I’m learning as a writer to use social marketing to find stories. A few months ago, I put a note on Facebook that I was looking for owners of antique vehicles to do profiles for an auto publication. Lo and behold, a friend from Taylor University-Ft Wayne contacted me about her husband’s truck. “Is 1936 old enough?” she asked. It was and better yet, AJ took my husband and me for a ride on a hot summer afternoon when we went to her house for photos. Fun, despite no air conditioning! I’m still looking for people to interview so if you know of someone with an old car/truck/tractor, please let me know.
A person may have to wait decades for a dream to come true. But it can be worth it.
In 1971 David Jackson bought a 1936 Ford pick up truck from a friend. The truck did not run and Jackson, who was just out of high school, purchased it with the idea of making it into a hot rod. “I wanted something to drive on the highway,” he said.
Jackson worked on the truck’s repairs at a friend’s body shop, trading his skills for use of the shop. “I did mechanical work for him on his vehicle and he did body work on my truck,” said Jackson.
That arrangement worked well, but then life intervened. Jackson courted his now-wife, Ardonna. They married, had two children, and moved twice. Jackson worked on the truck as time and finances allowed. In 1991 David Jackson finally had his truck in running order.
He kept the truck’s body original, but added a late-model transmission and drive line. The Jacksons, who live in western Wells County, have driven their Ford truck in the Bluffton Free Street Fair old car parade and attended car shows where the truck won many trophies.
Jackson has driven the truck to local car events, like the Muddy River Run in Fort Wayne where he was part of the National Street Rod Association’s safety team. “We promoted vehicle safety to drivers who attended the show,” said Jackson.
Other driving tours included trips to Canada and Missouri with a group of male friends who also owned and drove restored old cars.
In recent years David Jackson has chosen not to drive the maroon truck much, except for a two-week get-away to Florida in 1999. It was a special occasion – his and Ardonna’s 25th wedding anniversary. The truck had no air conditioning, but thankfully, the Jacksons traveled in October. It was a great trip, according to Ardonna, but a tight squeeze within the truck’s interior. “We had the truck packed to the limits,” she said.
Ardonna admitted she likes driving friends and family (they have three grandchildren) around in the truck for the noise it makes. “It has a nice hum in the engine,” she said.
Another benefit to the truck’s purchase, besides providing a fun means of transportation, was its influence on Jackson’s career choice. He developed such an interest in vehicle mechanics while fixing the car that he attended Lincoln Technical Institute in Indianapolis. Today Jackson works for a contractor that supplies fleet vehicles for the city of Fort Wayne.
The Jackson’s Ford truck was featured in a calendar issued by the Snap-On tool company in 2001. “Customers could submit photos of their vehicles for possible use in the calendar,” said David Jackson. No payment was forthcoming from the company for use of the Jackson truck photo, or even a discount in purchasing future tools.
That’s OK with David and Ardonna Jackson. “It’s been a fun vehicle to own,” said David. “I’m not trading it in.”