts County, S. Dak., farm.
Unfortunately, they never got it working and it was parked through Pearson’s Army service in Korea, college years in Wahpeton, N. Dak., and 30-year career as an electronic test technician with Collins Radio Co. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Shortly after retirement, Pearson’s wife passed away. Years later he remarried and during a visit back home to South Dakota, Pearson learned that the man who rented the farm had saved the two old pickups and other equipment from being hauled to the junkyard. He offered the trucks to Pearson for a reasonable price, and Pearson’s three sons and wife encouraged him to restore them.
They restored the 1923 truck first. Then they worked on the 1922 model that was supposed to be Pearson’s truck as a teenager. Pearson also purchased another 1923 truck for parts, but his youngest son thought it was too good to scrap so it is also being restored.
“There’s no problem getting the parts if you have the money,” Pearson says, noting he is fortunate to buy many used parts from a vintage vehicle club member who lives nearby.
The biggest challenge was fixing the body.
“Rust takes a toll in more than 90 years, and truck chassis and body parts are rare and hard to find,” Pearson says. “The motor and other parts are the same as the (Model T) cars; they both have a 20-hp. motor. Rear tires are bigger and more expensive.”
What’s interesting about the trucks is that Henry Ford didn’t make the parts and bodies. “Several companies did, and he assembled them,” Pearson notes. “Trucks had two different style cabs. One was a C cab, mostly wood with no doors.”
All of Pearson’s trucks are the other style, metal cabs with doors.
Pearson enjoyed his first ride in his truck, but acknowledges that at 89, he prefers to let others drive and maintain the trucks. His brother Roger took care of the paperwork to regain the titles, and Pearson will pass the first two trucks on to two grandsons. The third truck will belong to his son, Larry, who is restoring it.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lewis Pearson, 240 Ridge Dr., Marion, Iowa 52302 (ph 319 377-1380; email@example.com).
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