Friday, April 24, 2015

From the forest to the (concrete) jungle

I was out amidst the warehouses of Bushwick last summer when I rode past this hot tomato:
Talk about a fish out of water! This rugged beast has all the hallmarks of a truck meant to work hard in the countryside. No nonsense, brutish, tall stance, heavy duty wheels, serious trailer hitch, and a windowless cap on the bed all speak of an early life far away.
This is a Chevrolet truck from the '80s. I usually pride myself on being able to discern the year and model of just about any vehicle I encounter but the truth is that this basic truck body was introduced in 1973 and ran with almost no alteration until 1987! My best guess is that this is from 1980-1985 and is a 3500 series (which stands for 1-ton capacity; the most heavy duty of the small trucks).
This truck is still adorned with various badges and decals from its former life including this particularly ominous one (don't mind the shadow claw).
I'm a big fan of the fancy brushed gold-leaf lettering on fire department vehicles of this era and was happy to see it still here (though the name of the specific department has been removed). Whoever painted this door red went right over the door handle and lock because why not?
*Again with the scary claw hand from my nightmares
  B-1  is the designation of this ride, as loaned by the South Carolina Forestry Commission. What that means I have no idea! Loaned by? Maybe somebody can answer that one for me.
The dashboard has evidence of this being an official work truck; the spot where there would be a radio instead has the plastic delete plate over it, with a water temperature gauge installed right into it. No air conditioning either, and heavy rubber floor covering in place of any carpet ensures that this beast can be hosed out after battling a blaze in the muddy woods.
This is just as tough-looking as you can get. The brush guard is no joke, built to make your way through dense brush and probably small trees. Those wheels are super heavy duty too with 8 lugs and locking front hubs for the 4-wheel drive. No worries about being hit by a careless parallel-parker in this.
This brute stares danger in the face! I'm not sure what the two openings on the top half of the grill are for, but I'm guessing one is a spot to plug jumper cables into and maybe the other was a siren?
Changing the oil on this would only require you to get down there and do it; no jack required.
Here's a close up of that face. There were so many engine and transmission combinations available for this rig that I won't even hazard a guess as to what drives this thing. I know it's an automatic and that it has 4 wheel drive, everything else is up to debate.
There are some dents and scrapes around the body which seem totally appropriate. 
Looks like it might've battled a rock wall or stump in its forest adventures.
I've got to close this one out with a great image from the front page of Martin & Martin Auctioneers of South Carolina, which showed up when I searched for Forestry surplus from that fine state. These are relaxed, down home folks; not afraid to wear boots and a hat, or to pull their pants up to a very high level. Here's to you, good people of South Carolina!

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