DECEMBER 3, 2012: 1964 DODGE 500 3-TON GRAIN TRUCK—REAL LIFE ON THE FARM

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Clayton Hazlett is truly a 3rd generation car guy.

 

His grandfather was the ultimate car guy in an era when cars were practical, not collectible.

 

Fortunately Clayton was given the same DNA so this big Dodge 500 grain truck has a secure future in his hands.

 

 

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This truck is a typical farm vehicle because it has relatively low miles on the odometer but those miles were done under moderate to severe load. That’s the reality of life on the farm because vehicles are tools of the trade, not status symbols.

 

Clayton outlined the biography of this old Dodge; “It was working steady from the 60s into the 1980s in the fields”. “In the fields” meant (for the urban and agriculturally challenged) that this old workhorse ran beside a combine 24-7 during harvest season when the farmers race rain, frost and eventually snow to get crops of wheat, barley, oats and canola in before it’s too late.

 

That meant that this Dodge 500 put in long sustained days in the worst dusty conditions under low speed stop and start conditions so every mile is like ten under normal conditions. This brute handled the farm life without missing a beat over 3 decades before assuming a new role in the operation as Clayton explained, “it was used to haul water”.

 

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That wasn’t exactly an easy retirement for the 3-ton Dodge because Clayton explained that hauling water required that the truck take on 16,000-pound loads. The duration of the workday was shorter but the loads were heavier because every working farm vehicle has to literally pull more than its weight to survive.

 

The big Dodge is still hauling the occasional dramatically heavy load on the farm but last summer Clayton decided to bring the Hazlett legacy truck into a local car show to show city folks a real working truck. This isn’t a jacked-up 4×4—this Dodge is what farmers relied on 50 years ago to get the job done.

 

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This is an extremely low-geared truck because Clayton admitted that “it topped out at 40” but the reality is that these trucks had to work beside, not race combines so speed wasn’t an issue…load handling was the key.

 

Most Gen Y drivers would be terrified behind the wheel of this brute but despite Clayton’s youth, he is a farm kid who loves old iron so he was far more realistic about the 3 ton Dodge, ” The brakes weren’t great and the steering was little quirky with bias tires but it was okay”.

 

He went further and admitted,It was actually pretty quiet” but that might be a byproduct of the new muffler system “when it backfired and blew the old one apart”. This is an extremely barebones truck because it come from an era when a radio was optional so this one is “radio delete”.

 

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The truck runs the indestructible “poly” 318 motor and Clayton reported, ” it’s actually not too heavy on fuel”. The legendary indestructibility of the poly engine, the decent torque and the favorable gas mileage probably explains why this old farm truck is still around nearly 50 years later. This Dodge 500 runs the typical split axle rear end so Clayton clearly knows how to milk the best out of the old beast of burden.

 

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The truck was at a drop-in show so there weren’t any trophies handed out that night but this big Dodge would have locked up the survivor category.

 

Jerry Sutherland

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