We live in a bubble wrap world.
The term “helicopter parent” was coined because of this over the top mothering approach to child rearing.
That wasn’t the case back in the early 70s when a kid would use a ’40 Chevy pickup as a daily driver.
There’s no doubt it was the best Driver’s Education vehicle ever built.
Historically, BJ Poulsen has owned this Chevy so long that he was too young for a driver’s license as he recalled, “I got it when I was 14 and I drive it around the farm quite a bit”.
He explained the reason, “It was a working farm truck, I hauled hogs with it, anything you can think of around a farm”.
Eventually BJ was old enough to get a license and drive legally on public roads and that’s where the real learning curve began in earnest. He remembered one particularly harrowing experience, “I was going down Michener Hill, it’s pretty long and steep and I found out that I didn’t have any brakes”.
Car guy know the perils of single master cylinder brakes but BJ was new to the game, “I did what I had to, the truck was picking up speed like crazy but I made it down the hill and hit a parking lot next to the Park Hotel, it had these posts there so I kept doing circles until I slowed down enough and I guess it wasn’t enough because when I pulled into park I still hit the post pretty hard”.
Most car guys agree that the reality of BJ’s situation is a much better learning experience than fake cars on a video game.
Despite the terror ride, BJ was undaunted by the crash course in driver’s education, “I drove it regularly when I was a kid but in ’76 I bought something that didn’t fall apart so much. Those engines aren’t built for teenagers because those cast iron pistons can’t take the revs but I did drive it until 1981 and I did replace a few motors”.
There was a point where he put the truck on the back burners for a few decades but three years ago he decided to resurrect his beloved old truck, “It was a big job but I wanted to put it back on the road”.
BJ wanted to emphasize that this truck wasn’t going to be resto-modded, “I didn’t slap a big block in it. That would have been the cheap way out but I wanted to do it stock. It’s only got one brake light and a lot of guys think it’s a ’38. It was a bit of work because the fenders were and truck bed were dented up pretty bad”.
The driving experience is exactly like it was back in the early 70s, “It does about 50 fairly easily bit you don’t want to go any faster. I could change the gears to make it more civilized.The steering is exactly the same, a little vague, especially on gravel and unfortunately I have to drive on it a little bit to get home. I don’t mind rain but I don’t like dust but if you can’t drive them then there’s no use having them”.
BJ is one of those guys who is lucky enough to still own his first ride and the experience is priceless.
He summed it up in one sentence,” I love being behind the wheel, it like going back my youth only I treat the truck a lot better and I know how to drive a lot better”.
Here’s another MSCC story about a classic ’46 Chevy truck.