Simple desires are the key to happiness. I’ve had a hankering for an old, beat up truck for a long time. My reliable Jeep just wouldn’t die, so I kept on waiting and hoping. A cracked windshield gave me the excuse I was looking for: it was just not worth investing any more money.
My pursuits brought me to a tank-like 1972 Ford with a rare extended cab that would consume more fuel than an old house in cold snap. I hoped my stoic mechanic would just say, “Just buy the damn thing.” Instead, he looked at me and back at the truck and just chuckled. Eventually, he worried aloud about this or that problem. Finally, he revealed that getting it inspected (by state standards) would cost more than the price of the truck. This situation repeated itself with few auto dealers or sellers allowing me to inspect their vehicle prior to purchasing it. I assume they worried that they’d have to disclose any identified problems to other purchasers.
The state vehicle inspection process seemed to be ruining the old truck market or at least keeping me off the road. I remember when an inspection took five minutes and was completed while sitting in the car. I recall operating the blinkers, head and brake lights but little else. Over the years, the list has grown and now consists of some 250 prohibited conditions that range from a crack on the outside, left rear view mirror (Saf-C 3217.04) to a horn that cannot be heard by a person from 200 feet away (Saf-C 3214.01) to low beam headlights shining at less than 7,500 candlepower (Saf-C 3215.04) . On I looked, feeling safe, but without my cherished old truck.
Finally, I turned to trucks that were already inspected. I wrongly assumed that I would avoid the process until my next birthday. One of my most ingenious students caught wind of my pursuit and introduced me to his 1986 Red Nissan. I paid his price; knowing that I had some leverage if things went wrong. They haven’t, it’s a great truck (even the mechanic, who inspected it, liked it.) But nobody likes it more than my two young boys, who get either an elevated, front seat view (no dangerous airbags) or hidden away jump seat side view. Even my teenage daughter is amused by the jacked up wheels, enormous sound system and collage of trendy stickers.
But, let’s not forget, this truck is about me. Maybe, it’s a rural mid life crisis. Going to the dump is no longer a dreaded chore; I can sand my own driveways saving $25 a shot and can haul home just about anything I find along the side of the road. I feel so much more self sufficient and independent. The truck does have its tricks, like the “low fuel” light remains on except when the tank is actually low, but fortunately this not yet against the law.