Heavy Load?

This reminded me of the time I had some friends that kept bugging me about hauling some sand for them because they wanted to build a sandbox for their kids.

At the time I had a ’61 Ford F-100 Short Wide pickup that was built like an El Camino. They only made them from 61 to 63 and the bed and the cab were all one piece.

I miss that truck to this day. It had a 223 CID Straight Six in it and a four speed with a Granny gear. You could literally get out and walk next to the thing in first gear at idle.

There were some Dredge spoils down at a site next to the Columbia river that they thought would work about four miles away and after them bugging me about it I finally told them to grab some shovels and get in. We get down there, I back up next to a big pile of this shit and tell them to have at it. This guy and his wife start hucking sand in the back of the truck with gusto.

Pretty soon I tell them that is enough. These two kep insisting that there was still plenty of room in the bed and kept wanting more. I kept telling them that the shit was wet and it was way heavier than it looked.

“Oh just a little more” they argued.

I finally told them to stop for Chrissakes, THAT’S ENOUGH!

The back tires were squatting something fierce.

I said if you need more than that we can come back and get it, there is plenty here.

So they throw the shovels in the back, everybody piles in and I start the old beast up.

I put it in first gear and started to let the clutch out and boy howdy, right away I could tell that sucker was heavy.

I revved the engine just a bit and let the clutch out.

Both front tires came clear off the ground and stayed there.

I looked over at them and said, “I TOLD YA!”.

Now get your fucking shovels and start unloading this thing.

The look on the wife’s face was priceless when the front wheels came up so she jumped right out and started shoveling it back out. As soon as the front end came down they wanted to stop.

No, keep going I said.

So they shoveled for a couple more minutes and I told them we could try it finally.

In we go, I let the clutch out and she wheelied again but the front came back down. I eased the sucker through the empty sand lot and every time I hit a pot hole the front tires would come up enough that there was no steering.

I decided maybe taking the back way home might be prudent. I would get the thing rolling in first, throw it into second, let the clutch out and up she come for a bit. It took us 45 minutes to get back home that way.

Then I had to back the thing around their house to the back yard. We were neighbors and only lived a few houses away from each other so when I finally got that poor old truck backed around where they wanted it I jumped out and told them to have a good time with it. Come get me when it’s empty and every single grain of sand has been washed out of the fucker.

They don’t make Pick Ups like that anymore.

15 thoughts on “Heavy Load?

  1. Put a load of bricks and sand in my ’64 F-100 that someone had put a 427 in. It was a torque monster. Front wheels intermittently touched the ground all the way home. I posted this somewhere the other day. If it was here, I apologize. In many ways I don’t mind becoming my dad in my old age, but I don’t want to be telling the same stories over and over – at least to the same people.


  2. I still have my 1962 F-100. My dad bought it in 1967, gave it to me in 73. It had the 223 power house with three on the tree. I put in a 302 with a C4. Drove that thing al over California, Nevada, Arizona.
    I did the sand thing when I was working construction. Those where fun times.
    I want to restomod it with some comfort stuff.


  3. If you (woosie) Yanks would just put bull-bars on your vehicles, like normal men do in other countries, you’d never have to bitch about the front end lifting. If it did, then just get the whining neighbours to sit on it for a counterweight, standard practice.


    • I was coming into the AvGas pumps at Coeur d’Alene airport one day, I heard on Unicom, “Hey Cessna, can we go first? We’re awfully dry!!” I spin the plane around, and there is a big-assed PBY Catalina waiting next. I said, “Sure, let me get out of the way – save some for us, please!”
      He gets as close as he dares, but the pump hoses are still too short, so the electric mule comes out and hooks up to pull him in. The tires smoked, didn’t budge the plane an inch. So, everybody in sight piles on the mule and… a tire blew! He limps off, the FBO pickemup truck comes out, we all pile in the back, and got the PBY pulled close enough!
      Them were some good times…
      NON-standard practice, but good enough for a little town FBO that is NOT set up to handle a big monster like a PBY, fer Pete’s sake!
      (Yes, he left me enough to fill *my* tanks.)


  4. I’ll always remember P.J.O’Rourke’s definition of an experienced pickup driver: Someone who’s wrecked one.
    And yeah, I once put a pallet of comp roofing in the back of my E-150 van. Squashed the springs to the stops and crept home at about 25 mph. But at least the weight was forward of the rear axle.


  5. Speaking of neighbours Phil, you havn’t reported on old Chuck for a while. Hasn’t he had to ‘help’ you with advice recently?


  6. Many years ago I got offered free firewood, one load of in whatever vehicle I brought. I could only get hold of an old farm Ute (el camino style) that had a nominated tare of 1/2 tonne.
    We loaded that shitbox up until the front just started to lift and idled over to the scales just to see how much it was, 1 3/4 tonne!
    Had a look under the back, and found the suspension was bypassed by an a-frame construction that looked like rail iron, it rode rough but the steering was JUST adequate! No idea how fast I drove as it was dependent on road holding, feel and hope! The hour an a bit trip took me five but the wood kept the fire going most of winter, the ute fell to bits that winter after years of such abuse.


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