October 2007 On The Floor - This Thing Of Ours
I'm not exactly a control freak, but I do like doing things my way. That's probably why I became a magazine editor. I love the creative process, whether it's planning an issue of this magazine or working on my truck. Whenever possible, I'll do everything myself, at least until my skills leave the possibility of failure looming large.Although, when it comes to my truck, I have a very hard time letting go and allowing anyone to work on it for me. This makes me the worst kind of customer. I'm the guy with more ideas than actual knowledge or tools, and I will put my two cents in on the project even when someone else is doing the wrenching. I'm probably annoying that way-at least to whomever has the unfortunate job of working on my ride. The reason for my mania isn't that hard to figure out, and there are a lot of you out there who feel the same way I do. I'm just not a fan of buying a custom truck; I'd rather build it myself. The age-old "built versus bought" argument has been forever fought on the backs of guys just like me.
I take more pride in welding two pieces of steel together than I do in a lot of other things in life. This is because don't want to have some guy come up to me at a gas station and give me props on any part of my truck that I didn't build myself or, at the very least, have a hand in designing and building. Unfortunately, like you guys, I don't build trucks for a living, and I don't own massive shop with an endless supply of materials and tools, so there's a lot of work I can't accomplish on my own.And I hate that.
My '67 Chevy is a prime example of me refusing to give into the idea that have to buy myself a custom truck. I couldn't afford to buy one anyway. So far, I've built almost everything on the truck with the help of my friends. I'm proud of it. But, I've reached the point where I'm out of shop space, out of knowledge, and if I try to forge ahead with this project and ignore these facts, the truck just isn't going to turn out the way I want it to. The truck needs some sheetmetal work. I'm not talking about shaving the door handles, either.That I can do. If I it involves welding some holes shut or hanging a roll pan, my trusty Miller welder and I can get it done. Unfortunately, this is different. My truck needs an entire metal bed floor fabricated to replace the old wood floor that no longer accommodates the new chassis and independent rear suspension. Also, the floor needs access panels built into it, so I can get at the air suspension when it needs maintenance. This sort of work requires the type of specialized and expensive tools that I don't own and the knowledge I don't possess to operate them correctly the first time. I'm going to have to give in, take my truck to another shop, and let those guys work on my truck-and that really grinds my gears.
Thankfully, when I finally gave in and took my truck to a shop to get the work done, I hit pay dirt. The shop was professional, took the time to explain how they were going to achieve my goal, and did so, precisely and efficiently. These guys didn't mess around when it came time to work on my ride. The bed customization process happened quickly enough that I was able to hang out and document it for you. You can check it out in The Garage section of this edition of Sport Truck.
My truck is out of my grasp right now, as the shop executes the other body mods on my list, and I have to say I don't really feel like I've sold out or that I've let my brethren down in the "built versus bought" argument.The truck is still mine. My ideas are in there, even if they aren't coming to life via my hands. I may not be the guy shaping the body and sprayingthe paint, but it's not like I bought he truck off eBay, swapped out thewheels, and took it to a truck show,looking for a cheap trophy. At the end of the day, I still built this truck of mine, and this thing of ours, the hobby of building custom trucks, s still safe and secure. There will lways be guys out there taking the easy way out, buying a ready-made custom truck, and that's OK. We need those guys. Without them, who would buy our rides when we are over them and ready to funnel the money into another rusted hulk that needs some lovin'? See ya next month.