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May 4, 2013

Sturdy truck still running after six decades on the open road

NORMAN — After over six decades, Bob Thompson’s Dodge half-ton “job-rated” pick up isn’t going to win any beauty contests, but she’s not out of the race either.

“What I like about this truck is that it’s nearly

seventy years old and still runs,” he said. “People have suggested turning it into a hot rod but I don’t want to do that because it’s just amazing as is.”

The vehicle’s simplicity also appeals to the owner/operator of the Midway Grocery and Market, 601 W. Eufaula St. Even in its day the Dodge would have been considered unadorned. But in the 21st century, when some new rides have 30 pages in the owners’ manual dedicated to wireless connectivity, the 1947 truck is downright Spartan by comparison.

“There are no bells and whistles on it,” Thompson said. “It’s just a functional truck.” The cabin boasts a heater, a few essential gauges and a deep glove box. Top mount windshield wipers are vacuum-assisted. They’re nostalgically cute but would be useless in a downpour. Turn signals were added sometime years ago, back in that quaint period of time when vehicles had to pass street-legal inspection in Oklahoma to be licensed.

“It’s just rock-stock and geared low to do work,” Thompson said. It starts getting insufferably loud at 35 mph or above.

The old Dodge is lucky it’s not slowly rusting away in a rural pasture.

“My father-in-law Oscar Carpio bought the truck years ago before I met his daughter Maricha,” Thompson said. “The truck had been sitting out in a field.”

It didn’t have wheels or a bed but the motor ran and Carpio would start it on a regular basis. He restored the electrical system and the Dodge became a work in progress. Thompson admired the Dodge’s art deco body style and one day ten years ago Carpio bestowed it on him. New brakes, a relatively modern rear axle and new paint brought the truck back to life.

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