I drive a '67 Ford F-250 to work almost every day in the winter. It's only 13 miles, but the commute has slowly increased in duration to about 50 minutes each way. The old Ford has a working heater and a miracle of completely functioning stock accessories. It's high off the ground and is the Los Angeles equivalent of having auto leprosy. No one will cut me off when I drive it or honk when I fail to move at a green light. It's too big and scary to the liberal in the hybrid, and it doesn't look insured. It seems as if I should have no complaints, but I do. The problem is, the thing is a chore to drive. It has manual steering and marginal drum brakes, and the only personal relief I get from the heavy-duty suspension is the coil springs in the seat. I guess I can live with the physical pain, so the bigger problem must be that I get bored driving the same thing all the time. Maybe it's the 13 cups of coffee I drink in a day or the two-second attention span gifted me in 1982 by that cursed MTV. Whatever the cause, I look online every week or so for a new ride. My friends don't even listen to my new plans anymore because they change like girls' underwear.
My latest scheme involves the stupid Toyota Scion xB. If your mouth is hanging open or your fist just involuntarily clenched, you're not alone. I made the mistake of sitting in one, and my back pain and the cramp in the calf muscle of my brake-pedal leg melted away. Then there's the stereo. It plays AM and FM with 20 CDs hidden somewhere on board so I can listen to '80s hair bands. And let's not forget the 35 mpg the thing gets and the 65 cubic feet of storage space-all for 12K.
Completely deluded, I started to do research on the regular haunts: craigslist, eBay, and edmunds.com. I immediately found out the Scion xB does not tow. Nada. I couldn't even flat-tow the Rambler with the 100hp four and the stick shift the Toyota provides. Then I discovered that even the most optimistic minivan-testing auto weenie on the Web could not suggest that it had any speed capabilities beyond about 50 mph. Someone even said it's better to drive an underpowered car hard than an overpowered car easy. Huh? Euphemisms like "peppy" and "zippy" were sprinkled in with descriptions about how it's great between 20 and 40 mph if you stay in First gear. Ugh.
Then, somewhere in the reptilian core of my brain, a light switched on. I changed my search to Ford F-150 because it can tow about 4,500 pounds, the base model has twice the horsepower as the Scion, and it has a bed that in theory has unlimited cubic feet of storage as long as you don't live near any low bridges. Just ask the local Los Angeles landscape guys.
After I got back in my chair from the new-truck sticker shock, I reversed the listings to "cheapest" and found a friggin' sweet '76 F-150 Ranger plow truck. For $1,000 I could have a 360 V-8 that needs a shot of starting fluid to get it started. The plow frame is homemade from 11/44-inch steel plates with a Meyer's blade that is 7.5 feet wide and moves up and down with an electric winch. All it needs is some rust repair, some hydraulics to get the left and right movement of the plow blade operational, a new frontend, a windshield, a radio, and some other minor stuff.
To me, that seems like a better deal. What can't you do with a Ford Ranger 4x4 High-Boy plow truck? Come to think of it, what can't I do with my V-8 F-250 Camper Special with a frame hitch, truck box, and growly FE? I think I'll keep driving the Ford and tow the next Scion I see struggling up a hill-Douglas R.Glad
Car Craft Mag
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Los Angeles, CA 90048