Home » What I Learned Restoring A $600 Dodge Ram With A Burned Up Transmission And Ruined Interior

What I Learned Restoring A $600 Dodge Ram With A Burned Up Transmission And Ruined Interior

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On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, I was consuming my usual daily assortment of car culture media, when I learned that my absolute favorite automotive journalists (that’s right, there are two of them) would be taking a trip to my neighborhood to get an electric Chinese car. Holy. Shit. (I’m sorry, excuse my poor language. I meant to say Holy Frickin’ Flapjackin’ Shitboxes! Much more on point/on brand here in Autopia). The one and only Jason Torchinsky, whom I had watched on various TV shows such as How Much Is My Car Worth”, and “The Cars That Made The World” was going to be in my neighborhood to pick up a “Changli” Chinese EV that was arriving at The Port of Wilmington from The Far East. And he was bringing David Tracy with him!

Or actually vice-versa since David was driving his Jeep J10 to ferry-carry the tiny EV (and Jason) back to The Piedmont where Torch lives. The David Thessalonius Tracy that I had followed from afar as he wrenched and drove his way to Moab and back and did countless other acts of heroism that caught my eye from the internet as The Kind Of Dude You Can Appreciate, Even From Afar. So, at 6:36 PM on that fateful evening, I fired up the ‘ol Yahoo email account (that I opened in ‘96, it’ll be cool again shortly) and blasted the following out in to the internet ether:

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Tue, May 26, 2020 at 6:36 PM Stephen Gossin wrote:

Hey Jason.

Just writing to let you know that you have readers that have been following your Changli purchase (and you/David in general, for years) that live a few blocks from the Wilmington Port should you need any assistance.

Interesting side note: The ship that delivered it made local news a couple days ago, as it broke the size record for any container ship having entered the port.

Just let us know if you need us and we’ll be there with the champagne to crack over the bow!

Cheers and congrats on your new ride,

-Stephen

Ok, a couple things. Firstly, hindsight is certainly 20/20. Saying “I’ve followed you and David for years” sounds wicked creepy and I probably could have phrased that a little better [Ed Note: It’s fine! -DT]. I was overcome with excitement at that moment and wasn’t really focused on tone. The excitement came from the fact that I live about seven blocks from the Port of Wilmington, so they were literally coming not just to my town, but to my neighborhood. 

Also, Jason and David are very much celebrated in my world. I very much respect their talents as writers/journalists (also now as businessmen with this site) and as two dudes who are furthering the state of car culture; something that I’m quite passionate about. I figured these guys get emails and DMs from all over the world, constantly, and the odds of mine being not just thrown into the pile seemed pretty slim.

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Wouldn’t you know that three days later, I saw this:

Jason Torchinsky

To:Stephen Gossin

Thu, May 28, 2020 at 8:31 AM

Hey! We’re on our way, if you want in! We’re likely to be there around 11?

810 Sunnyvale Dr is the address of the warehouse.

You may be wondering why I stated “three days later” from my original email on the 26th to Torch’s response on the 28th. Well that’s because his response went into my Spam folder and I didn’t see it until the day after they left and were taking “Check out this new Changli being unboxed in this rainstorm!”-type of videos from The Torch Compound in Torchlandia (one of the main, and more eclectic providences in Greater Autopia).

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What the hell does any of this have to do with my usual column content here of rescuing shitboxes, you may be asking by this second page of this piece. Well, that email is what started a loose correspondence with DT which quickly had me talking about my shitbox fleet and that led to my intro article here. I was thinking about how fast those three years have gone by which then led to:

  1. my thoughts turning back to the Changi
  2. thinking of offering to help Jason with the needed battery fix for that hoss
  3. thinking of it being carried by the J10
  4. reflecting for a moment on how low-key-cool a white pickup with a brightly colored Chinese car on it actually is
  5. me jumping up from my chair whilst swinging my arms wildly in the air and exclaiming: I too, need a badass white pickup truck!

So here, my fellow Autopians, is the story of how I emulated one of my friend and boss’ rides and rescued my white, ‘97 V6 “WT” (Work Truck) base model Ram 1500.

Sidebar: How’s that for a slow-burn intro, eh?! That’s how it’s done, son. 

Let’s Find Us A Truck To Rescue

Friday, April 15th 2022 is where this next rescue adventure starts. I had just finished up my onboarding process here at The Autopian after the March 32nd launch of the site. It was mostly a two week trial period to ensure that you’re a weirdo, but not too much of a weirdo to work here. There is a fine line involved.  Needless to say, my gig here is about rescuing shitboxes. Other than my usual half-functional and already-rescued fleet, I needed a new rescue adventure to write about and to appease my own recent desire for a truck. The work day ended, I had watered the last of DT’s plants, handed Matt Hardigree his dry cleaning, finished washing Mark Tucker’s Chevy truck and was home perusing the local ads when it popped right out at me, nearly jumping off the screen: a $600 ‘97 V6 Dodge Ram with a bad transmission and even worse aftermarket wheels. 

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It was located in a small rural town about 30 minutes outside of my home of Wilmington NC, so I decided to go check it out the following day since I had a free morning (it was a Saturday, so I didn’t have to walk Patrick George’s dog). Jumping in the worlds greatest $220 Stratus Coupe with a scan tool, jump box, oil, gas can, tools, cash, coffee (yes, coffee: Brit contributor Adrian Clarke-style) and some solid tunes, I pointed it west (to point it east would be a wet, ruinous endeavor – check the map) and got ready to rescue.

Upon arriving in Delco, NC and turning on Water Tower Road (amazingly next to a water tower), I soon found myself on a bucolic, pleasant property next to a pole barn, a quaint house, a field of soybeans and about six mid-’90s Dodge Rams — a few very off-putting political sign-works as well, but we’ll pretend those aren’t there and carry on. 

Six Ram Rundown: one really nice one, four parked/parts trucks (two of which were sinking into the ground) and then way over by itself, on the side of the barn, beaming like a literal white knight, the truck from that ad that had brought me out there.

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It was hooked up to a cart-style electrical/trickle charger like a patient on an IV, and other than those aftermarket wheels and a missing rear bumper, it looked frickin’ wicked! 

The gentlemen selling it was congenial and very friendly. He told me that he picked the truck up due to its mostly clean, dent-free short bed that he wanted to use on another of the Rams in his field. Just like my other 11 cars at the Gossin Motors Shitbox Rescue Lair Under That Volcano In Wilmington NC, the truck was one of those projects that you just never seem to find the time for, the seller told me. He started with a solid plan and good intentions, but ended up placing the truck in the “Someday” file until he lost interest or life made him move on.

I knew I was buying this truck as long as it started. “Will it start?” says I. “Well, hell, sure will!” the kind gentlemen exclaimed. Opening the door yielded the type of smell you’d expect from a truck that has been sitting in a field for years – not the best. Hoisting myself up on the ripped, teal vinyl seat had me staring at the usual sun-cracked dash that plagues all Rams of this generation. It seems as though the petrochemical engineers got it really wrong on the recipe for this particular dashboard. No matter, it’s a truck, and those things can be fixed. Nevermind aesthetics; back to bid-ness. I twisted the key and the 3.9V6 fired right up like a flooded Tesla.

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Other than a screaming belt that was begging to be placed on inactive duty, it ran really well! The AC blew cold and the transmission actually shifted into gear to move the wheels, but would soon slip out of gear. Checking the fluid showed something we’ve all come to have nightmares about: fluid that have been done-cooked, son (Delco, NC-speak). There’s a check valve going to the transmission cooler in front of the radiator that gets stopped up and causes a thermal event within the unit. That’s what happened here.

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You always have to trust your gut when rescuing shitboxes. You can’t let your emotions and desire for the betterment of the environment and of the vehicle at hand get the best of your decision-making process. Some are just too far gone, or are financially or mechanically non-starters. Those are the hardest. This one just felt right though. 

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You can see the Carolina mud on the tires from sittin’ flat.

After locking in a deal to swap the nausea-inducing wheels for a set of stock wheels from one of the other Rams on the property (and a rear bumper), I had no qualms about handing over six $100 bills and arranging for a tow. I know that you’re probably now saying to yourself: “Why not just tow it with your Durango that we heard about in the Great Suburban Rescue Attempt of ‘22?!” And yes, that would seem to be the most logical solution to getting the truck home. Sadly, paying $100 for a tow back to Wilmington was cheaper and more time efficient than finding a U-Haul with a car transport and paying them $80 to use it for 24hrs, plus fuel.

The Fun Begins

I had the truck towed straight to my buddy’s transmission shop and hauled my ass straight to the local Pick ‘n Pull that afternoon to do me some transmission huntin’! Luckily this is something that is easy with a vehicle as popular as the 2nd Gen Ram 1500. There are multiples of them in every junkyard in America. Also in the ‘yards that no está en Los Estados Unidos. The trick is to find one that’s smashed. Why, you may ask? Well, those ones were moving when they died, meaning the transmission was providing some hot gear-changing action the minute the truck traveled its last moribund few meters on its own.

Eureka! I said as I spotted a sadly-smashed Ovine. This was to be the carcass from which I plucked an organ to donate so that another Ram ould live. This was not going to be easy though, as I am not the world’s biggest or strongest man and from past experience I knew this transmission was going to be wicked heavy

First out was the starter, which had a top bolt that was way harder to access then it should’ve been. Note from Southeastern North Carolina/Earth to Horace and John Dodge out in The Great Ether: not cool, dudes. Next off was the oil filter, exhaust Y-pipe, driveshaft, shift linkage, wiring harness and the converter bolts. All that was left was the bell housing and the cross-member support.

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Holding myself back for a min, I realized there’s a good possibility that I’ll get crushed under this thing if I don’t plan this next step right. I needed muscle. Luckily at that moment I noticed a large-statured gentleman happened to be wrenching on another Dodge truck in the same aisle. I offered him some cash to help me lift the trans out of the truck and onto a cart. Luckily he was kind, ambitious and possibly broke because he jumped right into the idea.

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A few bolts, some scrapes, a shit-ton of salty language and that transmission was on my cart, with my ass wheezing/schlepping it up to the front of the yard to pay $300 for it. It was then on its way (in another Dodge – my Durango) to be dropped off at the transmission shop for installation.

There was no way I could get something that heavy in the truck by myself without losing a few years off the end of my life and wasting some serious time trying to line everything up whilst on my back in my driveway.

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Sometimes just giving a few hundo to the guy with the lift is the smartest move. Time is the most valuable commodity we have.

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I had no idea there was grease all over my face here. I was just glad the job was successful.

A few days later, my buddy called me to “Come get your POS out of here.” It turns out the check valve in the cooling line was the culprit as suspected/noted above. With junykard transmission in place, the truck now shifted like a dream and was wicked fun to pilot, perched upon that terrific teal bench seat, whilst leaving the trans shop to get its first tank of fresh gas in who knows how long. 

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A snapshot of the fleet last summer. The truck really shows its size compared to the rest.

“Wicked fun” only lasted so long as some nagging issues were noticed shortly into that first drive. Fellow Autopian (and little brother of mine) Mike Gossin asked to borrow the truck for a Home Depot/Lowes run as soon as I got it home, leaving me wondering if this is what truck ownership life was going to be like.

I had only driven it home and was already being asked for its services! He’s my little brother though, so of course the answer is always yes. Upon his return (with a huge ladder in the bed), he informed me that the front suspension sounded like the War of 1812, with multiple sound origination points (he has a good musical ear).

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Floor-jacking one of the front tires into the air to test the ball joints by tugging and pulling on the wheel yielded some of the most absolutely spent ball joints I’ve ever seen. Time for a set of upper and lower MOOGs. Not a fun job. Also, the shocks still had the Chrysler Pentastar emblem on them, meaning that they were original, even after 180K miles. That’s a hard nope; those bitches are coming out, stat.

While attempting to get those shocks out, the top attachment nuts were frozen solid on the top chock shaft/stem, so out came the spinning wheel of sparks. 

My brother followed up with a text message diagnostic that same afternoon stating that he thought he heard what sounded like a loose caliper on his drive. My brother has a unique and strange ability to nail certain things, and he did that here. Check out this three-pointer he swished via metal-on-metal acoustics when braking on that one Home Depot/Lowe’s run below.

Next up was the integral weakness that affected every one of these Gen 2 Rams: the weak-ass cracked plastic dash that looks like a crime scene. Exposed HVAC vents, stereo wires and general cheap-assery. Now I’m a big Mopar guy, but we Moparians must be honest with ourselves in regards to calling a fail a fail. Not everything your team does is always great. What was great though was that LMC Truck makes replacement dash tops for these trucks for $250 that are made out of plastic that won’t (literally) crumble at the touch. Popped that boy on, took a step back and smiled to myself; my badass white truck idea is coming together, hot damn!

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“What is the cheapest plastic possible that we can use for this dash?” -Chrysler Accounting Dept, 1989
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So much better!

I had found a high school parking pass in the glove box, so I’m guess that two owners ago, this hoss was living a hard life at the hand of a teenager. It also made sense that the truck was wired for a subwoofer amp behind the seat and that all the speakers and the head unit were missing. No worries, I have a ton of those in the garage from prior rescues. Pop off a couple door panels, remove the dash bezel, solder some wires, and bingo-bango, some rippin’ tunes were emulating for the first time in years from the formerly silent cab.

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Tunes are of the penultimate importance.

I then changed the black, moisture-laden oil that looked to have been in the pan for years and decided I had fixed what was immediately needed (bad suspension, horrendous dash and lack of musical tune-age) and that it was time to go enjoy my truck the same way that David enjoys his J10: adventure-style. And boy did I ever.

The Golden Age

The following week I landed a Dodge Journey with a locked up Pentastar 3.6 as a rescue for $800. I sourced a replacement engine at a local yard and went to grab it with my new truck. Son, I’ll tell ya, it felt good being a Haulin’, Truckin’ Man. But, honesty I probably could’ve fit it in the back of my Durango, but that’s not what we’re focusing on at the moment: We’re haulin’ an engine and haulin’ ass, son!

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I then realized that the heads on the locked up 3.6 Pentatstar were very valuable (go ahead, look ‘em up), and that I should definitely pull them off the locked up engine. I found the perfect workspace in the bed of my new work truck! Yeah, I know that I’ve covered up every other usable inch of space at my Evil Wrenching Lair with cars and parts, so having this six-foot piece of heaven to use as a wrench space was a godsend. The Durango would’ve also worked for this endeavor, yet with a limited vertical reach/ceiling.

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Shortly after that I really turned my ’22 into The Year of The Truck, since I found my high school dream car (’94 Trans am GT) in green) in VA with a blown engine and of course scooped it up. Same as above with the Journey engine, I used my trusty machine to haul an LT1 back to my Lair from a yard about an hour away, towards the SC border. She didn’t sag under the weight of that iron block, nor break a sweat cruising back to Wilmington at 65mph. Again, it felt good. Although again, I probably could’ve just used my Durango for the job.

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I even started enjoying it for non-work-related tasks. One of my best friends and I watched 4th of July fireworks on the big teal bench; it provided the best seats in town for the show. 

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I also started finding myself leaning into my more untapped, inner redneck that I never knew was there. My father was a truck driver, but most of his “non-urban” traits were watered down in the generational hand-off. This truck started to bring them out in me! I found myself shirtless, wearing camo and using the truck bed to dry drop-cloths one afternoon when I realized that I may be scaring neighborhood passersby. It was a moment of self-reflection and self-realization. I didn’t get to the point of chewing tobacco or Bud Heavy though.

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A Yankee Redneck who is becoming more self-aware whilst frightening the neighbors.

Other great moments were had with the truck last summer, such as finding and fitting an entire Gen 3 Sebring interior in it from the local Pick n’ Pull.

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The best memory I have of it is replacing that squeaky belt with my awesome nephew.

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This leads us to these past six months. I finished both engine jobs, sold the Journey and started on various other projects like the recent Jeep Liberty Rescue and The Great X-Type Caper. The beautiful Dodge 1500 just mostly sat in my driveway. Smaller errands didn’t require a large, lumbering truck, and for most other trips, my ‘04 Durango was more comfortable and modern. I just wasn’t driving it. I still loved it, but I was paying insurance, taxes and such on a vehicle that I clearly didn’t really need. 

I’m used to it though, as one thing I’ve learned from having over 117 cars means you have to be able to know when to say goodbye. There’s always another cool one out there. There’s always more adventure. This truck deserved better than to just sit in my driveway, aging. Yes, I’m probably the best thing that happened to this truck in the past 10 years, but I’m sure the next person will love it just as much.

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Greater Autopia points me in a new direction

The summer and fall changed to winter and the days were short. I wasn’t using the truck much, and it was mostly sitting. Other rescue opportunities started popping up and I got to a familiar point where I had too many cars, again. I decided it was best to ask the readership of The Autopian for advice on which to sell. And boy did they respond!

Resigning myself to the inevitable path forward, I posted it for sale and waited. And waited. Kept waiting. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting any interest. I mean zero. No texts, no calls, no appointments to see it. I decided it needed to stand a little taller.

More repairs!

First up on the additional round of repairs was a new headliner. The original one from ‘97 had long been ripped out and what remained was old foam and glue. Wicked easy and quick job. It made me wonder just how lazy, disinterested or broke the previous owners were.

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This can’t be this easy. There must be something that’s going to pop up any second to make this harder. There’s no way the previous owners could not have postponed this $125 job for a decade.

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Nope. Nothing difficult to it at all it seems. The previous owners were just lazy.
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Hot damn!

Next up was a reupholstering of that beautiful teal bench. I popped the bench out, sent it to my buddy Brian at Port City Custom Upholstery, and a smooth $180 later it was back in fightin’ shape.

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Previous butts.
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Other than the wires for a stereo amplifier, its awesome how simple this interior is; especially shown without the seat.
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If you’ve read my prior pieces here, you’ll see a pattern of my Durango coming to the rescue with jobs like this. It was both the savior and the cause of the downfall of my ownership of this Ram.
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Hot damn!

[Editor’s Note: I’m legitimately impressed with how nice you got this thing looking, Stephen! -DT].

The final days

Additional time passed and I still hadn’t gotten one person interested. I renewed my ads, took better pictures, boosted the Facebook Marketplace ad, filled up the tank, washed it, took videos, and even brought it to my colleagues here at The Autopian for advice on why this truck was un-sellable. 

  • Matt Hardigree responded and informed me that his wife used to drive the same truck, but in red. That was all he had.
  • Adrian Clarke said that if it was black and if he was in America, he’d be interested. He does have excellent taste.
  • Mercedes said it would be more attractive if it had a Cummins and something better than its paltry 3300lb tow rating (she’s correct, as usual). 
  • David Tracy immediately said it needed the original, yellowed headlights replaced.
  • Jason was drawing oysters and was too busy to respond.

You know, David was right. Even though he eats in the shower, had a fridge full of food that expired a year ago and may or may not have defrosted two frozen tires in his kitchen 90 days ago, I find myself constantly listening to the sage wisdom of this man. A pair of nice aftermarket lights were found on Marketplace that day and installed on my lunch break the next.

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These came out surprisingly easy.

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What a difference! DT was right.

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Dodge Bros

Here we are weeks later and I still haven’t had one person interested enough to look at it. I had a few folks offer $2K for it via text without even seeing it (you know the type), but that was it.

It seemed that what this specific truck was was not what people want in a truck. Everyone wants with big engine, the big bed, the 4×4 and and big wheels on a full-size pickup. This truck was the antithesis of all of that, so finding a full-size buyer who was looking for none of the usual full-size attributes, other than dimensions, was exceedingly tough. Very tough. And that’s coming from a guy who’s sold a ton of cars!

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It’s always darkest before dawn

Then all of the sudden, out of nowhere, The Perfect Buyer reaches out, shows up on time, does a fair assessment and makes a fair offer. You gotta appreciate that guy. A model for all buyers. This was the only individual in over a month that even was interested enough not to just text-lowball and to actually show up. It goes to show that a vehicle will find a buyer if it is True and Good and Fair, every time.

The most troubling aspect here is the fact that I wish I needed it. I desperately want to be a Truck Guy and do Truck Things, but I just don’t think I have it in me, or in/upon my schedule of Things To Do. My car parts hauling and towing can be done with my Durango; the Ram is sadly superfluous. I guess I’ll have to resign myself to being Just Another SUV Guy (sad trombone).

Buying, fixing and owning this truck was a great experience that I would do again in a heartbeat if I had 1.21 Gw of plutonium and a DMC-12. I really understand how a vehicle like this creates an emotional connection with the owner because it works for you. It gives back in very visible ways. “Move this big thing! Haul this heavy thing!” “OK!” is all it says each time via vehicular linguistics and turning wheels. It becomes a friend, through actionable output.

Rams are male bighorn sheep; animals that live in the mountains and often settle arguments with fights that include ramming their heads into others. This is my 4th pickup (3 were Rams) and my 4th attempt at trying to convince myself that I need one. My 4th attempt to prove that I can find glory in The Truck Guy Lifestyle. This inner conflict may be resolved for now, but I honestly can’t say that the argument/fight about owning a truck is truly extinguished, as those glorious horns may prod me towards another truck again, one bright, shiny, fine day in the future.

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The day (and moment) I sold it.

Special shout out to everyone who responded on my previous piece with direction on selling this truck.

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All photos courtesy of Stephen Gossin

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Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
3 months ago

I’ve read this article before, but skimming it again; I have to commend you on this:

“I twisted the key and the 3.9V6 fired right up like a flooded Tesla.”

PRICELESS!

Last edited 3 months ago by Freelivin1327
Brian Clarke
Brian Clarke
10 months ago

Good read. I’m also in Wilmington and now I know who I have been bidding against for these fixer-uppers.

Strangek
Strangek
10 months ago

We need more teal benches in the world! Great story man, can’t wait to read the next one!

First Last
First Last
10 months ago

Great piece! Two thoughts I had reading this: 1) i had no idea that a reupholstery job could be so cheap!
2) for me, finding a great buyer for a well-loved old car is just as good as finding and buying the car in the first place.

GertVAG
GertVAG
10 months ago

Love your writing style and rescue stories, keep ‘m coming !

Turbo Quattro CS
Turbo Quattro CS
10 months ago

“Yankee redneck”– I don’t know where you’re from up north, but in the regional colloquialism of New England, that’s a “woodchuck”. Of course, it’s likely nobody outside of NE would get the reference, so never mind! While I’m here, though, I gotta give you props for your appropriate use of the word “wicked” (which suggests Massachusetts, or close by) and let you know I enjoy your rescue stories.

Nlpnt
Nlpnt
10 months ago

With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy;

If you’ve ever given (or gotten) snow tires as a wedding present, you might be a woodchuck.

Laurence Rogers
Laurence Rogers
10 months ago

Fantastic writing as always mate!

I understand what you mean, for a long time I did without a ute and maximised the space in the sedans I owned and got pretty good at Tetris-ing Bek’s Impreza Hatchback. I didn’t see the need for a ute.

Now I’ve got utes I can’t imagine not having them. I suppose moving to a larger property and having a lot of garden waste and car parts to move around has changed things!

Maybe you need a ute?

DEcarTrouble
DEcarTrouble
10 months ago

I have owned a truck (Ram 1500) for 2 different generations consistently for the last 12+ years. I think about selling it every now and then, but a project that requires hauling comes up. It just works, and works at everything I need it for from hauling family to hauling wood, a broke down 1947 CJ2A, and everything in between.

David Hudson
David Hudson
10 months ago

Thank God there’s a writer on here who still wrenches.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
10 months ago

That was a great truck!

Another Engineer
Another Engineer
10 months ago

I want to celebrate both your loving restoration and your self awareness that few people in a city actually need a truck on any sort of a regular basis. Even while often hauling engines and transmissions.

Last edited 10 months ago by Another Engineer
Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
10 months ago

Congrats on the sale, Stephen! Glad the Ram’s headed to a new home. A good honest truck like that deserves it.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
10 months ago

Personally I think a full sized short bed looks a little odd since I grew up with regular cab long beds and two of our three trucks were long beds. the 85 Ranger we bought just before our engagement was short bed, and I’m not sure which freaked out the future in-laws more, the pickup or the engagement ring. That truck only lasted a year, although that did include replacing the engine after it laid a smoke screen
Truck two was a 93 Ranger long bed, bought right before our wedding and our first new vehicle. That lasted 9 years with no major issues until kid two was on the way and we needed seats and cash more than a truck.
After a long truckless stretch we currently have a truck even more enormous than yours. In early 2020 the best truck in my search was a 2002 F150 Super Cab long bed, all 20′ of it. That truck has some adventures between moving our son, replacing the cylinder heads in 4 weekends of epic wrenching, and our first time in a camper. In between it does enough truck stuff to justify ownership and the extra cachet of being a local work truck all its life

Justin Short
Justin Short
10 months ago

Damn, nice truck! And an excellent story. Sometimes what we want isn’t what’s best In the long run. Glad you found a quality buyer.

Scott
Scott
10 months ago

Stephen,

When I came over here from that Lighting Site a year ago, following two of MY favorite auto/culture writers, I admit that I was honestly a bit worried that they’d wind up being the lone draws at TheAutopian.com

I needn’t have worried. Not only did they continue to be as absurdly prolific as before (or perhaps even moreso) they also acquired assistance from another J-writer that I already very much enjoyed (Mercedes) and somehow, they managed to locate and secure the services of people I’d never even heard of, but who turned out to be as sharp/creative/amusing as David and Jason. By which I mean you of course. And Adrian, and Matt, and Thomas, etc… I’ve literally read things here this past yearish by EACH of you that I’ve enjoyed JUST as much as my favorite stories by D&J …and that’s high praise. 🙂

This piece, about your regular cab/short bed RAM, is just such an item. Personally, though I acknowledge the usefulness of a long bed, IMO something just looks right about the smaller cab and shorter bed: it’s still a huge vehicle, but compared to all the big/expensive trucks people buy just to get their groceries, your white RAM looks charmingly Lilliputian in comparison. At least it would, unless I parked it next to my slightly ratty NA Miata. 😉

The teal bench alone would have sold me on your RAM (so perfect!) and I thank my lucky stars that I’m out here in LA, instead of somewhere near you, and that I’ve never used Facebook …had I seen the ad for your RAM, I’d have been tempted to add it to my own (currently) 3-car collection (which is at least one car too many, especially since I’ve worked from home for years). My ’04 Volvo XC90 will have to continue to suffice for truck-type-stuff such as bringing home 1,500 lbs. of broken chunks of concrete slab to build a retaining wall, etc… I even managed to get a washing machine home in it once (on its side/by myself/with a bad back/with a fraction of an inch to spare) but of course I’d love a pickup with all that major-appliance-compatible headroom.

BTW, your fireworks friend and your nephew are both adorable, though in somewhat different ways.

Thanks so much for your great article! 🙂

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
10 months ago
Reply to  Scott

A shorty pickup isn’t huge at all. Shorter wheelbase than my Accord!

Nic Wechter
Nic Wechter
10 months ago

Cool car and story but boy oh boy were you dead wrong about those aftermarket wheels, they looked way better on that car.

Nic Wechter
Nic Wechter
10 months ago

haha it upset me so much that you didn’t take them that I made an account just to bitch about it 🙂

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
10 months ago

You.

Shut.

Your.

Mouth.

Centerline style wheels are AWESOME!!!

Now, if they were saw blade style, okay, dump ’em.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
10 months ago

Okay.

We can still be friends.

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
10 months ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Yeah he found a decent set of wheels for $600 with $300 worth of scrap metal and then traded those wheels for $20 worth of scrap metal??????

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
10 months ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Nah they’re ugly AF and that a f.a.c.t.

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