One of the ways car guys were introduced to the car hobby in their younger years was Christmas and birthdays because their early attraction to vehicles meant the toy versions of the real deal had a big impact on them.
The easiest way to put a smile on a young car guy’s face was to make toy cars and trucks a major component of gifts in their childhood days.
Santa Claus enjoyed rock star status during our kiddie years because he could bring toy versions of the vehicles we saw on the street in the 60s.
They were more likely to be free-wheeling non electric toys or they may have been equipped with friction motors to propel them across the floor.
Most of us eventually broke the friction motors in the toy vehicles due to over-use and abuse, usually very shortly after we received them as a gift, but we never forgot them and they had a lot of impact on us before we became adults.
This story, common to many of our car guy childhoods, is the basis for Jesse Parks’ decision to purchase a 1962 Chevrolet half-ton truck because he owned a toy version as a four or five year old kid and the memory remained very strong much later in his life.
Jesse’s Chevy truck has its original 261 cubic inch engine at this point in the game, but there may be some big changes on the horizon.
The modest six-banger may be replaced with a muscular 383 stroker that will make this little half ton truck a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The pickup’s transformation will also include a 1972 Chevy truck front clip that will make the engine swap a little easier because the 350 Chevy was readily available as an engine option in ’72.
The upgrades will include disc brakes to slow down the truck when the stroker gets tested on the road, along with power steering to handle the curves a little easier in terms of comfort and control while Jesse is behind the wheel.
The one thing Jesse will not change is the paint on the truck. In fact he will preserve the finish on the truck in its current form with a generous supply of clear coat.
In Jesse’s words, he is “not touching the body” and he will respect the basic originality of the Chevy in a cosmetic sense.
The original outward appearance of the truck was one of the reasons we were drawn to the Chevy. Its congenial owner explained the rest of the story to us once we interviewed him.
This is definitely a feel-good story because every one of us who played with toy cars and trucks when we were kids can identify with Jesse.
He has been able to turn his childhood toy into a real life dream fulfillment- car guy style- soon to have enough performance to fulfill his adult need for something much better than a friction motor to power his new toy.
Childhood dreams rarely get fulfilled as well as Jesse’s dream to own a 1962 Chevy truck in adulthood.